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Archive for July, 2010

Best rechargeable batteries for the Wii

If you’ve been using your Wii for exercise, one of the things you find is that you go through a lot of batteries. Just a few workouts swinging the Wii remote or stepping on the Balance Board will run your batteries dry very quickly.

Not only is it bad for the environment to be tossing all those Duracells and Energizers away every couple of weeks, it’s not all that great for your wallet either.

Personally, I haven’t bought an alkaline battery in the store for years. Instead, I got these Eneloops by Sanyo. If you’ve been disappointed by rechargeable batteries in the past, whether because they don’t last long or because they completely die very quickly, it’s time to give rechargeables a second look.

These batteries are different for a couple reasons. First, when you buy them they already come fully charged, just like regular batteries. Just pop them into your Wii and you’re good to go for as many hours as you could expect with regular batteries.

The magic happens when they run out. You just pop them into a recharger, and in a few hours you’ve got a brand new set. For me, I’ve charged and recharged my Eneloops so many times I’ve lost count, and yet they still keep a full charge. I actually keep two sets for each Wiimote, one to use in the Wiimote, and the other fully charged so I can swap them out. They say you can charge them up to 1500 times (3 years) before they start losing a charge–multiply that by the price you pay for batteries and you’ll realize how much money you’ll save. They even use arrays of solar panels to charge the batteries to full capacity at the factory before they ship–talk about being green!

The performance is actually superior to alkaline batteries and standard NiMH batteries.

Amazon sells the eneloop 4 Pack AA NiMH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries as a set of four batteries.

You’ll need to purchase a charger as well, which you can get if you buy the Eneloop Power Pack with Battery Charger and batteries from Amazon (also available at your local CostCo). If you really want to go high-tech with the charger, consider a charger like the La Crosse Technology BC-9009 AlphaPower Battery Charger. (Although while this charger comes with batteries, I still prefer the eneloops).

Review of Dance Sensation for Wii

Dance Sensation

Reviewed by Nutwiisystem on July 20, 2010.
Summary: More a “dancing simulation” than a dance game.

When I first heard about Dance Sensation by Majesco, I was looking forward to trying it out. They claimed that you could “Learn 4 different dance styles…each with a progressively complex set of over 40 real steps”. So when I read that, I figured this would a game where one could actually learn and perform real dance steps. Sort of like Just Dance, but where you’d learn real hip-hop, jazz, ballet, and Latin dance moves.

Unfortunately, after I got the game, I found quickly that it fell far short of those expectations.

Like many rhythm games before it (Dancing with the Stars, High School Musical, etc.), the game doesn’t involve real dancing at all. Instead, you just swing your arms to match on-screen cues.

Each dance move corresponds to a specific combination of Wii remote and nunchuk movement. For example, when performing ballet routines, you “perform” a “pique arabesque” by twirling your Wii remote in a counterclockwise circle. To “perform” a “grand pas de chat” you move your remove in a downward semicircle. As you progress to “intermediate” and “advanced” steps, you start to use the nunchuk as well.

If you match the required movement correctly, your on-screen character performs the “real” dance move. The on-screen animation of the actual move is accurate and the name of the dance step will be displayed and called out. By tying different dance moves together, you can make your character dance a complete routine.

The problem, of course, is that you’re not really dancing nor even learning the steps. At the very least, it would have been nice to have a step-by-step tutorial for each step that the on-screen character performs. But the character moves so fast and the steps are so complex that you don’t really have a chance to examine the real moves, much less to “learn” them.

The game is definitely geared towards young girls, with the usual trappings of typical Wii games. All the on-screen characters are girls whom you can name, dress in different outfits, and change hairstyles for. As you progress through the game, you can unlock different locations, medals, costumes, and hairstyles. And of course, there’s the high-pitched, overly effusive “Great! Way to go!!” positive reinforcement every step along the way.

All in all, I’d say that a few years ago this would have been a great game. In fact, on a positive side, the use of the MotionPlus controller gives it a level of accuracy that previous rhythm games didn’t have. But of course, with the advent of Just Dance and the influx of games coming in the next few months that tout “real dance moves” such as Gold’s Gym Dance Workout and the new Dance Dance Revolution, a game like this seems outdated and passé.

If you have a young girl in the house who’s taking dance and would appreciate having the reinforcement of learning different dance moves (by seeing, if not doing), I’d say this would be a good title for you. But if the goal of you or your child is to actually dance those moves, chances are you’ll be disappointed.

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