Tetris. Mortal Kombat. All 300 incarnations of Super Mario Brothers. And my personal favorite Bubble Bobble. I grew up playing video games. Even in college, my roommates and I played hours and hours of Simba The Lion King (not kidding) trying to get the wee lion cub out of the hands of the catty hyenas by, naturally, jumping on giraffe heads. In our defense, only one out of the four of us had a car and there was a lot of snow. So anyhow, I get that video games are fun. But what I don’t understand is how they can make you fit.
According to the Nintendo Wii currently presiding at my parent’s house, I’m 86 years old. Me!! It told me, the girl who can do Scorpion Pose much less the wussy Tree Pose on the test, that I have bad balance! At any rate, I suppose it would explain why I’m so crotchety about all this dang blasted ‘lectrical whosits all the kiddos are so infatuated with these days. When I was a kid we didn’t have all this fancy pants motion stuff. Solitaire was good enough for me and by golly it’ll be good enough for my kids. (Walks up hill both ways, shoes made out of cardboard and paper bags full of poop in lieu of soccer balls, blah, blah, blah.)
Santa is bringing a Wii to our house in less than a week and I’m actually really excited because I have it on good authority that the big guy is also bringing Dance Dance Revolution and I freaking love that game with the fervor of a thousand nerds. But part of the reasoning in allowing the Wii to follow us home was that it’s so cold here that the snot freezes inside your nose (yes, truly, and yes, it’s very uncomfortable) and so our Tazmanian devils could use something to burn off some energy indoors. You know, to take the place of all the exercise they’re not getting at school anymore.
But I am dubious about the ability of the electronic wunderkind to provide a real workout. Sure it’s fun and yeah I’ve got my heart rate up a bit doing DDR and nunchuck boxing but can a video game provide a real workout? Like a real make-you-so-sore-you-have-to-lower-yourself-onto-the-toilet-with-both-hands workout?
My first doubts crept in when my sister demonstrated the Wii jogging “game.” For those of you uninitiated, you just run in place. Seriously. On a little white square. I laughed derisively until I realized that the treadmill is only one conveyor belt up from that. So then I tried a weight training game which should have been titled All the Moves You Can Do While Keeping One Foot on a Little White Square (i.e. squats and lunges). Last up was the Yoga game which ended badly after I screamed at the TV that it was ruining my vinyasa with its chirpy red dot and I have not just good but superior balance thankyouverymuch.
I was not impressed. Not only was it not that fun – running on a two-foot square is only exciting if you’re in prison – but I didn’t feel worked out. Where was the sweat in my eyes? The obnoxious 80’s heavy metal? The guy making sex noises on the weight bench?? It also seemed like there wasn’t a lot of room for growth in most of the games. And I stuck to my crabby guns for almost two years now. Until I had a new infant to care for and my three boys switched into full-on destruction mode.
So now I need to know: Can the Wii really provide a well rounded workout for kids? For adults? Or is it just Fitness Lite? Can a Wii really make you fit?? What games do you guys recommend?