Understanding the impact of sports related games

Students share their reactions to games like Wii Sports and Just Dance

Meggie Chen

A staple in many households, games such as Just Dance and Wii Sports have long topped the charts as some of the most popular games ever developed. Wii Sports is the best-selling single-platform game of all time, and Just Dance is one of the most successful Wii Games ever made. By reimagining an activity that isn’t accessible to everyone — exercise — in a more consumable format — video games — it’s no surprise that sports-based video games are so popular.

Yet, these video games also find themselves in a place beyond just exercise for fun among people who play the actual sports themselves. For junior Karly Bower, who bowls occasionally with friends for fun, Wii Sports was a “game of [her] childhood.” Wii Sports bowling, especially, was her favorite. She explains that while Wii Sports bowling does have some differences to the actual sport itself, she’s always enjoyed it regardless.

Similarly, sophomore Vanshika Turkar, who has played tennis for six years, feels as if the Wii Sports tennis game is similar enough to the actual game; however, it ultimately doesn’t accurately reflect the experience of playing actual tennis, though she jokes that she doesn’t get as sweaty.

“In the actual game, it’s a lot more active — you can actually feel yourself hitting the ball which is really important in tennis,” Turkar said. “In the Xbox version, you’re practically just swinging your arms so it’s not as interactive.” 

On the other hand, P.E. teacher Dasha Plaza, who supplements her teaching with Just Dance, believes that the game does have its strengths and can help MVHS students pick up the basics of dancing.

“It gives you a new way of learning on the screen — you have to be able to pick up choreography, so that, as a dancer, is already really useful,” Plaza said. “Trying to follow that musicality, that’s something that you can use in any dance classes, so you definitely relate as a dancer.”

Plaza also notes that the game has improved leaps and bounds since she first began to use it. There is now much more variety in the music, from hip hop to KPop, and the movement has become “less cartoony and more realistic.” There’s also been a lot of improvement in terms of musicality and choreography in general, though she says ultimately, she wouldn’t utilize it to help develop good foundations or improve technique.

Turkar agrees with the sentiment, saying that unless the person is actually holding a ball and swinging a racquet, they’re “not going to be able to actually experience [tennis].”


Bower concurs, stating that there doesn’t seem to be much technique behind Wii bowling, but that she enjoys it nevertheless. And that seems to be the catch – that despite not being overly realistic, sports-based video games are still a wonderful way to expose others to the sport, and more simply, to just have fun.

“In the past, our students were introduced to two different rhythmical elements of dance [but] they don’t always relate to it,” Plaza said. “But [they do] enjoy the popular pop songs and [even] enjoy just step[ping] together. You can definitely [use] Just Dance to enjoy dance.”