Revenge of the Nerds: The Nintendo Wii

While I generally resist writing “dear diary” posts, I can’t help but share this video—especially with those who may be curious about my East Coast antics over this past month.

As previously mentioned, I spent the last few days in Brooklyn—Williamsburg, actually—with the express goal of having no goal whatsoever. Tuesday was so unbearably humid that J.P. and I refused to leave the house, a refreshing alternative to the usual breakneck, death mission art scouting schedule I generally adhere to when in town.

What else to do then? Roll out the Wii for an all-out war, that’s what. J.P. takes this stuff very seriously and he has hooked up said Wii—along with an impressive mess of other consoles—to a projector that provides a rather luxurious full-wall playing experience. While we did take a dinner break after the afternoon bout pictured here, we picked the competition up soon thereafter and ran hot until 3 a.m. (with the first season of Chappelle’s Show thrown in as a cool-down).

I really took it to the mattresses during this particular bout: Note the stark contrast between my spaz-tastic moves and general lack of hand-eye coordination against J.P.’s Smooth Operator stance. With the calm, cool collection honed throughout a life long gaming obsession, he kicked my ass with an economic series of moves so spare as to allow for a sip of lemonade in between punches. Having hacked his first Mac in early childhood, J.P. is what marketing execs would call an “early adopter;” he has been my and others’ personal geek (P.G.) for years now.

I remain confounded by the amount of physical energy one expends during even a brief Wii session—even my thrice-plus weekly gym habit failed me. In fact, I woke up this morning with a stiff neck and acute pain in my serving shoulder. Back in the day, my brother and I were the first kids on our block to complete the quest for the Golden Fleece, having successfully conned our reticent parents into purchasing the then newly-released Nintendo system. I fondly recall blistered thumbs and the socially maladjusted neighbor boys who flocked to our family room, sobbing hysterically when Super Mario took a death dive.

Over ten years later, as the Surgeon General cautions against childhood obesity, Nintendo has cleverly capitalized on Generation Diabetes by developing an interface that actually requires physical movement. (Recall the Wall Street Journal’s 2006 article on the subject. Quoth Kaitlin Franke of Louisville, KY: “It’s harder than playing basketball.”) A whole subculture has developed in response to this phenomenon: Sites such as WiiHealthy espouse workout plans, while countless individual bloggers track their own weight loss regimens online. According to a somewhat recent post on gaming guide Kotaku.com, personal trainer Zander Urquhart of Glasgow, Scotland has begun offering classes that utilize the Wii as a fitness tool. Screw those ankle weights.

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“WiiHealthy: Lose Weight and Become Healthy Thanks to WiiFit and WiiSports!” Tag line and image courtesy WiiHealthy.

The Wii-as-workout concept is far from new, yet I mention it in relationship to another, mostly psychological benefit of Wii sports competition. As a science/tech geek and art/academic geek, respectively, J.P. and I ended our gaming session in agreement: the Wii is also a form of liberation or even vindication for all of us who have ever ducked away from the volleyball or booted one obliviously to the opposite team. Maybe our latent athletes are (finally) ready to come out and play?

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2 Comments

Filed under Pop Cultcha!, Technology

2 responses to “Revenge of the Nerds: The Nintendo Wii

  1. wes

    janice and i also have a wii now. you’re welcome to come over for a wii sports battle anytime.

  2. Julia

    hey, just checking in, catching up on your blog, and i love this video. my favorite part is when j.p. takes a drink while you are frantically pumping your fists to make your boxer get back up. let me also say that while this is a personal blog, i really admire what you’re doing here, and i’ll be a more regular reader now that i’m finished with comps.

    so, (more) huzzah and spanks to you!

    and come to pittsburgh! we have wii, too!!! :) and we miss you.

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