Sunday, August 23, 2009

Nintendo's Wii System is a Groundbreaking Console




I have always loved video games, ever since the early 1980s when video arcades were thriving. Many of those arcades are gone, largely due to the popularity of home gaming systems. The Atari 2600 in the 1980s made it so people could stay home and play games rather than plugging quarters into a machine. I enjoyed my system, and spent countless hours playing games like Pac Man, Pole Position and Pitfall. Those games seem so primitive in comparison to the games we play today, but back then they were revolutionary. The Atari consoles led to gaming machines like the Nintendo 64, the Sony Playstation and the X-Box. Of course computer gaming was popular on the Commodore 64 and the Amiga, and on today's PCs. Nintendo put out the Game Cube and the DS, which allowed for portable gaming. Sony released the Playstation 2 and the portable PSP, and then we came to the current generation of gaming consoles. Sony has the Playstation 3, Microsoft has the X-Box 360 and Nintendo has the Wii. The Playstation 3 can play Blu Ray DVD discs, and all 3 of the current consoles can interface with the web if you have an internet connection that you can integrate. I bought a Wii last week, and there are a couple of things that make it groundbreaking. First, the Wii games are not played just by males of a certain age. Women as well as the elderly are finding that they enjoy games on the Wii. Second, the Wii has games where you actually move around and get some exercise. Video gamers have often been viewed as overweight men who are sedentary and play their games for hours on end. With the Wii, you can do some bowling, play tennis, baseball, do some boxing, and more. The controller's movements are picked up wirelessly by a sensor on the TV. If you move your hands, the player on the screen moves their hands. With the Wii Fit, it comes with a board you stand on and that picks up your movements. You can work on balance, you can do strength training exercises, aerobics, or yoga while in your living room. You can go for a jog on a virtual island, and you don't have to deal with rain, snow, hot or cold weather like you would if you were outside. The Wii Fit lets you set specific fitness goals for yourself. It will weigh you, and chart your progress. It really is amazing how far home video game systems have come in the past 25 years. With the current obesity epidemic in our country, I think that the Wii has come along at just the right time.
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