Wii Fit U: Update 1

I’m now two weeks in to my Wii Fit U experiment and I have had time to develop some thoughts on the game/program.

First off, I want to say that I am making progress with the software, albeit very slowly. But, at least the numbers are not going up. My routine with Wii Fit U is as follows:

I am trying to eat a little more sensibly. But, to be honest, I’m used to pretty much gorging on whatever I want. Trying to diet cold-turkey would be an absolute disaster for me. So what I’m doing instead is focusing on managing my breakfasts. Instead of grabbing a McMuffin in the morning, I’m trying to replace the junk food with something semi-healthy instead. For example, I’ve been drinking a Bolthouse Farms breakfast smootie, or eating a Cliff Bar several days a week.  I still allow myself one no-so-healthy breakfast during the work-week. Other meals and weekends are free-reign.  As I continue to progress, I’ll tighten the restrictions on myself.

I also try my best to play Wii Fit U every morning, Monday-Friday. Just when I think I’ve seen everything the game has to offer, it prompts me with some new statistic or it unlocks some new feature. For example, the other day it announced it was now setting a daily “calorie burn goal” for me, and it uploaded this data to the Wii Fit Meter. This interactivity continues to impress me.

That being said, I’ve had enough time with the game to make some judgments. When I first started Wii Fit U, I was expecting a very guided experience. But the game is not really that at all. Instead of holding your hand, the game pretty much just gives you the keys and lets you run wild. Eventually, it will allow you to participate in more activities, but for the most part you’re on your own. With this in mind, I’ve decided that Wii Fit U should be looked at as more of an activity center than as a regimented weight-loss program. Yes, there are tools in place to help you monitor your weight, but the game offers little in the way of guidance. I am now to the point where the game is telling me how many calories I need to burn in order to maintain my current weight loss, but that’s largely the only feedback I’m receiving.

Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. People who want to start exercising but who might be too embarrassed to go to the gym or to step outside, may find exactly what they want with Wii Fit. It offers a number of useful activities from the privacy of your own home. But I feel like the game alone is simply not enough for someone who is wants to go from “couch to 4k”, as they say.

I will continue my current routine and make semi-frequent posts on my progress.

Wii Fit U: Starting Out

So, I’ve spent a few days getting started with Wii Fit U and I’m here to share my thoughts thus far. There’s a lot to talk about here and since I’ll be making several posts over the coming months I’m going to use this first post to share my initial thoughts.

The full Wii Fit U package includes the following: The game itself, the Balance Board accessory, and the Fit Meter accessory. I’m going to take a moment to discuss these.

The balance board is really the core of the Wii Fit experience. It debuted with the original Wii Fit and is still around for Wii Fit U. Essentially, the Balance Board is a flat platform that serves a number of purposes. It’s a scale as well as a pressure sensitive “controller”. Nearly all of the Wii Fit games and activities make use of the accessory.  The Fit Meter is an optional accessory. The meter is a very basic pedometer that keeps tracks of steps. It features an IR sensor that communicates with the Wii U game pad. Data collected by the Fit Meter can then be transferred into Wii Fit U. This allows you to track steps and calories burned when you’re not actually playing the game itself.

The game itself requires a small installation footprint on the Wii U, followed by an update. There are also optional components that you can install the Wii U itself if you choose. But this is not necessary.  Upon starting the game for the first time, you’ll be prompted to create a new Wii Fit U data file. This is linked to your Nintendo ID/Mii. Next, you’ll be asked to perform a “Body Test”. During this process, the game will ask you some basic questions about yourself and then take your weight. Finally, the system will then provide you with your “Wii Fit Age”. For example, you might be 20 years old in real life, but based on your weight and other factors, the game may declare that you have the body of a 30 year old. – The results here, can be brutally honest. For me, the game wasted no time letting my know that I was “obese”.

Wii Fit U then takes a snapshot of this information and even asks you to take a selfie. The information is dated and recorded into your data file.  Over time, the game will routinely prompt you to retake the body test, at which time a new picture and data snapshot is recorded. This allows you to monitor your progress over time.

Once all this is out of the way, you can dive into the meat of the game. Now, let me stop here and state a few things. Wii Fit does a great job at explaining all of the various options that are available. But, it doesn’t really seem to provide any guidance on WHAT you should be doing. I was expecting there to be some kind of “coaching” in regards to what activities are best for a new user, but so far I’ve not found any such suggestions. This is a bit of a disappointment. I suppose that unless things become clearer as I continue to play, I may have to turn to the internet for some suggestions. I don’t like just doing random exercises with no rhyme or reason.

