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Two Players on EA Sports Active 2: Exercising with a Friend

Today, I hit my halfway mark on my 9-week fitness program with EA Sports Active 2. Interestingly, the workouts are getting more intense now. When I only had to do 180 “footfires” before, now I have to do 250. Who knows what’ll happen on the ninth week–I may be “foot firing” for hours!

Have been meaning to write about one of the pretty cool features of EA Sports Active 2: the ability to work out with a friend.

I had a chance to talk with one of the product managers of NFL Training Camp for Wii a few months ago (I still haven’t written a formal review of that game, but it’s a lot along the lines of EA Sports Active 2). He told me that when they interviewed NFL players to ask them what motivated them the most, most of them gave one reply: competition.

With other Wii fitness games, sometimes I stop because the games get a little tedious. But the ability to add a second player to EA Sports Active 2 really expands how fun this game can be.

To get started with two players on EA Sports Active, you need a second set of controllers. You can get these in one of two ways: by purchasing extra controllers from EA Sports directly, or by purchasing EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp. Specifically, you will need three things: the arm band, the leg band, and the wireless USB receiver dongle that communicates with the controllers.

Once a set of controllers are associated with a given player, they remain that way (in other words, player 1 will always use one set of controllers, player 2 will always use a second set). You need to be very careful when setting up the controllers, as if you do thing in the wrong order you can confuse the system.

If you do end up finding that one or both controller are not recognized, you’ll need to reset them. Here’s how I did it:

1) Unplug all the USB receivers from the Wii and turn the Wii off. Make sure all controllers are off.

2) Plug in one USB receiver, turn the Wii on, and start up EA Sports Active 2. Open up one of the profiles.

3) Go to Help and Settings. Click “Settings” and then “Rebind Peripherals”. You’ll be walked through a simple process. First, you’ll hold down the power button on the arm band to associate it with your profile. Then, you’ll do the same with the  leg band. Make sure you turn on only one arm band and leg band.

4) Repeat steps 1 through 3, this time plugging in the other USB receiver and choosing another profile.

5) Now, each USB receiver is associated with a respective player. Plug in both receivers, and you’re good to go.

For some reason, the nine-week workout program doesn’t support with two players–that you need to do alone. But any individual workout (or custom program you put together) can be played with two. Here’s my girlfriend Lisa and me competing in a number of sports activities.

As you can see, the calculation of calories burned is different depending on the player (yes, I weigh a LOT more than she does).

The “winner” of the competition is not so much who runs faster or is stronger, but who does the  exercises most accurately and efficiently. Some of the games get downright competitive. It’s a great way for couples, friends, or family members to get a great workout together.

If there’s going to be an EA Sports Active 3, I would hope that they could figure out a way to introduce more “head to head” type competition and more interactivity. But for now, this is probably the best multi-player exercise title out there.

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