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Gamecube Controller to Wii U adapter from Nintendo is coming

h/t to Jayne for this news 🙂

So it turns out for the release of Smash Bros, Nintendo will be releasing its own Gamecube Controller-to-Wii U adapter, as they just announced on their Twitter feed.

Interestingly, this announcement took just about everyone by surprise. Everyone had pretty much written off Nintendo’s support of the old Gamecube controllers since they ripped out support from the last version of the Wii and all Wii Us. Mayflash had made a valiant attempt to come up with a converter, but as we concluded here, their attempt fell short.

Could this mean that all your old GameCube controllers, such as the Cyberbike, the DDR dance pad, the Active Life gamepad, might have new life on the Wii U? Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Nintendo hasn’t released any other information other than this teaser, so it’s not clear yet whether these will be available to be purchased at retail, bundled with Super Smash Bros for the Wii U, or otherwise. I’ll put up an update once they announce that.

With this announcement, as well as Nintendo’s generous free game promotion for purchasers of Mario Kart 8, it’s clear that Nintendo is trying to use its popular old franchises to try to entice old owners of the Wii to upgrade to the Wii U. We’ll see if they do.

Mario Kart 8 Is Coming

One exciting piece of news to come out from Nintendo is the upcoming launch of Mario Kart 8 on May 30.

It’s no secret that sales of the Wii U have been moribund. But if there’s ever been a game launch that might help revitalize console sales, this is it. Early indications are that Mario Kart 8 is going to be a hit. The Nintendo Store in NY tweeted that they’d have a limited edition version of the game for sale. I went in to the store the next day, and they already sold out of all their inventory.

I was a bit aggravated, as I work only two blocks from the store and should have gone in earlier in the day. But que sera sera. I ended up pre-ordering it on Amazon.

An added bonus (and why I predict this game is going to sell out quickly) is that if you register your game on Club Nintendo between May 30 and July 31, not only do you get Club Nintendo points for the game, you’ll also receive a download code for one of four great games: Pikmin 3, Super Mario Bros U, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker, or Wii Party U.

What, pray tell, does this have to do with Wii exercise? Well, for one thing, since Wii Fit U there hasn’t been a whole lot to report on, not just with Wii exercise but with the Wii U in general. I’ve been using Wii Fit U pretty regularly, and always have my Wii Fit Meter on, but other than that there’s not much to report.

But the thing I’m looking forward to is dusting off the old Cyberbike and the Mayflash adapter and seeing if I can squeeze a little bit more utility out of that.

I’ll report on my findings here. In the meantime, if you’re in the market for a Cyberbike,

you should still be able to find some used ones floating around on eBay. But hold off until my post in a few weeks, where I’ll let you know if it was worth it or not!

Wii Fit U Bundles Now Available in Retail Stores

It took a while, but physical Wii Fit U Bundles are finally available in retail outlets as of today.

There are two bundles available:

Wii Fit U w/Fit Meter: This contains a physical CD of Wii Fit U, along with a green Fit Meter.

Wii Fit U w/Wii Balance Board and Fit Meter: This contains a physical CD of Wii Fit U, along with a green Fit Meter and a Wii Balance Board

One question a lot of folks have is: is the version of Wii Fit U I reviewed here (which you can download from the Nintendo eShop) different in any way from the version that’s available at retail? The good news is that the answer is no: the game is 100% identical provided you unlocked the full version of the game by purchasing a Wii Fit Meter and syncing it. This is still the most economical way to get the game if you already have a Wii U and a Balance Board, but hurry, the trial offer is only good until January 31.

Another question a lot of folks have is: has the Balance Board included in the second bundle above been updated or improved in any way? The quick answer is no: the Balance Board is essentially the same as what Nintendo released in 2007.

That of course brings up another question for anyone who has a Wii U but might not have a Balance Board yet: does it make sense to buy a used Balance Board and the first bundle above, or to buy the second bundle?

