I'm not a gamer. I don't even have time to blog, let alone to spend countless hours trying to beat Final Fantasy 27, or whatever they are up to now!
It's not that I don't see the appeal. There are some games out there that I am sure I could get hooked on. I can get wrapped up in anything that has a compelling quest or even a strong plot!
I was never an Atari kid. We had the poor man's version which was the TI Basic. It had some pretty good Atari rip-off games and some others that my brother and I spent way too much time trying to figure out how to "beat". Somewhere along the line, we had one of the original Nintendos, but even in junior high gaming had begun to lose its appeal. I spent almost all of my daylight hours doing something outside: fishing, riding and working on motorcyles, good ole plain working. I started competitive summer swimming in about 3rd grade. Track started in 5th grade, cross country in 7th. Even back then I was too busy for video games!
An article in the local college paper -"Wii contributes to weight loss"- got me motivated enough to write on this topic. For those of you who are incredibly out of the gaming loop (like me) the Nintendo Wii is darn spiffy. The wireless remote thingy actually controls movements in the games. You can simulate a golf or baseball swing and the remote will magically convey your motions onto the screen. I have not done this, only spectated as my younger cousins used one on Christmas.
Back to the article. Apparently a 25 year old college student came up with a Wii workout where he played 30 minutes per day without changing his diet or other exercise habits. Get all the details at http://wiinintendo.net/2006/12/05/wii-sports-experiment/ The end results of this quasi-study were: resting heart rate dropped from 82 to 68 bpm, waist shrank from 34.5 to 31 and body fat went from 19% to 17.2%. Believe it or not folks, there is actually a site out there called Video Game Fitness.
Ahh here's something that triathletes can understand! Dropping 14bpm off our resting heart rates is the stuff of triathlete wet dreams. Should we all stop our intervals and long runs and play Wii instead? To look at this another way maybe it simply shows the sad state of the average Americans health. If 30 minutes worth of active video gaming can drop 3 inches from a 20-something male, what does this say about our society as a whole? Obesity in our country has reached epidemic proportions.
Kudos to the video game companies for making their games slightly more active. I suppose I should not be a pessimist and just see this as a good thing. Is there anyone else out there that just sees this whole Wii thing as a grand farce worthy of the Three Stooges? What absolutely kills me is to watch these kids "playing baseball" on the Nintendo Wii. One person "pitches" and the other "swings." This is where the farce comes in. (It is much better for my mental health if I just think of it as farce and not tragedy.) The thing that gets me is that they are so damn close to just picking up a real ash Louisville Slugger and leather covered ball. Just unplug, walk outside and go through essentially the same motions. Even better is multi-player mode where you recruit some friends to pitch and field!
I have to believe that reality will always trump virtual reality!