Wednesday, January 24, 2007

An Evening of Wii Boxing

They say you can be inspired by the most curious things. About a week or two ago, I read a story about a fellow who had played Nintendo’s Wii Sports to their fullest extent and, without making a single other lifestyle change, lost about 9 lbs in 6 weeks. “Hell,” I thought, “what a good idea.” My biggest problem with workouts in general is that they never feel…competitive enough. If I could add some more physical activity through a video game, what was there to lose? Since then, I’ve been almost religious in devoting 30 to 60 minutes a day actively playing Wii Sports (that is to say, jumping around and acting like it was the real deal, effectively making it aerobic exercise).

It’s about 6:30pm. Time for dinner. None for me, thank for. I don’t want it. I don’t need it. I have other plans for the next 45 minutes.

I take off my shirt, allowing my body, for better or worse, to be exposed to the world (at least, the world enclosed by my walls). I then replace my jeans with the lightest, airiest pair of basketball shorts I can find. Good, I’m dressed for the part.

From my mini-fridge, I produce two Lexan bottles brimming with icy water – one is never enough. I unscrew their lids and set them on my desk. My fan is turned on and placed so that its rejuvenating winds will reach me when the game has begun. Finally turn on some music: a pump-up song, set to repeat.

I take out a Remote and Nunchuck, and turn on my Nintendo Wii. I quickly navigate through the various menus until I reach the sports game; more specifically, until I reach Wii Boxing.

I make it to the character selection page, where I can choose any of the avatars I’ve created. I decide to use a newcomer with no experience, so I choose my homemade Jean-Luc Picard avatar. I forget, of course, that with each new character to enter the ring, a tutorial must be endured. Fine, I think to myself, use the time. While the game is telling me for the umpteenth time how to play, I am busy making minced man meat of my opponent. Jab. Hook. Jabjabjab. And uppercut for the kill.

Of course, this being the tutorial, the opponent doesn’t sustain a lick of damage. Damn.

DING! There, now the match has started. While still hopping from side to side, I unleash blow after blow after blow. The opponent falls and sleeps for the count of ten. I beat him 15 seconds into the match. I have a ways to go before my mettle is actually tested.

The next opponent faces me. Slam; he’s done. Another rises from the ashes. She, too, cannot withstand my wrath. Again and again, they fall and I gain experience points. Eventually my score is up to 947. Only 53 more points before I am given “Pro” status, something I have not yet accomplished with any of my avatars. About 40 minutes have already passed. My body feels the burn. This will likely be my last fight for the evening.

My opponents have gotten progressively more challenging, and in my experiences, I learned a trick or two. Throwing out my arms wasn’t good enough for the big shots. I had to dodge from side to side, hoping to catch them off guard and then strike. It’s worked so far. Will it work once more?

My opponent is a husky character named Alex. With 1072 experience points, he is a professional and my most powerful opponent yet.

As the first bell rings, I unleash a quick one-two punch, hoping to exploit the fact that Alex’s gloves are at his side. The move is successful, but not without its price. After depleting one of his ten initial health bars, he retaliates and attacks me for three of my own. I quickly adapt and go into my defensive strategy, dodging and strafing to avoid his ham hock of a fist.

Before long, it happens: I dodge just as he punches. The slow-motion animation calls to me, pleading that I strike. I happily comply. OOMF! Alex is dazed, but not for long. He slugs me back until I get into the dodging routine again. This cyclical dance continues for some time.


I recognize the announcer’s voice, letting me know that my bobbing and weaving was not in vain. Alex is lying on the mat.

“It won’t last,” I mumble to myself. And it doesn’t. Alex gets up before the announcer reaches four. The professional fighters never go down on the first count. Thankfully, he only regenerates eight health bars. After a brief reprieve, the announcer calls, “Fight!” and it’s back on. I sneak in a few punches, but my health is low enough that I may be knocked out with a single blow.


That’s the end of the first round. I wasn’t knocked out, but that was due in larger part to a few lucky hits rather than pure skill. I take a swig of water before the Round 2 bell tolls. The fighting begins again in earnest. That is, for the approximately 3 seconds before Alex sends a right hook to my side, sweeping me off my feet.

There is little I can do to help the situation, so I do some jumping jacks. This is a workout, after all. Still, my jumps are in time with the count, and each one brings me closer to defeat. After jumping my sixth jack, Jean-Luc arises.

I continue the routine. I have learned Alex’s movements. I am more cautious, though I honestly can’t afford to be. If I don’t score a knockout, it will go to a judges’ decision, and even if I am favored, I will lose experience points. No, a knockout is the only way to become pro. Committed to attaining my goal, I become a tiger, sleek and ferocious. Left fist downwards, to the body; right fist upward, to the head. One is bound to go unblocked, and that weak spot will be assaulted, as any wise tactician would do. Soon enough, Alex falls again.

But still, he is not beaten. By the count of six, he is up, and we continue. He whittles my health down to two bars, but victory is so close that it condenses upon my tongue. I continue my onslaught. I give him no quarter. My muscles burning, I floor him once more. Yet as there is no rest for the wicked, there is no rest for this damned character.


The third round. My own sweat becomes adversarial, rushing toward my eyes in a salty blitzkrieg, burning them, forcing me to blink at critical moments. Whist cringing in pain, I hear the announcer call “Down!” But the call didn’t follow my own punch. Through the blurred vision, I see that it was I who was knocked off his feet. My temporary blindness became my weakness, and now I may lose because of it.

“Get up, Jean-Luc!” I scream, “Get up!”


Finally, my avatar crawls back to his feet. With a renewed vigor, I resume my furious attack. There isn’t much time left. Dodge, dodge, dodge, punch. Dodge, dodge, one, two, three! With a final uppercut, Alex falls. I raise my Wiimote in triumph as I take a gulp from my bottle of water. I nod my head with each number called.

Then, at the call of nine, he gets back up, two bars of health left. My mouth is agape in shock. This is the first instance I would have to knock down my opponent five times. And I have only 14 seconds to do so, lest it goes to the judges.

Fight.” There’s no time to dodge. No time to think. I unleash the strongest haymakers I can muster. I close my eyes. I don’t stop. I don’t stop.


I open my eyes. Alex lies on the mat for the final time.

“Yes!” I scream, “You’re down! You’re down, and you’re going to stay down! You will not steal this victory from me!”

“TEN, you bastard! And I win!”

The Wiimote nearly slips out of my slick hand as I raise it in victory. This most hard-fought victory is sure to win me my Pro status. After throwing a few last jabs while being told I won, I see the experience points page and how much I’ve earned. My eyes widen and my jaw drops.

“8 points?! All that for 8 points? What a gyp!”

I huffily turn off the Wii and take a shower.

Ah, I love videogames!


Unknown said...

my heart pumping a mile a mintue! I can hardly sit down!
you may have won the Battle Andrew but you lost the War!
HAHAHAHAHAHA! I say to you!

Andrew Schnorr said...

Yes, I thought the coincidental name was pretty uncanny... ;)