And then, a workout… kinda…

So, instead of getting Wii Fit Plus and a balance board for the family for Christmas, I went with the EA Sports Active 2 exercise system. It got great reviews, tons of accolades as the best exercise system of the year, and I was able to find it at a better price than the balance board setup, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I set up an account in it easily enough, and the kids went ahead and made their own accounts too. It’s not a bad system, from what I can see so far… except for a few things:

1) Networking problems.

Apparently a lot of people got this system for Christmas. Why is this a problem? They keep a lot of records and usage related information stored on EA servers. I have tried three times this afternoon since completing my workout to get that data uploaded, and have been unable to connect to their servers. Not the biggest deal, since I still get the routines from the game system itself, and it will upload my results “next time”.

2) “Support” for left and right handers.

I was able to set my account up to be left handed with no problem. However, there were some exercises that I was doing that wouldn’t read my motions properly while doing them left handed with the Wii remote. When I performed the action with my left hand (which was holding the remote), it would register it as a motion for the right hand. Kind of a big deal, since it’s frustrating that it’s not seeing what I do properly. But then there’s:

3) The leg sensor.

You see, there are two motion sensors with this game – one that goes on your left arm that doubles as a heart monitor, and one that attaches to your right leg. Well, the one on the leg has a tendency to lose contact with the Wii for some reason. When it does this, the machine IMMEDIATELY STOPS the routine you’re in and throws up a screen saying it lost access to the sensor(s). You then have to fiddle with the leg sensor to turn it back on, and then grab the Wiimote and click on the okay button to start the routine again.

I thought I might have been brushing up against it and turning it off by accident doing exercises, but I watched Michael use it, and saw it cut out when his arm was nowhere near the thing. And it’s not just me – there is a forum posting one EA’s discussion boards with the same problem. They also put out an NFL branded “training camp” game which likely uses the same motion sensing system, and I’ve wandered across a report or two of their leg sensor not working either.

The sensors operated over wireless USB, and the USB ports are on the back of the Wii. I’m hoping that it’s just a matter of the leg sensor being lower than the arm sensor, and losing signal due to interference from motion or some other signal from the machine. I’m going to look for a USB extender cable in my pile of stuff and connect the USB dongle that way. Hopefully that will fix the problem. I didn’t buy the unit locally, so returns could be a problem…

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