Just Call It A Game
Friday, May 30, 2008 at 10:01AM
Richard Terrell (KirbyKid) in Critique

I've noticed that people are having a hard time calling WiiFit a game. This problem seems to be affecting game enthusiasts, bloggers, message board posters, and TV personalities alike. Perhaps these confused individuals only need to be reminded of the definition of a game to realize that WiiFit is as much of a game as any other.

Does WiiFit have goals? Yes. Players are encouraged to set their own personal weight/BMI goals over time. Does WiiFit have a way of measuring whether or not the player achieves their goals? Yes. By measuring the player's weight and determining their BMI progress can be tracked. Does WiiFit have a scoring system? Yes. The majority of exercises have a 100 point scoring system, while the majority of the balance games support a high score system. Does WiiFit have a primary mechanic? Utilizing the WiiBalanceBoard and the Wiimote, the primary mechanic of WiiFit is "move your body."

The fact that WiiFit is about exercise and maintaining good health is irrelevant. Games like DDR get the whole body moving and have special modes for calculating calories burned. The fact that WiiFit is a collection of "mini-games" is also irrelavant. Games like Wario Ware and Rayman: Raving Rabbids are games that are built out of mini/micro games.

What's most surprising to me is that everyone is quick to admit that there are games within WiiFit. After all, it would seem all too foolish to try and convince someone that the included balance games aren't really games. When you look at the differences between the balance games and the rest of the WiiFit activities, they really aren't too different. Both have rules, penalties, and goals. Just because one feels like exercise while the other is snowboarding down a mountain doesn't automatically discount the former from being a game.

For those who still think that WiiFit is the death of gaming, consider that WiiFit is more of a game than most current gen videogames. Taking the primary mechanic "move your body" WiiFit offers more than 40 different challenges with varying degrees of difficulty. Players get to experience some winter sports, zen meditation, jogging, music-rhythm dancing/boxing, and table tilting action not to mention all of the yoga, strength training, and aerobic exercises. Like Mario Galaxy, featuring highly diverse levels, planets, and challenges, WiiFit runs a wide range of physical interactivity. With each activity, the player uses one of the most complex machines on earth: the human body. In this way, WiiFit's mechanics become the mechanics of life reaching beyond the limits most videogames are trapped by.

Action RPGs like The World Ends With You can't boast over 40 unique variations in its battle system attacks. The game simply isn't designed well enough to make each attack unique and significant. The action game Devil May Cry 4 had to reuse bosses, enemies, and locations, and the single player experience is still relatively short. WiiFit keeps things streamlined so that the player experiences the core, concentrated gameplay. The user interface in WiiFit is simple, effective, and intuitive so that all types of gamers can play the game without trouble.

The only thing that WiiFit doesn't have is story and fancy graphics, and here at Critical-Gaming, we know that story and graphics aren't needed to make a great game. But, if you're really looking for a bit of story from the game, then try making your own. Slimming down with WiiFit stories are popping up all over the internet. It doesn't get better than real life.

Article originally appeared on Critical-Gaming Network (http://critical-gaming.com/).
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