5Wii Fit: The NES Game
Nintendo threw everyone a major curveball in 2006 when they gave the world the Wii, and in return the world gave them all of the money. 2007 saw the unveiling of the Wii Fit, a video game that made you exercise and feel bad about yourself, which we all considered fun for some reason.
Nintendo's mea culpa for your crippling bedsores.
Even more inexplicably, Wii Fit succeeded despite its high price point of $90. The cost was necessary, however, because of the Wii Balance Board accessory that came bundled with the game. The board was capable of detecting how you were standing via the four scales inside, which made sure that you got the exercises done, instead of just lying on the ground watching Denise Austin bend over and touch her toes while telling you how great you're doing. Wii Fit flew off the shelves and quickly became not only one of the best-selling games of this generation, but of all time. As it turns out, people were really excited about the concept of taking exercise and turning it into a fun game. Why didn't anyone think of this earlier?
Because dignity has been steadily losing its value for the past 20 years?
Well, actually, they did.
Hey, at least the thieves were only ripping themselves off: Nintendo actually had exercise games on their systems over 20 years ago. Bandai released Dance Aerobics on the NES in Japan way back in 1987, and it was on North American shores in 1989. Just like Wii Fit, this game put a virtual trainer on the screen and had you stand in front of the TV while doing aerobic exercises.
Man, Richard Simmons looks pretty hot in 8-bit.
Of course, Wii Fit stood out from the pack by using the Balance Board, which could track your movements. Any workout game would really just be a glorified exercise video if it didn't have ...
Oh wait, there we go.
Yes, Dance Aerobics used the ill-fated Power Pad accessory to track the location of the player's feet, and it penalized them if they did the workout improperly. To top things off, Dance Aerobics also had musical elements to the game, which mostly revolved around tapping buttons with your feet in time with onscreen prompts. That's right: It was both Wii Fit and Dance Dance Revolution, approximately two decades before either of those terms were anything but hilarious Engrish.
4A Better Version of Minesweeper, 10 Years Earlier
Minesweeper is one of the most famous computer games ever created. It is so popular, in fact, that it's come prepacked into every single copy of Windows since 1992. But the game itself predates that, with early versions going back to 1989. The elegant simplicity of Minesweeper was the key to its success: It presented you with a field of gray or blue squares, with mines hidden underneath some and numbers under the rest. The numbers indicated how many mines were touching that square, and if you used the clues well, you could ideally mark all the mines with flags and complete the level.
In practice, you mined yourself into a corner, called the game "retarded," and played Doom instead.
The first "hidden mine" game was a 1973 text-based program simply called Cube, which placed you at one corner of a cube and challenged you to get to the opposite corner without blowing up. Players traveled from vertex to vertex, and five of these vertices had mines hidden underneath. But there was no way of telling which, and so the whole thing was essentially a random number generator that periodically exploded you.
Just like life.
Things got more interesting in 1983, with the release of Mined-Out. Like Cube, your goal was to get from one end of the field to the other without blowing yourself up. This time, however, you were given a mine detector that would tell you how many mines were right next to the space you were standing on -- which, remember, is exactly what the Minesweeper numbers mean.
We prefer the "Click blindly until the Internet comes back" method.
Of course, Mined-Out had a number of features Minesweeper did not: There were nine levels of increasing difficulty to play, you were tasked with finding damsels in distress, you had to avoid rogue mines that followed behind you and you battled devices that patrolled the map, dispensing even more mines. Despite (or possibly because of) Mined-Out having these extra features, Minesweeper managed to take off while Mined-Out did not.
This little guy probably helped, too. Look at him!
It turns out being bundled in with the most popular operating system in the world gives your market share a bit of a nudge. Who knew?