Dance Aerobics

Dance Aerobics (NES)  1987


First rhythm game.

Dance Aerobics (NES)
Original cover art
Dance Aerobics nes

Gameplay video

Dance Aerobics nes
Dance Aerobics nes
Original japanese cartridge
Power pad
Power pad
dance aerobics nes
Magazine commercial

Review - (2011)

"Dust off a pink leotard and your Power Pad, ’cause it’s time for aerobics of the dancing variety! Choose from one of three modes – Dance Aerobics, Pad Antics, or Aerobic Studios – and get to steppin’. Dance Aerobics eases you into simple aerobic exercise routines with the Power Pad: move right onto button eight, left onto button four, raise your legs to ungodly heights, it’s all a rich tapestry. The instructor has a Power Pad herself and will show you all the moves you need to make on screen. Miss ten moves per class (the Power Pad is your aerobics partner and tattle tale all at once) and the game recommends that you “exercise more.” After you complete each aerobics class, you’ll be given a Pass Number (a password) and pushed forward to the next class: more routines, crazier movements, deeper burn. All told, there are eight Dance Aerobics classes to complete, and despite the feeling that you’re in your mother’s exercise class from the 80s, they’re an all-around solid workout.
Pad Antics has three options of its own: “Tune Up,” “Mat Melodies,” and “Ditto.” Tune Up allows you to make your own song on the Power Pad, as all but the two buttons in the middle of the Pad correspond to musical notes. Even if you’re a musical savant who’s composed on every instrument from bandolins to keytars, I’d wager you’ve never made a song on a Power Pad; Dance Aerobics and “Tune Up” dare you to dream. Mat Melodies presents a simple song (in my case “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”) and has you play along on the Pad. Green dots on the on-screen Power Pad show you where to step, but I couldn’t bear to hear the Melodies the game wanted me to Mat, so I quit prematurely. “Ditto” is the best of the three anyway, a one-person version of Twister that shows you where to put both hands and feet on the Pad, and gives you points for doing so. Skip the musical nonsense and indulge in that.
Aerobic Studios is similar to Dance Aerobics, though taken in five, ten, fifteen, or twenty minute long chunks instead of eight increasingly difficult classes. Follow along on the Pad with the instructor’s movements to prevent your score from decreasing. Successfully complete a routine and your score will increase back to 100. Why you would care about a score if all you’re wanting to do is work out, I’m not sure. Dance Aerobics, God bless it, like society itself, feels the need to constantly judge and pick apart our failings. Considering Power Pads are pushing the quarter-century mark, perhaps the problem lies not with our inability to follow directions and more with the musty sensors not doing their job properly. But that could just be my wide bottom talking."

1) Released in Japan as "Aerobics Studio" - the third game in Bandai's Family Trainer series.  It was designed for use with NES' 3x4 dance mat, the Power Pad. American version added voice acting.
2) Dance Aerobics features three distinct modes. In Normal Mode, the player begins with four different aerobics classes to choose from and by playing through the classes may unlock an additional 4. The player must follow the motions of the instructor by stepping on the appropriate buttons on the Power Pad as music plays.

3) Rhythm game is a genre of music-themed action video game that challenges a player's sense of rhythm. Games in the genre typically focus on dance or the simulated performance of musical instruments, and require players to press buttons in a sequence dictated on the screen. Doing so causes the game's protagonist or avatar to dance or to play their instrument correctly, which increases the player's score. 

4) For more watch Athletic World (1986) and Dance Dance Revolution (1998).

5) Emulated in: Nestopia

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