GDC '08: Wii Fit Hands-On Preview

We get our hands...or rather our feet on the English version of Nintendo's upcoming fitness game.

by

SAN FRANCISCO--OK, so Nintendo's upcoming Wii Fit might not be an all-in-one solution for transforming you into Brad Pitt (or Angelina Jolie, for that matter), but that's not what the game is supposed to do. We've had the Japanese version of the game in the office for a few weeks now, but today, on the floor of the 2008 Game Developers Conference, we had a chance to check out the European version of the game to get a feel for how the English-language version of the game will work.

In Brain Age, you learned how old your brain is; in Wii Fit, it's your body's turn.

Given that we've been able to check out the various exercise games, yoga poses, and balance games that make up the majority of Wii Fit's gameplay, our interest this time around was in seeing how the game keeps track of your fitness regimen as you play it. In much the same way that the Brain Age series tracks your mental acuity over time, so too will Wii Fit measure your physical progress the more you play it. All of this information is saved in a profile that is naturally tied to your Mii.

To benefit from this kind of progress tracking, you first need to establish some baselines for Wii Fit to gauge your development. You'll first enter basic statistics, such as your height and date of birth. Then the game will calculate your body mass index (BMI: a statistical measure of weight scaled to a person's height), center of gravity, and balance capabilities. To do so, all you need to do is stand on the Wii Fit pad and follow the onscreen instructions. Interestingly, after measuring how you stand on the pad, the game will let you know how you carry your weight (we tend to carry our weight toward the rear of our feet, for example), and you'll also be asked to test your balance by shifting your weight from foot to foot.

Once all of this is complete, your Wii Fit age is calculated by the game. Goals are an important part of achieving fitness, and you'll be able to set specific goals in Wii Fit. You can choose to lose a certain amount of weight or achieve a target BMI within a certain amount of time. The game will help you keep track of your progress and even suggest when a goal might be unrealistic.

Once you've got your goals set, you can move on to the actual exercise events, which are organized in four categories: yoga, muscle-building, aerobic, and balance activities. These activities run the gamut from practicing specific yoga poses to playing fun games, such as walking a tightrope or skiing a slalom event. For each minute you spend on a particular exercise, you'll earn credits that will eventually unlock new, more advanced events you can check out. In addition to using frequent body tests to keep extensive records of all the time you spend on various events, Wii Fit will chart your progress on BMI, weight loss, your body age, and so on. You can even enter into the game other exercise activities you take part in away from Wii Fit, which will also count toward your overall progress.

Though there's no doubt that you can work up a sweat practicing your warrior pose in Wii Fit, the game seems best suited as a hub of sorts that keeps track of all your physical activity. Will Wii Fit contribute to slimmer bellies and stronger muscles across the nation? We'll find out when the game is released in the States on May 19.

Discussion

141 comments
Mike885
Mike885

Wow, I'm glad my parents are buying this game for me for my science project, that way i won't spend $90.

cheeseychips
cheeseychips

The game will be good for improving general fitness, especially for those who have problems such as Multiple Sclerosis as this will be a good way to improve balance and muscle strength. I don't think the average person will break much of a sweat but any exercise no matter how gentle is good for you. Its bound to make for feel more relaxed and should be good for improving mental wellbeing. I think the muscle building will be down to press ups and squats. Both of which are good compound exercises.

ACbomber
ACbomber

Zambole, their are two ways to train a muscle: in strength and in cardio. cardio requires lesser weight, more repetition. Therefore it is a valuable form of training. Cardio is excellent for loosing weight... because your exercising for a while, therefore burning a lot of energy... just doing weights doesn't mean you'll be skinny and in shape: look at football or baseball players. A lot of them are overweight; even if they could probably punch my head out of it's socket.

zambole
zambole

As a game the idea is fantastic - Nintendo is continuing to innovate, experimenting with the fundamentals of gaming mechanics. But as a fitness program, I doubt it will truly be remarkable. Cardiovascular fitness is dependent on intensity, which I cannot see a simple plastic board providing. Ditto for strength training - does the hardware gradually increase in weight every week to provide greater resistance? Perhaps for yoga training it will be just fine though - yoga being something that I have yet to try. In the end, I'd be surprised if this is the saving grace for the hordes of fat gamers out there - sports, fresh air, and an intelligently designed exercise program that focuses on short bursts of intensity are the way to a healthier body.

kos1085
kos1085

I hope it comes with an rechargable battery because madcatz is listing their rechargable battery at $20 making the price of wii fit 110 (without tax).

