We Cheer: releasing the inner cheerleader
If I had to sell all my Wii games except one, We Cheer would be the keeper. This delightful game is in a class by itself among dance games: to score, you have to perfectly imitate the dances of the on-screen cheerleaders, for a surprisingly physical workout. The soundtrack is crammed with party hits ranging from Unbelievable and Footloose to newer songs from iCarly or Disney Channel. Dressing the anime-ish cheer girls in a wardrobe of uniforms is another sure thrill for the Barbie/Bratz crowd.
Not surprisingly, many “hardcore” game critics (professional and amateur) trashed We Cheer; one prominent site – whose learning curve apparently won’t extend beyond the couch – even declared it “broken” and gave it a zero rating. But nearly a hundred Amazon reviews tell a different story, and not just from little girls:
“I am a 31 year old mom of 2, and am crazy busy…This is a great stress relief and an amazing workout disguised as FUN!”
“I am 30 yrs old and I love this game!!”
“I’m a married man with two children and definitely in touch with my Y chromosome. That said, who would have thought I’d like cheerleading!?”
“I’m a casual dancer and fancy myself a would-have-been great cheerleader who lost her way…What a totally FUN TIME.”
“We Cheer is a magnificent, addictive, unique game that is easily worth ten stars or more. I’m in my 40s and my joints have never felt this loose and flexible, and that’s after years of doing workout videos.”
Okay, that last quote was from my review. But see a pattern? Maybe the reason Serious Gamers call this type of game “shovelware” is that average people really dig it.
Video games are all about fantasy, and while practically everyone has fantasized about being a superhero or a rock star, We Cheer seems to have awakened a fantasy some adults didn’t even know they had, that lay dormant since before voting age. For phys ed duds like me, cheerleading was out of the question. The whole high school cheerleading/athletics complex was a gated kingdom, and only the strongest and most beautiful had the keys. Now that we’re all grown up, we’re free to enjoy a variety of sports without worrying about passing tryouts or locker room hazing. Thanks to a lightweight, flowery Wii game, I’m finding that twirling virtual pom-poms on outstretched arms is a real calorie-burner, a tonic for my joints and so much fun that an hour just flies by.
As boomers age, there are sports leagues designed just for them – masters swimming, track and field, and a host of other sports. Why not senior or masters cheerleading? Wouldn’t the senior basketball or football players or track runners like to have a squad of pom-pom ladies cheering them on? Until that happens, those of us with living-room spirit have a sequel, We Cheer 2, to look forward to in November. Yaaay!!