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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

Wii Fit First Impressions

For me, the concept of exercise brings all sorts of gruesome images to mind:

The horror… the horror…

I’ve got some kind of deep-seated aversion to the idea of dedicated exercise time/clothing/equipment. It all seems rather unnatural, particularly when practised by people who drive even short distances and avoid stairs like the plague.

But I have to regularly stretch and move around to prevent myself from seizing up in front of the computer, was intrigued to see what Nintendo have produced, and my girlfriend might want to use it, so I bought Wii Fit last week.

Three things were immediately clear:

  1. They’ve done a good job of making it easy to use.
  2. As well as being a licence to print money in itself, it’s going to further boost Wii sales and there’s a big opportunity to cash in with extra software.
  3. Although the board just measures pressure at four corners, Nintendo’s found clever ways to make the most of that limited data in the various activities.

Slalom gameSome of the games are genuinely fun and challenging (e.g. the slalom and ski jump), and exercises are presented clearly (any struggles are due to my rubbish coordination). The board’s pretty sturdy and supposedly can cope with 23st, although I’m not sure I’d jump about on a piece of plastic if I was that heavy.

There are a few downsides:

  • It suffers from the frustrating ‘menuphilia’ that also afflicts Wii Sports and the Wii’s main menu, with lots of unnecessary screens and button presses. However, it’s not as bad as Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (which has more menu than game).
  • The cutesy presentation and muzak are a bit much at times but hey, it’s the Wii.
  • It’s expensive (70 quid here in the UK).
  • I think it really needs a mode where you specify how much time you have and it automatically goes through a selection of activities to fill it, ideally with no button presses needed.

Overall it’s a decent product though, and can only tighten Nintendo’s grip on the family market (have Microsoft and Sony given up on that audience?). Right, where did I leave my leg warmers and day-glo headband…


My girlfriend wants one, but alas, there are no copies to be found anywhere. You know things are bad when you put your name down on Woolworth's waiting list!

— Adrian, 12th May, 11:21am

I got mine from; they seemed to be making one available every couple of minutes and it was fairly late so there was less competition.

Matt Round, 12th May, 11:31am

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