Seanathome
Seanathome

Wii Fit looks pretty awesome. I mean, the balance is an incredible advancement in how we interact with videogames. I wonder what kind of games can use the "Wii-board" to it's full potential?

crimped
crimped

looks like fun! I can't wait to order one for my family.

NoKuA
NoKuA

Hey, this really looks great... let's hope nintendo keeps bringing new and innovating games like this one... for a long time!!! =D

Giant_Zealot
Giant_Zealot

This game is sweet! Now I can finally beat my frineds at video games by being in shape!

nintmanag
nintmanag

Bozanimal, the Balance Board is compatible with other games as well, as stated on NTSC UK. I hope they come up with some really innovative ways to use it, such as combined Balance Board and Wii Remote use.

Kargonama
Kargonama

This game looks awesome, but expensive. I hope it's not!

JadeAZNdragon
JadeAZNdragon

I wonder how much this will cost, since there wasn't any speculation or they didn't let us know.

bennae66
bennae66

i will guage how good the value of the board is when i find out how much the kit is in australia. if its the price of a standard game ($99) then its worth it. who cares if other games will use it? if its 2 or 3 times the price then of course the value will need to be balanced

Reckless_AWK
Reckless_AWK

to all those bratty kids who think the wii is a joke. you guys obviously dont anything at all about video games. Just because its not "hardcore" that doesnt mean a f*@king thing ! Nintendo is bringing a revolution to video games cause now for once the players are actually interacting with the game. As you can tell by the technolegy we have these days, within a few years we will most likey end up with virtual reality games/consoles. Nintendo opend the door for us =] I dont see either xbox or playstation doing anything like that. I own all 3 systems and support em all cept the PS3 (nothing but a $600 blu ray player) GREAT JOB NINTENDO-

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

Third-party support will determine whether the balance board lives or dies. Every peripheral is doomed without quality software to back it up; the balance board needs more than just Wii Fit.

lase88
lase88

I'm gonna grab this to keep track of my nightly workout, not for its built in workouts.

100percentgamer
100percentgamer

wii shows a fine selecton of revolution or "the future" i mean the wii has very good hardwere to produce the knowledge of ur balence etc... on remote, and platform thats about the hight of 7 cm now theres even yogo, realy wii shows a great boost in the video game industyry -GO NINTENDO!!!!!

beefteriyaki
beefteriyaki

I'm not sure why there are so many people complaining about this game when this is the exact type of game that makes the Wii so successful: reaching out to a broader audience. This is no different than a video of Pilates or Tae Bo or Jazzercise that people do in the privacy of their own home. Will one be in peak physical condition for playing this game, or any of those other home-workout videos? Not unless you combine it with other activities and a proper diet. Let it not be forgotten that some highly praised DDR when obese kids were losing weight at the height of its popularity. For some, I think this will be helpful with workout sessions purely because it has structure to it. I know that I should do push-ups and pull-ups, but for how many and for how long? This is where the Wii is successful in making an already-established market profitable again with interactive and more personalized elements. Just keep in mind that different people like different games and if every game was just a FPS or platformer then we would have never gone beyond Atari 2600 all the way to the Wii in the first place.

Viralmessiah666
Viralmessiah666

no doubt that Wii is revolutionary,whether it's your favorite system or not (not mine) it's a brilliant idea,and it'll change video games,no doubt about it. of course you won't be built like a fitness model just from Wii Fit,but Final Fantasy X wasn't very hard either,until you slapped on the no sphere grid challenge rules. how about a Wii Fit,with weights challenge,that'd certainly give you better results. point being,nothing is going to make you healthy unless you want to be healthy,at least Wii Fit is trying

Magdalicious
Magdalicious

Wii is revolutionary. It's simple as that. There isn't a gaming system like it on the market,. I've been gaming for over 10 years and never have been able to pick up a controller and "hit" stuff simply by moving it and not pressing any buttons. I suggest Dictionary.com if you don't know what revolutionary means. I'm puzzled as to why some people have so much anger about a video game. Even if this game at best gets people on their feet and provides minimal movement it is more than they would be doing just sitting down and playing a regular game or watching TV. Any movement will burn calories, and get people started in improving their shape. The fun tracking of activities could be a great motivator for many people to become more active overall. I truly don't see any negative in a game that could potentially minimize the obesity numbers in America.

