Wii Balance Board Games Roundup

For the latest news on Nintendo Wii Board Games

Tetris Party For WiiWare

clock July 30, 2008 21:17 by author WiiBBG

Tetris Party Things have been a bit quite on the new balance board games front since E3 but now it's good news as previous rumours are confirmed - Hudson Soft is bringing Tetris to the Wii in the the form of Tetris Party, and this Wiiware title will include balance board support.

I've always liked Tetris and I would most probably buy Tetris Party even if it didn't support the Wiiboard, so having balance board support is a real bonus. By the looks of things Hudson has really done a good job of updating this old classic and introduced 18 game modes including:

  • Versus Battle Mode for 4 local players
  • Wi-Fi Battle Mode for up to 6 players
  • Duel Mode
  • Marathon Mode
  • Balance Marathon Mode

Tetris Party is scheduled for release this Fall and there is an official site with screenshots at www.tetrisparty.com.

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Wii Fit And Body Mass Index (BMI)

clock July 30, 2008 16:17 by author WiiBBG

BMI On my daily scour of the web for all things Balance Board I came across a blog post titled "Wii Fit Can Cause Eating Disorders". In itself this is nothing new - we've been bombarded by the press with similar stories since Wii Fit's launch. But a few things in this post by Aussie Pete did grab my attention.

Firstly, he quotes a response from Nintendo regarding the accuracy of BMI in relation to younger age groups. Now I've seen a few of these reponses before, but this is the first time I've seen a response from Nintendo that shifts the responsibility to parents.

"Parents who are concerned that their children will react negatively to one of the four BMI categories should use Wii Fit in such a way that the BMI tracker does not appear on screen."

While I do understand the intent I'm not sure how workable it is in practice. As a parent you may have control in your own home, but how do you stop your child from being introduced to Wii Fit outside the home as in the now well publicised case reported in the UK's Daily Mail. Fortunately it seems that common sense has prevailed and overall the response to Wii Fit continues to be positive.

The other thing that grabbed my attention was the image above which so succinctly sums up one of the problems with BMI. Incidentally, this image comes from an article on BMI at HowStuffWorks. If you're interested to read more on BMI, how it's calculated and the various pros and cons of BMI, this article is a good read.

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Wii Fit vs Yourself!Fitness

clock July 28, 2008 16:04 by author WiiBBG

Technophile readers will know that Wii Fit is only one of a number of exergaming products on the market today. In fact exergaming as a concept has been around for over 25 years. For a good read on exergaming check out From Atari Joyboard to Wii Fit on BoingBoing.

One of the products listed in that article is Yourself!Fitness. Released in 2004, this exergame developed by Respondesign for Xbox, PS2 and PC is currently Wii Fit's closest competition and they know it, promoting the title online with the tag "Before Wii Fit there was Yourself Fitness". The game has received a great deal of positive press and by all accounts, it really does work. In many respects it is far better than Wii Fit but it does have one major drawback – Y!F does not provide real-time feedback.

Like Wii Fit, Y!F has an onscreen trainer who guides you through the various activities but since there are no motion/weight-sensitive controllers, the game relies on asking the user for feedback on how they feel they are performing and then adjusts the workout accordingly.

This is obviously where Wii Fit has a distinct advantage over Y!F and why, moving forward, the Wii platform will lead the way in exergaming. Y!F users would no doubt look at Wii Fit and say that it's more game than true fitness and they would be right but I don't think it's fair to compare the two games in that way. As I've said in previous posts, Wii Fit was never intended to be the ultimate fitness title. I see Wii Fit as more of a proof of concept of what could be done on the Wii platform with the introduction of the Wii Balance Board and now it's up to third-party developers to run with it.

We know that EA are considering a fitness title and that Majesco will be releasing Jillian Michaels' Fitness Ultimatum - let's just hope that they learn from games like Yourself!Fitness and give us the exergames we really want.

For a more in-depth comparison of Wii Fit and Yourself!Fitness check out GameSpy.

