As Nintendo's ongoing success in the games industry proves, having the most powerful pixel processing hardware isn't everything when it comes to appealing to the mass market. Games such as the hugely successful Brain Training and the 18.22 million-selling Wii Fit have enabled Nintendo to position itself very much as a lifestyle brand, with software that aims to improve as well as entertain.
Nintendo has added yet another feather to its lifestyle cap with Personal Trainer: Walking for the DS, promising to "turn an ordinary activity like walking into a fun daily adventure." Part of the Personal Trainer series, which includes cooking and mathematical titles, the title combines pedestrian motion with interactive activities and statistics on the handheld once the user has stopped moving. Already available in Japan--where it shares information with the Wii Fit Check Channel--the game will ship on May 26 in North America for the price of $49.99. No European release dates or prices have been announced.
Personal Trainer: Walking comes bundled with two "activity meter" pedometers, which count steps and wirelessly sync to the DS, where the data is analyzed and presented. The activity meters can store up to seven days' worth of data before needing to be synced to the DS, which itself can hold up to five years of data. Information for up to four people can be stored on one copy of the game. Nintendo also indicated that the activity meter could be attached to a pet's collar to track the activity of animal companions.
Statistics come in the form of charts that Nintendo claims can reveal "life rhythm" patterns, such as when the most active and sedentary moments of the day are, in order to plan for more or less activity on future days. Days can also be rated, based on the amount of activity, and daily walking goals can also be set to encourage more activity.
Activities in the game include Illuminate, which allows users to brighten up a virtual town, and Walk the World, which converts footsteps in images of interesting locations around the globe. Avid walkers can also share their data over the Internet, combining it with other people's step totals to virtually space-walk to other planets. The game also allows users to import Mii characters from the Wii--a first for Nintendo--as well as design the avatars on the DS when creating profiles.
[UPDATE] The official Web site for the game is now live.