Nintendo just released it's latest game for the Wii gaming system, Wii Fit, which is essentially you working out to instructions from the game and watching your 3D animated self do the moves on your TV.
The little board you stand on can be used as a virtual snow board, a yoga mat, skateboard, jogging track, etc. It's also a digital talking scale of sorts, and it will tell you about yourself, good and bad.
So it was inevitable that someone, somewhere who paid $89.99 for the Wii Fit was going to complain over the game's assessment of their weight and body mass-to-fat ratio.
There will probably be many, but for now the complainants are the parents of a 10-year-old girl in the U.K., who was playing the Wii Fit recently, when it told her she was fat.
The girl was distraught, her parents angry. The girl isn't fat, not even close. Nintendo issued an apology, explaining the weight measurement aspect the game wasn't meant for kids because their bodies are developing and in flux. And a rep for the National Obesity Forum wants children banned from playing the game.
It was nice of Nintendo to apologize to the girl. Kids are impressionable, and little girls these days don't need to be goaded anymore than they already are through commercials into thinking they're fat if they're anything more than scrawny.
Still, am I being calloused or was this all a bit of overreaction? I don't have a 10-year-old, so I don't know how I'd react. But I applaud Nintendo's refusal to put warning labels on the games.
I get the whole body image fiasco we've created through Barbie culture, but do you really need a label warning you that your video game might hurt your feelings? If your kid's self image is damaged by a video game, even one that promotes exercise, then your kid is spending too much time playing that game.
What the hell? Unplug 'em and tell them to go run in circles around your back yard. I guarantee you the grass won't call your kid names.