Get Fit? Wii, you may be pushing it

Special to The Times

Dear Nintendo,

OK, we get it. Gamers are out of shape. The majority of us sit around on our couches all day playing games that involve little more than moving our thumbs.

And though we appreciate the workouts we get playing our beloved Wii, perhaps you're taking this self-improvement stuff a little too far with your ingenious Wii Balance Board and the game that comes with it, Wii Fit.

Don't get us wrong: The Wii Balance Board is nothing short of amazing in how it senses our movements simply by weighing the pressure applied to different parts of itself. (Who would have dreamed that gyrating a virtual Hula-Hoop would be possible in our lifetimes?)

And Wii Fit is a good collection of activities (yoga, aerobics, strength training and mini-games) that, if used correctly and with a little dedication, might actually improve the user's health. The board is remarkably easy to use, and its exercises can be done by the whole family. (Giving us our choice of a male or female trainer is a good motivational tool too, even if the characters look like moving mannequins.)

So, although we appreciate your concern for our well-being, we have a concern of our own: Do you really think this will replace a pre-existing workout routine and be embraced by the masses? Or will it go down as just another failed fitness gimmick?

One thing is for sure: We can't wait to see what fun games you can cook up that use our fancy new balance board. Just don't expect us all to give up our dumbbells.

Grade: B+ (love the board, not the workout).

Details: Nintendo Wii platform; game and balance board $89.99; rated Everyone (comic mischief).


Friends don't let friends play Haze

Don't let the fancy commercials fool you: Haze is conceptually flawed and remarkably unoriginal.

Haze tries to be something special but ends up more like a gumbo -- taking the good parts of other great games and then cooking them poorly. (Add a sprinkle of BioShock, mix in Halo 3, pepper with Army of Two, splash in Resistance and what do you get? Queasy.)

From the start, your super-futuristic mercenary soldier is addicted to a drug called nectar, a brain-enhancing yellow serum that makes him and his mates hyper and annoying but better equipped to fight against the rebel leader "Skin Coat" and his minions.

Yet all is not as it seems, and soon some painfully written and slowly developing cut screens take the story in an entirely different direction, all this while forcing gamers to wade through generic first-person shooter action that gets occasionally interrupted by a drug-induced, uh, haze. Groan.

Like the anti-drug messages of the late '80s, just say no to this one.

Grade: D+ (decidedly average.)

Details: PlayStation 3 platform; $59.99; rated Mature (blood, intense violence, strong language, use of drugs).

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