White bundle of joy or white elephant?
November 12, 2013 7:35 PM   Subscribe

I have around $200 Aus burning a hole in my pocket and I am thinking of getting a nintendo console, two remote units and wiifit board. I have never played anything on a tv or computer except dos tennis and solitaire. I know zilch about nintendo and game consoles or games.

The wiifit idea came about because I hate exercise but have committed myself to a regular dose and am hoping a wiifit board will make it fun. I do like to dance, and regular yoga would be a good thing in my life. I am also hoping the virtual gaming experience with the remote consoles will encourage my hug-buddy and I to play games together in the evenings.

Should I get one? What are the basics I need to buy to get lots of enjoyment out of the box? If yes, new or second hand?
Does it need an internet connection or wireless router to work? How does it connect to my tv? Can it connect to an imac?
Please recommend accessories or games for fitness and solitary sports like skiing, horse riding etc. and some that hug-buddy and I might like to play together, taking into consideration that we don't like team sports or motor sports. Off-beat games with physical activity welcome.
posted by Kerasia to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What is the reason you've never played video games before? I'm not a gamer myself. Over the years I have spent hundreds of dollars on consoles and games (first N64, then Wii and finally PS3) in the apparently delusional belief that this great new game system would be one I'd enjoy. And they all end up collecting dust after a few weeks (though I do still use the PS3 for Amazon Instant Video since Apple TV doesn't support it and it's buggy on TiVo).

That's not to say you won't love it, and I haven't played with a Wii Fit at all. But I just wanted to offer my data point. As many times as I convince myself otherwise, the reason I don't play video games is because I don't really enjoy them, not because I don't have a cool enough system to play them on.
posted by primethyme at 8:38 PM on November 12, 2013

Best answer: I'm assuming that you're thinking about getting a Wii, not a Wii U (the newer one). I would recommend the older one anyway! I think the newer one would cost more like $400 or $500 AUS for you.

  • You don't have to connect it to the internet, but you can if you want. This lets you access the store, which will let you buy smaller games. Full length games only come on discs, though.
  • Here in the states, Wii comes with a standard yellow-red-white plugin. You can also buy accessories to use a component cable to plug into a TV instead.
  • You probably would not be able to connect it to an iMac easily, just a TV. There's probably a way to make it work, but I don't know of one. It wasn't designed with that in mind, unfortunately, and you need a larger screen to be able to enjoy games that involve motion.
  • You should also know that if you have a newer, flatscreen HDTV, the Wii's games will not look very good. It's an older console, so it only plays standard defintion video (like what you'd have on a classic CRT TV with a glass screen and a big back). The games will look a little blurry and a little squiggly, for lack of a better way of putting it... they are made for lower resolution CRTVs and not for higher resolution modern HDTVs.
My favorite games:
  • Wii Sports: this used to come packaged with a Wii when you first bought it, and to be honest, it's probably the best game for the system and the most popular one. I'm not sure if it comes packaged for free anymore, but I'm sure you could order a copy online cheaply. Bowling was a big hit in my house when we had this, and so was tennis. Really, bowling is possibly the best game on Wii.
  • Wii Fit: this really is a clever game, though I can't say it was really an effective fitness tool for me. It was a fun fitness game to play, but it was hard to get nearly as much exercise as just going out for a jog or going to lift weights for a bit. I also know a couple of friends who bought it for the reason you are considering it: "I don't like exercise, but this seems fun." They played it for a bit, and then it went unused sooner than later. That said, my wife really enjoyed it while we had it, and she used it daily for a few months or so.
  • Endless Ocean: this is a fun game that is a bit hard to track down so you'd have to order it online somewhere, but it involves swimming around a lagoon, exploring and finding new fish, discovering new areas, and good stuff like that. You use the remote to point in the direction you want your diver to go in, you can feed fish, pet animals, and swim through shipwrecks and coral reefs. It's not a stressful game and it is an easy way to relax.
Most of the other games I played and enjoyed sound like things you would not like so much. But, there are some fun yoga and dance games that are pretty popular!

Now finally, should you buy one? To be quite honest, I would say... I'm not so sure. Lots of people bought Wiis when they first came out, loved playing Wii bowling and Wii sports, played other party games with their friends like Mario Kart, and then lost interest quickly.

Nintendo did a very poor job of encouraging other companies to make good games for the Wii, so the number of fun games are very limited (there are lots of poorly made, horrid games out there). That list of fun games is even more limited for someone like you, who is not really interested in sports games, car racing games, or more "traditional" video games like Super Mario Brothers. Finally, since the console is now a bit older, no more new games are being made for it.

Personally, my wife and I enjoyed our Wii for a couple years, but since then, we haven't really used it for about four years now. It was probably worth it to us as we enjoyed taking it with us to family gatherings and parties at the time, but it wasn't really as long-lasting as I would've hoped.

Finally, if you're looking for a way to exercise and a way to connect with your significant other... a video game system is fun, but it just can't compare with getting outside, exercising, walking in a new place, finding a new place to eat, et cetera. My wife and I enjoyed our Wii, but we never talk about all the games we played together years ago. We do talk about restaurants explored back then, or places we found to hike, or beaches we enjoyed. This is just my experience, but I imagine most people would probably feel the same way.

Hope this information helps you with your choice! I'd like to hear what other people think, too.
posted by Old Man McKay at 9:05 PM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Old Man McKay did a really incredible job of breaking the system down for you, so I'll just elaborate a bit on the Wii Fit aspect of it.

My experience is pretty much exactly as he describes. I received the Wii itself as a gift from my very generous brother and I loved it. For a few months. It was fun and got everyone involved whenever they discovered that we had one but the novelty wore off quickly.

Once the newness wore off, I purchased a Wii Fit thinking that it would make exercise "fun". That lasted about an hour and a half. After playing through the initial series of games and experiencing the variety that they contained, it no longer felt like fun and felt like exercise. I've honestly had far more success downloading and using one of those Couch to 5K apps for my iPhone.
posted by BrianJ at 8:15 AM on November 13, 2013

Best answer: We have one, we rarely use it. We have Just Dance and Wii Fit and Wheel of Fortune and Madden Football and, we rarely use it.

So buy something else fun.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:16 AM on November 13, 2013

Best answer: If you are thinking the wii fit will help you do yoga, I strongly advise you to pick another method. I have a wii and I enjoy yoga but the yoga on the wii slightly horrifies me. It encourages poor posture and odd balance. The strength training stuff is better but you would probably develop better technique with a good training video.

It can also be very insulting about your weight and motivation at times.

There are games that I find good cardio - Just Dance is wonderful, but you need to have good co-ordination and learn fast otherwise a lot of people seem to give up very quickly on it (I used to dance seriously and it's still damn hard!)
posted by kadia_a at 10:30 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks y'all, especially Old Man McKay for your comprehensive answer. I'll look elsewhere.
posted by Kerasia at 4:43 PM on November 13, 2013

I know you don't like motor sports, but you should get Mario Kart Wii. Of all the games we've had, this one is played the most. We've gone through 2 copies. This is a 6 year old boy, 8 year girl, 44 year old man (me) and 40 year old woman. My wife is the champ. You can play as a team, against each other, or against the computer and there are 32 different fun tracks, 4 difficulty levels, and a bunch of characters. Easy to play and a blast. Honestly if the Wii was just a hard-wired Mario Kart console with no other games it still would be worth it due to the number of hours we've played.

Endless Ocean is neat but depending on your temperament you may find it a bit dull.
posted by freecellwizard at 10:53 AM on November 15, 2013

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