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Video games are packing the dance floor this year

Last year, the success of Just Dance brought out a wave of dance games; this year, with the even bigger success of Just Dance 2 and Zumba Fitness, that wave is an all-out flood.  Here’s some of what is out, or coming…

  • Sequel mania:  Just Dance 3 and DanceDanceRevolution II (which is really about the 20th game in the series) are out, and Just Dance Kids 2, Dance Central 2, Zumba Fitness 2, and Country Dance 2  are all on their way.  The Just Dance games will be coming to Kinect and PS3 for the first time, while it appears that Zumba has abandoned Kinect after having some technical difficulties.  I just got Just Dance 3 for Kinect which I love so far, and I’m also interested in Dance Central 2 and DDR II which will bring back DOUBLES! 🙂
  • Super stars:  Ubisoft is putting ABBA on the Michael Jackson dance game stage with ABBA You Can Dance for Wii, featuring that group’s hits, plus a career mode and a karaoke mode so you can belt out “Dancing Queen”.  (Simultaneous singing and dancing can be one heckuva workout, as I found with Karaoke Revolution Party.)  The same company is also putting out Black Eyed Peas Experience on Wii and Kinect; screenshots of that game look more like Dance Central than MJ.
  • Grease is the word:  Grease Dance, based on the movie, is coming for Kinect and PS3.  There are very few details right now, but it’s interesting that they’ve written off the Wii already, when it seems to me that it’s the most likely console to be in the households of the Grease generation.
  • New to the dance floor:  Everybody Dance is a new PS3 Move game that appears to be a hybrid of Wii’s Just Dance series (because you still have to wave controllers around) and Kinect’s Dance Masters (if you choose, the PS3 camera will put your dancin’ image on screen).  Nickelodeon Dance, for both Wii and Kinect, offers tots a chance to dance with Dora, Diego and the Backyardigans.  Amazon also has listings for Dance Battle Vs. (PS3) and Dance Magic (Kinect, PS3) but little is known about either one.

Dance Central is putting fitness in the spotlight with Dance Central Fitness Club

The makers of Dance Central know that dance-gaming is a fun and effective way to lose weight and shape up, and they’ve started a Dance Central Fitness Club that is looking for fitness success stories via Facebook, Twitter and their forum. Dancers are reporting weight losses as much as 55 pounds in the past year, as well as hitting performance goals such as passing gym tests. Nice!

Dance Central 2, and partial song list, has been announced

Dance Central 2

A sequel to Dance Central, the critically-acclaimed dance game for Kinect, has been announced at E3.  Dance Central 2 sounds much the same, but with simultaneous multiplayer, new characters and of course new tracks.  The songs announced so far include:

  • Venus – Bananarama
  • Nuthin on You – BOB featuring Bruno Mars
  • Like a G6 – Far East Movement
  • Bulletproof – La Roux
  • This Is How We Do It – Montell Jordan
  • Massive Attack – Nikki Minaj
  • Rude Boy – Rihanna
  • DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love – Usher

Like the first game, it’s mainly a club/hip-hop focus.  I tried the Dance Central demo on Kinect Adventures, on which you can dance Lady Gaga’s megahit Poker Face, and while it was fun, it didn’t really make me want to buy the game for $40.  But if it goes down into the $20 range after DC2 comes out, I’ll consider it.

Pimp my Kinect, sez Kylie Minogue to Microsoft

Kylie Minogue, the singer who kinda fell out of my head about 10 years ago after her last hit single “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” but is still active and touring, has partnered with Microsoft to offer up this blinged-out Kinect sensor, studded with blue and white Swarovski crystals. My first thought was, don’t they interfere with the camera’s motion? But I suppose that if you can afford it ($1242 according to BornRich) then you’re already too rich and thin to do any actual exergaming.  Whatevah… (Via geeksugar)

Dance Masters for Kinect demo is available, for Xbox Live Gold

If you have Xbox Live Gold (a free one-month membership came with my console) and Kinect, now you can download a demo of Dance Masters.  This is the “other” dance game for Kinect.  Dance Central has gotten most of the attention and sales, and the demo I played from the Kinect Adventures disc was lots of fun, but when I heard about Dance Masters, that was the one I wanted.  And I don’t regret it.

Dance Masters is to Dance Central what DDR is to Just Dance.  Just Dance (for Wii) and Dance Central (for Xbox 360 Kinect) are fun, casual games your whole family will enjoy, loaded with familiar hit songs.  But Dance Masters, which is on Kinect only,  is more of a “gamer’s” dance game.  Rather than club-style dancing, the dances are more like a stage performance, and the Kinect is your electronic Carrie/Len/Bruno, judging whether you hit those moves just right.

In lieu of scrolling arrows like DDR, DM has an interesting set of “marks” to hit.  A green silhouette will sometimes scroll in from the side, and you have to hit that pose right as it reaches the center of the screen (like in the TV show Hole In The Wall).  There are also round bullseye targets that you have to hit with either your hands or feet, We Cheer-like arm lines, and a green circle on the “floor” to be stepped on to the beat.  The choreography is the same for each song on all difficulties, but the number of marks increases on each difficulty.  Thus you can get away with just a series of poses on “easy”, but once you get to “extreme” or “master”, you pretty much have to have the dance down pat as marks come flying from all directions.

For extra fun (or embarrassment), DM puts you right up on stage with the dancers!  You can even “clone” yourself by projecting a video of yourself on a previous dance along with your live image.  Multiplayer puts both players up on the stage, and DM (unlike DC) offers online play as well.

The Dance Masters demo includes both solo and duet versions of three songs:  A Geisha’s Dream, Unity and We Can Win the Fight.  These aren’t “hits” like Dance Central or Just Dance offer; they’re original, Jpop-style songs that only DDR fans will be familiar with.  I love the choreography of DM, but A Geisha’s Dream is a particular favorite, and not that hard to do.  Here’s a gameplay video:

No, I’m not posting a video of myself doing it, sorry!

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