Microsoft Open House | Dance Central Demo

At Microsofts Open House I tried out some of their Xbox Kinect games and Michael, from HardwareGeeks.com, captured me playing Dance Central (available November 4th), a game from MTV/Harmonics – so – you can start laughing now. There’s just something about coordinated dancing that just turns me into a rhythm-less fool…I have no shame in my game though, if ya’ll ever catch me in a club, I will be far from being the best dancer, but I will probably be having the most fun. (I can bet money on that). Just an FYI Microsoft made us limit the video time due to licensing issues.

Dance Central was awesome to play. I saw the features of the Kinect back in June, in LA for e3, but I really didn’t ‘get it’ until today. First of all, the device is sleek and chic. It will go well with most (if not all) LCDs and HD TVs out there – it is very, very nice. It captures 22 joints of your body, so in this game, if you were out of sync, it would highlight your body feature in red. I watched the beautiful Mariana (from MTV Games) get down to Galang (M.I.A) and also to Poison (Bel Biv Devoe) because I made the special request and she rocked it out! She looked absolutely great doing it, which is why I dreaded my debut. It wasn’t so bad though, I’m not an avid gamer, like I’ve mentioned on previous posts, but honestly, all you need for this game is the desire to have fun, and be okay with looking a tad bit weird.

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I (attempted) to dance Lady Gaga’s Poker Face. While the video is very short (due to their strict guidelines on video lengths) you can see I was at least trying to enjoy myself, as I had a conversation with Mariana, while trying to watch the various movements, while trying not to shake my butt in a club, while getting my hair out of my face, etc... Looking back, I can’t even count the times I tried pushing my hair out of my face and neck because I got soooo hot in a matter of 2.3 seconds. The video would’ve been a lot funnier had Mike been able to record me pumping my fists in the air, but hey – you get the drift.

The game has the option of letting you go straight into a performance mode, or you can rock it out in breakdown mode, where multiple dance steps will be shown to you, and then you do it in a sequence. I only saw the performance option but I can only imagine how cool it would be to break it down.

Another cool feature of the game is that it allows you to enter your body weight, and it’ll record the time you’re jamming out, which in turn allows you to figure out how many calories you’ve burned. This by far, is a lot more enjoyable than being on a treadmill, or elliptical running nowhere. I can see this (and a number of other games) being the ultimate workout plan. I would totally add an hour slot to my activities, even if only once a week, to rock out to this. I also thought this would be a lot more enjoyable to do with friends – those that were tired from too much karaoke.

During the songs, there is also a ‘freestyle’ part, where you can jam to your own steps, and then the game shows you you’re own moves! Kinda weird if you’re camera shy like me, but totally worth it, especially if you’re around people that truly love you, even when you’re making a fool out of yourself.

I didn’t understand the whole she-bang about this Xbox Kinect thing, and while the newer devices will give you much less memory space, the fun that you’ll get from the games (and workouts) should compensate for that loss. I can already see this being a huge hit across families – the singles, the married, the kidless and the Brady Bunch. Definitely check it out, even if only at a Best Buy when they become available.