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Internet Huckster: Video Games worse than Marlboros – Miniimize Me
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Internet Huckster: Video Games worse than Marlboros

Today, a site called Winston Salem Fitness reprinted a Go Articles story called Are Wii Kidding Ourselves in which the author makes the leap from “Wii Fit isn’t as good as a personal trainer”, to “video games should have labels warning that they make you dangerously fat”.
Super Mario soars through the night's sky bringing obesity, diabetes, and death to the youth of America. Wa-hooo!

Super Mario soars through the night's sky bringing obesity, diabetes, and an early grave to the youth of America. Wa-hooo!

For the most part, I agree with the first part of the article. The gist -Wii Fit doesn’t offer many exercises that actually require you purchase the game. For example, you could do lunges just as well without a fancy balance board. Also, Wii Fit doesn’t do a good job of separating advanced exercises from simple stretches and balance activities.

It’s true that Wii Fit doesn’t really provide you with much that’s unique. It’s a lot like an exercise video. You could Sweat to the Oldies without Richard Simmons, but by following his bouncing short-shorts and soaking in his affirmations you feel a bit more motivated to work out. In other words, spritely Richard just makes it more fun. Additionally, a Tae Bo video includes activities that may not be suitable for beginners. It’s up to the viewer to set their own pace.

Like an exercise video, Wii Fit gives you something to follow along with. It also goes a bit further by providing incentives to keep trying new activities, and giving you specific feedback.

But it’s not the criticism of Wii Fit that’s the problem, it’s the bizarre conclusion that the article draws:

Overall, I give Nintendo credit for trying to make a game that tries to get people to be more active, which is more than can be said for other video game manufacturers. However, this will not do anything in terms of chipping away at the American obesity problem. *In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that the video game industry needs to follow the route of the tobacco and alcohol manufacturers, and state that excessive use of their product could lead to inactivity and obesity, rather than try to make a half-hearted effort at increasing American activity levels.

*Emphasis added.

It seems the point of the article is that since Wii Fit isn’t as effective as a live personal trainer, all video games should carry warning labels that they contribute to obesity and poor health.

If we were to follow his advice we would need to add warning labels to crossword puzzles, novels, knitting needles, and the the trusty rocking chair. While we’re at it I suppose we should also add warning labels to food, since excessive use contributes to obesity.

Unsurprisingly, if you follow the article all the way back to its source you’ll end up at a site peddling a weight-loss program.

By targeting the popular game Wii Fit (even if it is a year late to the party) and challenging gaming in general, the author is sure to drum up attention. Gamers love a flame war. And by tapping into fear mongering there’s a good chance the article might get picked up by mainstream outlets too. So it’s a marketing win/win for the author. Nice job, I guess.

In internet talk the act of making provocative statements to inflame readers to rile up attention has a name, Trolling. It’s seldom appreciated, but often effective.

By posting this, I’m violating the cardinal rule – “don’t feed the troll”. However if you can look past the sensationalist statement in the article, there are some valid critiques of Wii Fit. They just don’t add up to the bizarre and unfounded conclusion.

via Destructoid

Oh hey – now that that’s over with, let’s watch some Sweatin’ to the Oldies!