Bougie Toy Review – the Wii (my not so secret addiction)

WARNING: If you don't own a Wii and have no desire to part with hundreds of dollars and hours of your time. Read no further. Why do you say that, OneChele? This thing is addictive. If you have the slightest competitive bone in your body stop reading now. Okay, consider yourself duly warned.

I've never been a great video game person. Because I have nieces and nephews who love (love, love!) their Aunt Chele, I own an XBOX 360. I tried to get the hang of Madden and Tiger Woods but alas, I sucked. On a late night QVC whim (whole other post, people), I purchased the Wii with Sports package and EA Active, a personal training module. It arrived five days later in a discreet box looking like innocent fun.

I set it up and then gave it the side eye for a day or so. One fateful evening, I powered it up and prepared to play for a little while before turning in for the night. The beauty of the Wii is that it is easy to learn and fun to play. My 5 year old nephew played baseball with my 77 year old mother this weekend and I did not have to supervise or give lengthy explanations.

I started with something I thought I would do okay with – Wii Tennis. I literally grew up with a racquet in my hand, played Varsity tennis and dabbled with it though out college. Needless to say, I was stunned when I whiffed my way through a three set beat down by the computer. The Wii is intuitive. It knows how and when you swing, where you aim (or don't) as well as the force you put behind each stroke. You have to lean, bend, arch and hit just like a real tennis game. The only thing you don't do is run (thank God!).

Anyway, I went on to baseball (sucked), bowling (just okay), golf (really sucked), and boxing (lucked out) before deciding to take the Wii Fitness Test just to see how bad I was. The system gave me a Wii Fit Age of 67. SIXTY-SEVEN! This was unacceptable. So I started with the training module. Next thing I knew it was 2:00 in the morning and I was drenched in sweat. Defeated and feeling old beyond (well beyond) my years, I gave it up for the night.

The problem is this… OneChele works at home and HATES TO LOSE. This means that when I should be penning the next Great American Novel; I can often be found screaming at the TV – My front court game is tight, son! You are NOT ready for this serve. I mastered bowling, became acceptable at golf, and okay at boxing. Tennis became an addiction and I honed my skills by deciding to forgo sleep in favor of perfecting a backhand slice. Never mind the fact that I channeled my inner Williams Sister to the point that I tripped over the coffee table, banged up an elbow and a knee and was forced to slap on oh-so-sexy Ben-Gay patches to wear to bed. (Thank God there is no S/O in the picture right now; he would NOT be digging the sexy mentholated scent wafting from my person).

Just as I throttled back my Wii Sports addiction, I cracked open the EA Active and purchased Wii Fit with the Wii Fit Board. This is humbling. Even if you are in excellent physical condition (can't claim it) these "games" challenge you. The Wii Fit game has the added bonus of scolding you about a variety of things. "Michele, have you been feeling tired lately? It seems your energy is low!" "Michele, is your posture off today, your balance needs work." "Michele, did you take a day off from training yesterday? I hope you can still meet your fitness goals." Nice. What I do like about Wii Fit is that you have Aerobics, Strength Training, Yoga and Balance Games to work through so you can really work on every single aspect of training. It is deceptive though; giving you 2 – 5 minute exercises to do that seem simple enough. The next morning you wake up with mysterious aches and pains in joints you didn't realize you have.

EA Active is also great, allowing you to train by doing a variety of cardio, aerobic, sports and resistance training exercises. If you are even slightly competitive, you get to a point where you want to see if you can hit every target on CardioBoxing with the same precision and strength. You start telling yourself that hitting the punching bag 1000 times is really not that much. (My arms are still mad). You can literally work out for an hour and a half without realizing it… that has NEVER happened to me at a gym.

This past weekend I added Trivial Pursuit to the Wii library. It's not the kinder, gentler Trivial Pursuit of old. BougieSis and I had to switch to the Movie Questions to come close to answering 50% of the questions correctly. I'm eyeing up Madden next. I'll keep you posted.

So all in all, I give the Wii 4 purple kicks (out of 4). It's easy to set up, easy to play and way too easy to get addicted to. It's the video game for people who are not gamers and aren't trying to be. Just as a workout aide, I've found it highly effective (averaging 1.2 pounds a week of weight loss). As I said, I purchased it through QVC which allowed me to get a ton of extras and a warranty for "five easy payments" (love it!). It's also embedded in the OneChele Amazon Store if you are interested. If you are able, it's great for all ages and hopefully technology that won't be extinct in a year.

Do you own a Wii or have you thought about getting one? Any stories to share?

P.S. BougieSis was in this week, I've sucked her in. As I type, she's out there swearing at the virtual trainer: "No, I do not think my squats need to be any deeper!"