The Nintendo Wii and BMIMay 29, 2008
Nintendo Apologizes for Wii Fit BMI Offenses
– Backlash continues against the fitness game
By: Andrei Dumitrescu, Games Editor
Last week, we reported on the girl who was offended by the fact that the Wii Fit game considered her to be… a little above the recommended weight as it was constructed based on her other physical attributes. The story itself seems a bit on the fishy side but, nevertheless, the parents of other kids,
presumably overweight themselves, expressed outrage at the fact that a game would dare to imply that their kids were fat.
If you ask me, this is snowballing into something newsworthy just because it’s about the Wii Fit, which is a clear success as far as videogames go. The sole purpose of the game is to get people back into exercising and it’s only natural that it would make an evaluation of the Body Mass Index of the person so that it can recommend the best exercises. It’s absurd to ask from a game not to hurt someone’s feelings. It’s only numbers that the game shows and it’s up to you to draw the appropriate conclusions from them.
Nevertheless, Nintendo has released a statement in which it apologizes for any sensibilities hurt. The statement reads: “Nintendo would like to apologize to any customers offended by the in-game terminology used to classify a player’s current BMI status, as part of the BMI measurement system integrated into Wii Fit. Wii Fit is still capable of measuring the BMI for people aged between two and 20 but the resulting figures may not be entirely accurate for younger age groups due to varying levels of development”.
Despite this, the backlash against Nintendo and its Body Mass Index continues. Tam Fry, who represents the United Kingdom’s National Obesity Forum, stated that “I’m absolute aghast that children are being told they are fat. BMI is far from perfect, but with children it simply should not be used. A child’s BMI can change every month and it is perfectly possible for a child to be stocky, yet still very fit”.
Nintendo has announced that it does not plan to change the way the game displays BMI, since it is clear in the fact that it does not judge anyone, but only offers accurate data on the fitness level of the player.