A California fitness trainer is suing the video game company Nintendo, asking them to pull its Wii Fit games from shelves claiming it's "contributing to the epidemic of obesity."
According to Nintendo, by playing the Wii Fit game users can "work towards personal goals of better health and fitness," but bodybuilder, Michael Torchia (former Mr. California), disagrees and says the game maker needs to place a warning on the games which say they're for entertainment, not fitness.
Torchia says that in addition to a lack of actual fitness in the game, many users are actually injuring themselves.
"Not only are people getting injured due to a lack of instruction, they are also developing improper stroke patterns from long-term use of the sports games which can potentially [affect] their ability to excel in those specific activities later in life," he said.
Although he doesn't name the firm, Torchia says he's retained a prominent Beverly Hills law group to handle his case.
The Wii Fit game has been very popular for Nintendo with company president Satoru Iwata announcing at the end of January that it had sold almost 300,000 copies of the game in the U.S. in one week alone.
This is one of the craziest things I've ever heard! Torchia suing Nintendo because he contends that Wii contributes to obesity and/or a long-term fitness deficit is just nuts. It's kind of like being at a stock car race and watching the debris from a crash injure spectators. Then you go and sue Budweiser because those people were too drunk to get out of the way fast enough.
I knew Torchia from back in the Gold's Gym days of the 80s and 90s. He was the kind of guy who was always looking for an angle but never really got anywhere near the top. He never seemed to get enough of the attention he was looking for. Trying to get the Wii yanked from store shelves is perhaps the most attention grabbing stunt he's tried yet. But I really can't imagine this fiaco getting any more than a few preliminary headlines.
The most persuasive aspect of a civil suit is something called "damages." In order to recoup money, be awarded a settlement, or have some kind of action taken, you have to be able to prove what the damages were. How much money was lost in a scam if you lost an arm or a leg due to negligence, became ill because some company was poisoning the water, or hurt your neck and couldn't work because of an libelous accident, etc. These are all very real situations where, through the fault of someone else, you were damaged in some way and that damage can be assessed.
If I was playing scrabble, and then I ended up not being able to spell anymore unless I used little wooden squares with letters written on them, would I have a case against Milton Bradley? Of course not! Does Torchia have a case against Nintendo? I doubt it. Proof right off the bat is the fact that the law firm representing him doesn't want to be mentioned. Since when does a lawyer turn down publicity? I think this firm doesn't want to be known because they're only in a position to take Torchia's money. There's no way in hell he's going be able to cobble together a preponderance of evidence necessary for a judge to order Wii off store shelves or for Nintendo to make a big payout to players of the game. His assertions are too broad, too abstract and lacking proof.
Also please bear in mind that Nintendo makes games; not gym equipment. No one is playing Wii to get better at a sport. They are playing to play. Does it make them worse players of the real thing? Who knows. Al I know is that if Torchia was out looking for attention, he got it; but not enough. If he wanted to sue a company for contributing to obesity them he should be suing Krispy Kream
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