URError
URError

Stop complaining about how Wii Fit is not going to make you ripped! Of course it's not it's a fricken video game! It's not like it's bad for you in fact it may even be a little good for you, it's certainly better than sitting on the couch pressing buttons.

andbusiness
andbusiness

@MisFits1119: Nintendo is revolutionizing gaming. To change the minds of many people that were once saying that gaming is only for kids, teens and young adults to nowadays, as a thing that anyone can pick up from across the age board is revolutionary. If you ever been to a retail store, how often did you see elderly people actually wanting to buy a game console for themselves before the Wii or DS came out? It is not just the controls that make the consoles such as the Wii or DS so revolutionary, although the first to my knowledge of being a dedicated interactive controller (you know what I mean), it is the audience that they are aiming for that makes it so great and different from the other consoles. A console for everyone that is simple, fun, interactive and a ton of games to meet many people's interests. I am not trying to say that the Wii meets all needs but definitely a console worth having along with another companion console whether the Ps3 or Xbox 360.

Misfit119
Misfit119

Please. Nintendo could package a slide horn and gazoo into a plastic box and tell people that they were the gaming revolution of the future and people would buy it. Nintendo isn't revolutionizing gaming, they're bringing it to the masses. That's not revolution, that's pandering. Not to say that good things can't come of that angle, I do love me some Wii sports and I actually want this, but overall the Wii is a joke of a game system. When I want real games it's the last place I'd look. If I wanted something different, then I'd consider the Wii. Just remember this: For every Super Mario Galaxy or Zak and Wiki there's a glaring number of mini-game collections and games like Kidz Sports. A serious gaming platform? Not at this point. The Wii is the $300 equivalent of Club Pogo.com and its ilk.

wolverine08
wolverine08

this might be fun but i'm not sure its for me but who knows ddr and guitar hero are fun and wii sports

Hell3ent
Hell3ent

My wife and I plan on picking this up...we have a Wii and a PS3. The PS3 is for the hardcore gaming, and the Wii is for the fun, party-based, casual gaming (not that the Wii doesn't have its fair share of hardcore games as well). I don't understand what everyone is whining about. Nintendo has always been about trying something unique and different, and most of the time to resounding success. I don't think the intention is to have the Wii Fit totally replace other forms of excercies, but simply to give gamers the option of engaging in some light excercise while they game. What could possibly be wrong with that?

wolfienigma
wolfienigma

How about just accepting that Nintendo are trying to revolutionise gaming alltogether. They dont have to make their games based on killing people or taking over the world, they have their own place in the market that actually makes new type of games with new ways of playing, and yes they are actually fun because they are not the same old boring "omg i have a gun pew pew running around using a playstation controller that hasnt changed in 10 years". Nintendo have always been doing great work and this is just more great work coming from them. You dont have to appreciate it but the true gaming community does because they are going in their own direction instead of following the trends set by other, more boring and typical consoles. Keep up the great work Nintendo.

hitomi69
hitomi69

Completely and utterly retarded. I'm sorry, if you plan on playing this for fun, that's one thing, but if REALLY think this contraption is going to make you lose weight, you might as well go on the Burger King Diet. Yeah so Nintendo is getting everyone to move around more, big deal, this ruins the actual meaning of what playing a video game used to be like, sitting down relaxing playing a good game for an amount of hours, not pretending you are losing weight and spending over $50 for something you can do for free..... I swear, the Wii is losing it, and it is very disappointing that they are forgetting about their Hardcore gamers, and really expect them to like the games that they are releasing, I mean that Endless Ocean or whatever it's called that they came out with......congrats Nintendo, FAIL. All I can say is this, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the ONLY reason why I'm keeping my Wii

jesusrocks91
jesusrocks91

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

ljaygrimes
ljaygrimes

Great, with this maybe I won't be such a fatty... Love how Nintendo is trying to get everyone off their couch and get moving, and since this a video game I feel more inclined to do too. lol

tukkertje1992
tukkertje1992

I think it's a pretty good game. It's not real exercise to lose weight but if you aren't good at sports(and not doing 1) and it's autum(then you wont play outside that much) is pretty fun to do so. @ TheRealMafoo It's just a real wii game. Exercises without doing much. It's the same as wii sports, wii play and warioware smoothmoves. It's just for fun. And i also think it's a kind of yoga thingie. Finding balance fysical and mental.

happyhappyman1
happyhappyman1

the wii fit sofware is just kinda like a demo more casual game. IN a interview Nintendo said that there were already 10 other games in development that use the wii balance board...so this is definetly worth the money

MiiWiiNumber2
MiiWiiNumber2

DONT BUY THIS GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY ARE JUST MAKING A RIP OFF OF WII SPORTS ONLY BUY THIS GAME IF YOU WORSHIPPED WII SPORTS

antonior100876
antonior100876

Wow, just what the world needed. Another way to pretend u r working out, without actually doing it, so u can feel good about urself while gaining weight. Isnt that great?

snoopy248
snoopy248

@ TheRealMafoo I completely agree with you! Great post! I think this is going to be a great type of game to play a little of everyday.

