December 28, 2007 12:25 pm

Nintendo WiiVideo games have gotten a bad rep recently, as they’re blamed in part for the increase in childhood obesity because they encourage kids to stay indoors and sit on their butts.

At least, that was before Nintendo Wii and Rock Band were invented.

Even if you’ve never played a video game before, chances are you could learn to play Wii. A simple wireless controller allows you to control the game with your arm movements. For the tennis game, you swing like you’re playing tennis. In bowling, well, you bowl.

Because the Wii game invention is so easy to learn, it’s proving to be a hit in retirement communities. A recent story in the Chicago Tribune profiled a group of retirees who, although they’d never played a video game before, suddenly found themselves unable to put down the controller.

“I’ve never been into video games,” said a 72-year-old resident as her husband took a twirl with the Wii’s bowling game. “But this is addictive.”

Perhaps equally addictive, at least for those who like to rock out, is Rock Band.

Rock Band, for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, is the invention of Harmonix, who created the hugely popular Guitar Hero series. Players jam out to rock songs by pressing buttons and strumming on a plastic guitar controller, singing vocals and beating on a drum controller.

Up to four people can play together, or if you see yourself as more of a lone wolf, there’s a Solo Tour mode for every instrument but the bass.

Both of these game inventions are a great way to get some entertainment and exercise. During the holidays, I’m sure we could all use a little more physical activity!

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