Game Review: Exercise via motion games

I’m back after a nice, long Christmas break. I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays this past weekend.

When it comes to holidays, it’s obvious we will be eating…a lot. 2011 will be history and 2012 will soon be here. I have a New Year’s Eve party coming up this weekend where I will not only be drinking to ring in the New Year, but there will be more food to eat. With the amount of food I’ve been eating I know I have gained more pounds than I care to have added to my waist. Usually when this happens I eat smaller portions during the week and I exercise to shed the few pounds I have gained during the holiday eatathons. Where am I going with this? I truly like the idea of motion based games to whip me into shape after all this eating.

Nintendo’s Wii Fit Plus

When the Wii introduced the concept of motion based playing in consoles, the idea was very intriguing to me. You can move things based on pointing a motion sensor Wii Remote at a TV screen. Some games are better for the Wii sensor than others as I have learned. Then Nintendo started developing more motion based games by giving gamers Wii Fit Plus, a slew of other exercise based motion games, Wii Sports & Wii Sports Resort, and the Just Dance games.

The Just Dance games are high on my list of motion based games I would like to get for my console in the future. For now I have Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports. The idea of being able to do commonly known exercises like Yoga, Strength Exercises, and Aerobics in Wii Fit Plus is good for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money for a gym membership just to do simple tone ups. You have a Wii Board to stand on, kind of like a hard exercise mat which will follow your body’s every move without using the Wii Remote. Some exercises require you to have the Wii Remote on you, but it still gets you moving and sweating.

The game also includes other cute little obstacle course or timed based games to make moving around in your living room a fun and interactive experience. Exercise can be boring for some, but I think a motion game like Wii Fit Plus helps to make it entertaining. The games on here can also be good as a party game too when you have friends over.

I see the Wii Fit Plus as a new generation of exercise/aerobic videos that used to be big in the 80’s and early 90’s. Unlike these instruction videos, you are playing a video game that makes exercising something you look forward to. From my own experience, playing Wii Fit Plus has left me sweaty and tired after a good thirty minute workout on this thing. Maybe some gym buffs might scoff at the idea of replacing the gym with a video game, but I don’t have the money to be spending on a gym membership. The Wii Fit Plus is the best substitute for me and it’s cheaper.

Wii Sports

Wii Sports is another game that had me sweating by the end of it, but it happened more with boxing than any of the other sports games. Tennis, baseball, and bowling are more for leisure and fun. Boxing in this game can be fun but a very rigorous and painful exercise at times. The Miis you go up against in the boxing segment get progressively harder to beat after you manage to beat the previous ones. This is one instance where using the Wii Remote is more involved. You have to move your body around, block, and jab. If you get punched out, you have to shake the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk as fast and hard as you can before the timer runs out and the opposing Mii wins.

A friend made a comment not too long ago saying if you wanted to play sports then why do it as a video game? Shouldn’t you be out there playing the real thing instead? I do believe video games like Wii Sports shouldn’t be a replacement for real sports, but if you are like me who sucks at real sports but wants to play them on a casual basis without looking like an idiot, then Wii Sports isn’t a bad substitute for someone like me. Besides, boxing isn’t one of those sports I would go out and try out for real. I rather not get my face punched in in real life.

After motion gaming came out for the Wii, Playstation and Xbox 360 started coming up with their own motion based gaming to compete. I don’t know what motion gaming is like on the Playstation, but I haven’t heard much going on with Playstation. When it comes to motion games, it’s between the Wii and Xbox 360 in the gaming world. I wonder why the Playstation is more obscure in this area of gaming?

Xbox 360 came out with the Kinect and they raised the bar a bit higher than the Wii. The Wii relies heavily on the Wii Remote for the most part in their motion games, but the Kinect is a built in motion bar with a camera you place at the top of your TV, stand in front of it, and your whole body becomes the controller. Kinect offers a hands free based motion gaming experience.

Kinect Adventures!

Kinect Adventures! is the only game I have for the Kinect. The game doesn’t have traditional exercise games, but the game allows you to immerse yourself in worlds where you are a daring, adventurous explorer. There’s wild river rafting, hitting balls at targets, and plugging leaks into tanks among the bunch of games you can play in Kinect Adventures!. The experience is so much fun and will leave you winded at the end of the gaming session. The body as controller idea is definitely a nice improvement on the motion gaming experience, but if you do get a Kinect you need a lot of space to move around. I don’t have much space in my living room but I make do with what I have.

I don’t know how many gamers feel about motion games, but I enjoy them. I only really became interested in getting my first console which is the Wii because of it. I like the option of being able to choose between wanting to play a game where I’m sitting on my couch and just exercising my fingers or getting off the couch and playing a game where I am interacting with a game beyond finger exercise. Motion games are not a replacement for outdoor activities. Always put down the controller and turn off the console to get outside and mingle with the world. Motion games, in my opinion, are best for lazy days, parties, or for indoor workout marathons when you don’t have a gym membership. I recommend them for that.

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