Wii Fit may seem shiny and new, but not only is it a concept that console-makers and game developers have tried before, but it's part of a philosophy Nintendo has long tried to pursue. Over at Water Cooler Games, Ian Bogost recently spent some time remembering the Joyboard, a peripheral for the Amiga -- which boasted a single retail game -- that is similar to the balance board that is set to release with Wii Fit. Of course, it's not the only example; many of us still have dance pads for Dance Dance Revolution lying around, and some of the old-schoolers may even have old NES Power Pads tucked away in a closet, collecting dust, while gamers fondly recall Dance Aerobics and Track & Field.
What Bogost doesn't address -- which we think is a fascinating issue -- is Wii Fit's potential to succeed in the current market environment. Quite rightly, he calls upon gamers and critics to look back over the history of the industry in order to gain a better understanding of how we reached this point, and we agree with him that people should be less shocked by Wii Fit than they have seemed to be. Nintendo is no stranger to "non-games" and unusual peripherals. Particularly now, when the Wii has the potential to move even beyond the ubiquitous past presence of the NES and get into every home in America (and perhaps the world, huzzah!), it's no surprise that Nintendo is again angling to break the market wide open and offer something for everyone.
Does Wii Fit surprise you? Obviously, we knew a health pack of some sort was coming, but this is rather expanded upon what we expected. We know some of you don't like the concept -- while others, like this blogger, think it's the bee's knees -- but does it surprise you? What other market-expanding ideas do you think we'll see from Nintendo?