A few Sundays ago, obsessivewoman encouraged me to camp out in the early morning to pick up a Wii Balance Board and Wii Fit. (Went to my local Best Buy with a good book, got their at 8:30 and there were already half a dozen people ahead of me in line. More people trickled in after a while, and the line was around the corner by the time the employees came out at 10:30 and handed us tickets. The store opened at 11:00 and people came in to ransack their entire supply of 28 Wiis and 27 Wii Fits.)
Wii Fit is a very different experience from yourself!fitness and Eyetoy: Kinetic. The other games give you an entire workout, with warmup, exercises, and cooldown; you can exercise a bit of control over what you’re getting at the beginning, but once you’ve started, you’re committed to it. Wii Fit is more the buffet style of exercise: it gives you a collection of four categories of exercise (yoga, strength training, aerobics, and balance), and exercises that last from 1–3 minutes (which you can gradually increase up to 10 minutes as you continue to play the game and unlock more exercises and extended play). It’s up to you to handle your own warmup and cooldown. I usually start with yoga until I feel like I’ve limbered up everything I’ll be using in the aerobics exercises.
The buffet style is very good at getting the “just one more turn” syndrome to make you apply your gaming addiction to exercise. Every exercise has a score, even the yoga (which is usually grading you on how well you kept your balance through a pose). Do you want to go back and try again to better your score? Or that of someone else who’s been using your Wii and has their name on the high score list?
The yoga and strength exercises are correlated, so if I do Warrior in yoga, it’ll suggest I do Lunges in strength to match. Doing workouts in one category will tend to open up new options in others; when you start Wii Fit, it only has about a dozen exercises, but over a couple of weeks it’s easy to get it to make most of them available. The aerobics have a good variety as well: a couple of hula hoop games, a couple of running games, a couple of stepping games, and a rhythm boxing one that uses the Wiimote and nunchuk.
The place where it really shines is the balance games, which put the most fun into the gameplay. They’re just minigames, but they’re still a good deal of fun, with things like a ski slalom, a “tilt the board to drop balls through a hole” game, and even a whimsical one where you tilt an iceberg to make a penguin slide around catching fish. There are plenty of Balance Board games in development, and We Ski is already available.
It also encourages you to weigh in every day and take a balance test to see how well you’re doing, and it calculates your “Wii Fit Age” based on how well you do in the balance tests. I recommend doing this after a few yoga exercises and a balance game, but before doing the aerobics; this gets your brain into the mode of controlling a Wii Balance Board, but your muscles haven’t gotten tired yet.