The original Xbox endured its share of jokes about being nothing more than “a Halo adapter for your TV,” so when you look at what most people play on their Wii, it’s just as fair to say Nintendo’s console is little more than “a Wii Sports adapter for your TV.” Sure, there’s Super Mario Galaxy, Zelda and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but the Xbox had Dead or Alive 3 and a few other games up its sleeve as well. When it comes right down to it, though, what are all those “casual gamers” that Nintendo boasts of reaching actually playing? Wii Sports.
The next chapter in Nintendo’s motion-sensing phenomenon is Wii Fit, which will let people play with their entire body via the Wii Balance Board, which senses changes in weight and pressure. If you’re looking for a full-body workout before Wii Fit hits North America, though, you might just want to look right back at what you’re playing now. Because with the ezGear for Wii Boxing Gloves, the Wii Boxing mini-game goes from a simple party game to a sweat-inducing trip to your living-room gym.
Wii owners often get into the motion-sensing action with more than just their hands, immersing themselves with little shoulder movements or twists of the head. But somehow when you slip on the ezGear for Wii Boxing gloves, all those subtle movements turn into full-blown “I must move my entire body” motions, almost like you’re stepping into a virtual reality boxing ring.
The gloves themselves are simple enough: the fingerless pleather gloves fit snugly over your hands, while the back of each has a two-inch-thick foam pad to mimic the feeling of wearing a boxing glove. These pads also serve a purpose, as one of them has a notch out of it into which you can slip the Wii Remote. And, because the pads are removable, left-handed boxers can switch the Wii Remote’s location and not feel slighted by our right-hand-biased world.
Having taken boxing cross-training classes, I can vouch for the fact that the ezGear for Wii Boxing Gloves actually feel like full-on boxing gloves. This accuracy is a large part of what makes the product so immersive, because the feeling of slipping on real boxing gloves psychologically compels you to really “get into” the boxing workout. When you slip on real boxing gloves, you just feel like you need to be active and sweat. The same thing happens here, as the gloves make the Wii Remote feel like anything but a toy.
The same sweating concept, though, is one of the biggest drawbacks of the ezGear for Wii Boxing Gloves. Unlike traditional boxing gloves, which are tight but generally breathe very well, the pleather and foam pad combination of the ezGear for Wii Boxing Gloves makes your hands get hot and humid simply by putting them on. Add a little activity and a bunched fist into the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for a stinky peripheral (literally). Fortunately, because the pads are removable, you can wash off the glove material itself, but we highly doubt most people will go that extra mile.
Another issue is how the gloves themselves fit, although to be fair, everyone’s hands are different, so it may have just been an issue with us. The gloves’ palms are relatively open, and although the material is somewhat stretchy, there’s still a set distance between the thumb and fingers, and then a set amount of material between the base of each finger and the point at which the material stops. In our experience, the distance between the thumb and fingers was a bit lengthy, which then had the adverse affect of the material bunching up uncomfortably during extended Wii Boxing sessions. The amount of material on each finger also seemed a bit much, making us feel as though we were punching with our hands only half closed. Considering you’re not actually boxing, this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when the rest of the experience is so immersive, it definitely pulls you back into the realm of “oh yeah, my little avatar is knocking the snot out of another fake floating avatar.”
We have just one other concern with the ezGear for Wii Boxing Gloves, but it’s arguably the parents in us rather than the gamers: we fear that young kids — the same ones whose parents got into fisticuffs snagging a Wii for their kids last holiday season — are going to put these gloves on and think that they can actually start hitting people. No, Timmy…put the gloves down.
For responsible gamers or young gamers under close supervision, though, these gloves are a nice touch for Wii Sports fans. And, for all those moms and dads who don’t have time to hit the gym but want to get a workout, these gloves can be a good poor-man’s substitute for a boxing cardio class. They may get stinky and they may not be the perfect peripheral, but if your Wii really is “a Wii Sports adapter for your TV,” you should consider running these gloves through a few rounds.
- Score: 8
- They don’t make the Wii feel more “grown up,” but they certainly lend some realism to grown ups who want to get a workout while playing Wii Boxing.
— Jonas Allen