By Geoffrey Golden . February 21, 2008 . 8:22am
At a demo of Wii Fit at the GCD, Takao Sawana (Deputy GM of Entertainment Analysis and Development) said that they needed something to separate the Wii Fit from the hundreds of home exercise videos that are in the marketplace. One of the coolest ways to differentiate themselves is with the Training section. Thanks to the pressure sensitive Balance Board, the trainer knows how well you're doing, or whether you're not doing the exercises at all. It'll encourage or berate you accordingly.
Sawano laughed as he explained the inspiration behind the Wii Balance Board at the GDC today. Like many Nintendo products, the inspiration was Shigeru Miyamoto, who told his engineers: "I have fun just weighing myself and collecting my weight data, so this idea is bound to lead to something interesting." Apparently, Miyamoto has a blast weighing himself on a scale and writing down the changes, and figured there's a great game in that somewhere.
The developers at Nintendo, according to Sawano, were (I think rightfully) skeptical. They questioned whether people would want to turn on their Wiis just to weigh themselves on a scale, when a regular, cheaper non-Wii scale can do the job just fine. Furthermore, would you want your whole family watching you in the living room while you weigh yourself? Some *achem* larger Nintendo fans might be a tad embarrassed.
However, despite their skepticism, they diligently made a game based on Miyamoto's strange love of weighing himself. A game which has now sold over 1.4 million copies in Japan.
Lesson: Don't question Mr. Miyamoto.