At this year's Nintendo E3 press conference, Shigeru Miyamoto was on hand to demonstrate a brand-new game and peripheral for the Wii. As he took the stage toward the end of the conference, he spoke through a translator to explain that he wanted to demonstrate this game rather than his other titles such as Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass, or the newly-announced Wii installment of the Mario Kart franchise. His newest title, Wii Fit, will take the form of a mat-based exercise game, which will take various measurements of your body and plot your fitness levels against your friends' over a number of months.
After a video demonstration showing people indulging in various yoga-style exercises and dance routines, Miyamoto enlisted the help of fitness trainers to show the game being played live onstage. Although the calibration was apparently skewed, the general principle behind the leg-stretch routine was simple to observe. The woman on stage stood on the wireless white mat and replicated the controlled balance movements made by the character onscreen. The second game that was demonstrated looked a lot like Konami's Dance Dance Revolution series, with a series of arrows appearing onscreen to dictate the direction of your movement. Apparently, it was supposed to be in time with the music, although again the calibration was slightly off--so it wasn't a perfect demonstration of the technology. After such strenuous activity, the third game was clearly meant to offer a cooldown, with a simple hip-twisting exercise showing off more of the mat's motion-sensing technology. The game promises more than 40 of these little games, each categorized into one of four categories.
While the exercises in Wii Fit seem to follow the same minigame formula of other titles such as Wario Ware, Rayman Raving Rabbids, and Wii Play, Wii Fit compiles data and uses it to plot your fitness progress over time. To demonstrate this feature of the game, Miyamoto enlisted the help of Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime, who stood on the mat and had his readings calculated by the game's fitness measurement system. First, the game asked how heavy his clothing was, and even though he was wearing a heavy suit, the instructor selected the "light clothing" option for comedic effect. Wii Fit then instructed Reggie to relax his shoulders and stand still while it performed its measurement routine. After about 20 seconds, the game was able to draw onscreen how Reggie's weight was naturally shifted to one side--apparently no bad thing, as most overweight people apparently naturally lean backward. Despite this, the game calculated Reggie's BMI as 27.51, called him "overweight," and adapted his Mii character accordingly. Other players will be able to see your Mii and its progress, but the game will not display actual body weights (although the game can measure this), instead opting for the BMI level.
With all this calibrated, Miyamoto challenged Fils-Aime to a game of football heading. This game required the players to move their heads in the right direction to head the oncoming balls while avoiding any oncoming cleats, with the first player to 20 declared the winner. Fils-Aime, who towers over Miyamoto in stature, took the lead seemingly with ease and went on to win the game in a very short span of time.
While no price or release details for Wii Fit have been announced, it's clear that it will go down well with the sort of casual audience that enjoyed Wii Sports. Hardcore gamers may well lament the fact that Miyamoto didn't demonstrate a more traditional Mario or Zelda game at this year's E3, but with the Wii's extraordinary success over the past year it was perhaps unsurprising to see Nintendo ending the conference with a solid crowd pleaser. We'll be able to bring you more on the game in a very short space of time, as it is on demonstration in Santa Monica's Barker Hangar. Keep an eye out for more info as we get it.