Wii Be Not Fit

A hectic schedule, drinking, and poor diet habits, have led to a lifestyle that is a lot less fit than in my 20’s. While I wouldn’t consider myself obese, it wasn’t until a few months ago I realized just how much larger I had become. My friend Ricardo graciously offered to take some pics of Michelle & I just before Sydney was born. When Michelle & I reviewed the proofs, I was suddenly hit with the reality that I was heavier than I imagined (or not as skinny as saw myself daily). In fact, at 5ft 6in my weight hit a peak of 220lbs in January, but when I looked in the mirror I saw the beer belly that made me appear as pregnant as Michelle this past year. I didn’t notice how round my face had become or that I was slowly losing my chin as my neck had widened a great deal. The brutal truth had been revealed, and I could see what other people had been commenting on for over a year.

I had a chance to pickup the Wii Fit game released earlier this month, but had not set it up until this past week. I chose the Wii Fit mainly because the idea intrigued me, and I have already seen the benefits of playing Wii Sports. The game comes with with Wii Fit controller pad, which is a large floor unit roughly 18×9 inches. The unit is plastic, but felt solid and was fairly heavy. It’s powered by four AA batteries, which come in the package. Setup was a breeze, I simply inserted the Wii Fit game disc, and was walked through the process of creating my fitness profile.

In creating my fitness profile, I was asked to choose a Mii. This is the first game I have played where the Mii had hands & feet. That was not the only visual adjustment made to my Mii. After choosing the Mii you are put through a Body Test. You are asked questions about your height, age, and the weight of the clothes you are wearing. The test measure BMI, weight, and balance. The results of my first body test:

  • BMI 30.46 – Considered obese
  • Height – 5ft 6in
  • Weight – 196.5lbs
  • Balance – Poor (Afterwards, I realized the measurement is based on how quickly you find your balance)
  • Wii Fit Age – 42

Upon being told my Wii Fit age, my Mii character suddenly transformed into a heavier obese version. I was impressed and disgusted at the same time. Family & friends had chided me about my weight, but now the Wii Fit was piling on too. My results were certainly less impressive than when Ben Sanders jumped on his Wii Fit.

After completing the Body Test, I was asked to put a stamp on the Wii Fit calendar to mark my results. From there I had the option to go and try different workout routines. There are four main areas including Yoga, Strength Training, Balance, and Aerobic Conditioning. Keeping with the gaming theme, users are awarded Wii Fit points, which unlock various fitness games within the Wii Fit plaza. Being the first day, I simply went through a sample of each area.

I did well in the Yoga & Aerobic areas, but was weak again in Balance, which I attribute more to learning to master the floor controller, and my Strength was decent, but not great. You are led through the various routines by a virtual fitness instructor, and your overall fitness time is tracked to help create the graphs found in the Wii Fit plaza. I kept my first day pretty light, and worked out for about 45 minutes.

This morning was the second time I had used the Wii Fit, and upon entering the plaza I was told it had been 5 days since my last workout. The reminder can be encouraging or nagging depending on your mood when playing the game. I was asked to do another body test, and was surprised to see the following results:

  • BMI 30 – Still considered obese
  • Height – 5ft 6in
  • Weight – 193lbs
  • Balance – Good (Better since I understood how to take the test)
  • Wii Fit Age -31 (Yeah me! I’m 11yrs younger)
  • It was nice to see the progress graph after taking the body test.

Conclusion – My first impressions of the Wii Fit is that the game is well suited for anyone new to fitness. The instructions are clear, and the exercises are challenging, but not overly difficult. The gaming aspect is a nice touch to keep your workouts fresh & interesting. For someone who is active already, and in good shape, your opinion might be different. I think a fit person will initially enjoy the game, but soon become bored by the routines. However, I have not unlocked all the fitness routines, and I could be mistaken in that assumption.

I’m going to continue to use the Wii Fit to see if the routine can actually achieve some quality results. Not only am I trying to achieve good health for the sake of my family, but I was recently inspired by the CNN story on Muata Kamdibe who reduced his body fat percentage from 44% to 6.5%. His progress is documented on his blog “Mr. Low Body Fat.”

Update 6/6/2008Laura weighs in on the Wii Fit over at her blog.

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe from Midway GamesMaybe I’m late to the party, but I just got wind of the next MK series — Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe — which will debut on the PS3 & XBOX 360. Opinions very, Ricardo Torres over at Gamespot thinks the game will surprise you, and Ben Kuchera with Ars Technica reveals his disinterest in a long forgotten fighting series. I caught the teaser video for MK vs DC over at Gamespot.

While both reviews weigh in on the concept of Mortal Kombat characters taking on the likes of Batman or Superman, neither really emphasizes what I feel is paramount to making a successful fight game – the combat system.

