Let's face it, it was only a matter of time before somebody jumped on this bandwagon. I'm just surprised it's taken this long. First we had parents up in arms because their children were being labelled 'obese'. Then we had reports of increasing numbers of Wii-related injuries. Now we have fitness guru, Michael Torchia, who's on a mission because he feels that adults and children are being brainwashed by Nintendo's marketing into thinking that Wii games (specifically Wii Fit) are a safe and effective way to become fit.
According to Torchia, "Nintendo is contributing to the epidemic of obesity. Young and old are putting away their gym clothes and shying away from going outdoors to play sports, because the addictive appeal to the Wii game products. Just as the tobacco companies created such a false image of their products and hid the potential dangers, so is Nintendo."
Wow – comparing Wii to tobacco advertising – that's pretty strong talk, but I think he's taking things too far. Yes it's true that as a fitness tool, Wii Fit may not be as good as the hype may have led us to believe, but for many it's a great starting point. Wii Fit has also done a great deal to generate awareness of exergaming and paved the way for future fitness titles such as Jillian Michaels' Fitness Ultimatum and EA's Sports Active. Of course there's no denying that improper use of Wii Fit can lead to injuries and yes, some people (a minority in my view) may see Wii Fit as an alternative to outdoor activity but why the need for this negative crusade and the knee-jerk reaction to sue.
Obviously Torchia has a lot to gain by all this increased attention but surely if he really had people's best interests in mind he would follow the example of fellow fitness pros like Bob Greene (currently endorsing EA Sports Active) and focus on the positive effects of Wii Fit (or does he consider that as selling out?). So Wii Fit can lead to injuries – why not use your years of experience and do more to show us how best we should warm up or what the best form should be for the various Wii Fit activities. So Wii Fit stops people from outdoor exercise – surely there's room for both – how about creating some fitness programmes that can incorporate both.
Instead, Torchia has decided that suing Nintendo is the best thing to do. Is that really the answer? Does he really think that this is what we need to help us get off our couches and physically active and healthy? Or maybe he's just upset that nobody offered him the chance to be the face of a Wii fitness title and now it's payback time.