Last Saturday night, I was lucky enough to be given the chance to gather a group of friends and host a sneak-peek party for the Nintendo Wii Fit game.
Unlike this last summer's Mother-Daughter Sorority Extravaganza - this one was for the mamas only. And let me tell you...this was the PERFECT way to kick off Mother's Day.
The party was to be held at my house, but given the size and general decrepitude of my humble abode, I almost passed on the opportunity. When lamenting this sad state of affairs, one of my friends volunteered another friend to host the party at her lovely and spacious home.
A few phone calls later, and we were in full party-planning mode.
By which "we" means the lovely ladies of the Nintendo Party Brigade. I just made a couple of phone calls. Sent some emails. That sort of thing. They even made custom invites for the party.
On the day of the party, I figured that in the interest of being fit and active-appearing, I would ride my bike the four blocks to the party location. You know, it was really weird being the "hostess" and just showing up merrily, la la la... I could totally get used to that.
When I arrived, I parked my bike and greeted the lovely and gracious Holly who was actually hosting - and moments later, the television delivery guy arrived. And hot on his heels, it was the Wii Fit Party Squad.
TV delivery you say? Why yes! Armed with three flat-screen tvs, seven hundred boxes and several suitcases, the Nintendo team kicked into high gear, and transformed the house into a fitness-party wonderland. Not only did we have the game setups, but we also had lovely fruits and juices all fancied up, and bottles of water on ice stationed conveniently about the party area, and Wii Fit experts standing by to help us get our moves on.
After the initial setup was done, and before the party guests arrived, Holly and I took our turns getting on the balance board and going through the BMI and weight part of the program. Holly's husband kindly stepped out of the room before we calculated my totals - aaaaaand I'm obese. No suprise there. In fact, the little Wii FIt voice was rather cheerful about it, and the little character looked stunned to notice that she was on the ginormous side of things. It is what it is. For now. More on that in a minute.
With that out of the way, we quickly switched back to the characters created by the gorgeous women who had been training themselves silly for the last week, in order to unlock all the possible games and exercises.
Once the guests started to arrive, we quickly got into the groove. The Wii Fit women walked us through the basics, and then turned us loose. All three game setups were going simultaneously. It was really funny - one group would be doing the hula hoop game, and then we'd notice the group in the kitchen was doing yoga, so we'd all go over there and watch for a minute.
Then someone else would start boxing, or being a penguin, or ski-jumping, and we'd wander into the other room to ooh and ahh. And taunt. We did a lot of taunting.
Midway through the party, Catherine and the rest of the Nintendo team laid out a magnificent, healthy spread including dolmas, baba ganoush, hummus, pita, olives and feta cheese, tabouleh and orzo salads and seriously yummy shish-kabobs. We also enjoyed the most delicious white wine version of Sangria - I have to get the recipe for that!
Reactions from the rest of the party guests were a lot of fun to overhear. One friend who is a physical therapist for children, was very impressed, and eager to get her hands on a copy of Wii Fit for her clients. Another friend was not interested in the cartoon-style games - she wanted to dig into the more 'adult' exercises. Both the yoga and the strength training modules impressed her - but what really won her over? The tightrope walking game.
Incidentally, I suck at tightrope.
And the bubble down the river game.
I should have titled this one "Pop!"
But I'm a hula hooping wunderkind, and I'm loud and proud about it.
Who knew you didn't even need a hoop? This was moments before I really let loose and shook what my mama gave me on my way to a super-high score. You're glad we didn't capture that.
And I'll admit, a lot of the photos from the party look like we were just standing on a white rectangle, staring at a TV, but the balance board is REALLY cool.
It functions as a scale, sure, but it is also pressure sensitive to a very high degree, and even the slightest shifts in balance trigger a response on the games.
This made for a frustrating, challenging and ultimately addictive play experience. Everyone wants to try just one. more. time. before quitting - because you know that you can master it if you just practice a little bit more. That's the best kind of motivation, if you ask me.
I love that the games start off short, but as you gain skill you can add minutes or difficulty to the activities. I also love that there is no prescribed workout order, or must-do activities to be successful. You work on what you want to work on, and for however long.
As the party wound down (actually, when the Wii Fit ladies started giving the party guests some thank you gifts and presented me with my own copy of Wii Fit (!) and then started packing things up,) everyone quickly started playing their favorite games one more time. We had some ski jumping going in the kitchen. We had some last minute penguin action going in the living room. And Mary and Kim decided to have a running race.
I think I lost two pounds from laughing. Clutching the Wii Remotes and jogging in place, Kim and Mary ran and ran and ran. Mary stuck with it, but Kim started cheating and just shook the remote with her hand.
At the last minute, Kim's on-screen character tripped and fell. Mary's character stopped to see what happened, and Kim's character leaped up and ran across the finish line for a win.
We finally relinquished the balance boards and turned over the remotes, and one by one, the guests headed home. After a final pack-up, and a spit-polish of the kitchen, the Wii Team left, too, and I mounted by bike for home.
Since riding home slightly tipsy with the Wii Fit box crammed in my bike basket and setting it up at 11pm, I've played daily. Actually, that is why it has taken me so long to post this entry... my poor arms were all sore from whacking the crap out of the punching bag in that boxing game. (Not really. But ow! It makes me sore!)
I'm not the only one either - everyone from my five year old, seven year old and nine year old kids to my husband has set themselves up and has played for at least a few minutes daily. I love the quick burst of energy I can get from a couple silly games - it makes for a great break from work. And I'm noticing muscles hurting that I forgot I had... this is always a good sign.
I think I'm going to set up a Wii Fit page on Three Kid Circus to keep track of my progress publicly. Believe me, I know that merely playing Wii Fit isn't going to get me down out of the obese category, but it's a start - and a damn fun one at that. Thank you, Nintendo!
Want to win a Wii console and a Wii Fit of your very own? Check out my contest at Three Kid Circus.
(A number of Wii Ambassadors and several other lucky bloggers will be giving away Wii Fit as well - I'll link to their contests once they are up!)