Trend alert: New Wii Sports Resort game helps seniors keep fit and have fun

A Digital Camp for Antsy Athletes

Trend alert: New Wii Sports Resort game helps seniors keep fit and have fun
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With all due respect to Pong, Pac-Man, Tetris, Super Mario Bros. and World of Warcraft, there may not be a more important title in the young history of video games than Wii Sports.

It is almost impossible to overstate the vital role that Nintendo’s Wii console has played in rescuing video games from the cultural sidelines.

Just when the other big console makers, Microsoft and Sony, redoubled their focus on core young male gamers, Nintendo came along with the Wii three years ago and reclaimed video games as accessible entertainment for everyone.

All around the world, tens of millions of people who will never pick up an Xbox or PlayStation controller have had a good time with the Wii. (Nintendo has sold more than 50 million Wiis since the system’s debut.)

In the West, every Wii comes with Wii Sports, the cartoon collection of baseball, boxing, bowling, golf and tennis that has brilliantly occupied rainy weekends, family holidays and random weeknights at home too numerous to count.

But after three years it’s time for more than the same five sports.

It’s time to whack your boyfriend over the head with a virtual sword (wielded in your living room in the form of the Wii’s motion-sensitive controller).

It’s time for Frisbee, archery, wakeboarding and table tennis. It’s time for Wii Sports Resort, the new game and accessory from Nintendo, to be released in North America on Sunday.

Wii Sports Resort is basically a must-have for any Wii owner. Not only are most of the package’s dozen games fun, but Wii Sports Resort comes with Wii MotionPlus, a new add-on for the system’s wireless controller.

The MotionPlus is a small white cube, about an inch long on each side, that attaches easily to the Wii controller’s base.

The Wii controller has always been admirably responsive to the user swinging and moving it, but the MotionPlus uses some fancy technology to make it even more accurate.

In particular, the MotionPlus accessory makes the controller more sensitive to being twisted along its axis, which corresponds to turning one’s wrists over in a golf swing or angling a Frisbee to curve left or right.

MotionPlus works so well that it appears poised to become a de facto requirement for Wii owners. Other games that support MotionPlus include the excellent new Tiger Woods golf game from Electronic Arts and tennis games from E.A. and Sega. In the fall, big third-party games for the Wii including Ubisoft’s Red Steel 2 are also set to support MotionPlus.

Of course, nothing comes free. Wii Sports Resort with one MotionPlus included will carry a price tag of about $50, and each additional MotionPlus ( for your friends and family) will cost around $20.

But for the hours of hilarity and competition the package will provide, it seems worth it. the original Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort’s beauty is its breadth. With 12 activities, there should be something for everyone. Over the last few weeks I’ve spent anywhere from 45 minutes to many hours on each of the minigames, with friends and alone, and here are a few impressions of each.

SWORDPLAY Basic in its complexity but visceral in its appeal, at least as much so as punching your best friend in the face in the original Wii Sports boxing. Can definitely be an upper-body workout.

WAKEBOARDING You hold the controller horizontally a tether and steer left and right, flipping off the boat’s wake to do tricks and score points. I found it diverting, but it could not hold my attention for hours.

FRISBEE Almost entirely intuitive and natural. You either play fetch with a digital dog or, far better, Frisbee golf on the same courses you can also attempt in “real” golf. With some practice you can put some nice curves on each throw.

ARCHERY A real gem. One of the only video games I have ever played that is about deep concentration and focus rather than the more frenetic sort of eye-hand coordination. Archery truly capitalizes on the sensitivity of the MotionPlus. The first time a buddy makes a loud noise as you release your arrow, you will not find it funny. Of course, your buddy will.

BASKETBALL The one Wii Sports Resort activity that didn’t work for me. Either Nintendo messed up the programming or I’m just horrible.

TABLE TENNIS Along with golf and archery, one of my favorites. It’s fast, and MotionPlus makes it phenomenally accurate and powerful in creating spins and aiming shots. Taking on all comers.

GOLF A genuine step up from the golf in the original Wii Sports. Obviously not as detailed as the Tiger Woods game, but if you can’t control your wrists you will not hit straight shots in Wii Sports Resort golf, as it should be.

BOWLING A remake of perhaps the most popular game in Wii Sports. As someone who has been doing a bit of real bowling these days, I can say that the new Resort bowling is certainly more accurate than its predecessor. And who can resist 100-pin bowling (maximum possible score 3,000)?

POWER CRUISING A bit too similar to wakeboarding, just without the tricks.

CANOEING Good for 20 minutes, little more, unless you’re just looking for shoulder exercise.

CYCLING Ingeniously designed, blending rhythm and precision with some deceptively deep strategy in terms of deciding how to manage your energy over a racecourse. When do you exert yourself for a boost of speed, and when do you conserve your breath?

AIR SPORTS Think how you hold a paper airplane. That’s how you control your plane here. The dogfighting wasn’t fabulous, but I have to admit I spent more than an hour just flying around Wii Sports Resort’s digital island.

