I'll just say upfront, the study I'm about to tell you about was funded by Nintendo, so take it with a grain of salt, but it seems that some Wii Sports and Wii Fit games actually have an energy expenditure level on par with moderate exercise. From MSNBC:
The most effective exercise in the study was the single-arm stand featured in the Wii fit, which came in at 5.6 METs — just shy of vigorous activity defined as 6.0 or greater.
Both the Wii tennis and baseball games produced moderate intensity expenditures of 3.0 METs. But would-be golfers looking to get exercise are still going to have to walk the course as the video version produces only 2.0 METs.
As I've said before, I have a Wii and I dig playing it, but I still find this trend a little troublesome. Yeah, you might get exercise, but you're not learning anything of value. For example, not only is skateboarding exercise, but it's a great way to get around by burning calories instead of fossil fuels. Sure, you can spend hours playing Tony Hawk: Ride on your Wii and really shred it up -- but you're still not going to be able to ride your real skateboard to school.
My friend Omar is unstoppable at Wii Tennis, but he couldn't return a real serve if his racket had a two-foot wide face and someone was lobbing hand grenades at him. Admittedly, the odds of getting into this situation are slim, but you see my point. If you have a Wii, you need to be intimately aware of its coolest feature -- the off button.
All that said, if Santa brings me Tony Hawk: Ride for Christmas, you'll hear no complaints, considering I'm getting a little tired of Omar creaming me at tennis.