Review By: Siou Choy
|# Of Players:||1|
|Accessories:||Nunchuk, Wii Balance Board|
OK, let’s get this cleared up right off the bat. I hate reality TV. It’s demeaning, sloppily written crap where everyday folks submit themselves to bad scripts and nationwide embarrassment in return for 5 minutes of semi-fame and an utter loss of any sense of self-respect. The whole craze for this sort of ritualized abuse, particularly as it tends in many cases to veer into the arenas of emotional and/or physical torture and humiliation, smack too much of the Roman gladiatorial arena for my nose. The fact that it put semi-respectable television writers out of business in favor of the sort of hacks who could pound out this tactless, even cruel crap grates even worse. In effect, it’s bullsh*t, from the word go.
Therefore, I can proudly admit to never having seen the show The Biggest Loser (even the name is a derisive pun at the expense of the ‘contestants’) is based on (not to mention Survivor, Big Brother, any season of the Real World past the first two, or even the “contest” shows like American Idol or Dancing with the Stars, though I was subjected to Star Search back in the day – thanks so much, Grandma…). And I can look at myself in the mirror without a trace of self-contempt simply because of that fact. That being said, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from The Biggest Loser for the Wii. What I could infer from what little I knew of it is that despite it’s snarky title, at least The Biggest Loser provides participants with an attempt to improve their own health and well-being, which puts it a step or two above its even less scrupulous ilk.
So for the edification (or the reverse thereof – so what exactly do you call it when you bring people down to a low and crass level by means of sharing information?), of those, like myself, who don’t know anything about The Biggest Loser, here’s the scoop. Apparently, the base premise is that of an intense weight loss program where participants leave home, job, and family in order to spend several weeks trying to lose weight and engage in some form of lifestyle modification (to ensure the weight stays off thereafter). In effect, it’s the old wealthy person’s “fat farm”, but for the proles. The action takes place on a ranch with the aid of two trainers, the somewhat effeminate Bob Harper and the terrifyingly masculine Jillian Michaels (who may or may not define the term “trannie”), each of whom will put the ‘contestants’ (in the case of the videogame version, the gamer) through a rather difficult exercise program. The two play that hoary old “good cop bad cop” routine, this time involving personal trainers rather than uniformed fascists.
The game starts you off by gathering some personal information to determine your daily calorie needs, fitness level and goals. Right from the start, I felt something was a bit off, as I only wanted to lose a little weight, yet the game wanted to cut my calorie intake to less than 1100 calories! For those who aren’t aware of some basic nutrition and health facts, most sources agree that you should not cut calorie intake below a daily regimen of 1500 in order to lose weight. Should you cut caloric content below that mark, the body goes into starvation mode, which leaves you with insufficient energy to perform normal functions and similarly slows the metabolism to a level where incoming calories are automatically shunted off to be stored as fat (an evolutionary adaptation to promote longer survival in desert conditions). As the generally agreed upon “normal” calorie intake runs about 2000, and below 1500 pushes the body into starvation mode, cutting recommended daily calorie intake literally in half seemed just a tad extreme – particularly for someone who’s only trying to take a few pounds off.
Bugaboo #2. The game wants you to choose an avatar from one of eight previous Biggest Loser “contestants”, four from each sex. Somehow these unfortunates are supposed to represent you (the gamer) as you go through the game and perform the exercises. While I can understand that importing one’s Mii into the game doesn’t quite fit the graphical style of the game, it was a bit off-putting to have to play as (and the real life people involved will have to forgive my bluntness – hopefully they were able to get their lives back on track in the interim)….I’m sorry, but repulsively obese slobs is the only way I can express this honestly (forgive me again, anyone whose lives have slid into such a condition). We’re not talking love handles and a bit of a beer belly here, folks. This is some serious side of beef on display.
Posted: 2011-01-30 12:40:50 PST