In all, Wii Sports Resort is destined to keep far too many people indoors over the rest of this summer. I can’t say I’ll blame them.

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Wii Sports for Seniors

Trend alert: New Wii Sports Resort game helps seniors keep fit and have fun

Wii Sports may have originally been designed for kids and younger adults, but seniors are fast becoming fans of this fun and interactive gaming system.


For starters: it's fun! It allows us to play the sports we love – or have always wanted to try – in a simulated environment that is safe and comfortable. It makes sports accessible and low impact.

For example, residents can enjoy low-impact golfing where they don't need a perfect swing or technique to send the ball flying off the tee onto the greens.

They can simulate being a tennis pro, mastering the art of the serve and challenging their opponent with ease! With Wii Sports, the possibilities are endless.
What is Wii Sports?

Wii Sports is an add-on to be used with Nintendo's Wii gaming console. Players use a gaming remote to mimic the actions of play for sports tennis, bowling, baseball, golf, and boxing.

The Wii Fit includes a balance board, allowing users to receive instant feedback from the console about their fitness endeavors, plus tips for improvement via built-in motion sensors. Users can play alone or with a team, and can choose from a wide variety of fitness activities.

Whether you want to play a specific sport or just want to try doing some yoga, there's an option for everyone.

The Benefits of Wii Sports for Seniors

Wii Sports are safe and easy to play, and offer many benefits for seniors. That's why many communities incorporate Wii Sports into our senior exercise and activities programs here at Blue Harbor Senior Living. Residents love Wii Sports, which is great news since these interactive gaming activities offer all those benefits! To name a few:

Fun and exciting!

Wii Sports allows seniors to participate in their favorite sports from the comfort of home.

Low impact.

These games can be tailored to an individual's abilities and preferences.

Accessible to all.

The games are easily accessible for people who may have mobility issues; they can be played from home and the levels of difficulty are adjustable.


Residents can chat with friends and fellow sports enthusiasts about life, the Wii game they're playing, and the other activities they've been participating in. And while they're playing Wii Sports, they can even play as a team; it doesn't need to be a solo activity!


Games are less expensive than traditional sporting equipment and club memberships.

Inter-generational bonding.

Many young people (think: grandchildren) have gaming systems, so you can easily compete against younger family members; this encourages inter-generational bonding and health for the entire family.

Active and adjustable

Even though the games are relatively low impact, they still help to keep the mind and body active. The Wii system encourages residents to exercise at whatever level or speed they are comfortable with. The settings can be adjusted to make the exercise more or less physically challenging, all depending on the player's level of ability and desired fitness goals.

Coordination and balance.

A recent study on the effects of Wii Sports found that participating in Wii bowling seated twice a week for 30 minutes, for a period of 8 weeks, improves balance. This study demonstrates how the gaming system can be used in elderly health care to improve seniors' gait balance and coordination for improved health and safety.

Mentally stimulating.

In addition to the physical benefits of playing Wii, the act of playing a new game and coming up with a strategy is mentally stimulating, helping to keep the brain active and alert.

Canyon Creek Goes Wii!

One of our wonderful communities, Canyon Creek Senior Living, offers regular Wii Sports as a part of their community activity program. Just see how much fun they’re having!

This interactive low-impact activity allows all of our sports enthusiasts to gather together and compete against each other in a fun and safe environment! It's so fun to watch and is an activity that's accessible to all.

We hope you found this to be inspiring! On our blog, learn all about the benefits of games and exercise for seniors! Considering community living? We’d love to meet you. Just reach out to our True Blue team of HEROES and we’ll set up a time to show you around.


Physical Video Games May Help the Elderly Psychologically

Trend alert: New Wii Sports Resort game helps seniors keep fit and have fun

But the benefits may extend beyond just fun and games — studies are also showing that these exergames — video games that encourage physical activity — are also proving to help with depression, sense of place and relevancy. They may even help bridge generational divides between grandparents and younger adults and children by offering them an equal playing ground.

In a poster presentation at the Gerontological Society of America's Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans late last year, Patricia Kahlbaugh, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Southern Connecticut State University presented a study on the effects of playing Wii on loneliness and mood in the elderly.

As some adults get older, they may no longer have the physical strength or agility to engage in their chosen pleasures of life. For some, the sense of loss can deepen into depression.

By recreating the experience of previously enjoyed activities tennis, bowling, and golf, Kahlbaugh says the Nintendo Wii may allow elderly individuals to engage in these previously enjoyed activities, allowing them to “regain the psychological benefits such activities once afforded them.”

To test the game's impact on greater life satisfaction, loneliness, greater positive mood, and increased physical activity, Kahlbaugh created a study of 36 individuals — average age 82.6 years — from residential facilities in New Haven County.

