Fortunately, I was home for the weekend, so I got to draw on my siblings’ resources for playing a video game this weekend. I thought it would be fun to play Wii Fit, since it diverges from some of the traditional aspects of the video game, particularly the relationship between the avatar and the player.
When you get a Wii, you have to design a “Mii,” a very cartoony avatar. I made mine look somewhat like me. The avatars show up in games. The Wii is an interested example of how there isn’t a huge divide between the person and the avatar- you move, and your avatar moves. In the Wii Fit, it goes an extra step: you weigh yourself on the balance board, and if your BMI is considered overweight or obese, it makes your Mii chubby, and if your BMI is underweight, it makes your Mii skinnier. There’s an assumption that a BMI of 22 is the healthiet, and that reminded me too of the article we read, which measured the health of female and male gamers using BMI.
The most interesting thing to me is that, though you use an avatar in the game to box, ski, do step aerobics, yoga, etc., the effects on your body are very real. Maybe it makes exersize easier, to have it one step removed from what you consider “you” by your avatar. It also helps to have the challenge and the push from the two trainers you can choose between. (Interestingly, one is male and one is female, though I can’t really tell a difference between the two beyond what they look like.)