Float like a butterfly, sting like a Wii
By Jessica Berget, Staff Writer
With the unveiling of the Nintendo Switch, I thought it would be an appropriate time to acknowledge one of the most popular Nintendo Wii games ever created (well, it came with every purchase of a Wii). Wii Sports was a revolution in its time. A skillful combination of both sport and the art of videogames, finally together in one game. Some even consider video games to be a legitimate sport, so when these two were married, it seemed only natural.
When Wii Sports first came out, I was in sixth grade, and it seemed as though everyone claimed to be good at tennis or bowling or any other of the Wii Sports games. It was an elementary school myth that playing the video game of a certain activity would actually make someone good at that activity. It’s obvious that playing Wii Sports won’t actually make you good at sports, but is it possible for Wii Sports to improve any specific athletic abilities? I wanted to test out this theory, so I picked up a copy of Wii Sports and fired up the old console. I then decided to also play the real sport in order to test how or if gaming affects my athletic abilities. This week’s sport of choice was Boxing.
The first thing you notice about Wii boxing, unsurprisingly, is that there isn’t much actual boxing involved. All the player has to do is stand up and punch the air with the Wii remote controllers. Despite the absence of true punches, the gameplay is fun and easy. Hit or dodge your opponent, and whoever knocks the other person out is the winner. After a while of playing this game I thought I had the hang of it, and I was even excited to start real boxing, because, since I was good at Wii Boxing, I must be good at the real thing. Spoiler alert: I wasn’t.
After playing the video game version, I found it was easier to see what my opponent was about to do next and to fire back with an attack. But unlike Wii boxing, real boxing hurts. A lot. Wii boxing only allows the player to throw punches in the air with their fists, instead of with their whole body, as with real boxing. Although it did not prepare me for the pain, or the proper punching techniques, it prepared me for a few other things. After playing Wii boxing, I felt that I had a better understanding of boxing as a sport. Since I have never actually boxed before, the game helped me understand the basic rules and the general gameplay. I also noticed that—whether it be from the adrenaline or the game—my reflexes had improved slightly, and even my hand-eye coordination was quicker.
These things do not define athletic ability. However, I believe they are essential elements when playing any athletic sport. Wii boxing may not have improved my ability to box as a whole, but it definitely improved some aspects of my athletic ability.