The Best Thing I Ever Owned

It’s hard to explain how much I love my Nintendo Wii.

My parents actually won it in a raffle last year, but (unsurprisingly) did nothing with it but let it collect dust in the box, so for Christmas this past year, they shipped it to us (well, ostensibly Bella and Clark). So there you have it, for the past two months or so I am (that is, we Floreses are) the proud owner[s] of a Nintendo Wii.

“Blah blah, just another video game system, blah blah.”

Despite being a hardcore gamer, as “definitions” go, I have not been much for video games since maybe the early 1990s. I mean in 1992 I was a fierce Street Fighter II competitor (albeit my Dragon Punch was inconsistent from the right), but since I got into Magic seriously in the mid-1990s, I have focused most of my gaming energies in that direction… Almost no video games for the past… can it really be 17 years?


I mean I will still game LEGO Batman with Bella or help Clark with his StoryLand adventures or whatever, but not for myself, for my own focus. To wit, I was the worst Kart player in our group in the 1990s, whereas before Magic, I was one of the best Street Fighters.

So a decade and more later… Enter the Nintendo Wii.

When these things first came out a couple of years ago, my friend Drew Nolasco (newest member of WotC R&D, but then working full time at Top 8 Magic) was telling me that the Wii was changing the face of video gaming. It was a platform not to reinforce the addictions of hardcore gamers like ourselves, but “would get grandmas playing Nintendo” … at least that’s what Drew predicted.

And true to form, since seeing how I and my family have been using her Christmas present, my mommy (herself a grandma and former owner of an essentially unused one) has elected to re-Wii.

So from the one hand, she shipped something she wasn’t using, and now has to go buy a new one; from the other, I am the owner of a used video game system… that I have declared to be the best thing I have ever owned.

Okay, so why is the Wii so awesome?

Though I am a great lover of Mario Kart from my college days (YT, TunaHwa, and altran would play Mario Kart Wii and Goldeneye on altran’s N64 when we needed a break between playlets sessions… I was playing maybe 50 hours of Magic a week back in 1997 or 1998). So yes, I Kart with the kids, which is made fun by these wheels that they let you plug your controller into.

A Kart controller.

But that’s not why the Wii is so awesome for me.

First of all, we get a lot of mileage out of our Netflix subscription.

I am toying with the idea of just canceling our cable. For what we spend on cable tv per year, we can basically buy another Mac Air (ever think about it that way?), or an iPad… Which based on our Netflix subscription (a paltry $5 a month), plus Hulu (free), we would be getting a better ROI. The down side is that much of our tv consumption is premium (Dexter, Entourage, upcoming Game of Thrones and so forth), so @craftyK is currently putting on the objections.

That said, I have mentioned how much I like Spartacus a couple of times, and since I don’t actually subscribe to the premium channel Starz, I only get to watch Spartacus thanks to my Netflix subscription… which I run through the Wii, onto my tv. Yes, it is kind of strange using a video game system as a proxy Internet interface for an online streaming service that approximates television, which is then piped back through the television as the UI… But long story short, I like me some Spartacus: Gods of the Arena; and I like being able to watch it from the couch rather than the desk.

The Wii lets you watch tv like Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, through the Internet, using your tv. Confusing, I know.

The other reason I like the Wii is the Wii Fit. Right before I started writing this blog post I did an hour of yoga on the Wii and feel great! (Actually, it inspired me to post this post.)

And unlike using a yoga video or phoning it in at the gym, the Wii Fit can actually critique your form! The Wii Fit knows when you drop your other leg for stability on a difficult pose, and cautions you for being too jittery. It can even track your pace in free run mode (running while you change the channel and watch something else), which keys into our drive as gamers to get a better score and battle past our personal bests. When Bella first started studying karate seriously about a year ago, she impressed her instructor and everyone else with how long and confidently she can hold a bridge (the bridge is basically the perfect exercise, challenging every part of your body simultaneously… look it up); I tried to match what my five- or six-year-old daughter could do for 90 seconds or more and just ended up giving myself back spasms. Today I can effortlessly move from a Wii modified “bridge pose” into a “real” wrestler’s bridge and hold it for 30+ seconds. My personal goal is to eventually be able to beat Bella, who can hold a full bridge for over 3:30.

A bridge, sometimes called a “wheel pose” (obviously not Bella doing it)… This is harder, much harder, than it looks.

Modified “bridge pose” you do on the Wii. By practicing this, I have trained myself into being able to transition into a “real” bridge.

When I first got together with Katherine — going on ten years now, most of them joyous — I was almost 25 pounds lighter. In full dating mode, I was running maybe eight miles a day, and very mindful of my weight, diet, and ability to trick beautiful women into thinking I was cool, interesting, a decent prospect, whatever. But after successfully roping the optimal wife into my long-term clutches with a tiny band of platinum and what I can only assume is a magic shiny stone… Honestly, there aren’t any excuses. Even when I was awesome at running endurance with a sub-60 beats per minute resting heart rate, I was never flexible and was always hurting myself by pushing too hard at the gym without warming up. It’s amazing to me that basically a video game is putting me into a position of being more flexible than I was when I was ostensibly in much better shape.

And as far as new year’s blah blah blah goes, I’ve already dropped about six pounds while still hitting BonChon, Hill Country, etc. with my friends every week. Just from doing yoga, free running, and other fun exercises on the Wii. It’s actually amazing to me.

Really and truly the best thing I’ve ever owned.

I love mine.

Here’s a blatant affiliate ad for one:


PS – Deckade!

facebook comments:


#1 Alfrebaut on 02.26.11 at 3:18 am

I’ve got a Wii. I really do. You wouldn’t know it from the dust it’s collected for the over two-year period I have barely touched it, but it’s there. There have been some solid offerings to be had, for sure, both in the “casual” games market and the “hardcore” games market, but I just don’t have time to fiddle around with something I’m so much less comfortable with. When I do game, it’s mostly on the PS3, which has been on some version of Street Fighter 4 for the last two years and recently has been set to Marvel vs. Capcom 3. You may have given up on Street Fighter in 1992, but aside from my late nights with MODO, I’ve mostly shifted the other way into that scene instead.

Oh, and regarding TV shows and stuff, yeah, the Wii and other consoles are great in that you can stream with Netflix as well. At my house, we’ve given up on cable, since I know where to “find” these shows online and can watch them on any of the many devices around the house which can handle them. And yes, that means through the PS3 in damn fine quality, as well. Not trashing the Wii at all… I mean, I guess if I wanted to work out or whatever, that would be my machine of choice, but I don’t, so it’s not. Glad you like it, and you’re getting back into that kind of thing. Hope you raise your kids into loving it. To paraphrase Jane McGonigal, gaming can, and probably will change the world. (we already know Bella’s on her way)

#2 MTGBattlefield on 02.26.11 at 9:54 pm

The Best Thing I Ever Owned…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

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