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7 Balance Board Games They Should Make

clock July 25, 2008 08:18 by author WiiBBG

Hoverboarding Clearly these Aussies have too much time on their hands - but they're pretty adept at Photoshop. Since there's not too much happening right now in the world of balance board, here's a Friday Funny courtesy of gameplayer.

For the most part, their list of "7 Balance Board games they should make..." is pure sillyness with titles like Loungeroom Luge, Word to your mother breakdancing and my personal favourite, Tom Hanks’ Pro Skater 2, with the tagline "Because Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam sold, and it was utter BALLS".

But Marty McFly Hoverboarding - that could actually fly (excuse the pun). Now I enjoyed the Back to the Future Trilogy but I wouldn't necessarily want to go to Hill Valley 2015 to play the game but just the concept of hoverboarding could work. So come on EA/Ubisoft, we know you've got your hands full with skating/snowboarding but surely it's not a massive jump to hoverboarding?

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American Council On ExerciseTo Study Wii Fit

clock July 24, 2008 16:14 by author WiiBBG

American Council on Exercise The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has just released its findings on a study investigating the potential fitness benefits of Wii Sports. Unfortunately this study was completed before the launch of Wii Fit, but the good news is that ACE are now busy with a similar study examining Wii Fit.

While the findings of the current report are not earth-shattering (playing Wii Sports IS better for you than sitting on the couch), they do make for some interesting reading. More importantly however, the study, conducted at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse Exercise and Health Program, seemed, in my view to be very well thought out and extremely scientific so we should be able to look forward to an accurate assessment of Wii Fit in the coming months.

You can read the official press release and download the results of the study from www.acefitness.org.

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Next Up: Games Convention GC 2008 Leipzig

clock July 23, 2008 12:49 by author WiiBBG

Games Convention 2008 Now that E3 is over for another year, it's Europe's turn as we get ready for Games Convention 2008 in Leipzig from the 20 - 24 August. The European divisions of all the major players will be there (EA, Ubisoft) although strangely, Nintendo doesn't appear on the preliminary exhibitor list (download PDF).

One company that does however appear is JoWood Productions. We were hoping to find out a bit more about their Wii Yoga balance board title at E3 but unfortunately they were a no-show. Let's see if they deliver the goods this time.

For all the info on GC 2008 visit www.gc-germany.com.

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More On The Nintendo Wii Fit Stock Saga

clock July 22, 2008 11:10 by author WiiBBG

GameDaily has just published an interview with Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. They were lucky enough to get some one-on-one time with him at E3 last week and discussed several topics and touched briefly on the whole supply and demand issue. Here's what he had to say:

"In the spring of this year, we announced that starting from this summer (2008) we would have a monthly maximum production capacity for Wii of 2.4 million, and we are working with that schedule right now. We are [continuing] to increase the maximum production capability... However, the expansion of the market for potential customers, the number of people who are waiting to purchase Wii, is beyond our expectations right now. So for the time being, I really do not think that the imbalance for supply and demand can be solved immediately. For example, when we look back at the whole history of video games, in the past it was unthinkable that other than during the November – December time period we would have 700,000 monthly unit sales in U.S. alone."

Now I understand that he's referring here to the Wii console itself and not Wii Fit, but his comments do give us some insight into the way in which Nintendo handles it's production so here's my bit of speculation. For Wii Fit, they would have estimated launch sales based on past Wii sales to set a target (difficult considering that Wii Fit opened up an entirely new market) and then set their monthly production figures. Clearly they underestimated that figure and now need to ramp up production but that doesn't happen overnight. In the meantime they have to rotate distribution globally with the stock they do have which means that different regions are going to experience shortages at different times. That would explain why, for example, Wii Fit dropped off the UK sales charts for three weeks at the end of May / beginning June - just as launch sales would have ramped up following Wii Fit's release in the US. It all sounds logical but it's no consolation to those of you who still can't get your hands on one.

