Wii Balance Board

Wii Balance Board

Infobox VG system
title = Wii Balance Board


caption = The Wii Balance Board attached to a "Wii Fit" demo at the Leipzig Games Convention in August 2007.
manufacturer = Nintendo
type = Video game controller
Predecessor =Wii
generation = Seventh generation era
lifespan =vgrelease|JP=December 1, 2007

The Wii Balance Board is a balance board accessory for Nintendo's Wii video game console. ["Wi Fit: How To Stay Balanced," "GamePro" 235 (April 2008): 19.] It was first revealed on July 11, 2007, at E3 2007, in combination with its software counterpart "Wii Fit". [cite web|url=http://www.consolewatcher.com/2007/07/stay-fit-with-nintendo-wii-balance-board/|title=Stay fit with Wii Balance Board|date=2007-11-12|publisher=Console Watcher]

Design

The Wii Balance Board is shaped like a household body scale, with a plain white top and light grey bottom. It uses four AA batteries as a power source, which can power the board for about 60 hours. [cite web|url=http://wii.ign.com/articles/853/853708p1.html|title=GDC 2008: Sawano on Wii Fit|publisher=IGN|date=February 20 2008|accessdate=2008-04-28] The board is wireless and contains multiple pressure sensors that are used to measure the user's center of balance—the location of the intersection between an imaginary line drawn vertically through the center of mass and the surface of the Balance Board—and body mass index. In an interview conducted by gaming web site IGN, Shigeru Miyamoto stated that the Balance Board's ability to measure weight is probably more accurate than that of a typical bathroom scale. [cite video|people=Shigeru Miyamoto (Interviewed)|date=July 12 2007|title=E3 2007: Shigeru Miyamoto Video Interview|url=http://uk.media.wii.ign.com/articles/804/804464/vids_1.html|publisher=IGN|accessdate=2007-07-13]

Although the Japanese packaging states that it is designed to support people weighing up to 136 kg (300 pounds / 21 stone 6lb) and the "Western" Balance Board up to 150 kg (330 pounds / 23 stone 9lb), they are actually the same board. The packaging differs due to the different laws in Japan and other nations regarding weights and measures. While the board will only display weight readings up to what is printed on the packaging, the actual physical structure of the board is able to withstand much greater force equivalent to around 300 kg (660 pounds / 47 stones 2lb). [GameInformer, Interview with Shigeru Miyamoto: [http://gameinformer.com/News/Story/200804/N08.0418.1027.13629.htm?Page=2 Different weight limits in different regions for Wii Balance Board] ]

Due to the similarities between the two products, the Wii Balance Board has been compared to the Joyboard, a peripheral released for the Atari VCS in 1982 by Amiga Corporation.cite web|url=http://www.watercoolergames.org/archives/000823.shtml|title=The Prehistory of Wii Fit|date=2007-07-15|accessdate=2007-07-18|publisher=Water Cooler Games|first=Ian|last=Bogost] The technology within the Joyboard was much less advanced than that in the Wii Balance Board, however, and instead of using pressure sensors under each footpad, the Joyboard simply positioned the four latches of a joystick beneath the board. Leaning engaged the latches, controlling the game.

It is noted in the manual that the Balance Board should only be used on a hard surface or thin carpet, as thicker or softer surfaces can cause the board to behave incorrectly. A set of feet extensions is included to allow the board to be used on softer surfaces. The extension feet are not included in the European versions of the balance board but may be purchased by the consumer at a cost of GBP 8.50.

It's recommended in the manual and in the software introduction that the balance board be used barefooted. Most shoes do not provide the dexterity some of the exercises require, and socks do not properly grip the hard surface. Members of Club Nintendo were, however, able to receive novelty Wii Fit non-skid socks which make use of small rubber pads which stick to surfaces similarly to bare feet.

Development

The balance board's development was tightly coupled with the development of the "Wii Fit" game. Nintendo initially contacted manufacturers of normal bathroom scales, but ended up building the board without their help in an effort to keep down costs. In early development models, the balance board was a simple scale with only one pressure sensor. However, the developers realized that a simple scale wasn't a very useful game accessory and eventually expanded the number of pressure sensors to two, and then finally four. The idea to use multiple sensors was partly inspired by how sumo wrestlers weigh themselves (using two scales).cite web|url=http://us.wii.com/wii-fit/iwata_asks/vol2_page1.jsp|title=Iwata Asks: Wii fit] The shape of the balance board was initially a square, but it was decided that it was too hard to use for the exercises.

