More fitness reviews here here.
Being a Personal Trainer with a penchant for gaming, I often get asked about Wii-Sports fitness qualities. Today I finally had a good look at Wii-Sports and was surprised to find it offered not only better value for money, but also better fitness results than Wii-Fit.
I hear you already, another Wii-Sports review, it's been out for two years, what's the point? But I'm doing something new here, looking at Exergaming potential; the combination of video games and exercise for fitness. In order to get fitness benefits from games there needs to be exercise, but also the time spent playing the game is very important.
In order for a game like Wii-Sports to pass my review it has to be a long term reality, not just a fad. Now that Nintendo have left Wii-Sports without major advertising in favour of newer products, not to mention Wii-Sports Resort, is the game still a going concern? We shall see!
In the UK, Wii-Sports comes with your Nintendo Wii, so if you haven't already played it then you are probably living somewhere without electricity. Possibly Wii-Sports could be the most played game on the planet. This packed in game provides Tennis, Boxing, Golf, Bowling, Baseball. Not forgetting a Training and Fitness age test.
Wii-Tennis is by far the best game in the pack, allowing up to four players to complete at the same time. The unnatural part of the experience is that you watch the screen while paying no attention to the Wii-mote. This lack of looking where you are swinging had led one insurance company to add up the claims for the UK, which total £20m in damages to household ornaments, TVs and pets!
Wii-Tennis is the best game here delivering some good elevated heart rate.
But I'm interested in fitness not these easy headlines. Fitness is, simply put, exercise over time, and Wii-Tennis is the best game here delivering some good elevated heart rate. Add to this the fact that playing with friends is great fun and for fitness this game is good.
Wii-Boxing may not be as much immediate fun but when it comes to exercise benefits it is in a league of its own. The constant motion of both arms and a bit of bobbing and weaving for core stability really gets the heart rate going. Again you can play this with friends, although this is where Boxing starts to fall apart. The Wii-mote struggles to keep up with the speed and timing of even modest punches, leaving you frustrated and annoyed with the lack of response.
This means the fun factor drains very quickly and sometimes it feels like you are not really in control. While the exercise benefits are top, the lack of control ultimately ruins the long term playability. For fitness this game will probably only work for the most determined exercise junkies.
Wii-Golf is a much more sedate experience. Not so much fitness involved here, as slashing wildly at the golf ball will only throw your shot into a wicked slice to the right or a devilish hook to the left. The game is all about control and balance. The holes are challenging and require both thought and technique, making it a pretty solid golf game. But for extra realism I found placing a golf ball on the floor as a point of focus improved my Wii Golf handicap!
As part of a fitness routine Wii-Golf is a prefect warm up and cool down method. Warming up is important to avoid strains and cooling down is essential to avoid aches and cramps. It may surprise some that for fitness this game is vital. My advice would be to play nine holes before and after each workout session to avoid injury.
As part of a fitness routine Wii-Golf is a prefect warm up and cool down method.
Wii-Bowling is quite a dangerous game in physiological terms. The exercise involved encourages a fast flick of the arm, but unlike boxing, the action is disjointed and doesn't allow your muscles much chance to keep warm. The more players there are playing the worse it is, as the time between your throws is increased.
There is a fair element of playability, but the game tends to get a bit boring as you are not directly interacting with the other players in the same way as Tennis. For fitness, this game should be avoided.
Wii Baseball is not a sport we in the UK are that familiar with. As such, I am probably not the best person to review this part of Wii-Sports, and I have to admit I found it quite tricky. The use of the A and B button for the pitcher to alter the balls flight and speed meant I struck out a lot!
The training and fitness age test do a better job for your fitness than Wii-Fit does, mainly down to the added fun that keeps you coming back for more.
The exercise in this game is not bad, and the playability will keep even the worst batters coming back for more hoping for that home run feeling. For fitness, Wii Baseball is not as good as Wii-Tennis, but a close second.
Wii-Training provides a collection of mini-tasks that are prefect for when you are playing alone. You have clear progression with your own high scores to beat and the area is great for your next challenge, your Wii-Fitness age.
Wii-Fitness Age is a neat little function that lets you test your fitness age by going through a series of trials. The tiny icon on the screen does just as much for you as Wii-Fit.
Even at its best Wii-Sports only burns around 150-180 calories an hour, and as such is no substitute for real exercise. But as a supplement to keep your motivation up, it's great. Wii-Tennis and Wii-Baseball are clear winners for fitness while Wii-Golf is vital for warming up and cooling down. Therefore I conclude that Wii-Sports is well worth the money, especially as it is free!
With 68% of Japanese Wii-Fit owners been found to give up with Wii-Fit already, I would go further with my appraisal of Wii-Sports. The training and fitness age test do a better job for your fitness than Wii-Fit does, mainly down to the added fun that keeps you coming back for more. Don't waste your money on Wii-Fit as you already have Wii-Sports!
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: