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Editor's note: Carlos thinks Dance Central for the Kinect can set the industry "on fire yet again." Would something like Dance Central entice you — or your nongaming friends and family — to get a Kinect? -Jason
At this year's E3, Sony aimed to "change everything." The change the company was touting and promoting was its series of Wii-like peripherals — mainly, the Move controller and the EyeToy camera that work in concert to create that next dimension of accuracy in motion-controlled gaming.
In truth, I'm not terribly excited for either the Move or Microsoft's Kinect peripheral, but the latter does show a bit of promise that, to me, is easily attributed to one game: Dance Central.
Forget DJ Hero and, even to some extent, Dance Dance Revolution, the game that gave players but a few directional buttons to stomp on. No, Dance Central may just be the game that sets the industry on fire yet again.
The game is Harmonix's attempt at creating the next "bar game" or the next hot, mainstream product that will sell Kinect. Not to you or me, probably. But the popularity of dance shows and beat boy (aka b-boy) faceoffs on TV is indicative of the reach this game could have.
Moms, teenagers, and closet boogie maniacs alike are drawn to So You Think You Can Dance and its ilk every week, and now they can give technical dancing a try for themselves during the rest of the week.
I really had to applaud the people who manned up and hit MTV Games' Dance Central booths set up at E3, which turned plenty of nerdy media folk into dancing machines right before my eyes.
Harmonix's latest exercised the Xbox 360's Kinect capabilities — and it worked! The game produces an avatar onscreen, and a circle pulsing at its feet indicates when your next turn. Based on your timing and body position, you earn points similar to Rock Band and Guitar Hero (with a few twists to match the new gameplay style, of course).
Failing? Your onscreen counterpart's legs start turning red as a warning. It never became too much of a game but not just a bunch of random body movements, either. From what I saw, it looked accurate and fun — maybe more so in the privacy of your own home — and if Harmonix and MTV Games position this correctly, it changes everything.
Now, I'm not pop music's biggest fan, but the track record of Harmonix's DLC song releases in Rock Band and MTV's capability to license the hottest tunes makes Dance Central the best-positioned game to start off a new music-genre offshoot.
Rock Band has grown — and is still developing — a huge library of tracks available to rock aficionados, now it's Dance Central's turn to show that it can continue that legacy in a brand-new sector of popular music that will translate to real-world clubbing scene skills — or simply for Mom to show off that she can get down just as well as her TV idols.
Sony's "this changes everything" mantra? It's been officially redacted, and it now has a new suitor in the wake.