A couple little news items that made me laugh and cry this week.
First is the Wall Street Journal covering so-called 'Wii-elbow'. No other way to decribe it than a kind of culture shock arising from the collision between a bunch of fat, lazy pre-diabetics suddenly finding their sedentary life-styles in conflict with their insatiable thirst for entertainment with the arrival of the Wii.
A twelve year old girl says "it's harder than playing basketball"... which is such an absurdly false statement than I was almost blinded when I read it. Have you ever even played basketball? I've played a lot of Wii now, and one thing I can say for sure is that - while better than nothing - it's a far cry from playing a 'real' competitive sport. The only way I could reconcile that statement with reality was to assume she meant "it's harder than playing basketball". Gimme a break.
Next is the guy who complains of aching shoulders and arms and profuse sweating after playing Wii boxing for and hour and a half. An hour and a half. Of shadow boxing!! That's like 20 rounds of shadow boxing including all the breaks. Twenty, three-minute high intensity anaerobic sprints. The guy is threshold training with his Wii and fucking himself up. Does anyone in the world think it would be a good idea spend 90 minutes doing threshold training at the gym the very first time they go?
Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for using Wii Sports daily to get some exercise, especially if you currently get none, but ease yourself into it. Soon enough you will find that the exercise itself is as fun as the gameplay, and the gameplay will start to get tired once you've exhausted the depth of the system-space. Then - god forbid - when your brain is bored of the systems, but your body is craving the movement - maybe you'll actually want to do some real exercise for its own sake.
I wonder if we'll make it through the holiday without someone's Uncle Jack from Winnipeg having a coronary from playing 45 minutes of Wii Tennis with little Billy after gorging himself on Christmas Ham and Turkey? I wonder if Nintendo will face class-action lawsuits from a North American population so addicted to laziness and broadcast media pablum that a few corpses will actually be more shocking than an entire population of pale-skinned, carpal-crippled, diabetics with soaring blood-pressure and cheetos-orange stained fingers?
Part two of this sports-in-games weekend-write-up is an article from UrbanGrounds that went around the office last week. Now, I don't know much about football, but this is fuckin' hilarious. Ethan Albright is what I gues you call a 'special teams lineman' playing with the Washington Redskins in the NFL. He's had a 12 year career (which I take it is exceptional for a lineman) because he's good at doing a long snap to a punter, thereby buying the kicker enough space to get the ball away before being pummeled into the earth.
Unfortunately for Ethan Albright, someone has to be the lowest rated overall player in Madden Football, and this year, it's him. He writes a foul-mouthed rant to Madden and EA that's a good read provided you're not trying to drink a can of Coke while you read it.
Anyway, to bring a point to it rather than just point to it, question: does there even need to be an overall player ranking in such a game? Does someone have to be the 'worst' player in the NFL? It certainly seems like a problem to provide overall rankings - especially in a game like football - which has so many orthogonal units in play. You can do it more easily in boxing or tennis where everyone is being compared in the same way, but in more complex team sports with a variety fo player (unit) roles - of which football may be the most complex - is such a ranking even meaningful?
Regardless, Albright probably didn't complain when he got the royalty check from EA or via the player's association, and probably he wouldn't opt out of receiving such a cheque next season either, so maybe he should just deal with it. It's still a funny letter.