TheRealMafoo
TheRealMafoo

rose_please wrote: "This is such a joke, why dont you just go outside and play with your friends (probaly dont cus you own a wii). Oh ya im gonna get ripped by leaning left to right, and im gonna lose 3 pounds, trying to stand on this piece of plastic. I love how stupid the northamerican public is, and its even better when the japanese make money off it." Last week it was -50F with wind chill. Not interested in going out in that. Plus, telling my friends "I don't really want to play ball, I just need to exercise for 30 minutes and leave" probably is not the best advice. I think this thing is great!

blink182plus44
blink182plus44

this game looks awsome its like wii sports 2 i love wii sports and this looks just way better

guidedtruth
guidedtruth

This game is going to be awesome i can't wait. also i would love a wii zapper and the wii balanceborad combo they could make the ultimate shooter

SolidStateMind
SolidStateMind

I think this is a great idea: no, nobody is going to get ripped abs from it, but the simple fact is that there are plenty of studies which show that a majority of Americans would benefit greatly from light exercise, such as 30 minutes of walking a day-- and I bet this would be an excellent alternative to that. Besides, that controller just begs for a snowboarding/skateboarding game that makes use of it!!!

MiiWiiNumber2
MiiWiiNumber2

i think its pretty pointless because its not a good multiplayer game and it relies too much on balance. anyway whe wants to see in big letters how much they suck at the game, at least with we sport your bound to be good at somthing.

blinkysam
blinkysam

i want a skateboard or surfing game for it lol!

pro_gamer12345
pro_gamer12345

rose_please This is such a joke, why dont you just go outside and play with your friends (probaly dont cus you own a wii). Oh ya im gonna get ripped by leaning left to right, and im gonna lose 3 pounds, trying to stand on this piece of plastic. I love how stupid the northamerican public is, and its even better when the japanese make money off it. Some people look forward to this game. IMO this has to be the most unique thing I've ever seen in video gaming. This offers a lot of stuff that other systems can't offer. I don't expect a workout from this but I do expect a little fun out of it.

pro_gamer12345
pro_gamer12345

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

rose_please
rose_please

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

FuelX
FuelX

I want tons of minigames using this device! I also want a wii fit pad & zapper combo game!

Fraek
Fraek

For those of you advocating "real" exercise: I really do not think that they are advocating this as a substitute, but surely it's a good thing if some of our gaming time is spent moving a bit? Heck, we once played Dance Dance Revolution in gym-class; it was a nice way to get some of the less sporty guys such as myself (my program is natural sciences with a focus on mathematics and computer sciences; we like to exercise our digits and not much else) enthusiastic about moving around, and when I was younger I sometimes used to pretend I was playing Harvest Moon whenever I had to do work in the garden; it helps to make up a reward system for oneself, even if the rewards are only in one's mind. That being said, there is of course a risk that some people will use "But I've played Wii Fit this week!" as an excuse for not going outside for some exercise, and in that case this is of course unfortunate. However, I wonder if this could not in some way be combated by allowing one to earn rewards by checking off points on a list (reward system!!!). "Get a Novice Trophy for doing three of the following IRL: Play five games of bowling / Play one round of golf (18 holes) / Play five rounds of miniature golf / Take five one-hour jogging trips / Swim two kilometers / Burn 1000 calories on a treadmill [et cetera]" I don't know; it just feels like if there's a prize involved, people will do whatever it takes to get it, and it's easier to continue exercising than it is to start. Thoughts? Ah well, I'd like to see the ability to duck and lean be combined with a sword/lightsaber peripheral... ...although I guess if people managed to get themselves injured with the wiimote, there's no limit to what they can do with such a combo ;)

jyurakyumihawk
jyurakyumihawk

What the hell is the girl in the Wii Fit banner doing? Some kind of armpit exercise?

Fancy_mudlaker
Fancy_mudlaker

it seems interesting enough, but what about REAL exercising?

frankfurter209
frankfurter209

This is crazy, but I'm a totally hardcore gamer and this looks great.

Enisiel
Enisiel

ChickenHounk911, those thing already exist. Seeing as a large part of the obesity problem is (accidentally) contributed by by the audiovisual media and electronic entertainment sector, why shouldn't they try and balance things out ? If you ask me, making exercise fun is the best thing that could happen to gamers. At the least it'll give most of us a few more years to enjoy games.