M. Giant's
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Monday, November 09, 2009  

Unhappy Feet

Part of the reason Trash bought us a Wii last year was to help us get into somewhat better shape. Unfortunately, however, it turns out that most Wii games are really boring. And then it also turned out that most of them can be played just as well from a full couch-slouch, as Chao and Gerd always reveled in demonstrating.

So last Christmas, one of the gifts I got Trash was a couple of Dance Dance Revolution games for the PS2 and a universal dance pad. Last week I took it even further: I plugged them in.

Trash loves it. It took us a while to figure out the game interface -- how were we supposed to know that those unlabeled corner pads are also controller buttons, let alone that trying to supplement them with the handheld controller would result in that controller hijacking the game? -- but once we got the hang of it we really got our groove on.

I started without Trash, actually -- just to test it, you understand -- and found myself surprisingly challenged by even the beginner level. Even at two steps per measure, it was deceptively difficult to shuffle my feet to the proper spot. Having lacked the foresight to install a chin-up bar directly above the dance pad, I discovered that one has to shift one's weight from foot to foot in order to make the steps. Nobody told me this.

After a bit, Trash joined me, and tried out a technique that involved returning her feet to the center after ever step so she was never off-balance. I decided to try that and it worked much better. Trash was disappointed in this, however, having been enjoying watching my graceless Herman Munster style far too much.

Luckily for her, there are four more difficulty levels to go after that. I made an attempt at a salsa song on "medium." Now I know what it feels like to sprint down the aisle of a school bus that's rolling down the side of a mountain.

So of course we had to invite Chao over to witness the madness. And take part in it, of course. Naturally we made him go first, because that's the polite thing to do when you have company. He didn't seem to appreciate it as much as we expected, though.

Meanwhile, I'm slowly improving. I think it's because I'm refusing to let my gameplay be hampered by things like grace and rhythm. Every time I stumble through a song, I want to use a Peter Boyle voice to bellow "Puttin' On the Ritz!" but I suppress that urge most times.

Later, when it was time for me to start putting M. Edium to bed, I left Chao and Trash down there to see how many songs they could complete without me, and on what difficulty level. By the time I came back down to send Trash up for her shift with the boy, you'll never guess what I discovered those two up to. They were sitting on the floor, using their hands to slap the dance pad that they had divided into zones between the two of them. And the only reason they weren't on the couch was because they'd tried it and it didn't work.

Of course I was disgusted. And yes, of course I joined them in repeated attempts to defeat David Bowie's "Let's Dance" in the level of difficulty known as "Please Just Kill Me." Which we ultimately did.

Gerd would have been proud.

posted by M. Giant 10:09 PM 1 comments


Thanks, M. I can assure you Gerd would have been impressed with our bringing a physical game to its least-effort-denominator. I've never seen anyone put the Wii-Fit balance board upright at the end of the couch so they could play while laying on the couch. She was brilliant in her own special way.

By Blogger Chao, at November 22, 2009 at 10:31 PM  

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