Here are some words you'll hear a lot during a demo of EA Sports Active: fitness, wellness, "laser focus", holistic, balance, "busy Moms", exercise, workout. Or rather workoot, if the person doing the demo is the nice lady from EA Canada.
Here are some words you're unlikely to hear at all: cinematic, visceral, cutting edge, real-time procedural shading, deathmatch, motorbikes, rocket launcher. EA Sports Active isn't your typical videogame. In fact, refer to it as a game at all and you'll stand corrected.
"It's funny, you using the word 'game'," says nice lady Jen Riley. "We're framing it as a virtual home fitness product." Or, to put it another way: "A personal trainer in a box."
The box costs GBP 44.99. For that you get the game - pardon, the virtual home fitness product - a neoprene strap and a long strip of stretchy rubber. The neoprene strap goes round your right thigh where it's tightly secured with Velcro. There's a small pocket on the front into which you tuck the nunchuk. Each end of the rubber strip is tied to a fabric handle, so you can make it shorter or longer depending on the level of resistance you want.
With your equipment set up it's time to create your Fitness Profile. This involves inputting your gender, age, height and weight, which helps EA Sports Active calculate how many calories you burn when exercising. You can also make yet another avatar and dress it up in sporty clothes.
There's a wide range of preset workouts to choose from, all designed by fitness experts and all designed to offer specific benefits. You can go for a full body muscle toning circuit, do some cardio exercise, focus on your legs or lungs and so on. "Whatever you're looking for from your workout experience will be there for you, designed by the right people," says Riley.
However, you can also choose to ignore the experts and custom-build your own workouts - decide how long you want to exercise for (up to an hour), select the number of calories you want to burn, choose how difficult the workout will be and put together "literally thousands" of circuit combinations. "It sounds silly saying that, but with 30-plus activities to choose from and the ability to lace things together in any form you want, there really are thousands of options," Riley reckons.
To get us started she boots up one of the running activities. It's just like the jogging in Wii Fit, except you've got a big neoprene strap wrapped round your thigh. And because the nunchuk is tucked into the strap, the up-and-down movement of your legs is measured along with your speed. And because you've got a big neoprene strap with a nunchuk tucked in it wrapped round your thigh, you feel a bit more stupid.
Riley and I are working oot together in co-op mode, so our avatars are shown on either side of the split-screen. They're racing round a nondescript track while a voice from nowhere spouts things like, "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you two have a competition going!"
The race is over within a minute. I win, which Riley says is because I was working harder and lifting my legs up higher. I look at her lycra-clad thighs and think about what's wobbling under my jeans and decide it is because she is good at her job of promoting EA Sports Active to lazy games journalists. "Nice!" says the disembodied voice. "I hope you enjoyed pushing each other forward and getting the job done."
Next up is boxing. It's similar to the boxing game in Wii Sports, but you're not punching the other person's Mii - which is less fun, obviously. Instead, targets pop out in front of your avatar at different heights (ahh, happy memories) and you must punch the air accordingly. The software can tell how hard you're working and while there's no official points system, you'll be told you've burned more calories if you put the effort in.
Inline skating sees your avatar hooning down a concrete track on rollerblades. Holding the remote and nunchuk, you crouch to go faster then jump to make your avatar go flying off ramps. It's on rails so there's no steering. What if you live in a flat and your downstairs neighbours don't take kindly to you jumping up and down all day? "Unfortunate for your neighbours," says Riley.
At last, it's time to try out the rubber band thingy. Riley demonstrates how you stand with your feet in the middle of it, about a foot apart, with a handle looped over each hand. You also hold the remote and nunchuk. Then it's a matter of copying your avatar's movements, pulling the band upwards and holding for a few seconds before relaxing again. The rubber feels strong and stretchy so there's no fear of snapping it.
To finish off and cool down we do some dancing. There's no need for the rubber band or neoprene strap - you just hold the remote and copy the dance moves on-screen, waving the lasso, raising the roof, pushing the shopping cart and so on. It's all very American and very cheesy, and it's the stupidest I've felt all day.
That's it for today's demo, but Riley confirms there are more than 30 activities to choose from in the finished product. There are no mini-games, so don't expect anything along the lines of the weirdly addictive penguin game in Wii Fit. There are activities based around basketball, baseball, tennis and the like, but they're drills rather than sports sims.
EA Sports Active will work with the Wii balance board but they're not showing that aspect off just yet. "When you're using the board you have to take off your shoes," Riley says. "That's key, because EA Sports Active is much more intense and aggressive than... Um... Other exercises that use the Wii balance board."
She can avoid using the name all she wants but there's no hiding the obvious comparison with Wii Fit. So does the world really need another Wii exercise game? What's different about this one? "The best differentiation is Eastern wellness versus Western fitness," Riley says. "This is a Western fitness circuit-style exercise routine that includes upper and lower body as well as cardio."
The other key factor, she reckons, is the fact you're guided through the exercises. "You're getting a circuit laced together by fitness professionals - unless you choose a custom workout and become your own fitness professional. The point is, you can go from A to B to C to Z in order to get what you need, versus having to go in for each specific activity."
If what you need is to be less fat, though, EA isn't promising this is the answer. "This is not a magic bullet, it's one of the things you can do to stay healthy," Riley says. So you can't spend five minutes in the morning with EA Sports Active then all afternoon at Jones BBQ and Foot Massage and expect the weight to drop off? "Exactly. We wouldn't overtly say this is a weight-loss product. It's a home fitness experience that helps every part of your life. Or it could just be a fun product. EA Sports Active can be whatever you want it to be."
Unless you want it to be a first-person shooter, obviously. For many gamers EA Sports Active will hold no appeal - but as Riley points out, no one's pretending it's a game anyway. That doesn't mean there's no market for it, as demonstrated by the fact Wii Fit is at No. 1 in the UK charts for the 13th week since it came out. Still - it's a shame there's no motorbikes.
EA Sports Active is due out for Wii on 22nd May.