Robots in the making

It’s raining outside but you would still like to have a quick game of tennis and a bit of exercise. You can now do it in your own house thanks to the Wii. The Wii (pronounced as we) is a home video game console launched by Nintendo in 2006. It has beaten Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 in terms of worldwide sales. Its advertising slogans read “Wii would like to play” and “Experience a new way to play”. So what is the new way to play?

How it works

The Wii system uses a wireless remote controller (called a Wii-mote) capable of sensing position and motion, allowing users to interact with game applications through physical movements.  The motion-sensing technology enables you to play and move as if you were really playing the game. The Wii-mote transmits information about motion, and data about buttons that the user pushes on the controller, through Bluetooth wireless technology to the console. The console is connected to a display device such a TV. The accessories that come along with a Wii include Wii MotionPlus Accessory, Nunchuk Controller, Sensor Bar, standard composite cable and power cord. Other accessories are Wii Zapper, Wii Wheel, Wii Balance Board, Classic Controller Pro and Lan Adapter.

Storage and Features

The Wii console contains 512 megabytes of internal flash memory and features an SD card slot for external storage, with memory up to 32 GB. The SD card slot can be used for uploading photos, and backing up saved game data and games downloaded from the Wii Shop Channel. The Wii console can connect to the internet through its in-built Wi-Fi. With this you can explore the following Wii Channels:-

* Nintendo Channel – Provides information about the games on Wii and Nintendo DS. You can watch trailers and mini documentaries on it.
* Wii Shop Channel – Here you can download video games, even those originally played on Sega Genesis, N64, NES.
* Mii Channel – You can create fun 3D caricature portraits of your family and friends, which come to life in certain Wii games.
* Photo Channel – Here you can retrieve the photos from your SD card and display them on your TV screen. You can manipulate the photos in fun ways.

Other channels include the Internet Channel, News Channel, Forecast Channel and Everybody Votes Channel.

Games on Wii

Wii Sports offers five distinct sports experiences. For Tennis, you use the Wii-mote like a racket and swing it. Users can play different strokes such as forehands, backhands, volleys. In Baseball, you hold the remote just like you would hold a baseball bat. When pitching, you swing down the remote gently without letting it go. Then there is Bowling, where you hold the remote like a bowling ball. The speed with which you swing your hand affects the spin. For Boxing, you hold the Nunchuk controller in one hand, and the remote in the other. You can hold your hands high or low to guard yourself. For Golf, you again hold the remote like a golf club and swing it. It is absolutely exiting to play these games, and it gives you a different feel.

There are over a 1000 other games that can be played. Some of the popular ones are Super Mario Galaxy, Sin & Punishment, Pokémon Battle Revolution. An additional feature is the Wii Fit which is a fitness video game. It includes aerobics, yoga and other fitness activities. It comes with a Wii Balance Board which measures the players’ movements.

The Wii is definitely a step forward from the previous video game consoles. The experience is different and more fun. Therapists have recommended it as a tool for muscle toning, and it has become popular among fitness experts. But isn’t this pushing it a bit too much? Our lives have already become mechanical thanks to the Blackberry, Facebook, iPhones et al. We might end up as robots one day. Why would you need to exercise on a Wii Board, when you can go out for a walk to get some fresh air? What will be the fate of outdoor sports if people take to video games instead? Such devices are fine for some amount of recreation, but we cannot allow them to control our lives, and as a substitute for natural forms of exercise.

Roohi Mahapatra

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