Amazon and Best Buy have made that decision easy with their launch date pricing of $65 for the second bundle–if you don’t have a Balance Board yet it’s a no-brainer for you to get one at that price, considering that the Fit Meter is $20, so you’re essentially getting a brand new Balance Board for $45, which is cheaper than used ones are going for on eBay.

But when the pricing goes back to its suggested retail pricing of $100 in a few days, you’ll need to decide whether it’s worth the risk of buying a used Balance Board–there are 32 million of them out there, so you’ll find plenty of used ones at Gamestop or Craig’s List. On the one hand, Balance Boards are notorious for breaking down so there’s a bit of risk in getting an old one, but on the other hand in many cases the solution to getting them working again is a simple fix.



Wii Fit Meter Release Date is November 1 – Pre-order yours today!

Wii Fit Meter PreorderI’m going to make a bit of a bold prediction. As we’ve mentioned, Nintendo will be allowing owners of the Balance Board to download Wii Fit U for free to try for a month starting on 11/1/13, and will unlock the FULL game (retailing for $49.99) for free for anyone who purchases the $19.99 Fit Meter.

My prediction is that it’s going to be very, very hard to get a hold of one of these $19.99 Fit Meters for a few weeks, if not months. Why? Because remember the huge numbers of people who bought Wii Fit back in the day, to the point where there were month-long shortages. For the most part, those Balance Boards are still out there and still working. Even though Wii U sales have been somewhat anemic, there are still 3.6 million of them out there, a lot of those have balance boards already, and those who don’t can easily pick up a used or new balance board on eBay for a lot less than what Nintendo will be selling them for.

There’s been a lot of speculation about the color of the version they’ll be selling on 11/1. From all appearances, there’ll be one color at launch: black and grey. But sources have confirmed that there are at least two other colors being developed; one with a white face and a green outer ring and one with a white face and a red outer ring to coincide with the launch of the Luigi and Mario Remote Pluses, respectively. Personally, I like the green color the best, as it looks a lot like the early units that Nintendo was demoing, and it also matches the general milieu of the Wii Fit game and logo color.

Seeing how Nintendo has priced the Fit Meter at a surprisingly affordable cost, especially when compared to the cost of a FitBit ($100-$130) or a Nike+ Fuel Band ($150-$180), and knowing their inability to plan these kinds of things out very well, it’ll stand to reason that there will be a run on these the first few weeks.

I’ve been looking for pre-order links on all the major retail sites, but so far the only one I see one on is Amazon (update #1: as of 10/10, NewEgg is also offering it for pre-order; update #2, Gamestop now has it too).

Preorder Nintendo Fit Meter on Amazon

Preorder Nintendo Fit Meter on NewEgg

Preorder Nntendo Fit Meter at GameStop

While I’m not necessarily a fan of Amazon when it comes to pre-ordering, they do have their policy that if the price drops between now and launch date (which is highly unlikely at a price point of $19.99), they’ll drop the price to match. Also, while it may be tough to get one of these on launch date, once you download Wii Fit U you’ll have 31 days to use it before you have to unlock it, and there’s a good bet your Fit Meter will come way before that.

If you want to pre-order the physical game itself (that will include a physical version of the game plus the Fit Meter), pre-order links are already available on most retail sites. While these sites are all over the map in terms of reporting the release date and the pricing, Nintendo has confirmed on its site that the Wii Fit U + Fit Meter bundle will be available at an MSRP of $49.99 and available on November 1. The package bundling Wii Fit U + Fit Meter + Wii Balance Board will be available at an MSRP of $89.99 and available on December 13.


Using a Gamecube Controller on the Wii U (tested on DDR Dance Pad, Cyberbike, and Active Life Game Pads)

Here is news I’ve been waiting for for a long time. A company called Mayflash has released a converter that lets you use Gamecube Controllers on the Wii called the Mayflash Nintendo GameCube Controller Adapter for Wii/Wii U.

