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Woohoo! At last, cheerleading is coming to Kinect

Image via Wikimedia

Now that Namco’s We Cheer squad seems to have disbanded, another company is taking up the pom-poms and bringing cheerleading to Kinect with Let’s Cheer.  According to this press release via Reuters:

In Let’s Cheer!, players will learn authentic cheers and competitive routines choreographed by professional cheerleaders. In addition, to ensure ultimate heart-pumping fun, all routines will be set to iconic, licensed cheerleading songs and popular dance hits…

Kinect for Xbox 360 measures players’ body motions, while the cheer voice recognition technology makes certain they stay on count vocally. Let’s Cheer!’s moves include everything from basic motions like the High V, Broken T and Right Punch, to more advanced combination moves like the Blade Cap and Touchdown Sway. Cheer fans will be able to further test their flexibility with jumps like the Toe Touch and Herkie, or activate multi-player mode for a little friendly competition.

Yikes!  I don’t know what a Herkie is but it doesn’t sound easy.  And screaming “Let’s Go Team!” may burn extra calories, but what are the neighbors gonna think?  Nevertheless, the Kinect will allow you to hold real poms instead of remotes, a definite advantage over Wii cheering.

Let’s Cheer is coming this holiday season.If it’s modeled after the dancy and visually-appealing We Cheer games, not the dull and hard-to-control All Star Cheer Squad games, it’ll be a winner.

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We Cheer 3? No, but close enough.

It’s starting to look as if Namco has abandoned one of my favorite Wii dance-gaming series, We Cheer; after We Cheer 2 came out in the fall of 2009, there hasn’t been a peep (despite rave reviews at Amazon) and both games now are labeled “discontinued”.  But late last year, Kidz Bop Dance Party, a game that also has you tracing imaginary lines to the beat of dancy music, was released, and I just picked up a copy last week since Amazon had it for around $12.

Confession time: I can’t stop playing it!

Kidz Bop Dance Party is of course part of the heavily-advertised Kidz Bop franchise of popular hits rerecorded in kid-friendly versions, but the game is just a rebranding of a Japanese dance game, Happy Dance Collection.  They took out the Japanese pop idols and put in tweenish-looking kids, plus 24 songs, which is less than many dance games.  (I think I’m going to start a personal “Dance Game Rule” of not spending more than a dollar per song.)  Songs include shortened versions of Thriller, 1985, Party in the USA, Don’t Stop The Music, and – ugh – Girlfriend, plus fun originals like Kidz Bop Shuffle.

Gameplay is the same as We Cheer: pick a tune and dance along with the avatar while moving your remote along the tracks of arrows. This game only uses one remote, and the dancing isn’t as complex as We Cheer’s, but I still work up a sweat.  This is also a better party game than We Cheer because it offers a guest mode, so guests can jump right in without having to create a file.

In Free Play mode, all the songs are unlocked from the beginning, and you can play them on easy or normal mode.  In Challenge mode, you progress along a trail of stars and win badges on your way to Superstar status by passing groups of songs and then a “test” song.  It looks as if you eventually unlock harder modes and Mii support, although I haven’t gotten there yet.

There’s a versus mode for 2 players, and they made it more kid-friendly by not showing who is winning until the song is over, to prevent discouraging the very young.  With all the modes, you win points that you can spend in the shop on clothing, shoes, hairdos and accessories.  There are boy and girl avatars with adjustable hair and skin colors.

No workout mode or online/downloadable content, but for $20 or less, Kidz Bop Dance Party is a great deal, as fun and active as Zumba, We Cheer, Michael Jackson or Just Dance.

Adding Wii games to your strength program

Three of my favorite metal objects!

Lisa of Wii Fitness and Gaming asked me to write a guest post for her blog, so I wrote a post about how I add Wii games to my strength training routine of kettlebells and heavy weights.  Check out my post here, and see the rest of her blog (and her Wii Fitness Examiner page) for more great Wii workout ideas.

ExerBeat for Wii is announced

Namco Bandai, makers  of the We Cheer and Active Life sweaty games, announced an upcoming game called ExerBeat that looks like We Cheer with personal trainers.  It’s compatible with Motion Plus and the balance board, keeps track of calories (I hope it’s more accurate than the We Cheer calorie counter!) supports your Mii and has a feature where you travel “around the world” unlocking new games and places.

The screen shots on IGN only show dancing and boxing type moves using the upper body.  I hope there’s a walking mode; Konami’s been dragging its feet on a Walk It Out sequel, so maybe other companies like Namco or Ubisoft can fill those shoes.  (Via IGN)

Scientists have discovered that We Cheer is more fun than Boogie SuperStar

I was pleasantly surprised to see two of my favorite Wii games, Boogie SuperStar and We Cheer, mentioned in this recent article in Wired about how researchers are using motion controlled video games to see how body movements can affect your emotions.  Usually we think it’s the other way around – cringe if you’re scared, pound your fist if you’re angry – but according to the article, research is finding that how you move during a game can change your mood and even make you feel more social, perhaps helping explain how Wii has put the “social” back into gaming.

I especially liked this part:

Preliminary findings reveal that not only is the type of motion important, but the quality of it can be, too. For instance, while both Boogie Superstar and Wii [sic] Cheer involved copying dance moves, participants in tests enjoyed the latter far more than the former, saying they felt constrained and mechanical in Boogie Superstar and flowing and buoyant with Wii Cheer.

I agree that We (not Wii) Cheer has more flowing, dancy moves while with Boogie SuperStar, you stand in one spot making a repeated gesture like crossing and uncrossing your arms or making a “U” figure, sort of like a dumbed-down Just Dance.  But they’re both fun, and I’m happy to see We Cheer get a mass-media shout-out a year after the sequel came out.  Maybe Namco Bandai will consider a We Cheer 3?  That will make me buoyant with joy!

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