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Spring training on the Wii

Following a Narnia-like winter in the Northeast, there are finally some signs of spring – visible grass, robins, temps in the 60s and outdoor-sports-themed Wii titles with some active component.

Leading off is Racquet Sports, which was released this week.  Racquet Sports uses the same camera that was packaged with Your Shape, an exergame which got lukewarm reviews, perhaps because many members of the targeted market just don’t want to watch themselves work out.  So it’s nice that Ubisoft is looking at other ways to use its camera in an active fashion.  (You can buy the game with or without a camera.)  With no need to hold a remote, you could use an actual tennis racket in this game and get a good arm workout, provided no lamps are in harms way.

On deck (corny, isn’t it?) is The Cages, a baseball game that focuses on batting practice.  I love going out to the batting cages when the weather isn’t too hot or too cold; it’s great mental as well as physical therapy to whack balls over the fence.  The Cages makes use of Motion Plus add-ons and also has a calorie counter, according to Amazon’s description.

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Exergaming with your cell phone

My cell phone is one of those cheap pay-as-you-go models that only does one thing: make phone calls. (And I think it has about $200 worth of minutes built up in it, since I keep forgetting to take it with me!) So if I write about cell phone technology, I may sound like a Martian who just landed and is utterly fascinated by a traffic signal. Please pardon my ignorance…

The new Sony Ericsson Yari phone has all the usual bells and whistles that today’s phones have, but it also combines the motion-sensing ability of the Wiimote, Your Shape and Eye Toy.  It doesn’t seem to be available stateside, but reviews are popping up on foreign websites.  This review from a site in India describes a fitness game and tennis game that sense your hand or body motions with a built-in camera, and a bowling game where you swing the phone like a Wiimote.

Other sites are saying that a boxing game is available for the phone.  I can’t find any good gameplay videos, but here’s a video of (allegedly) a demonstration of the phone’s ability:

I know I’ve felt that way before in restaurants and classrooms; with the Yari, now I can score points for a one-two punch.

Count your calories while playing Wii tennis

wii tennis racketWiimote-holders shaped like tennis rackets aren’t new, but this model, coming next week, isn’t just another dumb piece of plastic.  According to the description on Amazon:

With the smart racket from CTA digital you can enjoy those Wii tennis video games while measuring your fitness level all in one accessory. This tennis racket contains a small built in LED display that displays the amount of calories burned, overall distance of swings (in either kilometers/miles per hour) and how many swings have been taken in your session. Just connect your Wii Remote (with or without a Wii Motion Plus adapter) into the cradle of the base handle and you’re set! This intelligent and comfortable tennis racket will not only aid you in dominating virtual tennis tournaments but also help track your path to fitness success!

All that for only $18!  Personally I think it would be more fun to play a few sets of tennis while flinging the Wiiwaa or even the Wii Baby.  With your imagination, exergaming knows no bounds!

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