I should note: there is a “personal trainer” option. But for what I can gather, this only allows you to select an X number of calories that you wish to burn and then assigns activities to you that, when completed, will have burned that number of calories. So that is not the coaching too I was hoping for.

Speaking of activities, I want to take a moment and provide a warning to anyone who is considering purchasing this game. In order to participate in every activity offered in Wii Fit U, you will need a few accessories that are not included in the box. First, you’ll need a Wii Remote and a Nunchuck. But, you really want to go all out and get either a Wii Remote Plus or the Motion Plus accessory for the original Wii Remote.  Second, (and this is where they get you) you actually need TWO separate Wii Remote Pluses in order to play all of the games. So – know this going in.

Wii Fit U also incorporates one of the Wii U’s most unique features, MiiVerse. There’s a community option in the game that allows you to view and interact with with players (to a small degree). For example, let’s say I set a walking challenge for myself. Once I meet that challenge, other players in MiiVerse will see that accomplishment and can give me a “Yeah!”  (the equivalent of a Facebook “like”). As always Nintendo keeps interactions between strangers very limited so, on it’s face, this is a very novel feature. But one that’s certainly not unwelcome.

I’ve only scratched the surface in this first post, and I have a lot more exploring to do with this game. So I’m going to spend the next two weeks really digging into the title, then I’ll be back with an update. I think I’ll actually spend a little time focusing on certain areas of the game with each future post in hopes to really figure out how to get the most from this title.  Stay tuned!

Project: Wii Fit U

I know that I have been focusing on games from the 64 bit era lately. But I’m going to take a moment to announce something special. I call it Project: Wii Fit U.

Now, I rarely discuss personal things on this site. But, in this case I’m going to make an exception. At the time of this writing, I’m 38 years old. For the majority of my life I’ve always been trim and fit. However, as I neared thirty years in age, I slowly began to put on a little weight. Some of this naturally comes with age. But, I have to admit that I keep a very poor diet and these days, I rarely get enough exercise.  The latter can be attributed to both my job (which consists of eight hours behind a desk each day), and the fact that gaming is one of my favorite hobbies. You see, when I’m not sitting down for work, I’m also sitting down for recreation. When I was younger I was much more active. These days, I barely get any activity at all.

Anyways, with this in mind, I’m always diligent to get an annual check up. Up until now, my results have always been normal. But this year, I received the news that my cholesterol had ventured into the unsafe range (barely, but they are there). So, the time has come where I need to buckle down and nip it in the bud before the problem becomes too big to manage.

One of the first thoughts that occurred to me was to blog my fitness progress. But, this site is not really a fitness page. The majority of my audience would have little to no interest in such content. That’s when an idea struck me. I could combine the two.

Some years ago, when the Nintendo Wii first hit the scene I had purchased a copy of Wii Fit. For those of you who may not be familiar. Wii Fit was Nintendo’s premier “fitness” game. With the addition of a ‘Balance Board’ accessory, Wii Fit coached players through various exercise routines and tracked their progress. It was a cutting edge idea at the time and one that I found intriguing. But admittedly, I lost interest in it for a number of reasons.   Years later, with the release of the Wii U, Nintendo updated this title.  I personally never bothered with this new “Wii Fit U”, until now.

I mentioned at the beginning of the year that I was going to start posting more article-like content on the site. So today, I’d like to announce that I will adding a new periodical feature to the site. Starting this month, I’m going to blog my experience using Wii Fit U as a tool for fitness and weight loss.  I’ll be making the initial post in the coming days, followed by updates every week or two. I plan to continue these updates until the end of the summer, at which time I’ll reveal the final results.

So, if you’re reading this and you have either a copy of either Wii Fit or Wii Fit U gathering dust, perhaps you’d like to join me in this experiment. If you’re interested, but not sure where to start, copies of both Wii Fit and Wii Fit U are selling for record low prices on Amazon. If you have a Wii U, you can snag a copy of Wii Fit U, complete with balance board and fitness tracker for around $20.00 (NEW)!

If you do decide to give it a sping, feel free to comment or send a message to chris@retrosensei.net .

Let’s see where we end up!