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Download Wii Fit U free with purchase of Fit Meter

Wii Fit U for Wii U is out now, sort of. Nintendo, which seems to be looking for creative ways to sell more Wii U consoles, has an offer that is good from now till the end of January: if you already own a balance board from the original Wii Fit, and buy the new (okay, repurposed) Fit Meter pedometer for $20, you can download the full version of Wii Fit U for free.

If you’d rather buy the bundle with board, meter and game disc, it is coming next month.

Why aren’t more men walking?

Even a boxing champ had trouble selling walking to guys

Now that I have a Fitbit, I’ve been going for frequent evening walks.  Something occurred to me a few days ago:  I hardly ever see men, alone, going for walks.

In my suburban neighborhood, I often see women walking, just like me, briskly swinging their arms, wires dangling from their ears.  I also see couples (usually elderly) walking; men walking their dogs; and sometimes pushing a stroller or carefully following a youngster on skates or a scooter.

But whenever I see men out on the streets unaccompanied by a woman, kids or dog, they are almost always jogging, running or cycling, and they look as if they’ve been jogging/running/cycling for ages, or training for some event.  Walkers, meanwhile, come in all shapes and ages, from teenage girls in high-school athletic uniforms to older ladies in sweats.

A Google image search for fitness walkers seems to (unscientifically) confirm the gender imbalance in walking.  Take this photo, from the website of Leslie Sansone, queen of “at-home walking” exercise DVDs.  Where’s Waldo?  I’ve seen better male-female ratios at PTA meetings.

Even boxing legend George Foreman tried marketing a set of walking DVDs, which stayed in print for less time than it takes to Foreman-grill a steak.  Apparently the masses of guys who bought George’s grills preferred to crash in front of the TV apres-bacon cheeseburger rather than “Walk It Off With George“.

Do men really view walking as “women’s exercise”?  Something they’ll only do on a treadmill in the gym, or if their wives lock the door and drag them down the street?  Doctors really need to take this into consideration before telling their out-of-shape male patients to “just go for a walk”.  They may have better luck telling them to go Zumba.

Oh where, oh where can the Nintendo 3DS exergames be?

Count real steps in Nintendogs + Cats for 3DS (courtesy Nintendo)

My daughter loves her Nintendo 3DS, the handheld game console that succeeded the Nintendo DS, and I agree that it’s a nifty little gadget.  Among many other features, it has a pedometer built right in, and an Activity Log on the main menu automatically records your daily steps if you go for a walk with your 3DS.  The built-in pedometer means that games can also have the ability to give you bonuses for getting up and walking around.  No need anymore for 3DS games to have peripheral pedometers like the Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver Pokewalker or the pedometers that came with Personal Trainer Walking or My Weight Loss Coach for DS.

So there should be more 3DS walking and activity games than you can shake a walking stick at, right?  Doesn’t look that way.  Even though there were several walking and general health and fitness games for the old DS console (see the list here), my active game list for 3DS remains empty.  You can play any DS game on the 3DS, and it is easier to have a tiny pedometer clipped on than to carry the 3DS console in your pocket all the time, but it would still be great to have more games that take advantage of the built-in pedometer technology.  Besides, you’re less likely to put your pants in the washing machine with the 3DS in the pocket.

It’s not easy to even find which 3DS games give you bonuses for walking.  One that does is Nintendogs + Cats, a fun simulation game in which you adopt and pamper a virtual puppy.  You can take Rover for a fake walk by just steering with your stylus, but if you take the console for a real walk with the game turned on, not only do you burn real fat and gain real fitness, you also get presents from your dog, and not the kind you have to scoop.  Gifts depend on how many steps you take; according to the list at Nintendogs Wiki, they range from a dog biscuit for 10-99 steps all the way up to a gold bar for 99999+ steps.

The Street Pass feature built in to the 3DS is another feature that might encourage walking, or at least getting out of the house.  With Street Pass, you leave the wireless internet detector on in the 3DS as you walk around, and if another wireless-activated 3DS is in the vicinity, your Mii avatars will “visit” each other and sometimes exchange gifts, or show off their Nintendog or Nintenkitten.  We’ve walked extra loops around crowded malls just to try to collect Miis.

Do readers know of any other 3DS games that encourage walking?

Nintendo’s taking the 3DS a step further with a built-in pedometer

There’s a lot of excitement in the gaming world about the upcoming successor to the handheld Nintendo DS, the 3DS (named for its glasses-less 3-D screen).  Now exergamers have reason to be excited also:  according to Kotaku, the new device will have an on-board pedometer, and as you walk around with it, you’ll earn virtual coins that will help you power up games that support it, such as fueling your Pokemon with watts, buying Mario a snazzy flying raccoon tail, etc.

This means you won’t need a separate device like the pedometers that come with Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver, Personal Trainer Walking, or My Weight Loss Coach.

One more giant leap to keeping gamers active and fit!  I just wish the 3DS was as compact as a pedometer – it’s supposed to be the same size as the current DS Lite – but you can be sure they will come out with holsters, belts or even deep-pocketed walking shorts for it.

Personal Trainer:Walking for DS plus 2 pedometers for a bargain price

It’s a little too late for Christmas shopping, but if you want to start on those post-holiday resolutions by just getting up off your glutes more, Amazon is currently selling Personal Trainer: Walking for Nintendo DS for under $20.

This game comes with 2 pedometers, so you and a friend or SO can play, or you can even attach a pedometer to your dog’s collar.  It also lets you import a Mii from your Wii.  I don’t have it, but if I get a little Christmas loot, I might consider it.  Here’s the official website to learn more about Personal Trainer:Walking, and here are more fitness-related games for your DS.

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