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Consumer Reports compares home fitness games

Consumer Reports has just posted a comparison of console exergames Nike+ Kinect Training, Zumba Fitness Core (on Xbox Kinect), Just Dance 4 (on PS3 Move), Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013 for WiiU, and UFC Personal Trainer (on Kinect).

Their impressions: Nike gets high marks for being advanced and offering an extensive library, Zumba is praised for being a cardio challenge as well as fun, Just Dance is mainly fun, Your Shape is good for beginners and UFC is…mainly for UFC fans.

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Your Shape for Wii drops to below $13 at Amazon

Last year, it was going to revolutionize Wii fitness with a camera and a “name” star; this year, it’s in the bargain bin.  That’s show biz for you.

Your Shape with Jenny McCarthy, which retailed for $80 at first, is now being offered at Amazon for $12.59.  That’s even lower than other games that fell flat, like Yoga, Daisy Fuentes Pilates or Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2009.  On the other hand, some excellent games in the same under-$20 price segment include Wii Fit Plus, Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout, My Fitness Coach and EA Sports Active: More Workouts.

Reviews for Your Shape are all over the place, from raves to rants.  I don’t have it – and don’t plan to get it, despite the price – but I suspect it has the same problem as the Eye Toy camera, in that it needs a ton of light and no background distractions (fan, pets, kids) to work well.

Your Shape demo video of its online support community

Ubisoft has posted a video demonstrating the online support component of the upcoming Your Shape: Fitness Evolved for Xbox360.  It will let you access your stats from a computer (a guy is shown using an Ipad), post them on Twitter or Facebook, and view real-time stats for other players while you’re working out.

This looks like exactly what fitness video games have been missing all along.  Yes, you can burn calories and feel good working out in your basement, but it’s difficult to meet your fitness goals in a vacuum, without support and a little friendly butt-kicking from others.

Your Shape is on Xbox360 only, but EA Sports Active 2 (on all platforms) and EA’s NFL Training Camp (Wii) will also offer online support.

If you wannabe a PS3 exergamer, get with Mel B.

Playstation 3’s new motion controllers hit the streets last week, to mostly good reviews.  The list of currently-available games is rather slim.  There are a couple of sporty games (Sports Champions, Racquet Sports) and family games (Eye Pet, Start The Party), but a noticeable dearth of fitness games.

There will be a Zumba game, EA Sports Active 2 and DDR coming out later on, but the first fitness game out of the gate for Move is coming from somewhat out of left field:  former “Scary Spice” girl Mel B.

Mel has already made inroads in the video fitness biz with her workout DVD, Totally Fit.  I have this DVD, and it’s pretty much your basic workout, set on a beach.  Now Mel is moving to video games, with Get Fit with Mel B. coming out next week, September 28.  The box blurb says “Only on Playstation” but Amazon also has an entry for a Wii version of the game, so we’ll see what happens with that.

Here is a trailer for Get Fit with Mel B:

It looks a lot like Your Shape, the ill-fated Wii game that came with a camera.  Your Shape, originally $80, soon had its price slashed to around $20, and I believe it’s because its target market would rather see fitness pros on the screen than mirror images of themselves.  (Remember all the furor over fattened Miis on Wii Fit?)  That’s just my theory, but the new Your Shape for Kinect puts up a slim silhouette as your avatar rather than the real you.

I hope Get Fit with Mel B. turns out to be a good game, or at least isn’t left on the shelves like Wii’s Your Shape, because its rise or fall could very well determine whether more fitness games get developed for Move.

(Update: This game is still unavailable at Amazon.  I stopped in at a Game Stop today and they told me they have it down for October 28.)

Your Shape exergame gives it another go on Kinect

When Your Shape came out for the Wii, it looked very promising, or at least different from other Wii fitness games:  it came with its own camera, allowing for controller-free play nearly a year before Kinect was announced.  But the game bundle’s price soon fell from $70 to around $20 on Amazon.  Some possible reasons for the flop:  the high price during lean times, the game not working very well, hostess Jenny McCarthy’s questionable medical advice, or (probably the biggest one IMO) the fact that most at-home exercisers just don’t want to see themselves on TV.

So the game is evolving as Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, this time for the Xbox360 Kinect accessory, although the $60 price for the game alone is nearly as much as the Wii bundle’s original price.  I’m not that interested in workout-centered games, preferring to play fun games that just happen to make me sweat, but I think this new Your Shape looks really good, and seems to address the stumbling blocks of its predecessor.

First off, no Jenny or any other celeb host who could bring unwanted baggage.  Instead, there’s an actual trainer, Michael George, best known to some workout DVD fans for his Beachbody Fast 10 series.  And instead of working out to yourself, which is kind of creepy, you’re represented on the TV by a faceless silhouette.  There looks to be a lot more variety and fun activities than the Wii game, and online support, something Wii fitness games were sorely lacking.

Here’s a preview and video walkthrough of Your Shape: Fitness Evolved.  Since it’s supposed to be one of Kinect’s 15 launch games, expect it in November.

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