"Wii Fit" quickly became the most controversial game ever released for Nintendo’s Wii console — at least in my household.

"No woman wants to have some game tell her that’s she’s overweight," my wife Ingrid spat with disgust.

Her comment followed a session in which I entered my age and height and then stepped on to the game’s pressure-sensing balance board. The console then calculated my Body Mass Index and concluded I was edging into the "overweight" category. My Mii suddenly sprouted a paunch.

I thought it was pretty cool. In fact, I was tempted to try it again holding a stack of books to see if my Mii got paunchier.

Ingrid wasn’t amused.

Despite that rocky start, "Wii Fit" found some love in our household.

The E-rated "Wii Fit" is the first game that uses the balance board, which is about 2 feet wide and a little more than a foot long. Players stand on the board and it senses how their weight is distributed, which allows it to calculate how much they’re leaning, squatting or stretching. This is translated into action on the screen.

Although the balance board does a pretty good job of reading your movements, it still takes a little experience to get the most out of it. For example, if your on-screen Mii doesn’t seem to be responding well, trying repositioning your feet or extending your arms. (It also helps to have the balance board facing the right direction, something we learned after a miserable failure in our very first activity — heading a soccer ball.)

Since the game is designed to help you get in shape, most of the activities come straight from the gym, rather than the video arcade. The 40-some games are divided into four categories:

• Strength training, which offers push-ups, torso twists and other calisthenics.

• Aerobics, which includes twirling a hula hoop, running in place and rhythm boxing.

• Yoga, which features breathing deeply while contorting your body in increasingly uncomfortable positions.

• Balance games, which include heading a soccer ball, ski slalom, ski jump, table tilt and tightrope walking. This is the category that includes most of the truly fun activities.

In strength training and yoga, a digital personal trainer guides you through the steps of each activity. In most of the others, you’re given a brief description and turned loose on your own — which explains why it took us quite a while to figure out what to do in tightrope walking.

After completing an activity, your results are compared to previous sessions. You’ll also be informed how much time you spent on it and whether you’ve unlocked any new games.

You can increase the difficulty level to make workout more intense.

Since the point of all of this is to get or keep yourself fit, you’ll periodically need to check your personal profile to see whether you’ve met your self-imposed fitness goals. You can check charts and gaze at graphs — which will probably move too slowly. If you’re really brave, you can check your Wii Fit Age, which lets you know how quickly your body’s falling apart.

Although "Wii Fit" prods you to slim down, developers are aware that some folks might go too far, too fast. That’s why it scolded my son when he appeared to lose 67 pounds in one day.

Of course, this might be too serious for you.

To test the fun quotient, I hauled the game to a junior high youth meeting one night. I quickly discovered that "Wii Fit" is also a solid party game.

Slalom skiing was probably the biggest all-around hit. This involves simulating the leg motions and balance of a downhill skier. Guys also enjoyed heading the soccer ball — which involves leaning to hit the ball while avoiding flying cleats and things that look like severed panda heads. Girls preferred tightrope walking and hula-hoop twirling. However, the hula hoop games had some crossover fans — the big rugby-playing youth leader ruled as the hula-hoop king.

My personal favorites are the ski slalom and table tilt, in which you use pressure on the board to guide on-screen balls into holes in tabletops. This starts off easy but gets very tricky very quickly.

"Wii Fit" is a one-player game, so playing with friends will involve taking turns using a single profile. However, since the game provides a ranking after you complete each activity, it’s easy to see who performed best.

What might be best about "Wii Fit" — or actually its balance board — is the potential it holds for other games. Namco Bandai has already released "We Ski," and EA Games announced plans to release "Skate It," a skateboarding game.

Luckily, I’ll have a few months to get rid of my paunchy Mii before it’s skatin’ time.

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