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Archive for June, 2013

Wii Fit U Update, plus, the Wii Fit Trainer Comes to Super Smash Bros

At the recent E3 Conference, Nintendo finally took the wraps off of some exciting games for the Wii U that, to be quite honest, I expected a long time ago. The upcoming game Game & Wario, coming in the next few weeks, will finally be a game that’ll hopefully show us the potential of the GamePad. Some of the other games they announced that made me say “finally!” were Mario Kart 8 (coming in Spring 2014), Wii Party U (coming in October 2013), and Super Mario 3D World (coming in December 2013).

I get the sense that Nintendo has been been pacing themselves, hoping that staggering the release of updated versions of old favorite Wii games will help steal thunder away from the much-hyped news coming from Sony and Microsoft.

wii u fit meterThe one we’ve been waiting for, of course, has been Wii Fit U. There’s a lot we already know about the game–it’ll come with a “Fit Meter”, it’ll use both the Wii Balance Board, it’ll have over 77 activities, and the Wii U GamePad will be able to to be used in multiple ways: incorporated into new active motion games, used as a “second screen” for the TV to show vital stats as you work out, or used as the primary screen (allowing someone else to watch TV as you exercise).

Sadly, while Nintendo had promised a release in “early 2013”, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced that it won’t be coming until December 2013. His reasoning was that Nintendo wanted to “create new features” and “bring as high quality a gaming experience as possible.” In all honesty, as long as Nintendo is truly working on making Wii Fit U great, and not just delaying the launch as a ploy to sell more Balance Boards during the holidays in 2013, I don’t mind at all.

That said, if you long to see the Wii Fit U trainer in action, look no further than another anticipated title: Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U. If you’re not familiar with this game, it’s a game series ¬†where Nintendo brings all of its characters from different games (for example, Mario, Kirby, Donkey Kong, Pokemon, Link, and so on) and has them all fight each other. It’s sort of like the “Battle of the Network Stars” for video game characters.

Something utterly hilarious is that for the upcoming Wii U / 3DS launch, they’ll be bringing one of our favorite Nintendo characters to the fray: the faceless Wii Fit yoga lady!

Thanks to Crabby for the heads-up on this one! ūüôā

The PS4 and the future of Playstation Exercise and Fitness

As most of you have probably heard by now, Sony recently announced the PlayStation 4, to be released this holiday season. It’s already available for pre-order at Amazon and other stores.

Here are the impressive specs:

  • AMD 8-Core x86-64 Jaguar CPU
  • AMD Radeon 1.84 Teraflop GPU
  • 8GB GDDR5 Memory
  • 500GB Built-in Hard Drive
  • Blu-Ray / DVD Drive
  • Super-Speed USB 3.0
  • Wi-Fi
  • Ethernet
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • HDMI,¬†Analog AV Out, or¬†Digital Optical Output

playstation 4The good news for PlayStation Fitness fans is that your current Playstation Move controllers will continue to be supported. As for the PlayStation Eye, they’re designing a new one with much higher resolution than the old one, meaning that your motions will be much more precise, recognize depth of space precisely, and detect sound and face recognition. In other words, they’ll be trying to out-Kinect the Kinect.

The bad news is that it doesn’t sound like there are a whole lot of developers lining up to develop motion control games for the PSs4. The one I’ve heard for sure so far is (as you might have guessed) Just Dance 5 (named Just Dance 2013) for the Ps4. Still, with the improvements they’re making to the Playstation Eye, I’d be shocked (and disappointed) if developers didn’t find new and amazing things to do with the improved resolution.

But bottom line, we probably won’t see a whole lot of active gaming titles for the PS4. That said, hopefully some publishers will invest some time into building one. I still contend that the technology is there to create amazingly accurate virtual reality (games like Sports Champions and The Fight: Light Out were good examples of where games should have evolved to), but sadly, very few companies have the vision nor the talent to build these experiences right. If that’s the case, I’d suggest you get a PS4 for gaming, but take your old PS3 into your home gym and dedicate it to use as an exercise machine, using the best PS3 fitness games that we’ve reviewed over the years (most of which you can get at a steal).

By most accounts, Microsoft will be positioning the Xbox One as both an entertainment center and a gaming console, while Sony will be going full steam ahead in building a gaming system that appeals most to hard-core gamers. So after years of these two companies duking it out for supremacy, it’ll be interesting to see which one is making the better strategic decision.

Microsoft has already made a few boneheaded decisions that are drawing ire among the gaming community. Its worst offense: essentially trying to end the sales of used games. Sony, for its part, declared that you’ll still be free to share and resell games however you like.

Time will tell which console to get, but at $400 for the PS4 and $500 for the Xbox One, not even mentioning the cost of games, it’s going to be a hefty investment. ¬†If I had to make a prediction, it’s that you’ll see the same patterns for both systems you saw with the Wii U: early sellouts due to large amounts of sales to early-adopter fanatics and hoarders hoping to make money, followed by a period where all the manufacturers have to cut their projections.

EA Sports Active 2 Fitness Bundle for sale at Best Buy for $12.99

So, it’s been a quiet time for Wii Fitness gaming. Publishers just aren’t developing fitness games for the Wii anymore, and other than Your Shape: Fitness Evolved and Just Dance 4, not much happening for the Wii U either (we’ll see if they finally announce a North American release date for Wii Fit U at E3 in a couple days).

In the meantime, if you have a Wii or Wii U, the good news is that the games on our top ten list¬†are still pretty good and will likely be good for a while. Here’s my advice, especially for people who buy a Wii U: take your old Wii and an old TV and move it to your home gym, rec room, or exercise room. Then, start a brand new exercise regimen.

If one of the old games you’d like to revive is EA Sports Active 2, you’re in luck. Best Buy has what is likely to be a clearance sale on the official EA Sports Active 2 Fitness Bundle Kit

http://www.nutwiisystem.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/ea-sports-active-fitness-bundle.jpg

This was a package that originally retailed for $39.99. It contains resistance bands of “heavy” and “medium” resistance (if your original is like mine, it’s probably deteriorated by now), as well as a 72 inch fitness mat, a jump rope with interchangeable handles, and two one-pound weights for your wrist or ankles (which feels like ten thousand pounds after a few minutes of exercise).

This is a genuine bundle by EA, not from a third-party. And at thirteen bucks, it’s probably your last chance to snag one before they’re gone for good.

Sadly, it’s highly doubtful we’ll ever see an EA Sports Active 3, as EA Sports has shunned the Wii U and doesn’t appear to want to compete with Nike on the Xbox. It’s sad, because EA Sports Active could have evolved in so many ways. Let’s hope that over time, other game publishers stick their neck outs and achieve the huge success and levels of innovation that EA did when they first introduced Sports Active.