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Wii Fit getting gamers off the couch

FROM THE BLOGS: TECHNOLOGY

June 05, 2008|Alex Pham

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Beginning today, Business will occasionally print excerpts from the Technology blog, which examines the business and culture of our connected lives. Visit latimes.com /technology.

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Nintendo Co.'s latest video game, Wii Fit, has declared that I have the body of a 47-year-old. Never mind that I'm, well, younger than that.

The new fitness game is part of a burgeoning trend -- video games that claim to be good for you. Taking a knock at the stereotype of video gamers as couch potatoes, the Wii console has pulled players off of their behinds to bowl, bat and backhand their way through games using a wireless motion-sensing remote control.

Wii Fit comes with a device that looks like a cross between an aerobics platform and a sleek bathroom scale. It starts out by asking you to do a series of simple balancing exercises. Then, based on your performance, it calculates a body mass index and Wii Fit "age."

It could have been worse. My body mass index was 22.19, which is an improvement. When I first tried the fitness game back in July at the E3 Media & Business Summit in Santa Monica, it was higher, which meant the Wii thought I was fat. Now, it just thinks I'm out of shape.

The Wii joins the ranks of technologies that don't think very highly of me. My GPS device thinks I'm clueless. And my Gmail thinks I'm lonely, which I deduced because it steadfastly serves ads offering assistance with my love life.

I have a suggestion for Nintendo's next game: Wii Therapist. At this point, I'd buy it.

-- Alex Pham

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