Just Dance and the Meaning of Having Fun

I’m probably not the person in the crew to talk about anything to do with music games, as we have Ted and Ari who have been into it since the PlayStation era (with Konami’s Mania series) but the success and existence of the Just Dance series is just something that I cannot ignore anymore. Mind, I’m all for accurate representations of dances and crediting said person for nailing the correct dance moves – after all, I did get all the Dance Central games – but Harmonix gave up on the brand months ago and there’s a void that needs to be filled.

Oddly enough, Just Dance has been around for somewhat the same time and people haven’t complained about not being able to do the moves correctly; and it sells like pancakes. How does one really explain the game’s success?

I did a little bit of research about Just Dance – because the way I generally determine whether or not I should get games is by their pedigree – and discovered something rather interesting with it. Earlier accounts of the original game’s development revealed that the whole idea spawned off of the “Shake your Booty” mini-game from Rayman: Raving Rabbits on the Wii. The idea was that the accelerometer was used to figure out if people were in motion or whether they were stationary. Needless to say, reviews of the original Just Dance described it as “sloppy” with “detection of player movements being substandard.” Of course, its audience thought differently. Even though it was a Wii exclusive title, the original Just Dance sold 4.3 million copies worldwide, ultimately obtaining the title of second best selling Wii title in the platform’s history, just behind Just Dance 2.

Naturally, this begs the question: What was present that gamers liked that game reviewers didn’t see? It’s an age old question spanning the length of the existence of media, and it’s an interesting one at that. While us reviewers were concerned about how accurately we’re able to nail the moves given to us by Just Dance, the audience it catered to just wanted to be able to do the moves, get rated by something – even though it wasn’t 100% accurate – and share that with friends. It’s like taking the idea behind scoring in karaoke, which is to say not so accurate, and applying it to a dance game. It worked.

That being said, the success of the game lives on in Just Dance 2014. It’s interesting to see that it’s the only dance game that thrives in today’s climate of music titles and I for one am wanting to fill a void in my music game collection. Have you tried any of the games in the Just Dance series? Do you enjoy it? Are you a fan? Let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s