Wii Fit

January 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Fitness, Video Games & Accessories 

My daughter wanted Wii Fit for Christmas and I am so glad "Santa" was able to make one appear beneath that tree on Christmas morning. If you've been looking for a fun addicting way to get fit, look no further.

Wii Fit is divided into several different categories: strength training, balance games, yoga, and aerobic activities. Initially, you're able to unlock only a few exercises, but as you complete more activities, more open up for you.

The balance games are fun and feature things such as a ski jump that is an absolute blast, a ski slalom that will frustrate you so much that you'll find yourself playing for hours, heading soccer balls, and some other fun games where your balance on the board helps navigate you through the games. Be careful though, when heading soccer balls, as sometimes, they throw a shoe at you! Ouch.

Each participant is giving a fit test on your first day. The fit test evaluates your balance and strength. it weighs you and gives you feedback as far as whether or not you're "normal" or overweight. It also gives you your BMI and in addition to giving you this number, it also tracks it for you. Each time you log in and take the test, it places your progress on a chart so you can see your progress.

When you first start, your also given your choice of either a male or female trainer. The trainers push you and totally call you on it if you quit mid-exercise. They also offer fit tips and make sure you're using the correct form by evaluating your stance on the balance board. Do well on the strength training and you'll see higher reps unlock for you.

The yoga is also really cool and is along the same lines as the strength training. Yoga poses are demonstrated and each pose is broken down into how it works and what parts of your body each pose is targeting. I must say that yoga is a lot more challenging than I previously thought it would be. Holding those poses for as long as they make you, certainly tones and trains the body.

The best thing about Wii Fit is that it continually tracks your progress regarding exercises and weight and BMI. If you haven't played for a few days, it totally calls you out when you log in. Wii Fit also gives you your Wii Fit "age" based on how well you do on the fit tests. It can be a little scary, but it's super exciting as you awtch that age drop over time. Getting immediate feedback on how you did on the strength training is motivating and also eye-opening.

As someone recovering from an ACL reconstruction surgery, seeing the way my balance is distributed when I'm simply standing stationary was quite revealing. The Wii Fit teaches you how to have better posture, a stronger core, and it does it while having fun with you.

Another great thing about Wii Fit is that almost any age can play. Although my youngest daughter (age 3) is a little squirmy on the balance board, even she has fun trying out the yoga poses and doing jack knife sit-ups.

My only criticism is that I wish it was possible to have two players trade off and take turns doing the exercises and balance games. If two people want to take turns, it's necessary to go back to the main menu and change Mii's which can be a little annoying. Other than that though, the Wii Fit is pretty much flawless.

Wii Fit can be purchased any place that carries video games. Just be careful that you don't get ripped off. Wii Fit can be purchased for around $89 in stores. I would also recommend purchasing the Wii Starter kit that includes a silicone cover for the balance board and yoga mat. While most things can safely be purchased online, the Wii Fit is pretty much only offered in bundles online. It's best to take a drive and go to the store directly.

If you're looking for something to jumpstart your New Year's fitness resolutions or just want a fun way to get fit with your family, get the Wii Fit.

BBM gives the Wii Fit. . .

BBMReview Brown Belt Award

Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

November 20, 2007 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Video Games & Accessories 

It’s hard to believe that it’s now ten years since Nintendo’s seminal Super Mario 64 was released for the N64 console, but it’s true. Since then we’ve only seen one true 3D Mario game, the mediocre (by Nintendo’s own lofty standards) Super Mario Sunshine on the Gamecube, so it’s about time the rotund plumber had another outing, this time on Nintendo’s elusive Wii.


There were some concerns raised by ardent Mario fans when Galaxy was announced and shown (especially after the relatively lacklustre Sunshine) that it would turn out to be just another by-the-numbers Mario game, offering nothing new or inventive and failing to re-capture that magic that Mario 64 introduced us to. I can safely and without hesitation say that these concerns have all been recognised and addressed. In fact more than just addressed, more like smashed into a thousand tiny pieces on the rocks of so many average 3D platformers that came before it.

The basic premise sees our moustachioed hero setting about rescuing the princess from the grip of – yep, you guessed it – Bowser. He’s only gone and stolen her castle and everything in it (including the princess herself), and then in a fit of grandeur decided to conquer Space itself! Mario’s task involves setting free the stars held captive by Bowser and his cronies and restoring everything to the way it should be. How he goes about this is through a myriad of 3D platforming levels, only this time the worlds he’s bouncing and spinning his way through are tiny! Cunning use of gravity and rocketing through space are par for the course for this outing then, and it’s done so well. The level design is, as you’d expect from a Miyamoto headed title, sublime, and coupled with brilliantly realised Wii-specific controls, handles like a dream. Some developers have been guilty of shoe-horning the motion-sensing, pointing, tilting controls in to their games, but it’s obvious that this is clearly a case of doing the reverse and making the game around the controls. The nunchuck’s joystick controls direction, the A button on the remote jumps and pretty much everything else is explained, intuitive and in keeping with the Mario pedigree.


