I'm rarely afraid to make a physical fool of myself in everyday life, but today I think things might have progressed to an unhealthy level -- I totally just danced, unashamedly, in the middle of Nintendo's E3 booth.
OK, you're unimpressed. Dance games have been around for years, and I'm not telling you anything new. But my embarrassment holds, even amidst your skepticism, because I wasn't even playing a dance game. I had no good excuse to be gyrating my body the way I did. But I did, because I wanted to.
And I wanted to, because I was playing Rhythm Heaven.
The Rhythm Heaven series first came to America three years ago with a DS design that deserved much more recognition and many more sales than it got. Now the Wii is getting a sequel, and in this late hour of the Wii's life cycle I'm hopeful that there will be an audience for this one -- because it's pure rhythmic fun.
I was bouncing back and forth and bopping my head from side to side as a pair of headphones kept me locked in my own little beat-matching world while I played the E3 demo, which consisted of three different mini-games.
The first was the simplest, with a fork stabbing peas flicked across a vast all-white landscape. My task was to press the A button in time with the music to skewer the tiny veggies, then fed to a hungry viking standing just off-screen.
The second was a samurai action design, as a feudal Japanese swordsman slashed and sliced apart black-bodied demons leaping out at him from inside a dark dimension. It was more complicated than the pea-stabbing, as the warrior had single strike, double strike and rapid-slash abilities you had to properly time, again matching the beat of the background music.
Third and final was a friendly airborne badminton match between a dog and cat flying small propeller planes. The cat would launch shuttlecocks and the dog had to bat them back, with varying different timings and trajectories to compensate for. It, again, had background music to match your action too.
And the music was incredible. Really -- this may be one of the best, catchiest soundtracks I've ever heard on Wii. The soundtrack was a huge strength of the DS game three years ago, of course, so I could have predicted the excellence of the music here if I'd thought about it ahead of time.
But I didn't. Not until I was in the middle of playing it, in the middle of a crowd of thousands of strangers, and I was involuntarily looking like a lunatic hopping around to the beat of music no one else could hear.
Oh well. Maybe no one will know that guy was me.