Nintendo Wii sports and Wii fit game analysis, validation, and application to stroke rehabilitation

Judith E. Deutsch, Arielle Brettler, Caroline Smith, Jamie Welsh, Roshan John, Phyllis Guarrera-Bowlby, Michal Kafri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Interactive video gaming has become ubiquitous in the practice of rehabilitation. The Nintendo Wii is one such system. Interactive gaming can promote intensive task-based therapy in a manner that is motivating for the user. Widespread enthusiasm for consoles and their games prompted us to analyze the games for their rehabilitation elements related to improving balance and mobility for individuals poststroke. Purpose: The purpose of this article is to provide a game analysis for clinical application and evaluation of the game elements for research on interactive video gaming. Methods: Using a team of game players and raters, 5 tables (1 for the Wii Sports and 4 for the Wii Fit) were developed and validated. The tables consist of 3 categories: game description, impairments targeted (strength, endurance, balance, and coordination), and feedback provided (knowledge of performance [KP] and knowledge of results [KR]). Two domain content experts established face validity. Construct validity was performed by 2 therapist-raters who had more than 15 years' clinical experience and postgraduate training in motor learning. Observations about the games including the fidelity of the interfaces, the nature of the feedback, and some of the challenges to adapting the games for rehabilitation are presented. Results: An 80% agreement between raters set as the criterion for establishing the construct validity was met for feedback evaluation. There was 100% agreement on impairment ratings. Games provide a greater amount of KR compared with KP. Conclusion: Given the preponderance of KR, therapists will need to monitor motor performance. Adaptation of interactive video consoles for rehabilitation requires careful evaluation of the games' attributes using relevant rehabilitation construits.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)701-719
Number of pages19
JournalTopics in Stroke Rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • balance
  • feedback
  • interactive video games
  • mobility
  • stroke rehabilitation
  • virtual reality

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Community and Home Care
  • Rehabilitation


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