Gamecube controllers have plugs that look like this, that used to plug into one of four GameCube sockets on the top of the original Wii.

gamecube controller plug

In later versions of the Wii, they quietly took away these sockets, and of course they weren’t in the Wii U when it was released. So if you’re like me and had peripherals that used GameCube plugs, anything from Dance Dance Revolution dance pads to Active Life Outdoor Challenge, Explorer, Carnival, or Extreme action pads, to the Cyberbike bike controller, suddenly you were all out of luck. If you upgraded to a Wii U, you either had to keep your old Wii around to play games that used these, or you had to toss them.

With the Mayflash Adapter, you can supposedly use these controllers with the Wii U.

But does it actually work? I put it to the test.

Installing it is simple. You plug your old Gamecube plug into one end…


…and then you plug the other end into a Wii remote (Note: not the Wii U unit)

plug gamecube adapter into wii remote

The first one I tried it with was my Dance Dance Revolution pad. I popped in my old copy of Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 3 and plugged in the dance pad.

I was hopeful when I saw that the up, left, up, and down arrows seemed to work fine when making menu selections. But dancing itself was a little more spotty. DDR would recognize the “up” and “left” arrows perfectly, but was hit or miss on the “down” and right” arrows. The best I could score on “Ice Ice Baby” was a “C” on Basic. I tried two dance pads and this happened in both cases.

After a little trial and error, I realized that the problem occured most consistently if I had my foot pressed down on another arrow while trying to press “down” or “right”, which of course happens all the time when you play DDR the “right” way. I tried the same dance again, making sure that I always had only one foot down on the dance page at all times. I ended up looking like one of those Irish tap dancers but I did score a AA with a nearly flawless score.

So my experience with DDR was quite mixed. It’s possible and sort of works, but it’s certainly not 100%.

Next, I tried using Active Life: Outdoor Challenge with the Active Life Pad. This didn’t work at all–the game wouldn’t even recgnize the mat at all.

Finally, I tried my Cyberbike. As with Active Life Outdoor Challenge, the Cyberbike Cycling Sports game didn’t even recognize the controller. It only gave the option of playing with the Wii remote and a nunchuk.

But then I put the bike into “Gamecube Mode” and tried Mario Kart Wii. Happily, this worked perfectly. Steering worked great and all the Gamecube buttons worked fine.

Overall, it looks like the Gamecube adapter works pretty well for games and accessories that use the traditional, basic Gamecube controllers. But unfortunately, it looks like the specific functionality was spotty for accessories that were a little more complex. Even more unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like Konami, Namco Bandai, or Big Ben are in any rush to officially update their products, so your only way to keep playing a lot of them is to hold on to your Wii even after you update to the Wii U. As I’ve suggested in past posts, something some people are doing is putting their Wii U in their family rooms or dens, and putting their old TVs and old Wiis into a spare room to serve as an exercise room.

If you have a Cyberbike or want to use an old Gamecube classic controller, I’d say it’s definitely worth getting the Mayflash controller. But with DDR and Active Life, it’s probably not worth it.

The controller is available at Amazon here:

Mayflash Nintendo GameCube Controller Adapter for Wii/Wii U.

Free Trial of Wii Fit U for Wii Balance Board Owners, plus new fitness game developments from Nintendo

Looks like Nintendo really, really wants those of us with a Wii U and a Balance Board to try out Wii Fit U, which FINALLY looks like it has a release date (actually, more like three of them).

On Friday, November 1, Nintendo is going to release a “free digital version” on the Nintendo eShop. The game will be good for 31 days after you download and first play it. It’ll be a limited-feature version of the game; for example, it won’t support the Fit Meter until you unlock it (see below).

The Fit Meter is essentially Nintendo’s version of a Fitbit that will integrate with the Wii to track your calories burned throughout the day and while playing Wii Fit U. The Fit Meter is something you carry around with you that measures your steps, movement intensity, and altitude (i.e., climbing stairs, climbing a mountain, etc.).  It’s available in black, red, and green starting on November 1.


On Friday, December 13, Nintendo will launch the “packaged version”, which will include the Wii Fit U, the Fit Meter, and a Balance Board, for those who don’t already own a Balance Board.


For those who do, and prefer physical software to downloadable, they’ll have a version that includes the software and the Fit Meter.


