Wii Weights: Part Two
The Wii Weights started like any other dumb idea. After a few drinks and several rounds of Wii Boxing, someone said, "Maybe there should be weights for this thing. Someone should invent those." A few more drinks and a sloppy drawing in my sketchbook later, it had begun. I am a graphic designer, not a product designer, so this gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about the process. I'm not looking for a quick buck, rather this is a product that I would love to see produced.
There was an overwhelming response to the first prototype, which was of course just a basic wrist weight with a photoshopped Wii logo. This was just a way to test the waters, to see if there would be any response. There were literally thousands of postings with comments ranging from calling the "inventor" a moron, to some excellent constructive criticism, to people ready to pull out their wallets for a pair. This gave me an up close view of the problems with a product like this and how we could improve on the performance and aesthetics.
I started out by researching the way that people play the Wii. While it isn't necessary to use exaggerated motions, people seemed to feel most comfortable when mimicking the actual swing of a racket or golf club. The wrist weights needed to be able to withstand a tennis backhand, a full golf swing, a jab, an uppercut, a bowling stroke, or a baseball pitch, all without sliding on the arm, impeding access to the Wii-mote buttons, or come flying off.
We had the idea of adding a weighted casing to the actual controller, but that would have exacerbated the chance that it would come off and fly into the screen. We settled on the wrist weight because it could be adjustable for any person using it.
I bought several pairs of existing wrist weights and tested them while playing the Wii. Some were too heavy so we decided that the adjustable weights should range from 1 to 2.25 lbs. Some were too bulky, so we decided that the sewn-in weights should be contoured to the wrist. Some limited use of the thumbs, so we made the thumb strap slim and flexible. Some got hot and sweaty quickly, so we decided to use lightweight, breathable materials that wicked away sweat.
We then made several prototypes, using old mouse pads, fishing weights, fabric tape; anything we could to create what we thought would be better than the stock weights. And they worked well. But, admittedly, they're not quite there. We would love to be able to work with a team with experience in this realm.
I see this as an opportunity to expand on the great idea of the Wii. I see it as a way to make video games more physical, and potentially, a way to get in shape. I would love to see a resurgence of The Powerpad, where runners from different countries could compete split-screen. I think that video games will continue to evolve to allow users to interact physically in otherwise impossible situations. I only hope that this could be a step along the way. Again, if a investor or designer is interested in further developing this product, send me an email. The world is waiting.