Editor’s note: John Gaudiosi writes the “Gaming Guru” blog for WRAL.com.
CARY, N.C. – The fact of the matter is that we live in the fattest country in the world and we continue to get fatter (and more obese) at a younger age.
I’m sure there are a lot of reasons for this, including fast food and junk food, but sitting in front of the couch for hours on end watching TV and playing videogames doesn’t help.
Of course, Nintendo changed all of this last November with Wii. And if you really think about it, Konami started this revolution a few years back with Dance Dance Revolution.
The good news is that Nintendo has struck a cord with the mass market with its Wii and Wii Sports. As a result, millions of kids (and adults) ar actively playing games with the (wireless) Wii Remotes. In fact, there’s even something called the Wii Diet, which is the result of lots of physical gaming on the Wii.
Nintendo is taking this concept to the next level with Wii Fit, which was shown at E3. I had a chance to try this out and it’s going to take the physical aspect of gaming that started with the remotes to another level.
This wireless balance board can track your body mass index, which means up to four members of a family can see how playing Wii and Wii Fit games actually improves their health.
Some of the 40 pack-in games with Wii Fit include a soccer heading game and a ski jump game. There’s also Yoga and muscle strengthening exercises. And third-party developers are already working on golf games and other things that will tap into this board.
Konami had their newest Dance Dance Revolution game, Hottest Party, playable at E3 for Wii. In addition to the dance pad to keep your feet moving, this new game also has two new columns to match up the Wii Remote and Wii Nunchucks. It brings the entire body into the game. And like every title in this best-selling series, this game has a mode which counts the calories you burn while playing. This franchise is actually being used in West Virginia as part of kids’ school PE programs. It’s that good.
I’m all for games that encourage activity. EA Sports has a whole line-up of games for Wii that bring virtual sports to life in a new light. With Wii’s popularity, more and more game makers are flocking to the console.
Another positive trend Nintendo has kick-started is the Brain Game genre. using games to become smarter is now its own genre in games. Brain Age and Brain Academy have spawned sequels and off-shoots. Ubisoft had a My Word Coach for Nintendo DS, which improves spelling and teaches new vocabulary in a fun way.
The great thing about these games is that you’ll get smarter and have fun doing it. That’s something I rarely experienced in school. So there are positive gaming trends beyond the shooters and Grand Theft Autos that people should know about. Know one can knock playing games if kids are losing weight on Wii and getting smarter with their Nintendo DS.