Here’s a deal that sounds almost too good to be true: if you already have a Balance Board, and install the free version between November 1, 2013 and January 31, 2014, then whenever you purchase the Fit Meter by itself for $19.99 and start using it, that’ll unlock the game you’ll get to continue using it for free forever (it won’t be disabled after 31 days). I presume this means it’ll also unlock the Fit Meter capabilities of the game at that point, turning the free trial version into a full version (the downloadable version of the full game goes for sale at full price on February 1, 2014 once the promotion period is over).

Fit Meter - Like a FitBit for the WIi


Wii Fit U looks really, really promising. There are 77 different activities, including 19 new training activities, some of which take advantage of the Wii U gamepad.


There’s also the ability to set up “gym communities” where you can work out and share goals with friends and family.


The Fit Meter also looks like it’ll be pretty cool. It’s much more than a pedometer. It’ll track your activity through the day, including your level of exertion at any given time, as well as your altitude. When you sync it to Wii Fit U through your Gamepad, you’ll see a graph of your daily activity. There’s a pretty slick demo of it if you watch through Nintendo’s announcement video.

Bottom line, I think anyone with a Wii U and an old Wii Balance Board should jump at the chance to download the Wii Fit U free trial and buy a Fit Meter if they can find one on November 1 (I don’t see preorders yet on any of the usual sites, but I’ll post them once I do).

Nintendo’s press release also mentioned two other cool games that might just help Wii Fit U breathe new life into the Wii U as an fitness platform.

The first game is an updated of Wii Sports called “Wii Sports Club”. This will be exclusively downloadable via the Wii U eShop, and will support not just the higher resolution graphics of the Wii U, but also online multiplayer and much more precise controls than the original Wii Sports. It’s the same set of sports as Wii Sports (bowling, tennis, baseball, foxing, and golf), and you’ll only be able to buy one sport at a time. Only bowling and tennis will be available on launch date (first week of November), and other sports will be coming later. There will be two pricing options: each sport will cost $9.99 to buy permanently, or you can buy a “one-day pass” to unlock all sports for unlimited play for 24 hours for $1.99. While some may scoff at the thought of paying for a 5 year-old game, I have a feeling that the ability to play online against others, as well as the social aspects of joining these virtual “sports clubs”, will breathe new life into these games (which incidentally have always been pretty good for fitness).

The second game isn’t really a game–it’s called “Wii Street Powered by Google”. Basically, Wii Street (which I always misread as “Wall Street”) as it does today will allow you to view Google Maps Street View images It will be improved with Balance Board support so that you can virtually walk any street in the world just by stepping on the Balance Board. It’s a brilliant idea, and here’s hoping that they execute it well. Supposedly, this is only free for download until October 31, 2013–unclear whether they’ll remove it or start charging for it after that, but get in while you can!

Clearly, Nintendo is hoping that Wii Sports Club and Wii Fit U help them recapture the magic of the original Wii Sports and Wii Fit. From an exergaming perspective, I’m very glad to see them back in the game, and have high hopes for all three of these.


Fitness Games on the Wii U: Just Dance 2014, Zumba Fitness World Party, Wii Fit U

It’s been a while since I posted a game review on this site, and that’s mainly because there really haven’t been many games out lately.

In past years, at around this time of the year, I’d usually have lists of dozens of Wii fitness games that would be released in the coming months. But this year, the list is pretty light. In some ways this is disappointing, but in other ways I actually see it as a good thing. After all, in the past the vast majority of fitness games were from publishers who saw dollar signs due to the success of games like Wii Fit, EA Sports Active, and Just Dance and thought they could make a quick buck by putting out a horrible game and putting words like “fitness” and “dance” in the title. Now, publishers aren’t so fast, which means that titles that do come out will be more likely to be quality ones.

Right now, there are three games that I’d classify as fitness games that have been announced for the 2013 holiday season. They are:

Just Dance 2014
Coming October 8, 2013

just dance 2014 box artYes, I know what you’re saying…not another Just Dance game. You would have think, like Dance Dance Revolution, the shark would have jumped on this one a long time ago. But Ubisoft seems to put just the right amount of improvements each time to make it worth forking over another $30-40.