Coins, which have long fuelled the collecting habits of players in past Mario games, are still present but the kleptomaniacs amongst you have something new to harvest now – Star Bits. The brightly coloured gems have various uses throughout the game and are in abundance, freed usually by defeating enemies or breaking open items of scenery. They’re harvested  using the remote’s pointer, and for those of you who are parents of two and are dreading the "It’s my go now. No it’s not! Yes it is! Muuuuuuuuuum!" festive arguments, worry not! The game offers the opportunity for a second player to control an on-screen pointer of their own to help out with collecting the star bits and shooting them at enemies.


It’s hard to review the game in any depth without giving away a lot of the story, and that’s the last thing I want to do. It’s a game that deserves to be played and enjoyed by everybody, regardless of demographic grouping. The sound is utterly fantastic, the presentation is bright and clear and it plays beautifully. Super Mario Galaxy is an absolute masterclass in how to make a fun, family-friendly game. It has bucketfuls of charm, is sufficiently big enough to satisfy those with more time to devote to 100% completion, and is enough to restore even the biggest sceptic’s faith in Nintendo. Their only problem now is how to top it. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another ten years to find out how they do it.

Buy it now through the BBM Review Store.

TSDAdam gives Super Mario Galaxy a thoroughly deserved rating of…..

ESRB Rating: Everyone


November 13, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Video Games & Accessories, Websites 

If you’re a parent and you plan on buying video games for your children this year, the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) website is going to be one of your best resources.  It is no secret that there are violent video games out there, and the ESRB site can help you make sure that your children are viewing age appropriate images when they’re playing their games. 


I was one of those crazy Mom’s who went out to every likely store last year almost every single day, searching for the illusive Nintendo Wii.  I was one of the lucky ones and found one for my daughter. This week, I found out about the parental controls on the Nintendo Wii, thanks to the ESRB site.  If you’re video-game-impaired like I am, this site is of great resource as it provides detailed instructions on how to set these controls and also provides links to sites that take you step by step through the process of setting the parental controls.  These links are found under Parental Resources and can be accessed here.    


If you’re looking for more help as a parent, you can find it here.  This section is the area where you can learn things your child probably already knows in attempts to find a loop-hole around the parental controls you’ve set up.  Do you know what "mods" are?  I didn’t, but I now know that they are downloadable programs that can change the content of the game your child is playing. 

In addition to the parental resources, there are detailed descriptions of games for every platform available.  Parents are able to sort by rating, operating system or content.  And, you don’t have to worry about the ESRB’s pockets being lined by video game producers.  The ESRB is a non-profit organization that decides on their ratings based on imput and feedback from child development and academic experts. 

When you’re choosing your presents this holiday season, make sure you look for the following ratings which should be clearly displayed on all video games.  The ratings are given for good reason and after extensive experience playing and evaluating the games, so it makes sense to follow their guidelines when it comes to appropriate games for your child. 


For additional shopping advice, make sure you visit the ESRB website before heading out to the stores. If you’re video-game impaired like I am, you’ll need all the help you can get. 

For ease of use and availability of important information, BBM gives the ESRB website. . . 

BBMReview Brown Belt Award

Virtua Fighter 5 (Xbox 360)

November 12, 2007 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Games, Video Games & Accessories 

As a keen martial artist and a lifelong video game fan, combining the two is one of my favourite things. The Beat ‘Em Up genre has been around for nearly as long as the first video games now, and have come a long way from their roots in the form of games such as Karate Champ (fans of Bloodsport will remember Mr Van-Damme playing this in the hotel lobby).

Virta Fighter 5 carries on Sega’s pedigree lineage in the VF series, with the latest two iterations of the game being widely regarded as the finest fighting games ever created. The 2D purists will argue that Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike perhaps deserves that mantle, but there’s no denying the fact that Virtua Fighter 5 is an awesome game!


Fans of the series will be pleased to see familiar favourites back again and spruced-up with glorious, shiny HD visuals. Stalwarts such as Akira and Jacky are still going strong, and the newcomers El Blaze and Eilieen (Lucha Libre and Monkey-style kung fu respectively) make their presence felt from the get-go. On the subject of styles, there’s a wide variety represented with varying levels of realism; everything from Judo to Shaolin Kung Fu so there’s bound to be something to please everyone.

The presentation and graphics are gorgeous, as you’d expect from a next-generation title, and one ported from a hugely successful arcade title. This is actually the Rev.C version, as opposed to the Rev.B which was used in the PS3 version, the geekier of you may be intrigued to hear. What this means to the vast majority of people who’ll play this is negligible though, you just need to know the CPU plays a mean game and is no walkover! It’s in Vs mode that the game really comes to life though, be it two people in the same room playing, or over the outstanding Xbox Live online implementation.

It’s not an easy game to play at first, but if you put the time in working through the Dojo training area and the vast Quest mode – where you can customise your character’s appearance and improve your Kyu/Dan ranking – it’s a rich, rewarding experience and one which will last a long time. People new to the game won’t find it too daunting to pick up, the premise of Virtua Fighter’s system has remained unchanged throughout its history – a button to punch, one to kick and one to guard. That’s it. The vast range of moves are executed with a combination of the joystick and buttons. The only difficult choice is which one of the 18 characters to use!

Fighting game fans rejoice, finally something worth sinking your teeth into on the 360! Just be warned that the learning curve (especially online) can be quite steep.

ESRB rating: Teen

Buy it now.

TSDAdam gives Virtua Fighter 5 a BBMReview rating of….

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