Saturday, August 27, 2011

Man Vs. Machine: Guess who wins

Over the years I have attempted to adjust to the constant challenges of the media. I finally gave up on my vast lp collection, but not before transferring them to cds or my i-pod with a neat lp converter. I have one tape player which gets used only when the radio refuses to play decent music. And now we have a Wii, which supposedly will save us from complete devotion to re-runs of LAW AND ORDER and its off-shoots (it hasn't).

The Wii is a strange bird. It has a somewhat dictatorial format and often scolds its user for lack of improvement or performance and laxness in exercise (It's been 45 days since you have been on Wii Fitness). We started with Wii Sports because of its promise of becoming proficient in bowling, boxing, tennis, baseball, golf, etc., all in the privacy of your own den.

I admit that I enjoy the bowling and tennis and have made small improvements. As for baseball, the system seems rigged against the batter and for the pitcher. Surely few real pitchers get that many strike-outs. I always enjoyed actual tennis, particularly doubles (less responsibility) and found it a socialble activity, if you didn't take it too seriously. On the Wii Sports version, you can play with others but it's still virtual and you still have an avatar. You create your own avatar and can even give him or her facial features; in my case, gray hair, a scruffy beard, and a scowl. When playing competively, you are often reminded of your inadequacies. Often, the game ends with my avatar bending toward the ground in shame, as the narrator intones "You Lost." Then you are shown how you rank against your kids, wife, and grandkids, which only adds to the humiliation.

My two older grandsons from California recently spent a week with us, or should I say, our Wii. Their expertise on every game and on Wii Fitness was astounding. So now when I play a game, I am reminded that my grandsons have scores that triple mine. More humiliation, but what the heck, Wii is still a great deal of fun, and on really hot days (May-September) in Georgia, you can actually get some exercise and fun.

But what's with those little people with no lower bodies who look like warped bobble creatures. And why can't my partner in tennis ever hit one back while the opposing team is a team. Ah, more exercise for you, Gramps.

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