Dance Central 3 was released this past week. The newest Xbox 360 Kinect games is better than any exercise dance video and will give you a great workout at home. I've been playing Dance Central 2 (and moved to Dance 3,) and watching calories and I've lost over 5 lbs in the past couple of weeks.The best part of this workout is: 1) it doesn't take much time out of my day, 2) I don't have to leave home, and 3) it's a lot of fun. It's a video game, and as such, you get points, level up, earn free songs, dancers, outfits, and venues. It may seem a little silly, but I find myself motivated to reach my goal of dancing 5 days a week, not giving up before the end of my workout, and not giving up during a song. After all, Aubrey needs a cool new leather outfit. Yes, I'm hooked, but I'm losing weight because I am.
What is Dance Central 3?
Dance Central 3 is, as the name implies, the third generation of the wildly popular Dance game for Xbox 360 with Kinect. In the game, you follow the moves of onscreen computer animated characters dancing to popular songs. We've come a long way from those floor dance pads that used to work with video games. The Xbox Kinect games uses the Kinect sensor accessory (that is used for gesture and voice control of the Xbox) to see your body movements. A red outline around an arm or leg indicates that you haven't moved your body correctly. Points are given for following the animated dancer's movements doing a "nice" job or following flawlessly.
Do the Hustle
Earlier Dance Central releases were heavily focussed on new dances. I happen to like new dances but if you'd rather dance to the songs you did when you were hitting the clubs, you might want to choose a playlist from another decade, or create a playlist of your favorite dance songs. Dance Central boasts that it is the only dance game that can teach you how to do "The Hustle." And from my memory, it is right on, finger points and all. Add in "I will survive" "Disco Inferno," and "Turn the Beat Around," then finish with "YMCA" and you can feel 20 again—well, maybe with some practice. Try out some of the songs of the new generation including how to do the dance, "The Dougie," and dance along to the Bollywood Beat with "Beware of the Boys" (Mundian To Bach Ke). Note that Dance Central uses the original recordings by original artists, not remakes or songs by cover bands.
Beginner and Rehearsal Modes
If you like to dance but you don't feel like you are a good dancer, or if you want to practice the routines because you can't keep up with the moves, Dance Central 3 can help you. For the first time, you can choose a Beginner mode in Dance Central 3. It repeats simple movements throughout the song. Each increased difficulty adds more complex moves. If you want to learn certain moves, you can choose rehearsal mode, pick the song and the move to practice it.
To purchase media, games, movies or add ons for Xbox, you must buy Xbox Live Microsoft points. You'll pay $5.00 for 400 points. Songs will cost around 240 points (unfortunately, you can't buy 2 songs for 5 dollars). The songs can be bought from the game, but you'll have to know the song. I suggest looking it up in another music store to listen to it because there are no previews in the Xbox store.
Fitness Mode and Playlists
Because dancing is such a great way to burn calories, Dance Central 3 includes a Fitness mode. Enter your height, weight, age, gender, and your fitness goals—how many times you want to workout each week. By adding goals, you will gain points if you reach you workout for the number of days you choose. The game claims to track your calorie expenditure, but it doesn't come close to an semblance of accuracy. It tells me that I burn 100 calories in an hour. My BodyMedia Fit armband tells me that I've burned 500 calories (yes, 500).
Play with friends or alone in small spaces
Because it's a game, you can challenge friends or invite up to 7 more friends to join you in a party mode. That is, if you have space in your room. It doesn't require much floor space to play alone. My area is about 6 feet by 8 feet. Note that if you are too close to the Kinect you will need a close up accessory called the Zoom.
For the price of an inexpensive gym membership, you could get an Xbox 360 with Kinect ($299). Once you do, you will discover all of the other Xbox 360 features including Netflix, Hulu Plus, entertainment, watching the Presidential debates and more.