Exercise on the Nintendo Wii is twofold: some games utilize the included Wii Remote, while more fitness-specific options require purchasing the Wii Fit balance board for $90. (An extra remote and nunchuk cost $25.)
- Wii Fit Plus, software only ($13.25) - If you already have a balance board, the newest version of the Wii Fit software is worth your time. The benefit of the balance board over other systems is that it allows you to track your actual weight loss with daily weigh-ins. The original Wii Fit had a large range of exercises, yoga workouts and fitness games, and the Wii Fit Plus adds on more customization options as well as revised routines.
- Just Dance 2 ($29.99) - "A workout in disguise", Just Dance 2 is more party-oriented than its wildly popular predecessor. This game senses the movement of the Wii Remote as players dance along with moves choreographed to popular tunes. Currently number one on the Amazon video games bestseller list, and there's even a version for kids.
- Gold's Gym Dance workout ($19.99) - workouts on the Wii are all about dancing (there's also a Zumba fitness game). This one uses the Balance Board and Wii Remote for a dance workout, boxing workout and calorie-burning minigames. It measures your BMI progress, and has an option to create a "circuit program", a 30-minute continuous session of dancing and minigames.
Also check out our post on the 10 best weight loss games for Wii.
Movement detection on the PlayStation 3 seems to be one of the more accurate options, but any kind of exercise will likely require buying a peripheral, which can get expensive. The Playstation Move starter bundle costs $99.99 and includes a sports game, one Move controller and a PlayStation Eye camera.
- Dance Dance Revolution bundle ($59.99) - DDR, a fast-paced dance routine game, has been a staple of game geek exercise routines since its arcade version appeared in 1998. This version, the first console version in HD, requires a dance pad (included in the bundle) and has one mode that works with Move.
- The Fight: Lights Out ($36.99) - One of the Move launch titles, The Fight is a boxing game that uses 1:1 motion control. Recommended as an exercise game, and it displays how many calories you've burned while playing.
- Get Fit with Mel B ($39.99) - This former Spice Girl-led workout seems like a super-interactive celebrity workout video, and it's one of the first Move-specific exercise games. You identify fitness goals and receive a daily 30-minute routine, chart your progress and learn about nutrition. You also see a video version of yourself doing steps right next to Scary Spice herself.
Fitness games dominated the Xbox 360 Amazon bestsellers list this year, thanks to the release of the Kinect, which will set you back $149.99. The top picks:
- Your Shape: Fitness Evolved ($33.99) - This game, the highest-ranked Xbox 360 game on Amazon, utilizes the Kinect to analyze your body shape to track your progress, and includes hundreds of exercises and routines including martial arts, yoga, weight loss and Tai Chi.
- Dance Central ($39.00) - In addition to turning you into a lean, mean dancing queen, Dance Central promises to burn calories as you shake your booty on the virtual dance floor -- and it even tracks them for you.
- The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout ($39.99) - Like Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, the Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout analyzes your body shape. It also helps you track your caloric intake, suggests recipes, and has a feature that lets you create a video diary to track your weekly progress, "just like the contestants in the show". Optional accessories include resistance bands, a stability ball and free weights.
And last but not least:
- EA Sports Active 2 ($59.99), perhaps the most popular game of all the options, and available for all three platforms. It offers over 70 exercise activities for unlimited workout combinations, and includes a professional 9-week workout regimen. Other new features include competitive play, heart rate monitoring and online tracking.
Originally for the Wii, EA Sports Active 2 improves upon the original by adding new wireless controllers to increase the players' range of motion. Uses the Wii Remote, and the Balance Board is optional for some exercises. For the transition from the Wii to the Playstation, EA created its own arm and leg controllers and heart rate monitor -- it doesn't actually use the Move at all. And reviews for the Kinect version of EA Sports Active 2 are mixed, but look for improvements in the future. Currently problems include requiring absolutely clear playing space and sensitivity issues.