Before there was Mickey Mouse there was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Before there was Charlie Brown and Snoopy there were Li’l Folks. Before there was the Apple Macintosh there was the Apple Lisa. And before there was the Nintendo Wii, there was XaviX.
In 2004, Sony had its PlayStation 2 and Nintendo had its GameCube. That same year, a company called XaviX introduced a system that actually used your body, instead of game controllers you hold in your hand, to control games. They had a baseball game, a tennis game, a bowling game, a golf game, and a boxing game, all sold separately. Sound familiar? That’s right, it’s everything we call Wii Sports Today.
They also sold a floor mat controller called “J-Mat” with a running-in-place game for fitness, as well as a separate glass scale to measure weight. That’s right–it was the Wii Fit before the Wii Fit was a twinkle in Nintendo’s eye.
The graphics and sound were years behind the times (the quality of video games of the 1990s), but the motion sensing was years ahead of its time. Specifically, two years ahead–the Nintendo Wii would be released in November 2006.
When the Wii pretty much outclassed the Xavix in every way except for the controllers. Each game even came with game controllers that were in the shape of the actual sports equipment (including a very real set of boxing gloves).
SSD, Co. (the manufacturer of XaviX) essentially had a two-year head start on Wii, but at the end of the day poor marketing and the outdated graphics did it in.
Anyway, the reason I’m writing about all this is because I will be putting my entire XaviX collection on eBay shortly, and I guess I’m a little nostalgic. XaviX was an early pioneer in exergaming and motion controls, which has taken off with the Wii and will no doubt take on even more once Microsoft releases Natal and Sony releases Playstation Move.