ROMper ROOM: Review of Gold’s Gym Workout

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With the launch of Wii Fit last year, the folks at Nintendo successfully demonstrated how a video game could convince couch potatoes, like me, that they could hit the gym virtually.

Enter Gold’s Gym Workout (from Ubisoft for Wii, $29.99), which acts primarily as an aerobics boxing game with some exercises thrown in for good measure.

The armchair athlete starts by learning basic footwork and punches. Things start off pretty easy with jabs before tackling one-two punches and working up to more complicated combinations. Keeping beat with the music, the player performs jabs, hooks and uppercut punches, all while pummeling the air.

Unless you’re a robot, you quickly will be motivated to weave, bob and dance along with the on-screen avatar, feeling a bit like Rocky. I recommend using a pair of Wiimotes as the fists, instead of being tethered by a Nunchuk (another possible configuration), it’s a much more freewheeling experience.

The on-screen avatar is cartoony, but a bit too accurate. As an exerciser increases the avatar’s size to match their actual weight, the avatar’s body shape changes to a pretty accurate portrayal of the player.

As I worked through the basics — and no, I haven’t gotten beyond the basics — I started adding up my daily punches. They don’t even count until you hit 1,000 per day.

After each workout, a time, punch count and physical age all appear. (It can be brutal when the physical age comes in far older than the player’s chronological age.) With practice, the age can be lowered pretty quickly — I went from 13 years older than my chronological age to 11 years younger in just three tries.

The boxing routines take place in a gym or in a Hawaii-inspired beach setting, neither of which adds to or distracts from the workout. I would like to have a choice of music, but you’re stuck with just a couple tracks.

There are some fun challenges. I really liked dodging the punches thrown at the player. Another fun exercise, with potential as a great outlet for aggression, has a little legless character shouting combinations to be unleashed against target pads.

Gold’s Gym Workout is offered at a great price point and for the dollar, it will get those who want to work those core muscles, tone their arms and legs and increase their balance the workout they want. It is more interesting than a workout video, which probably would give much the same instruction but with a much more annoying trainer.

If you can unlock and figure out the squats, sit-ups and rope jumping, you might be able to also tone other sections of the anatomy. However, you still have to turn the game on, and this one offers just enough to make it worth the effort of getting off the couch.

Players who want their avatar to be even less pear-shaped can take advantage of the included coupon for a free one-week trial membership at Gold’s Gym.

Joseph Szadkowski’s ROMper Room is a place for children and their parents to escape the world of ultraviolent video games and use that gaming system or computer to actually learn something while having fun. Send e-mail to jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com.

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