Just Dance: not just a game!

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April 17, 2013 by hjang24

Paul Jang

Film 373

Game Review #3

Just Dance 4 is not just a game

               

                Since the invention of dancing games it has been in question whether these games offer dancing experience and even exercise. It first started with DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) and even Pump it. These games were comprised of a dance pad which players had to use with their feet. They would have hit the keys on the dance pads in sync with the directions on the screen. So for these games the buttons on the pads would be just arrows; these directions would fly up vertically on the screen and one would have to hit the button with their legs as the arrows passed a certain point. As fun as it was to “dance” with the catchy songs played in the games, many people speculated if this game actually increased one’s dancing ability. It was actually shown that rather than dance moves this game just increased leg dexterity as well as a increasing the sense of rhythm in the lower body. Even though it increased a couple traits it was nowhere near a plausible improvement. However after many years Just Dance has proven to actually boost the ability to dance as well as giving exercise to the players playing the game.

                After over 10 years the gaming industry started to develop motion censored games. It first started with the Nintendo Wii, and then slowly started to expand into the other gaming powerhouses like Xbox and the Playstation. Soon a series started up called Just dance; it was played through the motion censored expansion on the Xbox 360. The Kinect offered no handheld devices to be held like the Wii; it was all done through sensors that scanned body movements and would reciprocate them in to the game. Just Dance 4 is the 4th installment of the series; it is made up of mimicking the dance choreography of popular songs that a player could choose.

                I remember being very against this game and I saw it as a very childish game that didn’t even require much skill. Yet, I still remember when I first entered into that world. Just Dance 4 requires the player to mimic a dancer on the screen and copy his movements. If the player successfully copied his movements they would be awarded more points in contrast with the people he or she would be playing with. When I first started to play the game I picked a song that I was quite familiar with and expected a simplified and easier version of Dance Dance Revolution. Within two minutes I found myself panting and flailing my arms and legs in random directions as futile attempts to copy the movements shown. After the song was over I found myself not even able to finish half the song and looking over at my friends who seemed to be breathing a bit hard but having 100 percent ratings on their screens.

                As fun as Just Dance 4 is, it really requires the player to mimic the actual choreography for certain songs and even improvised choreography. The players actual learn how to dance in rhythm rather than stepping on certain keys as they pass through a certain point on their screen. Also because of the advanced nature of modern video games, updates are available for the game so that one can download more songs to dance to and learn. Research and even personal experience showed that one cold have fun on a video game while getting good exercise and learning how to dance. It is almost as if one is able to hit three birds with one stone. Within 3 songs the game has you breathing heavy and dripping with sweat. Because of the opportunities the Kinect has opened up it has really also increased the scope and lifted the limitations on what games are. I would even take it as far as labeling Just dance as a beginners dance tutorial/exercise video that allows you to feel the joy of gaming while playing the game. That is why unlike Pump It and DDR, Just dance 4 is not just a game but a stepping stone in areas of dance and personal health on top of the gaming aspect. 

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One thought on “Just Dance: not just a game!

  1. gregoryadler says:

    My experience with DDR was very similar in that I did not feel it measured dancing ability. The foot tapping in certain directions made the game feel very algorithmic and not like dancing at all.

    I have yet to play the dance games for the wii but I think that motion control technology could improve these types of games very much, as it will let the player feel as if they are learning something real. As you said however, making the gameplay more like real life dancing requires the player to exert more energy. For this reason, I wonder if we will see these games advertised more as dancing games or as a workout method?

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