The Wii has a lot of features that you can use with the basic set up. One of the most popular seems to be the fitness test that comes with Wii Sports. Once a day, each Mii in the Wii can take the fitness test. The Mii is presented with what appears to be a random set of three games (although every time I’ve taken the test, I’ve been presented with tennis, bowling and baseball) to play to determine the player’s “Wii fitness age”. The fitness age purports to measure speed, balance and stamina. The results of hitting balls back over the net in tennis, being able to knock down pins in a variety of configurations on bowling and being able to hit home runs in baseball result in a “Wii fitness age” somewhere between 80 and 20, 80 being the worst score and 20 being the best. The interesting thing to me about this particular aspect of the Wii is that the ideal age is 20.
I’m not sure why a game that is supposed to be based on experience would be designed to peak at the age of 20. The description of this feature suggests that the player should practice every day in order to bring his/her age down. In what world is the “peak” age twenty years old? For many athletes, their peak age is in the late 20s. In fact, for some athletes, golfers in particular, their peak age is much later in life. Think about Tiger Woods who has gotten better and better as he has aged. Now that he’s in his 30s, he seems to be continuing to get better. So where does peak happen at about age 20? The only thing I could find is that men tend to peak sexually at age 20. Women, however, peak sexually in their mid- to late 30s.
The fitness test says that it will be about speed, balance and stamina. None of the games seems to be about these things. Instead the game seems to be totally about experience within the game. Experience tends to increase with age. The only conclusion that I can come to about this particular aspect of Wii Sports is that the developers of the game were geeky men who tend to think that the peak age in life corresponds to male sexual peak age. Why else would 20 be the age to strive for?
I would love to hear from others about what their Wii fitness age is. My current Wii fitness age is 39, which, as regular readers of this blog (all one of you) already know, is younger than my actual age. Although I am skeptical of the bases for this particular test, I am secretly (not so secretly anymore) proud of the fact that my Wii fitness age is lower than my actual age. This reminds me of the peculiar pride I take in the fact that this test has deemed that I am a “Pure Nerd”. All it takes to help my self-esteem is for an anonymous web site to declare one thing is better than another and I am totally trying to achieve that better thing. How pathetic is that? My current score on the Nerd, Geek, Dork test is 82 % Nerd, 17% Geek, 26% Dork. And I’m a little bit proud of that. Sad and pathetic, I know. Take the test yourself and explain why you’re proud (or not) of your score.
I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.