EA Sports Active 2.0 is probably going to be a healthy product when it is released: software marshaled for good. EA Sports Active 2.0 as demonstrated for me last night was something else, something somewhat intriguing and probably, amusingly dangerous.
You see, EA Sports Active 2.0, set for PlayStation 3 and Wii release late this year, is another fitness product from EA, one that will make sense to anyone familiar with the notion of Wii Fit. It is something that is supposed to be good for you, letting you harness, this time, a sensor to your leg, one to your arm and a Wii Remote in your other hand for three points of motion-detection (one of which also monitors your heart). That's all the better for tracking a user's ability to follow a workout routine rendered by the game/program, record the calories they are burning, see their heartrate and, new to this installment, upload the data to a website.
But what if, instead of another fitness product, EA had gone and made something somewhat crazy? What if they had made WarioWare Fit?
You know, WarioWare: A game that presents players a new random challenge that needs to be completed in about three seconds before the next random challenge shows up. Repeat and repeat. Usually those challenges are controlled by buttons or a stylus, are on the Game Boy Advance or the Nintendo DS, and involve actions like brushing teeth, squashing bugs or picking a nose.
Picture a fitness product that runs at that pace and tosses that many quick surprises at you, because that's what a brave designer of EA Sports Active 2.0, Tom Singleton, had to subject himself to yesterday when he showed me 2.0. One moment he was jumping to block virtual soccer balls from going into a net; then he was pedaling and jumping in a simulation of jumping a mountain-bike off a hill; then he was running around a basketball court; then he was doing something called "fire-feet" as fast as he could.
I assure you that his heartrate was going up and up and up. Didn't help that I was asking him questions throughout and that he was trying to answer.
Singleton was subjecting himself to a press-friendly quickened and automated tour of EA Sports Active 2.0. I doubt there is a trainer on Earth who would endorse the kind of workout he was putting himself through, and he confirmed that the real version of 2.0 will dole out the exercises in a more controlled and humane manner.
But I'd like to think I got a glimpse of an exciting and bizarre left turn these Wii exercise games could have made: into the WarioWare world. Definitely something not to try at home.
As for how EA Sports Active 2.0 is really supposed to work...here is EA interviewing EA about it.