Bubba, the starfish, is dead. Long live the anorexic tweens that dominate Boogie SuperStar - the new EA "casual" title aimed at young-ish girls who long to shake their underage booties and karaoke to their hearts' content.
Boogie SuperStar is all about moving in rhythm to dance moves or singing karaoke on-pitch (but not both at once). The set-up is you make an avatar (skinny boy or skinny girl) who then gets scouted to attend superstar school. From there you dance or sing your way through competitions set to more than 40 girl-centric songs like "Bleeding Love" while you collect points for style and moves. The idea is to max out all the stats, unlock all the outfits and become the all-time SuperStar, despite Judge Vicki's attempts to sabotage you.
I'm all about having games for girls; and I totally get that there is a demographic out there who likes stuff like Imagine: Babies and doesn't feel the least bit insulted when people sneer at the Wii as a "girl's console." But do we really need to "empower" preteen girls with games designed to embarrass them?
Unlike WiiFit, Boogie SuperStar isn't going to call a girl fat - but it can be pretty punishing if you don't nail the complex dance moves and all, I mean all, the character models are stick-thin (even the token "fat" girl).
It's been a long time since I was a fat 12-year-old; but I do remember going to birthday parties and being too shy to play any game that made me get up and move. I also can't carry a tune to save my life, so karaoke is out unless it's Rock Band, where the echo and the accompanying instruments cover the worst of my eff-ups.
So, really, this game is a shy, fat girl's nightmare if it's on the party game schedule right after Spin the Bottle.
Somehow, and more eloquently, I managed to tell the PR rep running the demo all of that. He was nice enough to offer to embarrass himself for me and I sat back and watched him get down to Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend."
The dance moves require all kinds of hand motions and body motions from rolling your arms and shaking your hips to jumping up and down and turning all the way around. The PR rep jumped and shook and pointed and wiggled his whole body until he filled up his star gauge, charging his skinny avatar with glowing peace symbols and red stars. He aced the song - one of the hardest on the playlist - and cajoled me into trying a slower song for myself.
It wasn't as bad as I feared and somewhere in the back of my mind, the traumatised tween that gave up girlie things for video games began to crawl out and tap her toes to the beat.
So maybe there is something to this game that's going to click with the tween girls. It's got the right amount of glitter and glitz, and the right kind of feeling in the Wii controls so that you can't just sit back and swing the remote; you've really got to boogie if you want to win.
Boogie SuperStar ships in October. See if you can spot the token "fat" girl in the screens below. I'll give you a hint: she's just as skinny as the other girls.