I have never been one to get too excited about spending loads on money on video equipment and games. My children have always been the poor saps with outdated systems, if they have one at all, who have to go to friends houses to see and play the real stuff. But after hearing enough good things about the Wii, it made it into our house last summer.
And I have to say that whatever those programmers are getting paid probably isn't enough. If life were fair they'd be making more than big-screen movie actors. Given the choice of spending exhorbitant amounts of money to take the family to a bowling alley for an evening, or taking them to the basement for a virtual game, I'd pick the basement every time. I swear it's just as fun. Especially when you consider that I can actually beat my husband in a virtual game. (We won't get into how well I play, or don't play, the real version.)
So we were pretty excited that Santa brought my teen daughters a Wii for Christmas. And while I do give it a big thumbs up, I have to say that it should come with a warning. Caution: Using this device in public could cause undue humiliation.
We tried the game out Christmas Day. One of my teen daughters started out by taking a fitness test with her little Mii. (In case you're among the initiated, Miis are little people that the user customizes to look as close to themselves as possible. Either that or a hideous alien sea creature, whichever they prefer.) So the cute little Mii runs out onto the fitness plaza, takes the test, and then runs around doing the dance of joy. "Congratulations! You are in great shape!" The Wii proclaims.
My pregnant daughter is next. Six months along, cute little bump. "It'll tell me I'm overweight," she says. Since it never asks if she's pregnant, I tell her it better. And does it? No! She's perfect! Her little Mii does the dance of joy.
So I step up feeling pretty cocky. Now, I can't even think about fitting into my wedding dress. But I'm still holding up fairly well for a soon-to-be grandma. And my soon-to-make-me-a-grandma daughter was just deemed perfect. But when it's time for the results of my test, the Wii makes a noise like a spring just broke. My Mii falls backward, a look of surprise on my cute little Mii face. And I plump up! That's right. My Mii actually gets fat! Okay. This is not the way I wanted to spend Christmas.
I slink away, and my hubby takes his turn. Now dh could no more fit into his pastel blue tux than I could fit in my wedding dress, but there are plenty of 40-somethings that would love to be in his condition. He can and does regularly humiliate teen boys on a racquetball court. But does that matter? Oh no. When he runs his test, the Wii makes a sound like an elephant just smashed it to pieces. His Mii falls backward, and doesn't just plump up, but inflates like a balloon. The word OBESE flashes in red on the screen while his little Mii is floundering on its back and looking at its' big old belly in shocked dismay.
And what does my husband's loving, supportive family do? We burst out laughing.
Can you even imagine spending Christmas Day like this? We weren't laughing at him, of course. We were laughing at the Mii, which really was hysterical. And at how ridiculous it is to call him obese. But I'm sure that's not how it felt to him.
So dear, amazing Wii programmers. If you're out there, would you please consider adding a warning? We old folks can only handle so much humiliation.