Gamers and dancers split on Just Dance

For more proof that “hardcore” (generally males between 12-40) and “casual” (generally everybody else) gamers are living on different planets, look no further than reviews for Just Dance.  On the gaming sites, according to Metacritic, there are a few good reviews but also a large number of critiques that sound like what you might get if you asked Tipper Gore to review Modern Warfare 2.  Take this agenda review from IGN:

Do not buy this game. Do not rent this game, do not look at this game on the shelf, don’t even think about this game lest someone at Ubisoft find out and they prep a Just Dance 2. Such would be the end of all things, mark my words.

But other than that, was it ok?  Actually that’s nothing compared to the apoplexy of the critic at Gaming Age, who starts out “This is awful” and goes downhill from there.  It’s a must-read.

The comments from average folks at Amazon (as well as the comments at the bottom of the Metacritic page) tell quite a different point of view.  Almost 9 out of 10 of more than 200 Amazon reviews are either 4 or 5 stars on a scale of 1-5.  “Fun for all ages” and “Great party game” and “Great workout” are repeated over and over, with enthusiasts Just Dancing everywhere from family reunions to office parties.  And many of them are popping up on YouTube for the world’s enjoyment.

To give critics even more indigestion, the company that makes Just Dance, Ubisoft, announced that it is their fastest-selling Wii game ever.  The game raced to the top of the UK game sales charts and has been hanging around the top 5 at Amazon for weeks.

I just got Just Dance last week, and while I LOVE this game, I can see where the gaming critics are coming from.  If you go down the video game check boxes – graphics (vintage 1990), scoring (seemingly random), controls (awkward pointing and clicking), gameplay (just dance, that’s it) – Just Dance pretty much fails.  And practically everyone not in a stadium is sick of hearing “Who Let the Dogs Out”.

But who cares?  For me, Just Dance did for “U Can’t Touch This” what the original Guitar Hero did for “More Than A Feeling” – took a completely worn-out, overplayed oldie and made it nearly as fresh as the day it came out.  This game is all about the tunes and the fun, not controls or scoring or epic storylines.  Maybe it shouldn’t even be called a “game”.  But whatever you call it, it has blown the dust off a lot of Wiis and touched a nerve with ordinary people of all ages who want to forget the recession, winter weather and other blues, and just dance.  Nothing wrong with that at all.  Stop!  Hammer time!

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Posted on February 5, 2010, in Exergames in the news, Exergaming and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. As a pure, simple example of fitness with music/dance its a winner. I do it with my wife and we have a great laugh but still enjoy the competitiveness. It has feedback flaws but who cares, we’ve learnt how to get the most out of the moves we can and there are hundreds of hours to go to ‘try’ and perfect the moves. Use this exergame in collaboration with other quality exergames and you have a great circuit workout 🙂

    • Hi Brett! I agree that Just Dance is a real cardio workout if you follow the avatars as closely as possible. I’ve been using it as a warmup for snow shoveling. It’s a dance workout video for Wii, that’s what it really boils down to.

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