Previews// Family Trainer - Wii

Posted 9 Jun 2008 18:35 by
Our man in Japan looks at the first game to take on Wii Fit which he also looked at for us back in December of 2007.

Okay, so it has the gamer-baiting “Family” in its title and it also mentions a “Trainer”, which is just one syllable away from “Training”, a term that has in the space of two years gone from being the symbol of boundary-breaking innovation in games to a byword for “unfettered crapness”. But you can’t really blame Namco Bandai for daring to bring another ‘fun for all’ game out at the party - even though all of the cool people have by now left the party and staggered home. Why not? Because Bandai, you should know, got there first.

Yes, Family Trainer is turning up on the Wii now and will be seen as a cash-in on Wii Fit’s succe$$, but this is in fact a sequel to a series of games Bandai released more than 20 years ago.

That series was called Family Trainer, of all things, for Nintendo’s 8-bit Family Computer (the NES). So you see, nothing is really new; it’s just been freshened up to look presentable this year. The original Family Trainer game was bundled with a mat accessory in 1986. In 2008, it’s again put together with a mat for you to run, jump and ‘be active’ on. Only this time around, everyone is doing this sort of thing. So you needn’t feel quite so silly about it.

The Family Trainer mat is nowhere near as clever as Wii Fit’s Balance Board, though. It’s just like any number of dance game mats, really, and it’s not even a wireless device. Instead, a bit cheaply, the mat plugs into one of the Wii’s GameCube controller ports.

The Japanese version of Family Trainer arrives in a big cardboard box, which contains one of these mat thingies and a sheet of stickers to use as slip-prevention tools. If you don’t mind having the mat stuck on your living room floor, these are okay – but even a moderate amount of activity can cause them to become unstuck.

Another downer is the size of the mat which, at 95cm by 85cm, seems oversized and impractical, especially after months spent with the relatively dinky (yet much more stable) Balance Board. The Family Trainer mat is just a bit ugly, too.

So, the 'hardware' isn’t up to much, but you’ll be happy (or possibly indifferent) to learn that the Family Trainer software is a shiny disc of fun.

The interaction between mat and game is all to do with the timing of your steps – there’s none of the pressure-sensitive leaning or body-tilting you get with Wii Fit – and the challenges packed in Family Trainer end up more like rhythm-action game outtakes than examples of a serious exercise program.

When the game tells you to run, it’s actually telling you to tap your feet, so for the best times (and Fitness Points, which Family Trainer doles out as rewards) you’ll end up sprinting like a cartoon character, emphatically stamping your feet as rapidly as possible – and possibly swinging your arms at the same time, just for effect.
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Comments

tisha 30 Jul 2008 17:12
1/7
wat up
Twoozle 30 Jul 2008 18:45
2/7
tisha wrote:
wat up


Wat up you self girl friend. What about Family Trainer... does it? Train your family that is?
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Loz 27 Sep 2008 14:17
3/7
How come this has not been advertised on th tele yet so we can see how it works?,
Wii Family Trainer 10 Oct 2008 12:39
4/7
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Martin 4 Jan 2009 22:06
5/7
Great Value for Money! Not in this review, the teamplay, where you actuallly teram up in the game, using controller and mat together. Great fun for my kids of 3 and 4, too
marie 20 Jan 2009 21:45
6/7
i don't understand why this gets slatted so much! i brought it for my children for christmas and although a three year old can't do many of the games and should be 5+ we have had so much fun and sweated buckets on this and still are!, i find it a much better work out than wii fit which i also have. I really recommend this game. Anyone thats played it at mine has gone and brought it!
tyrion 21 Jan 2009 08:49
7/7
marie wrote:
a three year old can't do many of the games and should be 5+

Hi Marie, hope you read this because you seem to have a misconception about the age classification on games.

The PEGI classifications on games are content ratings, like films, NOT ability ratings like on jigsaws or board games.

The 3+ rating on this game means that the game has content that is suitable to be viewed by a three year old, not that a three year old can necessarily play the game.

I'm only mentioning this because you may see some higher classified games later on and think your children are more capable than their age may suggest and get them games where the content is not suitable to their age and understanding of the world.
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