Because Warped Body Issues of Dancers are Fun: Dance! Online

When I choose to play video games, I tend to be torn in a few different directions. I love puzzle games, and I love strange games (Katamari Damacy, Mad Maestro, Chibi Robo, etc.). I also love RPGs, but I really suck at them. And my strongest genre is rhythm games that can't give me Carpal Tunnel syndrome.

Which is why my recent discovery of Dance! Online made me happy.

Dance! Online is a free MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game) from Acclaim stolen from the game dynamics of Dance Dance Revolution. If you've ever seen DDR, you know how the game works. A horrific dance song is blasted from your speakers, and a series of arrows scroll up the screen in time to the music (allegedly). You hit the arrows using a controller/keyboard/dance mat and try to hit every single beat perfectly.

Dance! Online actually has some really fun variations of play, such as Superstar Mode, where you fill a dance gauge to temporarily have a bonus multiplier (and see your character breakdance - hot), or Boys vs Girls, where you compete one on one against a member of the opposite sex (most likely a creepy old man offering candy if the little boy or girl takes their clothes off, shoots a picture, and e-mails it to him) in a three round contest for dance superiority.

Dance! Online is genuinely an MMORPG. You play against five other supernerds competing for the highest score on the song. The better you do, the more experience points you get. The more experience points you get, the higher your level gets. I've yet to see the advantage (other than more worthless in game points) of leveling up.

Saying Dance! Online is free is kind of a lie. Like all Acclaim MMORPGs, if you want to actually get some decent items (in this game, fancy haircuts, accessories, shoes, and clothing), you have to spend money to buy Acclaim coins. If not, you're stuck looking just like Orlando Bloom if he doesn't shower for a week or Mandy Moore circa 1999.

Now, here's where the gameplay turns a bit weird. Where other games might have a magic meter or stamina gauge or something video game-y, Dance! Online rates your skill level on your body weight. It keeps track of how many calories your character is burning and fattens them up accordingly. I played for three hours my first day, only to log in again and be pretty damn husky for not playing enough.

So, a dancing simulation game claims if you don't exercise to the point of exhaustion every single day, you'll be a fatty. Interesting.

Of course, there are magic solutions you can buy to burn the fat off of you instantly, only they are a temporary fix. You'll actually gain weight just from using the potions since it impacts your calorie count. But like ballet dancers and cancer sticks, you wind up becoming hooked, needing those ribs to poke through your skin and collar bone to be sharp enough to open a can of tuna you'll just purge out in ten minutes.

Because a warped sense of body image is always a fun idea, I highly recommend you take your fat ass over to the Acclaim website, download Dance! Online, and shake your digital moneymaker to hits from such grand artists as Panic! At the Disco, Cassie, and Stacey Q. Dear lord, there are some awful, horrific songs in this game. And they just happen to be the ones that keep being played over and over.

Now to get rid of my character's lovehandles. What a worthless fatty. He doesn't deserve to look like Orlando Bloom because I won't spend money to get him a decent haircut.