Even before I became a father, I was always a dad dancer. Something about the combination of flat feet and six foot three inches of gangling sinew did not exactly lend itself to elegance and finesse. Nuryev I am not.
Michael Jackson, however, was a dancing phenomena. Whatever you feel or felt about his music, his eccentricity or his private life, he sure could dance. Like no-one else. Certainly not like me, nor I like him, which could be a bit problematic with ‘Michael Jackson: The Experience’, which contains rather a lot of dancing. Like Michael Jackson. Not me.
Now this will not be everyone’s vessel of Vimto. In fact, considering the content, this is about as esoteric as it gets. If you’re not wacko about Jacko, back off, because this is not so much about having a party fun time as lovingly, dare I say it, obsessively, recreating classic Michael Jackson dance moments.
The front screen is very rudimentary. Either fiddle around with the settings in a very simple matter, watch a very simple introductory video (with Maryss from Paris, don’t you know) or simply dive into the dancing. There are 26 songs/dances to choose from, all of which have a one player option but some of which have ensemble options, from the duet of ‘The Girl is Mine’ to the solo and ensemble epic that is ‘Thriller’. They range from ‘easy’ to ‘inhuman’ and can earn the determined player from one to five stars for dancing excellence. Or otherwise.
This is because the dances themselves are quite tricky – I mean, you’d expect that from Michael Jackson – unless you are well versed with the routines in question. Which is a bit of a problem for someone whose only encounters with the Jackson oeuvre was when he got guitarists like Eddie Van Halen and Slash to guest on his tracks. So there I am, flailing around to ‘The Girl Is Mine’ as featureless avatars of Jackson and McCartney cavort in mockery around the screen and I am yet again the one-star wonder. Part of the difficulty comes from having the usually helpful heiroglyphic-style pictograms scrolling down one side of the screen rather than appearing at the bottom – you can either watch and copy Michael or guess what the pictogram is suggesting, but you can’t do both. The other problem is that several dance moves require you to turn your back to the TV screen, which makes observing the action very difficult… unless you know all of Michael’s dances off by heart.
The depictions of the songs are fairly well done – each has it’s own theme matching the song in question and several of them are straight reproductions of the videos – and earning stars allow you to unlock instruction videos on dance moves which is quite… instructional, but in all honesty this is one principally aimed at the fans and designed for their enjoyment, which is no bad thing… except for Bad. As for me, my moon dancing days are over. Sh’mon.