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No Wii Fits This Christmas?

clock July 21, 2008 10:02 by author WiiBBG

The UK's Telegraph has published an article claiming that Wii Fit may be sold out by Christmas. If the desperate emails we get from readers are anything to go by, then never mind Christmas, for the vast majority of people, Wii Fit is sold out now.

While this kind of scaremongering only helps to feed the frenzy, it may unfortunately prove to be true. The article quotes a spokesperson for one of the UK's largest electrical retailers who says, "If we get 1,000 in on Thursday or Friday they are all gone by Sunday. We comfortably sell out of our allocation".

Meanwhile the debate goes on with regards to why there's an ongoing shortage of stock. Is it simply a case of demand outstripping supply? And just how much is the average consumer being cheated by the whole buy and resell at a profit on eBay market?

You'd have thought that Nintendo would have learnt a lesson from the Wii console launch and ensured that there was more than enough stock this time around. But the conspiracy theorists among you will say that in fact the artificial shortage of the console actually worked in Nintendo's favour and now they’re simply doing the same with Wii Fit. You've got to love a good conspiracy.

Update: It seems that all this doom and gloom in the papers about stock shortages got the attention of Nintendo who responded to MCV in an attempt to reassure the public.

As for the whole conspiracy theory thing, this blog post received (if the associated email address is to be believed) a comment from Nintendo.com confirming 'intentional shortage'. I'm sorry, call me naïve, but I don't believe a word of it so nice try whoever you were. The fact is that when there's limited supply of something, a company will move that stock to where it makes most financial sense - surely that's not 'intentional shortage', that's business strategy? As to why Nintendo doesn't seem to be able to cope with demand, only Nintendo knows the real answer and anything other than that is simply speculation.

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Wii Fit Survey: Initial Reactions

clock July 20, 2008 16:09 by author WiiBBG

Responses to the Wii Fit Survey have been coming in steadily and while it's still too soon to draw any objective conclusions, the response to Wii Fit and the Wii Balance Board has been overwhelmingly positive. As expected, considering that Wii Fit has only been available for 2 to 3 months worldwide, and despite some valid gripes about the game, we've seen very little drop-off in usage in our survey. No doubt over time we will start to see some drop-off but if the feedback we’ve been getting is anything to go by, the balance board itself should go from strength to strength.

Incidentally, 22% of Wii Fit users polled thus far have bought another balance board compatible game which is not bad when you consider that the only other game available right now is We Ski/Family Ski. This is another figure which is certain to increase over the coming months and will continue to do so as long as developers like Ubisoft and Electronic Arts remain committed to the balance board. I only hope that the Wiiboard isn't overshadowed by Wii MotionPlus.

We've also been getting some really great feedback on Wii Fit and some excellent suggestions on how it could be improved. One of the most common complaints, certainly from an exercise point of view, was the disjointedness of the various activities and the time it takes to move from one to the other. Ideally, users would like to have the ability to create a personalised exercise routine by stringing together a number of different activities and then performing them without interruption. Sounds like a good idea to me. We now know (or at least hope) that EA is working on a dedicated fitness title so let's hope that this is the kind of thing they take into consideration.

PS - If you haven't already, do please take a moment to give us your feedback on Wii Fit and help us to get the word out about the Wii Fit Balance Board Survey.

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SWSB Vs Skate It Trick Controls

clock July 19, 2008 12:20 by author WiiBBG

ars technica's Frank Caron was lucky enough to get some game time on both Shaun White Snowboarding and Skate It at E3 last week. As you would expect, both games use the Wii Balance Board in the same way to steer but there is a marked difference in one crucial aspect - performing tricks.

While EA has chosen to use both the balance board and Wiimote to control body motion and tricks in Skate It, Ubisoft uses only the balance board to control body motion (no flicks of the Wiimote) and according to Frank, it just feels more natural. Read Frank's hands-on comparison of SWSB and Skate It, the lucky devil.

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Top Games
Sports Active
We Ski & Snowboard
Shaun White Snowboarding
Raving Rabbids TV Party
Skate It
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Top Accessories
Madcatz Cover
Wii Board Battery
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