Monday, August 27, 2007

Get Down, Get Down: Wii Boogie Is In Da House

There's a song that's been on an endless loop in my head the past few weeks. No, it's not the latest Gwen Stefani song or that insidious jingle from the Advantix commercial (that was last week's loop.) It's You're The One That I Want from the movie Grease. I just watched it a few weeks ago, along with my two tween girls who were seeing it for the first time. They loved it, and the song from the end of the movie where Olivia Newton-John is rubbing her leather-clad butt all over John Travolta seems to be their favorite. Funny, I didn't think that was odd until I just wrote that sentence.

Talk about timing: a few days after our Grease viewing we received our copy of Boogie, the new karaoke game for the Wii. The girls popped it in, and saw You're The One That I Want on the song list. Needless to say the game was an instant hit, they played the tune over and over, and now that damn song is searing a path through my brain.

When the Parent Bloggers Network offered to let us try out a new Wii game before it was released I jumped at the chance; we'd had the gaming system for a couple of months and we were all getting tired of the sports games that come with the system and the selection of Wii games you can purchase are fairly limited. Boogie offered something for the entire family; the karaoke/dance theme was right up my girls' alley, and singing badly along to popular songs is something my husband and I do quite frequently.

As with most video games, I have no pretense of knowing how to set it up, learn the rules or work the controls. I pass it off to the girls, and if they run into trouble it's their job to find a willing, qualified ten-year-old to help them out. As I've told them repeatedly - that's what friends are for. They didn't have any problems with Boogie, though - it was easy for them to pop in the disc and start playing the game immediately. Of course, I give a thumbs up to any activity that doesn't require me to put down my cappuccino.

I have a suggestion for video game developers, and that is to make a game for tween girls that consists entirely of choosing a character and deciding which groovy hairstyle and funky clothes she can wear. My daughters and their friends spent more time doing this in Boogie than in any other part of the game. (The same goes for the initial setup of their Wii console, where one is able to customize their character, or Mii.) Finally after hours of "I like your bangs!' and "Your character looks too emo" I had to beg them to get down (no pun intended) to the business of singing and dancing.

A last quick note on the characters, though - my girls found them a little "too weird" and "childish." (Question: Can a nine-year old even use the word 'childish'?) There's only one female character who, while they enthusiastically dressed her like she had just spent fifty-hours in a virtual mall, they said was too 'Bratz-like' for their taste. Fine if you like Bratz, but if you're like my girls and sneer everytime they see them on TV, beware.

Along with the eponymous Grease tune, there were a few other songs that got my girls up and singing and dancing; Walkin' on Sunshine, ABC, Get The Party Started. For me, the inclusion of my favorite dance song of all time, Brick House, made me give a big high-five to the game creators. However, I didn't get as enthusiastic an endorsement from my daughters when I started singing, "Brick. House. She's mighty mighty" Kids these days.

Also, I had to put the kibosh on The Pussycat Dolls' Don't Cha. Something so wrong about hearing your tween daughter singing, "Don't cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me."

Besides the singing/dancing activity in Boogie, my daughters had a great time with the Video Maker, which allows you to create a music video using your character and a song of your choosing. Using the pre-fab effects, camera angles and backgrounds anyone can create a YouTube masterpiece. Unfortunately, my girls seized this opportunity to have a contest to see who could create the most awful video. making their character do a series of ridiculous leg-kicks and waist bends and dancing completely off-beat. Come to think of it, it bore a striking resemblance to Paris HIlton's music-video debut.

A few comments/suggestions from my kids: A DDR-type dance pad would be nice, and my nine-year-old would, and I quote, "like more songs from this century." I tried not to take her comments too personally as I sang enthusiastically along to the Ohio Players' Love Rollercoaster.

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RookieMom Whitney said...

Sounds good! I can't wait to play at (Rookie Mom) Heather's house. Well-written and helpful review.

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