All were in general good health and held high school degrees. The participants were split into two groups — 16 were assigned to play the Wii for an hour per week with an undergraduate student, while 12 watched an hour of television per week with an undergraduate student, all over a span of ten weeks.

Seven students were then assigned as additional controls.

While the quantitative results didn't yield any differences between groups in life satisfaction or weekly physical activity, the Wii participants reported higher positive mood in comparison to the TV group.

The Wii group also reported feelings of decreased loneliness and feeling more connected to others, which could be attributed to the social nature of the game and the subculture it created within the residential community of those participating in the Wii study.

The feedback from the seniors themselves was more telling, Kahlbaugh says. Participants made comments about feeling “more a part of things” or feeling “more in” with the younger generation, creating a greater sense of self and purpose.

“There was an older gentleman who came to play a session with his old bowling trophies,” said Kahlbaugh. “For him, playing the Wii was a way to recapture the fun and sense of achievement he had had in the past.

” The study was so popular among participants, two of her students stayed on after the study to volunteer with the seniors who wanted to continue their weekly bowling sessions.

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Review: Wii Sports Resort Is Loads of Fun, to Be Precise

Trend alert: New Wii Sports Resort game helps seniors keep fit and have fun

It's all right to admit it: You've had fun playing Wii Sports. The simple repetitive play is way more enjoyable than you'd ever expect it to be, particularly if you're playing it with kids. The new Wii Sports Resort has a similar feel, only with more sports, better graphics and long-term playability, and, of course, the Wii MotionPlus.

When I started up Wii Sports Resort, and parachuted down to Wuhu Island (for so the game begins when first played), it felt the realization of the Wii's original promise of a game system that would follow your actions: every slight motion of my hand was precisely mimicked by the Mii on screen.

And the MotionPlus is used well throughout each sports minigame, so that you get much more of a feeling of being in the game than in the original Wii Sports.

For instance, where in the original you could swing your arm wildly and still play a decent game of tennis, in this one each flick of your wrist could make or break your game of table tennis.

My kids, of course, were incredibly excited about trying out the game, especially when they found out that one of the sports was swordplay.

I'm not sure if it was because they're huge Star Wars fans and it felt a lightsaber duel, or simply because they're kids and bashing away at things, but they took to the swordplay a duck to water.

From there it wasn't hard to get them to try some of the other sports, especially golf and bowling, the two carryovers from the original. They had some difficulty getting used to the precision of the response, as did my wife and I, but they had a great time playing even when they weren't doing so well.

Not all of the sports are winners: Basketball, in particular, seemed too hard to control for too little reward, and different enough a feel from actually playing the game that it just wasn't that much fun.

Some are dead simple, the Island Flyover (which is simply flying around Wuhu Island collecting “information” about it), and some require a great deal of practice to even manage not to fail spectacularly, Power Cruising (which involves quickly riding a Jet Ski through hoops).

One of the nice new things is enhanced replayability: they've added achievements (in the form of “stamps”) for each game, and the ability to unlock different minigames in each sport.

It struck me that many of the minigames actually give you a pretty good upper-body workout, and would, especially combined with Wii Fit for a good lower-body workout, make the game a justifiable purchase for that reason as well as it just being a heck of a lot of fun.

Some, Archery, are more about precision than motion, but others, Canoeing, Cycling and Swordplay, require a great deal of quick arm movements. I'll freely admit that I'm not in the best of shape, but I did break a sweat a number of times.

It's not as good as going to the gym, of course, but you could do worse things for your health than play this game a few times a week.

All in all, Wii Sports Resort is just a heck of a lot of fun for adults and kids, together or separately.

It comes with one Wii MotionPlus accessory, so you'll need to buy a separate MotionPlus for every other remote you have that you want to use with the game (nearly all the games can be played solo, and a few can only be played solo, but as you'd expect it's more fun with at least two players). The game, with MotionPlus, retails for $49.99 and the MotionPlus by itself for $19.99.

Wired: More fun than it has any right to be, really. And anyone who's had a Wii for a while will appreciate the fulfillment of its original promise with the MotionPlus.

Tired: That being said, having to drop $19.99 for each additional remote to be able to play the game is more difficult to appreciate. Some of the sports minigames — particularly Basketball — are less fun than others, and the Bowling isn't as much improved from the original as one might have hoped.

Verdict: Highly recommended, particularly if you have kids, but even if you don't. Couples may find the Swordplay duel minigame to have therapeutic value, in that you can beat the tar each other without any actual pain being inflicted.

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(PDF) Understanding the Nintendo Wii console in Long-term Care Facilities

Trend alert: New Wii Sports Resort game helps seniors keep fit and have fun

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tributes, but, further exploration is required to assess

the potential physical and social impact and interaction

viability of the Kinect in older care, home and clini-

cal environments. Due to the Kinect being released au-

tumn 2010, limited work or no has been published in

this area, but it is suggestive, this nature of Kinect tech-

nology, offers potential users a different approach to

engagement and well-being.


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