A combat system succeeds in the potential number of strikes & combinations a character can produce matched against the player’s ability to pull them off. In my experience, a good fight game can be as entertaining to those watching, as it is to the people actually playing. The trouble is finding the balance in making the gameplay challenging, but accessible to the widest possible audience. When the Dreamcast came out with its four-player console, the instant hit at any party was Power Stone, due mainly to its crazy animated action. The key selling point was the combat controls were so simple (maybe too much so), even folks who didn’t gravitate towards fight games could jump right in. (And really, who doesn’t love bashing other players with a big hammer?) Evil Zone on the PS2 is another fight game that mixed simple playability with entertaining animated segues. (I could mention the success of the Wii console, but that’s an article for another time)

Titles in the Tekken & Mortal Kombat series have had a roller coaster ride of popularity. Throughout their evolution the titles have improved their visual appeal, and been hit or miss when adjusting player controls. Common complaints when a fight game is tweaked in release are characters becoming too powerful or downgraded. Mortal Kombat Gold was a bust to some, but in my immediate circle we appreciated the faster game play over the original Soul Caliber title. Sure Quan Chi’s teleport stomp was a cheap move, but nothing got the crowd riled up quicker than pulling it off successfully or have another player freeze/zap Quan Chi mid-stomp.

The idea of mixing comic characters within the realm of a fight game is nothing new. I could see today that comments are already being tossed back in forth that this is a poor man’s Marvel vs. Capcom wrapped in a 3D package. However, even with the argument that the idea is not so original, the real question is are the characters compelling enough to draw interest? More importantly, will the game generate the necessary buzz with a strong combat system as fatalities (one of MK’s identifying trademarks) have been removed? Midway Games needs a hit, and given its recent struggles some could argue the new MK game is quite a gamble.

Personally, I’m more excited about the next Soul Caliber IV release coming in June. Sure guest fighters Darth Vader & Yoda are a stretch in the mythology of the game, but I enjoyed being able to play Heihachi, Link & Spawn in Soul Caliber II. It’s enough to make me think about buying a PS3 and/or XBOX 360.

Movie Review: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life

Angelina Jolie as Lara CroftHeh, there wasn’t any way Mich3lle was going to miss this on opening night. When it comes to action heroines, Angelina Jolie edges out Jennifer Garner by a small margin… at least until they make Alias into a major motion picture. *chuckle* If my baby says these chicks kick ass, I’m not going to argue.

I saw the first Tomb Raider movie on DVD. I missed it in the theatre for no particular reason, but I did enjoy the first film despite many opinions to the contrary. I have to say the sequel was not a disappointment. The film scaled back Lara Croft’s ample bosom (and the number of featured camera shots) and focused more on being an action picture. I enjoyed the fight sequences, particularly one in which Lara’s character beats a man into submission with a bayonet rifle. While I have no idea of the authenticity of the fighting style used, the scene was well done. I would have liked to have seen an action sequence on par with the suspension ballet from the first film, but a lot of the fight choreography was shot in close quarters except for one city sequence involving a helicopter. Overall I thought the cinematography was very good and the scenery shots were incredible.

There were moments where the pace of the film slowed down a bit, but nothing that proved too distracting. Angelina is said to have done many of her own stunts and I’m curious to know if that includes the jetski jump featured at the beginning of the film. The story is typical Tomb Raider fare. A rare artifact is sought out by the bad guy in hopes of destroying the world.

I think the Tomb Raider franchise will be successful, but I would like to see more done to distinguish this character from other adventure heroes. While Lara Croft is a household name to gaming aficionados, I think stories like the Indiana Jones series, The Mummy or even Charlie’s Angels are more memorable on the merit of the films.

Grade: B+ (Despite some cool fight sequences & cinematography, this film doesn’t quite have blockbuster stamped on it.)

Cats don’t have navels….

I’m anything but ordinaryI’ve got the schizophrenic blues,
No I don’t… Yes I do.

There are days when I question my mental health, but then I realize the true problem is I think entirely too much. By that I mean my mind is constantly processing every moment, analyzing each detail, calculating the probability of a positive outcome or checking my list of disaster recovery options in the event of a some unforeseen accident.

Thank God for Yahoo’s gaming site. Sure my European counterparts have marijuana (O the envy), but after playing Collapse for six hours straight I get the same zoned out look and the need for pizza & beer.

I envy my cats. They must sleep at least 16 hours each day. They get two meals a day guaranteed, in-house gym equipment, luxurious sleeping quarters and they can have all the kitty dope they want without fear of showing up on an episode of Cops. (Back in the day we tried rollin’ a fatty out of some catnip, almost as smart as whippits)

Cats don’t suffer from anxiety (Bailey being the only documented exception). Cats don’t have to have goals. Cats aren’t overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility nor do they have neato super hero outfits.

If you or any of your friends can find the point to this entry, comment quickly before reasonable thought takes over.

Alive & Well

Received my first ever “Why aren’t you bloggin’?” e-mail from Katie (cool beans). She was concerned that I had once again become enthralled with a cute wood elf nymph and muscle atrophy was beginning to kick in from 48 hours of non-stop gaming on EverQuest.

Not to worry. As Ryan put it “Monks bleed all over anything anyway” and actually my schedule’s been too busy to engage in another rousing adventure of corpse retrieval.

Yesterday I officially returned to college. My brain hasn’t completely kicked into “school” mode yet and I’m sure there will be some head-butting as I’m not really a rules kind of guy. (What do you mean I can’t eat BK in class?) It feels more like high school than college, but hopefully things will loosen up in the upcoming weeks.

My evenings have been spent finalizing a DVD project for a local comedian. Working a bunch with Fred who’s doing a tremendous job with the editing.

Michelle & I will be downtown tonight to see the Spurs play the Mavericks. Should be another entertaining evening as MICHELLE IS A SPURS FAN and they are the visiting team.