Zumba, a latin dance-inspired aerobic workout, isn’t the most obvious choice for a video game adaption. There are no aliens, rarely any guns and it involves moving in a way that may impact on digestion of junk food. Despite all this going against it, Zumba Fitness by Majesco has proven to be incredibly popular.
Zumba Fitness is so popular, in fact, that it is regularly top of the charts — some ten weeks on the trot now — ahead of games which we would class as far better examples of video gaming excellence. While we’re sitting in our Wotsit-stained living room and complaining about how a world where a dance game is outselling a work of art like Infamous 2 on a weekly basis isn’t worth living in, there are other, less dramatic people who are enjoying their new Wii and Kinect-inspired Zumba lifestyle.
Everything but the very biggest releases seems to fall in the wake of a sweaty workout. The alternates on the Wii aren’t doing much in the way of knocking the king from its throne either, but, considering some of what gets released on the Wii, I’m not sure what I was expecting.
For instance, not only can you get fit with Mel B, you can invite Daisy Fuentes into your home with her Pilates collection. Don’t fancy rich celebrities condescending to you? EA Sports Active gives you a virtual gym, although I hear that horrible sweaty smell wasn’t included in this version.
But surely there are some games, games of substance that can compete with Zumba Fitness? Out of all the AAA titles being released, titles that have cost millions and millions of dollars to make and years of developer’s lives to even get into the stores, something must be able to outsell a dancing game, even one that lets you strut your funky Latin stuff.
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
I have a solution though. It’s a little out there, so you’ll have to bear with me. We should build a new hybrid game, something with a name like Zumba Warriors. The setting will be a busy shopping centre, full of irresponsible parents buying movie tie-ins and fitness games for their twelve year old children. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to stop them at any cost. Think of it as Dead Rising, but the people are brain dead thanks to advertising and brand recognition, not because they have been bitten by zombies.
The twist is this: if a parent manages to buy a game, they invite you round to their house in order to get a taste for what that game is really like. It would be far too awkward to say no, so you are forced to dance in lieu of losing a life. If you fail, game over, if you impress with your unexpected dancing prowess, you can go back to the shopping centre and try for another day.
Or maybe we could just accept that casual gamers like what they know is popular and which looks fun and that they’re never going to sit down for hours and play Black Ops. No?
Zumba Warriors it is.