For a long time, the board was an extension controller to a normal Wii remote.

oftware

"Wii Fit" is the first game to make use of the Wii Balance Board. Shigeru Miyamoto noted the potential for other uses, however, noting that "probably the simplest and most straightforward [idea] would be a snowboarding game". [cite web|url=http://uk.wii.ign.com/articles/804/804397p1.html|publisher=IGN|date=2007-07-12|accessdate=2007-07-13|title=E3 2007: Nintendo Developer Roundtable] Miyamoto has also stated that Nintendo has received "many inquiries" from third parties following the announcement of "Wii Fit" and the Wii Balance Board,cite web|url=http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=8258756&publicUserId=5379721|title=Miyamoto Roundtable full transcription|date=2007-07-13|accessdate=2007-07-14] as well as receiving interest from the physical fitness industry.

"We Ski" by Namco Bandai Holdings is the first third-party game to make use of the Wii Balance Board, in conjunction with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk attachment.cite web|url=http://gonintendo.com/?p=29590|title=Bandai Namco makes an excellent decision - Family Ski supports Wii Fit board|date=2007-11-16|accessdate=2007-11-15|publisher=GoNintendo]

THQ has also announced that "All-Star Cheer Squad" for the Wii will feature Balance Board compatibility. [cite web|url=http://n-europe.com/news.php?nid=11583|publisher=N-Europe|date=2008-03-06|accessdate=2007-03-16|title=All-Star Cheer Squad Hits Wii & DS]

It has also been announced that the Wii version of the boxing game "" will make use of the Wii Balance Board in some of the training mini-games. [cite web|url=http://www.videogamer.com/news/15-04-2008-8035.html|publisher=VideoGamer|date=2008-04-15|accessdate=2008-04-15|title=Prizefighter to include Wii Fit Balance Board support]

Electronic Arts and Black Box's "Skate It" will also make full use of the Wii Balance Board.

Ubisoft has recently released a trailer featuring one of their rabbids and the Wii Balance Board, which is a teaser trailer for the upcoming "Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party". [cite web|url=http://www.ds-x2.com/news/Rayman%2BRaving%2BRabbids%2BEncounter%2BBalance%2BBoard%2C11233,11233|publisher=DS-x2|date=2008-04-29|accessdate=2007-04-29|title=Rayman Raving Rabbids Balance Board trailer]

Ubisoft has also announced "Shaun White Snowboarding", a snowboarding game for the Wii, meant to use the Balance Board to its maximum capabilities. [cite web|url=http://wii.ign.com/articles/877/877107p1.html|publisher=IGN|date=2008-05-28|accessdate=2008-05-28|title=Shaun White Snowboarding Preview]

Majesco has revealed that "Jillian Michaels' Fitness Ultimatum 2009", a fitness title starring celebrity fitness trainer Jillian Michaels, will utilize the Wii Balance Board. In the game, players are presented Wii Remote and Wii Balance Board motion-based challenges that range from crossing monkeybars to climbing ladders and rowing; players can also unlock lifestyle and fitness video tips from Jillian. [cite web|url=http://www.ds-x2.com/news/Majesco%2BUses%2BBalance%2BBoard%2Bfor%2BNew%2BFitness%2BTitle%2C11390,11390|publisher=DS-x2|date=2008-06-12|accessdate=2007-06-12|title=Majesco uses Balance Board for new fitness title]

Recently, a leak from Activision revealed a Wii-exclusive "Spider-Man" title involving the Wii Balance Board. No further information has been released [ [http://kotaku.com/5016625/spider+man-wii-games-to-use-wii-fit-balance-board-web-shooter-controllers Spider-Man Wii games to use Wii Fit Balance Board, Web-Shooter Controllers] ] .

