Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wii's New Fitness-Based Game - EA Sports Active



4.jpgRoughly a year after the release of the WiiFit, Nintendo's new offering hopes to improve on the previous incarnation of fitness video games.

Here are some of the features of the new EA Sports Active game.

  • Sports Active boasts a wide variety of exercises such as running, dancing, basketball, tennis, boxing, inline skating, and "gym" workouts like bicep curls and lunges.
  • Exercises are programmed into a thirty-day challenge based on your personal profile. The target to reach each day is a number of calories burned, not the pounds lost. The idea being, if you make that figure your high score, the weight loss will take care of itself.
  • EA Sports Active comes with a resistance band and a leg pouch, where the Nunchuck (the knob-like Wii controller) is placed to measure leg movement. The Wii Fit balance board is supported by some exercises, but not required because of the Nunchuck pouch.
  • As you move through lunges, side-jumps, and squats, the sensor bar tracks the changes between the two controllers (Wii Remote held in one hand and the Nunchuk accessory strapped to the front of your thigh). The difference between the two points helps it sense whether you're doing the manoeuvres correctly.
  • There are video clips of live instructors performing the moves slowly to give you a sense of how to do them in advance, and animated instructors to guide you and keep you on time during the routines. Your instructor's voice is a constant source of praise and feedback, delivering surprises and kudos when you reach past the set goals.
  • Before each workout, the program "predicts" how many calories it thinks you'll burn, and then afterwards displays a graph that shows just how and where in the workout you manage to dip above or below that prediction.
  • There is a backdrop of uplifting music with a customizable soundtrack featuring 41 songs spanning Hip Hop, Dance, Electronica, and Alternative Rock. You cannot program your own music.
  • A neat little "carrot and stick" feature holds a locked vault of exercises that you unlock by reaching certain goals.
  • Each day the routine differs, but always with a program that includes warm-ups and cool down exercises. You have the option of course, to go into the settings and create your own workouts, choosing your favorites and creating your own daily routine.

Will "Wii" Use It?

I'm always in awe of the shear speed of technological advances. I think it's a neat concept that will continue to evolve, and I delight in the irony of an industry that keeps us glued to the couch providing the outlet to get off the couch.

I've said it before and it bears repeating: Anything that gets kids and adults moving is a great thing. My concern is that this (and other activity-based games) will be a novelty that wears off (not unlike traditional attempts at boosting activity).

I would love to see data on how many teens and pre-teens are actually using these games. My guess is that many still haven't bought in - opting instead to just sit and play games such as stealing cars, shooting people, and racing.

The good news is, a newer version of activity-based games indicates there is a demand for it.

Can you see yourself using this to workout? And, if you don't exercise much already, do you think games like these make much difference?

The 30 Day Challenge has begun!

The 30 day Challenge starts today!

Ok everyone, today is June 1st. You know what that means – if you havn’t already started using EA SPORTS Active, today is the day to start! Some of you have already started your own 30 day challenge – and that’s great! For those of you that havn’t – consider today, June 1st as the day to get active! And if you havn’t tried EA SPORTS Active yet – what are you waiting for? Remember, you don’t have to sign up anywhere for the challenge. Just start it.

Many of you have posted messages in the EA SPORTS Active forums, on the facebook fan page, and on twitter – all declaring that you will be starting the challenge today! You’ve publicly stated that today is the day and there could not be a better time. Summer is upon us and many people are thinking about toning up in order to confidently rock a bathing suit for the first time this year, some are going to focus on losing weight, while others simply want to step up their usual workout routine. Whatever the reason, EA SPORTS Active can help you achieve your goals.

Those of you that have already tested it out all have one thing in common: you are surprised by how much of a workout EA SPORTS Active actually is! Hey – no one said that it would be easy. We want you to get the most out of your workout and we want you to work for it! We also want you to have fun doing it.

Visit the forums for tips and support. We’re here for you as are all of the other challengers starting today.

Good luck everyone!
Bob Greens Video