Playing around

Karen Peatt
The Nintendo Wii is a popular video games system. Many games are controlled by moving your arms. But exact motions are not always needed. I am a wheelchair user. There are many Wii games I can play. One of my favourites is Wii Fit. It uses a Balance Board. It is good exercise for me. Sony and Microsoft now have their own motion control systems. PlayStation Move uses a wand that is like the Wii controller. But Xbox Kinect does not use a controller at all. It uses cameras to track people's movements.
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Karen Peatt on 25/02/2011
A close up of a pair of hands holding a Wii Remote and a Wii Nunchuk controller

Some occupational therapists recommend Wii as physical therapy

The Nintendo Wii system is one of the most popular home video game systems currently available. Nintendo recently announced it has sold over two million Wii consoles in Australia.

Millions of people have been attracted to the Wii because of its motion controllers. Many Wii games encourage players to get off the couch and move their whole body. Some occupational therapists even recommend Wii as a form of physical therapy for people with a disability.

Wii Remote

The Wii comes with a controller called a Wii Remote. The Wii Remote is strapped to a player’s wrist and held in the hand. You then move your arms as required. For example, you might pretend you are swinging a golf club or tennis racquet when playing Wii Sports.

The good news for people with a disability is exact motions are not always required to play. As long as you can move in the rough direction required, the remote still registers your movement. It then translates your movement into on-screen action. For example, a flick of the wrist is all that is needed for 10-pin bowling.

Wii Fit

Wii Fit is one of the console’s most popular games. It uses another controller called the Balance Board. As a wheelchair user I need to make a few adjustments to the way I use the Balance Board.

I am not able to play all of Wii Fit’s activities. But the ones I can play are great exercise for my legs. 

Favourite games

I am able to play many Wii games. Some of my favourites include:

  • Wii Sports - An addictive collection containing boxing, golf, tennis and 10-pin bowling.
  • Order Up – A fun game where you run your own restaurant. For some parts of the game I need to hold the Wii Remote in a different way to what is suggested on the screen.
  • New Super Mario Bros. – A platform game that brings back memories. It is hard for me to play because it requires a lot of physical dexterity. But it is still a lot of fun.
  • Wii Fit - A fun game designed to improve your fitness. It uses the Wii Balance Board. I play it in a sitting position from my manual wheelchair. I am not able to play all the games. But I can play the balance games and some of the strengthening modes.

There are many other Wii games you could try. I would suggest you or hire them to see if they are suitable for you. 

Other motion-based systems

The Wii is no longer the only motion based video games console available. Both Sony and Microsoft have now released their own motion-based systems for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.

PlayStation Move is a wand-like controller similar to the Wii Remote. A digital camera is used to track the wand’s position. It is very accurate. Some people with a disability will find it much easier to hold than a Wii Remote. But some of the buttons are small, which may present a problem for some users. PlayStation Move games include sport simulations, trivia contests and shooting games.

The Xbox Kinect system does not use a controller at all. Instead, sensors and cameras are used to track the player’s full body movement. Kinect allows people to play video games even if they can’t hold and manipulate objects. But some games require very precise movements. Most games are always designed to be played while standing up. Popular Kinect games include sports simulations, dancing and racing games. 

What are your favourite games for the Wii, PlayStation Move or Xbox Kinect motion control systems? Let us know in the comments section below.

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