Dance Central. (Xbox 360 Kinect Game). (2010). Microsoft: Harmonix. ASIN: B002I0HBOI. $39.99

Summary

Dance Central is one of XBOX’s newest games, answering to the capabilities of the Nintendo Wii, and games such as Just Dance, and now Just Dance 2. Everyone will feel a little silly, (especially when the Kinect takes “freestyle” photos!) but it does require some dance skills, coordination, and full body movement.

Critical Evaluation

Dance Central is played using the XBOX Kinect, which can be a slightly expensive addition to the XBOX 360 at another $150, however, teens will love playing with and evaluating this new technology in addition to enjoying the game play without controllers, and full control of the XBOX using only hand movements and voice commands.

Songs may at first seem limited, but they do generally have good beats for dancing(such as titles by Lady Gaga), and some of the songs are downright funny(“Brick House” and “SouljaBoy,”) making for a good, funky time with any group of people. The animation of the dance moves is exemplary, and reminiscent of a smooth dance teacher. Responsiveness of the system is spectacular, as it tracks full body movements and lets you know when you are performing a move correctly or not.

Backup dancers may dance with the person playing the game, as the Kinect will only be controlled by the person standing the furthest in the front. Dance battles between two people can be played to throw in a little competition, as can completing dance routines to move individual song’s difficulty levels from “easy” to “hard.” Players without dance can”Break it Down” before performing a routine to learn the moves beforehand!

Annotation

Play the first dance game ever created without a controller! Great for dancers and soon-to-be dancers alike. Soon the whole family will be in control and rocking those new moves! Dance Central is a great game to get the party going!
Genre

Videogame: Dance, Party
Programming Ideas

-Dance Off, Group Gaming

-Kinect Technology Day (Watch videos and research all about the Kinect and it’s capabilities, then play the game!)

-Dance Choreography and Videos
Reading Level/Interest Age
Rated “T” for Teen. Ages 13+. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

However, preteens, teens, and adults alike will have fun playing this game together.

Challenge Issues
Much like motion pictures, music has often been an issue for parents due to language and sexual references. In Dance Central there are some sexual references in some songs, as well as slightly sexy dance moves. However, there are no songs with “explicit” ratings included in the game, and the slightly sexy dance moves are few and far between.

Benefits to including this game in the library include uses by teenagers with special needs, such as autism. Studies have shown that these types of games involving motor control and coordination are beneficial for those with special needs(Blum-Dimaya, Reeve, Reeve, & Hoch, 2010). Games like these are also beneficial for teenagers who may alternatively be playing video games which do not require full body movement, thus subjecting them to more time sitting and less time being active. This game, like many developed for the Wii, is a particularly fun way to keep teens moving. In fact, in a study conducted recently, preteens were found to benefit from Wii activity as much as running on a treadmill, but they were more likely to want to exercise using the video game alternative (Penko, A.L., & Barkley, J.E., 2010)

Why Did You Include This Game?

Gamers are sure to add this to their list of favorites, as it is one of the first games to make the most of the controller-free capabilities of the Xbox Kinect, new this year. It is great for groups and will be a draw for any library.

References

Penko, A.L., & Barkley, J.E. (2010). Motivation and physiologic responses of playing a physically interactive video game relative to a sedentary alternative in children.Annals of Behavioral Medicine 39(2), pp.162-169. Retrieved on November 29th, 2010 from SpringerLink Database at  DOI: 10.1007/s12160-010-9164-x.

Blum-Dimaya, A., Reeve, S.A., Reeve, K.F., & Hoch, H. (2010). Teaching children with autism to play a video game using activity schedules and game-embedded simultaneous video modeling. Education and Treatment of Children33(3) pp. 351-370. Retrieved November 29th, 2010 from http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com/hww/jumpstart.jhtml?recid=0bc05f7a67b1790e4741fae46b91d0b712d95f09c9864a94414286ea8ead2832ed8d1cdf4347ceb2&fmt=P

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About thesuperlibrarian

High School Librarian and obsessive reader! On a mission to read as many SUPER YA books as possible!
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