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An introduction to Wii

February 18, 2008

by Kristen Miller

While puppy-sitting for a friend of mine, I was able to take advantage of her Nintendo Wii game system. Some of you may not know what this new invention is so I will introduce it to you.

Unlike other game systems, Wii is an interactive system that uses motion-sensing technology through the systems controller.

This is unlike other systems where a person will sit on the couch and push a bunch of buttons.

With Wii, the player would usually get up off the couch to play. It can actually be quite physical, and dare I say healthy, to play this type of video game system.

Quite honestly, it’s amazing! My favorite is bowling. Yes, you can actually bowl in your own living room.

The motion sensors on the controls allow the player to swing and throw the bowling ball down the alley to knock down the pins.

Another game which is pure enjoyment, but somewhat excruciating, is baseball.

My advice for this one – stretch beforehand.

That’s what I like about Wii games – they are not only entertaining, but they can be a workout, as well.

My baseball experience became excruciating only the following day as my muscles were a bit sore from too much swinging.

See, virtual baseball is a little different than the real thing. When you have a real baseball coming toward you, you keep your eye on the ball. But when you have a Wii baseball coming toward you, it stops at the screen.

This can explain my horrible timing and the fact that I struck out several times.

The cause of my sore muscles, both in my arms and back, could also be due to the fact I might have been swinging a bit too hard.

My game partner would disagree, saying I swung too hard, too soon.

Another physical and Wii-tacular game is tennis. I was a little better at this game.

What got me mixed up, though, was the use of two players on the same side – front and back player.

If you want to hit the tennis ball hard and fast, you hit with the front player. Unfortunately, if you miss the ball with the front player, it’s harder to make the shot with the back player. It’s possible, you just have to be extra quick.

Wii has so many games to choose from including sports, American Idol, Karaoke, Guitar Hero, and more.

There is no doubt this is the next game revolution. Not only is Wii used for entertainment, the sports are even being used for physical therapy, or “Wiihabilitation.”

In a recent Washington Post article, Wii is being used to help rehabilitate patients recovering from broken bones, strokes, surgery, and combat injuries.

James Osborn, who oversees rehabilitation services at Herrin Hospital in Southern Ill., told the Post, “In the Wii system, because it’s kind of like a game format, it does create kind of inner competitiveness. Even though you may be boxing or playing tennis against some figure on the screen, it’s amazing how many of our patients want to beat their opponent.”

With Wii games requiring physical movements, it’s very similar to traditional therapy exercises, the Post reported. But patients become so engrossed mentally they’re almost oblivious to the rigor, Osborn told the Post.

It was actually kind of funny and ironic that just a few days after I recovered from my Wii endeavors, there was a newscast about Wii injuries. I had to chuckle. That was me.

And what did it tell me? To stretch before playing. Also, allow enough room to move. This will prevent the player from hitting objects or other people. And, make sure the wrist strap is secure to avoid the control from slipping from your hand into the TV screen.

Oh, and the last piece of advice was not to play Wii all day long.