Friday, December 01, 2006

Wii released. Video gaming gets physical.

With a mere 168 hours separating many Brits (including me and my kidz!) from a brand new Nintendo Wii, The Wall Street Journal reports: [edited]

A videogame maker has finally succeeded in getting kids off the couch and moving around. But the new approach is turning out to be more exercise than some players bargained for.

These surprisingly vigorous workouts are being triggered by Nintendo's new Wii, which went on sale in the US last weekend. One of the Wii's distinguishing features is a motion-sensitive technology that requires players to act out their character's movements, wielding the game's controller like a sword or swinging it like a tennis racket.

The new console has been wildly successful, selling out at stores and winning high marks from critics and game buffs. But as players spend more time with the Wii, some are noticing that hours waving the game's controller around can add up to fairly intense exertion - resulting in aches and pains common in more familiar forms of exercise. They're reporting aching backs, sore shoulders - even something some have dubbed "Wii elbow."

"It's harder than playing basketball," says Kaitlin Franke, a 12-year-old from Louisville, Ky. She has been camped out in front of her family's TV, fine-tuning her bowling motion and practicing boxing footwork in two of the Wii's games.

Jeremy Scherer and his wife spent three hours playing tennis and bowling, two of the games included with the Wii. Mr. Scherer says he managed to improve his scores - at the cost of shoulders and back that were still aching the next day. "I was using muscles I hadn't used in a while," says Mr. Scherer.

Nintendo itself warns players about this risk just before some of the games begin. A message flashes up on the screen saying: "Make sure there are no people or objects around you that you might bump into while playing." Some Wii games also have pop-up reminders every 15 minutes advising gamers to take a break.

No comments: