At the outset you create a profile, take a little test, set a goal of some sort, and then feel guilt later on when you don’t stick with it.
If you’d asked someone to describe me in high school, they would most likely have said “the guy with the big nose” or “the skinny guy”. Those were my defining attributes. I had no muscle and even less fat. If I took off my shirt and flexed, it would have provided a fairly detailed view of my skeletal structure and a huge laugh at my expense. I was 5″11 (180cm) and I weighed 160lbs. (72.5 kg)
Like most men, I continued growing over the next few years, accruing muscle mass without making any effort to exercise. My neck and arms got thicker. My shoulders broadened. My weight went up. I was working fast food, and the eight hours of constant exercise more than offset the massive calories I was absorbing. I stayed thin.
Then at 23 I got a desk job and began the long, slow spiral into unhealthy middle-aged tubbiness, and I’ve halfheartedly battled that over the last fifteen years. The picture on my about page was taken at the nice, low weight of 180lbs. I think I look fine there. I could drop a few pounds, but on the whole that’s a perfectly healthy physique. I have begun playing Wii Fit in an effort to get back down to that point.
Wii fit suggested that 154lbs would be my ideal weight.
That is utter, complete madness. If I shed every molecule of fat from my body I would still weigh far more than that. 154 isn’t anything approaching an “ideal” weight. That would be dangerously malnourished.
|Actually, I was nursing a painful back injury inflicted by your savage hula-hoop game, you hateful slave driver.|
Wii Fit is not your normal videogame. In a normal videogame, the thing pretends to try to kill you and then tells you how awesome you are when you win. In Wii Fit, the game tries to kill you for real and then tells you how bad you suck if you manage to survive. My copy has let me know that I am a slacker and a complete disappointment. It does so in the most cheery and enthusiastic way possible in order to soften the blow, but the realization is inescapable: You have been judged by a machine, and found wanting. The Wii balance board itself is used as an avatar by the game, and in my mind it’s taken on the friendly, murderous personality of GlaDOS from Portal.
|Go get formatted, you sanctimonious collection of bits.|
You start off with just a few games in the categories of Yoga, Strength, Balance, and Aerobics. Most are a couple of minutes long. The more you do, the more new games you unlock. It’s like Mario Kart, except there are no blue shells and your heart might explode.
The Wii balance board acts as your coach, tracking your progress and reminding you of your goals. I’d like for there to be a way to adjust how pushy the thing is when encouraging you to work out. (Some people are motivated by chidings from a cute little character, but I just can’t stand being chastised by software. Perhaps my years of fighting SHODAN have taught me to resist the machine. I really do hate that cheerful little balance board character.)
As a piece of exercise equipment, Wii Fit is, cheaper, more varied, and more enjoyable than treadmills or rowing machines. In fact, a Wii and Wii fit together are cheaper than most mid-range exercise machines. The device is also tiny and slides away easily, instead of looming large in a corner of the room. If you want a machine to help you keep in shape, Wii Fit offers unbeatable value. It’s still not a game, though, and my dream of shedding pounds while I wipe out armies of ninjas, gangsters, or Argonauts will have to wait.
Starcraft: Bot Fight
Let's do some scripting to make the Starcraft AI fight itself, and see how smart it is. Or isn't.
Quakecon 2012 Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
The Plot-Driven Door
You know how videogames sometimes do that thing where it's preposterously hard to go through a simple door? This one is really bad.
Skyrim Thieves Guild
The Thieves Guild quest in Skyrim is a vortex of disjointed plot-holes, contrivances, and nonsense.
The Best of 2015
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2015.