Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Techie Tuesday - fitness video games

Hello everyone. Welcome to February’s edition of Techie Tuesday. We’ll start with some exciting news. Starting this month, Techie Tuesday will be a bi-weekly thing. That’s right folks. Every month, look forward to two Techie Tuesdays.

Now, as I said last month, today’s segment will focus on fitness video games. With all the different systems that are out there, now with their own movement detection devices, companies are starting to market video games that can help keep you fit. You can do yoga, play sports, and do all kinds of things with these new games. But which ones give you the most bang for your buck?

The pioneer in this department was the Nintendo Wii, which I happen to own. With the packaged game Wii Sports, you are given 5 games to play: baseball, bowling, golf, tennis, and boxing. Now, of these games, the most fun (and most rewarding) are bowling and golf. After going 10 frames in bowling, you feel as if you had just bowled a real game. Same thing with golf. I played a round of golf with my father-in-law and, afterward, he had to sit down because “I feel like I was just on the links”. Now, with the improved Wii Sports Resort, you have access to bowling, golf, plus a ton of new games. For Wii Sports Resort, check out Swordplay and Frisbee for some good exercise.

Now, also with the Wii comes Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus. Obviously, the Wii Fit Plus is better. These games come with the unique Wii Balance Board, which picks up you shifting your body weight and reacts accordingly. Wii Fit Plus allows you to either jump right into some exercises that it selects based on what you want to work on (weight loss, cardio, etc.), or you can personally select exercises and tailor-fit you fitness routine to do what you want to do. It also gives you ways to track your progress, and includes an assortment of fitness-related games (like skateboarding) that gives you some work out while letting you have fun.

Also from Nintendo on their DS system is a game called Personal Trainer Walking. This game is interesting because, for the $49.99 you spend, you get, not one, but two pedometers that track your walking pretty accurately. The thing with this is it tracks walking, so you need to keep it on you at all times for great results. Just stick it in your pocket when you wake up in the morning and you’re good to go. It sets you up with a daily step goal, which you can change if you have a hard time reaching it. At the end of each day, you just transfer the data from your pedometer to your game via infrared and you’re good to go. This is a great way to keep track of your walking and, with two pedometers, you can do this with your husband/child/anyone. You can even purchase extra pedometers, as this game can collect the data for up to 4 people.

For the PlayStation 3, you have the PlayStation Move accessory. This comes with a PlayStation Eye camera, a PlayStation Move controller, and a game for around $99. The advantage of the PlayStation Move is that the controls are much more accurate than the Wii. Now, I won’t lie. I don’t have one of these and I barely ever played it. But I did try it and it can give a good workout if used for awhile, like the Wii.

With the Xbox 360, you have the Kinect accessory. This big thing with this is there is no controller. Your body’s movements are picked up via camera and inputted into the game. This creates a unique experience that promises a great workout. Unfortunately, I personally do not own an Xbox 360 nor have any interest in getting one for my own personal reasons, so the best advice I can give is either go to a friend who has both and try it or go to your nearest Best Buy store and they should have a Kinect set up for you.

So, based on my own personal experience, I think the Wii provides the most diverse and fulfilling workout experience at this time. It is also more economical than the Xbox or PlayStation 3, coming in at $199.99 in black or white. This gets you the console, a controller (with WiiMotion Plus included), a nunchuck accessory, and both Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort games. So, for $199.99, you get the system, controllers, and 2 games, all ready to go right out of the box. Add in Wii Fit Plus for $99.99, and you’ll have a great exercise system for around $300. For PlayStation 3, you can get a 320GB with PlayStation Move bundle for $399.99. This comes with the system, a controller, and the PlayStation Move starter bundle. The Xbox 360 with Kinect bundle comes in also at $399.99, and that comes with a 250GB console, Kinect sensor, controller, headset, game, and one month of an Xbox LIVE Gold Membership. So, as you can see, for around $100 less, you can get a great workout and have fun doing so.

Again, your experiences may be different. My best advice, as it always is, is to try out everything and see what fits you the best.

Later this month, since I don’t have a 3DS yet, I will be talking about computers and giving you an A-Z guide on how to find the best computer for you.

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