Wii Fit itself is a completely new kind of software, but there are other new things within it as well. For example, it’s the first piece of software to have its own dedicated Wii Channel23. 23 Built-in software programs included with the Wii console that resemble normal TV channels. Examples include the Mii Channel and the Forecast Channel.
Wii Fit has a certain convenience to it that bathroom scales can’t match, but because it requires you to turn on the TV and Wii console first, you can’t get on it and weigh yourself right away like with normal bathroom scales. Even if we can’t do much about that, we decided that we’d have to avoid the time it takes to put the disc into the Wii console and start it up. That’s why we designed it so that you can go directly into the software from a Wii Channel without the need to put in the Wii Fit disc. You can look at graphs and do your daily measurements just by launching the Wii Channel. We’d decided this at a relatively early stage of the planning process.
I think it was quite a good idea that when you look at the Wii Channel, you’ll have, for example, Dad’s Mii appearing with the text “Weighed on day x” like a news ticker. It could inspire situations like your daughter telling you “Dad, you didn’t weigh yourself today, did you?!”
If you’re just weighing yourself, you can do it in 2 to 3 minutes, so I want people to do it every day without feeling it’s a chore. Also, the other new thing we’re trying is the mode with Jogging + and Step +, which you can play while watching TV24. 24 Wii Fit features game modes you can play while watching the TV, using only the sounds of the Wii Remote. These modes consist of a jogging exercise and a step exercise.
In this mode, you can play while watching normal TV programmes without needing to see a game screen. It’s actually one of the plans that I’d been holding on to, so I felt like I’d been beaten to it. (laughs)
I’d wanted to use the idea for a while, and I knew there was no way I’d miss the opportunity this time round. For example, with Jogging +, the Wii Remote speaker will start beeping, and…
Tell you something like “You have 5 minutes left.”
At the recent Nintendo Conference25, the MC, Miho Nakai26 said to me, “You could even do it while watching a live marathon.” I think it’d be quite interesting to run while watching something like the Tokyo-Hakone marathon relay race. 25 A presentation event held at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba on 10 October 2007. Wii Fit was made playable for the first time in Japan. 26 A freelance presenter. She was the MC on the Nintendo Conference stage.
So, now you can finally play games without looking at the TV just by relying on the sounds coming from the Wii Remote. But if you slack off, the Wii console can tell!
If you don’t run properly, it’ll tell you to keep a steady rhythm. So if you then set the Channel back to the game screen, you’ll start to run properly, right? Once you’ve confirmed “alright, now I’m running properly” on the game screen, you can then return to the TV programme you were watching.
It feels quite strange playing a video game holding a Wii Remote while the TV displays something else on-screen, doesn’t it?
Wii never sleeps. (laughs)
I don’t think you could get away with that if you weren’t using a machine like Wii with low power consumption. At any rate, it must have been very difficult working on Wii Fit at the same time as Super Mario Galaxy, musn’t it?
Actually, it was fun working on both. But with Wii Fit, I made a lot of discoveries as there were so many things being done for the first time. Even after going home, I’d think of something interesting, and I could hardly wait to get back to work the next day and tell everyone about it!
I’m sure the staff members must have been really shocked to hear those ideas the next day! (laughs)
As the Wii Fit team was in another room, there were people who’d pretend to be working very hard and avoid eye contact with me when I went up to them! (laughs) Well, that’s something you can ask the younger staff about in the following interviews.
Well then, please give us your traditional message to our customers.
When you’re playing with a controller, if you‘re struggling you might say that it’s because the game is difficult, but with physical activities like Wii Fit, you would tend to think that the fault rests with you and not with the software if you can’t do it. But at least you’d be left with the satisfaction that comes from performing physical activity. Because of this satisfaction, you’d want to try it one more time. You’d feel like doing things such as just standing on one leg are good for you. And when you manage to pull it off properly, you’ll feel a new sense of accomplishment.
Now that you mention standing on one leg, one of the things that Wii Fit made me realise was how different people can be between when they’re standing only on their dominant leg and when they’re standing on the other. It was quite a discovery.
I think it’s important to make discoveries like this about yourself. I forgot to mention something important earlier: I don’t think Wii Fit’s purpose is to make you fit; what it’s actually aiming to do is make you aware of your body. That’s why we wanted people to talk with their families about Wii Fit, and become aware of these things together as a group. If you’re standing still, and it tells you “Your body is swaying”, you can see on the training results screen that your body has been shaking. But I think you’d never realise that your body is shaking in day-to-day life. I think becoming aware of things like this about yourself is quite interesting.
When I tried it for myself, I made a lot of discoveries, and I think it’d be great if the customers can enjoy making the same kind of discoveries for themselves as well. I’d also like it if people could talk about their balance and weight with their family, and others as well – and before they realise it, they’ll have become more conscious of their fitness, and that could lead to a healthier lifestyle.
I think that once you make weighing yourself with your family part of your daily routine, it’ll be hard to imagine life without Wii.
Thank you very much. In the next interview, I’ll be interviewing the development staff who created the unprecedented Wii Balance Board.
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