Let’s Dance, which was released last year in the UK as Let’s Dance with Mel B, is entering the crowded dance game floor this month in North America. It’s going to come out on Wii, PS3 Move and Kinect, and great news for penny-pinchers, it has a list price of $20 on all three consoles.
The Kinect version looks like a cross between Just Dance and DanceMasters in that your dancing image can be placed right up there “on stage”. While I don’t see anything about a workout mode, the game’s website describes a “Survival Mode” where you apparently dance nonstop till you drop.
At first it seems like a very practical solution to a multiconsole motion-gamer’s (or his/her mother’s) problem: how to organize that Wii sensor bar, Kinect sensor-bot and Playstation Eye camera that are awkwardly hanging around on top, below and in front of the TV. A company called Dreamgear, which makes aftermarket video game accessories, has proudly introduced the Trimount, a bracket that neatly clamps all three sensors together for easy mounting above or below a TV, or on the wall.
Peter Walsh, Oprah’s organization guru, would love it – but from the tech geeks themselves, here come the jokes! Wired is comparing it to 2001’s evil HAL 9000 computer. Kotaku calls it “terrifying” and likens it to “an angry Wall-E.” Engadget calls it “Eye of Sauron“, implying that knowing your Tolkien is a prerequisite for visiting their site. Jokes about Big Brother and snickers about the name “TriMount” are also flying.
On the other hand, Technabob dispenses with the geeky in-joking and lays it out straight: “Dreamgear Trimount Holds All the Console Crap That Sits on Top of Your TV.” There you have it!
As a motion-gaming, clutter-conscious mom, I think the Trimount is a great idea. And it looks like some modern sculpture, even if it is a little scary (a white Your Shape/Fit in Six camera in its belly, in lieu of the Playstation Eye, would help break up all that Darth Vader black). But the press reaction shows that blending the cultures of gaming with Bed, Bath & Beyond can be risky.
This week may be your best chance to actually run into other exergamers and dancers among the Call of Duty fans in the video game section, as no fewer than five fitness/dancing franchises have new games competing for your console budget.
First, of course, DDR! The latest Wii DDR game, DanceDanceRevolution (one word), is out, along with the first-ever DDR game for the PS3. The PS3 game has a cool-looking mat and a new 8-button mode that uses the corners. It also makes use of the new Wii-like Move controllers and the Eye camera. No word on any new DDR for Xbox360 or (sniff) PS2.
Also heating up the dance floor are the new Zumba game for Wii, and Just Dance Kids. Zumba Wii, which comes out a couple weeks ahead of the Zumba games for PS3 Move and Xbox360 Kinect, includes a waist or hip belt in which you store your Wiimote so it can properly gauge your booty-shaking. Just Dance Kids is another entry in the sleeper-hit Wii series, for parents who’d rather have their six-year-olds dance to Wheels On The Bus than Rump Shaker or Baby Got Back.
Meanwhile in the virtual gym, EA Sports Active 2, EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp and Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2011 are elbowing for room. EASA2 is available on Wii, PS3 and Xbox360 Kinect and looks a lot like its predecessor, with the addition of a forearm heart rate monitor and online support. On Wii only, there’s also a more testosterone version of the game, NFL Training Camp, which features the same HRM and training drills like the pros. (No indication of whether the Wii football can be incorporated.) Finally, Jillian Michaels is back with her third Wii game, Fitness Ultimatum 2011, which includes a new “mission mode” in which you save the world from high fructose corn syrup. Okay, let’s put some sweat on those controllers!
The new DDR games (simply called DanceDanceRevolution – they added no subtitle, just took out the spaces) are supposed to hit the street in less than a week, yet Konami has been dragging their feet on revealing a song list. Finally, they revealed a partial list (thanks Bemanistyle):
“According to You” – Orianthi
“Animal” – Ke$ha
“Bad Romance” – Lady Gaga
“Battlefield” – Jordin Sparks
“Celebration” – Kool and the Gang
“crushcrushcrush” – Paramore
“Dancing in the Street” – Martha and the Vandellas
“Hey, Soul Sister” – Train
“I Got You” – Leona Lewis
“I’m Yours” – Jason Mraz
“Love Like This” – Natasha Bedingfield
“Love Shack” – The B-52’s
“Missing” – Everything But The Girl
“My Life Would Suck Without You” – Kelly Clarkson
“Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
“Plastic Beach” – Gorillaz (feat. Mick Jones & Paul Simonon)
“Rio” – Duran Duran
“So Fine” – Sean Paul
“Venus” – Bananarama
“We Are Family” – Sister Sledge
Original Music by KONAMI Japan
“Rescue Me” – NAOKI feat. Fracus
“dreaming can make a wish come true” – jun & NRG Factory feat. Anna Kaelin
“Private Eye” – atomsoak ft. cerol
“IN THE ZONE” – U1 (NPD3 style) & KIDD KAZMEO
“Top The Charts” – J-Mi & Midi-D feat. Hanna Stockzell
“Let’s Get Away” – NAOKI featt. Brenda Burch
So far it looks like both the Wii and PS3 games will have the same songs, which is unusual.
Playstation 3’s new motion controllers hit the streets last week, to mostly good reviews. The list of currently-available games is rather slim. There are a couple of sporty games (Sports Champions, Racquet Sports) and family games (Eye Pet, Start The Party), but a noticeable dearth of fitness games.
There will be a Zumba game, EA Sports Active 2 and DDR coming out later on, but the first fitness game out of the gate for Move is coming from somewhat out of left field: former “Scary Spice” girl Mel B.
Mel has already made inroads in the video fitness biz with her workout DVD, Totally Fit. I have this DVD, and it’s pretty much your basic workout, set on a beach. Now Mel is moving to video games, with Get Fit with Mel B. coming out next week, September 28. The box blurb says “Only on Playstation” but Amazon also has an entry for a Wii version of the game, so we’ll see what happens with that.
Here is a trailer for Get Fit with Mel B:
It looks a lot like Your Shape, the ill-fated Wii game that came with a camera. Your Shape, originally $80, soon had its price slashed to around $20, and I believe it’s because its target market would rather see fitness pros on the screen than mirror images of themselves. (Remember all the furor over fattened Miis on Wii Fit?) That’s just my theory, but the new Your Shape for Kinect puts up a slim silhouette as your avatar rather than the real you.
I hope Get Fit with Mel B. turns out to be a good game, or at least isn’t left on the shelves like Wii’s Your Shape, because its rise or fall could very well determine whether more fitness games get developed for Move.
(Update: This game is still unavailable at Amazon. I stopped in at a Game Stop today and they told me they have it down for October 28.)