[cyber groovy]

Topic: Culture

As promised, here’s a review of Cyber Groove, the Windows-based knock-off of Dance Dance Revolution, the increasingly popular dance video game.

So Cyber Groove is good, although not as good as Dance Dance Revolution proper, the most important differences being that the interface is less graceful and the number of songs is far more limited. Still, you get to dance to Tub Thumpin’ and YMCA, as well as 14 other tracks, and the difficulty level can be complexly modified by fiddling around with various menus. Also, unlike the pads for DDR, which come with instructions warning against sock-wearing, Cyber Groove’s plastic pad pretty much demands socks, because otherwise your feet tend to stick.

Still, Cyber Groove offers all the challenge and fun of DDR, along with the exercise — a couple of rounds, and I can definitely feel my heart pumping, not to mention that pumped feeling in my calves.

I keep talking about these dance-based video games as if they were somehow worlds more fun than other video games, but it occurs to me that this might not be true. I love video games, which is why I don’t play them. A good game has the power to absorb me for hours on end, until I look at the clock and realize I’ve been playing for 14 hours straight. I don’t want to devote that kind of time to video games, so I avoid them. (I allow myself rounds of Minesweeper at work, but only because I can trust myself to lose interest after a short while.)

So Cyber Groove is absorbing like Tetris, but there are two factors that make it more acceptable to me: 1) it’s healthy exercise for Jenny and me, and 2) physical exhaustion limits the amount of time I can devote to the game. If I ever get to the point that I can play for four hours solid on the highest setting, I will have developed legs like these:

I find this unlikely.

From what I understand, there are other versions out there as well, including one that you can plug directly into your TV (in stocks!), but the TV-only model, I have been told, gives you 16-bit sound, which means you’re dancing to an Atari 2600 game.