This version should be no exception. They have a “World Dance Floor” feature that allows you to dance and compete with real people online, whether it’s your friends or strangers from around the world. As long as they can keep their platform free from cheaters, this should be a great way to extend the time you play the game.

Also, there’ll (finally) be “custom sweat mode”, where you can create your own playlists and track calories throughout the game, not just in Just Sweat mode. To help mix things up, they’ll also have multiple routines per song, and it looks like they’ll have special “cardio” choreography in Just Sweat mode again.

Wii version:

Pre-order at Amazon

Pre-order at Best Buy

Pre-order at GameStop

Pre-order at Wal-Mart

Wii U version:

Pre-order at Amazon

Pre-order at Best Buy

Pre-order at GameStop

Pre-order at Wal-Mart

Zumba Fitness World Party
Coming October 15, 2013

zumba world party box artYes, I know what you’re saying again. Please, please not another Zumba title. For non-Zumba enthusiasts, all the titles that have bombarded us over the years all seem to be jumbled together. There’s Zumba Fitness, and then Zumba Fitness 2. Or was it Zumba Fitness Core? Or Rush?

“Zumba Fitness World Party” is just another in a line of confusing names, and I doubt that the gameplay itself will be much improved except for little tweaks here and there. But if you are a Zumba enthusiast, the price you pay, of course, is for the more than 40 new songs and more than 30 new dance steps.

Wii version:

Pre-order at Amazon

Pre-order at Best Buy

Pre-order at Wal-Mart

Pre-order at Gamestop

Wii U version:

Pre-order at Amazon

Pre-order at Best Buy

Pre-order at Wal-mart

Pre-order at Gamestop

Wii Fit U
Coming Holiday 2013

wii fit u box artThis was supposed to be a launch title with the Wii U, but I suspect when Nintendo realized that sales were going to tank, they held on to games like this (and others like Pikmin 3) so that there’d be the appearance of a steady stream of games.

The release date of Wii Fit U has not been announced yet, but you can already pre-order it at a few retailers. Unless something goes horribly wrong, it should be released in time for the holidays.

I’ve gone over the features of Wii Fit U in previous posts, so I won’t rehash here. I’ll just say that of all the titles, I think this one will be the one most worth pre-ordering. After all, there are a lot of us with Wii Us and old balance boards we’ve been looking and waiting to breathe new life into. Plus, there will be a flood of Balance Boards on on aftermarket sites such as eBay as people start to get rid of their Wiis.

Pre-order at Best Buy

Pre-order at GameStop

Pre-order at Wal-Mart


The Wii Vitality Sensor is no more :(

So those of you with good memories may remember Nintendo announcing at E3 2009 that they were working on something called a “vitality sensor”. They said that this would be a gadget that attaches to your fingertip, would figure out all sort of things about your energy level and stress level from your heart rate, and would adjust gameplay accordingly.

vitality sensor

Of course, at the time I was pretty excited about it; after all, treadmills and exercise bikes have had pulse sensors for a while. How cool would it be to have intelligent games that would adjust based on your pulse? Remember, at the time there was no Kinect or anything like that, so this was pretty cutting edge stuff.

Of course, EA Sports Active 2 came out not too long after, complete with their pretty cool wireless heart rate detector, which sort of took some of the steam out of the Vitality Sensor. We never really heard anything about it (except how it “wasn’t ready yet”) until this week, when Nintendo president Satoru Iwata officially announced that it was in a pending state, which translates to it being pretty much dead.

Hopefully this doesn’t bode poorly for the other Wii peripheral mentioned at last year’s E3, the “Fit Meter”, due to launch with Wii Fit U this coming holiday season.

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! 🙂

The PS4 and the future of Playstation Exercise and Fitness

Since this article was first posted, there’s been a slow but steady influx of Playstation 4 workout games utilizing the PSVR virtual reality unit. Click to see the latest.

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.