Dance Central: Look Goofy, Have Fun

You’re bad at dancing. Know how I know? Because you’re reading this and you play video games.

And yet, Harmonix, creator of such blazingly popular rhythm games as Guitar Hero and Rock Band, must figure what all we music-game junkies really want to do is dance, for some reason. So they made Dance Central, a game that uses Microsoft’s motion-sensing Kinect and allowed me to embarrass myself while playing it at the Xbox Lounge at Comic Con 2010.

While it does succeed in instantly making you the butt of all number of jokes, Dance Central and Kinect do an impressive job of translating player movement to dancer movement. The game prompts you with a simple dance move, which you replicate while listening to something catchy, like No Doubt or a Lady Gaga song. Both of which were on infinite loop in the lounge.

But you really are dancing. Can’t stress that enough. This is a dancing game that doesn’t bastardize the activity with requiring you to stomp a foot pad or shake a remote in idiotic fashion.

You fight through various songs, trying to mimic the dance instructor on the screen. You’re judged on how well you mimic the motion and how well you keep the beat, and some of the moves can be pretty tough. This is a game that really makes great use of the power of the Kinect hardware – you can’t play Dance Central half way, or cheat it by doing something similar to the move that requires less effort. You can’t just stomp one foot or shake one remote. The game draws you in and you play with your whole body.

It’s best enjoyed with reckless abandon.

And though I felt a bit like a fool playing it, Dance Central is the kind of game you can fire up with a group of (good) friends (who have signed agreements stating they won’t post video of you playing on the Internet) and have a goofy, hilarious time. Watching people try to play it is as fun as failing to do so yourself.

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