News Article

Vitality Sensor Gets Its First Announced Game

Posted by James Newton

Worldwide shock at name "Wii Vitality"

You certainly can't argue with Nintendo's branding department when it comes to game names. Back in my day, it used to be a "Super" here or a "64" there, but these days the Wii name is even stronger than Nintendo's, with the big N keen to slap it on every game they release, including the recently hinted-at "Wii Vitality".

The Vitality Sensor's unveiling at E3 could hardly have been called "industry-shaking", but now the hoo-hah has died down Nintendo head honcho Satoru Iwata has been showing off the device and its applications to a few select journalists, including the Times Online's technology editor Nigel Kendall.

Recounting a meeting with Iwata and the Vitality Sensor, Kendall lets out the first details of the game's self-explanatory "Wii Vitality" game:

Our meeting closes with a personal demonstration of Iwata’s latest new thing: the Wii Vitality Sensor, which he first revealed the day before to an astonished E3 audience. Nintendo employees were no less surprised: this was something that Iwata had been keeping under wraps, even editing the explanatory video himself on the plane over from Japan.

Wii Vitality, which is expected to ship next year, is a small electronic thimble that sits on the end of a forefinger. It uses light sensors to measure the flow of blood, extrapolating information about the internal workings of their bodies. It is a natural complement to Nintendo’s existing health-oriented products such as Wii Fit and Brain Training.

“This is me in the office last Friday,” Iwata says, pointing at the video. “I’m checking my relaxation levels. This can also sense whether you’re breathing in or out by the blood flow.”

A visual representation of a human silhouette fills slowly with blue water to chest level to show that Iwata is slightly stressed. “I’m thinking of E3,” he laughs.

The sound of a metronome appears, with breathing exercises.

“Now look,” he says, “how my relaxation level has changed.” The human silhouette is now slightly more full, of greener water.

"This is what I find interesting,” Iwata says. “The idea of making something that is invisible, visible is fascinating.”

A game that needs you to fill your silhouette with green water sounds like a surefire winner in anybody's home. Let's face it though - all Nintendo need to do is tie this in with Wii Fit Plus somehow and it'll sell like nobody's business. Somehow I doubt Suda51's ideas are quite the same as this.


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User Comments (31)



Damo said:

I honestly think this is one 'innovation' too far for Nintendo. I just can't see how this will result in better games. They already tried this once with the N64 and it failed then.



Terra said:

@Damo - Thanks for the article link

No wonder I didn't know about that. Let's hope they have something better for the vitality sensor this time around. I don't have much faith in the idea personally, i only see it as a gimmick. I've been wrong before though several times, so I'll hold further criticism until it's released.



Starwolf_UK said:

When did they try this with the N64?
The answer is Nintendo didn't. However Amtex did (with SETA publishing). Also you've got to remember that bio sensor is different to the vitality sensor. Without a diagram I wouldn't know how to set up the bio sensor but the Vitality sensor seems impossible to get wrong. The only way to mess up the vitality sensor is to put your thumb into it rather than a finger.

As for failed once;always a failiure. Wireless controlllers anyone? You'll remember the 80s and 90s being ridden with wireless controllers which were laggy and ate batteries. Heck there were even a few attempts at motion control like the Activator:



Adam said:

No wonder Nintendo's E3 presentation was so sedate. They had all been relaxing too much prior to the show.

@ Jerichoholic
Almost as nice as George Costanza's hand modeling!



Kidpit said:

Wii Vitality Huh? I suppose if they were going to bundle the sensor with Wii Fit Plus they would have said so when they talked about Wii Fit Plus during E3.



paulcmnt said:

Varoennauraa: That's something I also thought the Wii Vitality Sensor might be good at.

I was also thinking of a minigame in which you have to actually hold your breath while underwater. And if you start breathing your character would start loosing health and die, so hold your breath no matter what!



FroguinZX said:

@diego_pmc: can you say 'lawsuit'? But fanboys might cheer because it could kill off a few casuals.

Personally, I find it more as a piss taking sensor for a stealth game. You're so close, your heart races, then you're caught. It would make it in depth but I wouldn't use it. I see a lot of other uses, but the possibilities are locked up.



Lotice-Paladin said:

Looks more like something you find in a Gym when you've completed your excerises to measure your oxygen intake.

Perhaps this is for the health worriers out there (me included).




I'll sit happily in the very small minority lounge then. I'm very interested in this. It maybe because I'm a healthcare professional tbh. Walk with Me DS was seen as pointless as well but has recieved good to very good reviews once used with software.



Crazed said:

I wonder what they are going to do with this... I don't know whether to like it or not, since I was begging for something completely new, and this fits the category perfectly, but I struggle to find out what game this could work for. You only need one game to make hardware a success (balance board-Wii Fit), but I struggle to see what that one game could be.



Vendetta said:

"Beat the Box" - a game that trains kids to lie undetectedly so they don't get in trouble for the stuff they do in school. Could backfire on parents though when they ask their kids if they did their homework.



SmaMan said:

This could be a key component for Wii Fit because it would be able to more accurately tell how many calories you are burning. Other uses? Well... someone will think of something... hopefully this doesn't become hardware mindlessly tacked onto games that clearly wouldn't need it.



Richard said:

Trauma Centre Operations would be fun with this device keeping an eye on your nerve skills.



moosa said:

Why does everyone think this is so useless and ridiculous? Have they no knowledge of Brain Training or Wii Fit? These are by far two of Nintendo's most widely successful and well-received products, and nobody expected it would be so before they were released. Tell me how this device is any different?
I personally find it very interesting, having actually paid attention to what Iwata has said:

“Now look,” he says, “how my relaxation level has changed.” The human silhouette is now slightly more full, of greener water.
"This is what I find interesting,” Iwata says. “The idea of making something that is invisible, visible is fascinating.”

You're going to have software telling you what's going on inside your body. It's going to be measuring your stress level, your cardio/vascular activity and performance, and provide feedback of this data in real time. It's going to offer you ways to not only become aware of these functions within your body, but enable you to learn to control them. Tell me how many of you have access to these sorts of things in your daily lives...



pikku said:

I can see a strange future for Wii games if this is coupled eith the saddle accsessory

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