Put down that doughnut, Wii Fit is finally coming

Nintendo announces a U.S. release date for its much-anticipated fitness device.

Published February 20, 2008 4:57PM (EST)

When he unveiled the Wii Fit at a games show last year, Nintendo design guru Shigeru Miyamoto called it his dream peripheral for the Wii.

The Fit is a game and a piece of hardware called the Wii Balance Board -- a thing one stands, jumps and climbs on to mimic all manner of physical exercises that are replicated on your Wii screen. Think of a cross between Dance Dance Revolution, Bally's Total Fitness and pilates, though, from the looks of it, actually fun.

The Fit went on sale in Japan late last year, and it's gone gangbusters, selling a million units within its first month.

Soon we'll get a chance to see if Europeans and Americans are as interested in physical exercise. Nintendo tells the Wall Street Journal that it's releasing the U.S. Fit on May 19. Europeans will get it a month early, on April 25.

Oh, one more thing: The Wii Fit, despite its name, is not really meant to keep you in shape. As Miyamoto said in an in-house interview recently,

I forgot to mention something important earlier: I don't think Wii Fit's purpose is to make you fit; what it's actually aiming to do is make you aware of your body. That's why we wanted people to talk with their families about Wii Fit, and become aware of these things together as a group. If you're standing still, and it tells you "Your body is swaying," you can see on the training results screen that your body has been shaking. But I think you'd never realize that your body is shaking in day-to-day life. I think becoming aware of things like this about yourself is quite interesting.

By Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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