KOEI has also announced a videogame for Wii utilizing the Wii Balance Board. In "G1 Jockey Wii 2008", players get to leap fences and steer their horse to victory through the Balance Board. [cite web|url=http://www.ds-x2.com/news/G1%2BJockey%2BWii%2B2008%2BUtilizing%2BWii%2BBalance%2BBoard%2C11405,11405|publisher=DS-x2|date=2008-06-16|accessdate=2007-06-16|title=G1 Jockey Wii 2008 Utilizing Wii Balance Board]

"Tetris Party" for WiiWare will also feature one of their games where you use the Wii Balance Board when playing.

Nintendo's E3 demo of "Wii Music" revealed support for the Wii Balance Board. [cite web|url=http://www.ds-x2.com/news/Nintendo%2BE3%2BConference%2B-%2BStay%2BTuned%2C11543,11543|publisher=DS-x2|date=2008-07-15|accessdate=2007-07-15|title=Nintendo E3 Conference]

Existing Wiimote libraries are extended to communicate with Balance Board extensions through Bluetooth. In this way, the Balance Board can be used as input for a wide range of applications on regular PCs, for example 3D navigation in Virtual Reality [cite web|url=http://visualisation.tudelft.nl/Projects/WiiBalanceBoard|title=Using the Wii Balance Board(TM) as a Low-Cost VR Interaction Device|date=2008-08-25|publisher=Delft University of Technology]

Ubisoft has announced that Imagine Fashion Party (with Balance Board support) has been delayed until 2009. [http://www.balanceboardblog.com/2008/08/imagine-fashion-party-delayed.html]

Hudson Soft has announced that Kororinpa 2 will support the Balance Board - the game will be released in the first quarter of 2009. [http://gonintendo.com/?p=53161]

Conspiracy Entertainment is publishing RTL Winter Sports 2009 (developed by 49Games) later in 2008, and it will incorporate support for the Balance Board. [http://www.wiibalanceboardgames.com/?tag=/rtl+games]

In addition to RTL Winter Sports 2009, RTL Biathlon 2009 is also due later in 2008. [http://www.wiibalanceboardgames.com/post/RTL-Biathlon-2009-and-RTL-Winter-Sports-2009-Announced.aspx]

Milestone is publishing Hula Wii in Japan in September 2008. [http://www.balanceboardblog.com/2008/07/hula-hoop-balance-board-game-confirmed.html]

Compatible games

{| style="margin: auto" class="wikitable"! Title! Release Date US! Release Date UK
-
"Wii Fit"
May-21-2008
Apr-25-2008
-
"Family Ski/We Ski"
May-13-2008
Jun-13-2008
-
""
Mar-02-2009
Sep-26-2008
-
"G1 Jockey Wii 2008"
N/A
Sep-26-2008
-
"All Star Cheer Squad"
Oct-21-2008
Nov-14-2008
-
"Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party"
Nov-11-2008
Nov-11-2008
-
"Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip"
Nov-17-2008
Nov-17-2008
-
"Babysitting Party"
Q4 2008
Q4 2008
-
"Skate It"
Nov-18-2008
Q4 2008
-
"Tetris Party" (WiiWare)
Q4 2008
Q4 2008
-
"Wii Music" [cite web|url=http://www.ds-x2.com/news/Nintendo%2BE3%2BConference%2B-%2BStay%2BTuned%2C11543,11543|publisher=DS-x2|date=2008-07-15|accessdate=2007-07-15|title=Nintendo E3 Conference]
Q4 2008
Q4 2008
-
"Jillian Michaels' Fitness Ultimatum 2009"
Oct-22-2008
TBA
-
My fittnes coach
December 9 2008

-
"Imagine Fashion Party"
2009
2009
-
"Kororinpa 2"
Q1 2009
Q1 2009
-
"RTL Winter Sports 2009"
Nov-11-2008
Q4 2008
-
"RTL Biathlon 2009"
Q4 2008
Q4 2008
-
"Hula Wii"
TBA
TBA
-|

References

External links

* [http://www.joystiq.com/2007/07/11/engadget-and-joystiq-live-from-nintendos-e3-2007-keynote/ Joystiq keynote blog]
* [http://wii.ign.com/articles/803/803335p1.html IGN keynote blog]
* [http://visualisation.tudelft.nl/Projects/WiiBalanceBoard An open-source, cross-platform balance board library ]


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