Shake it online, and maybe find love

Koreans love both dancing and the Internet, so it’s no surprise many these days are doing both simultaneously.
At the forefront of the race, “Audition” is the dance-game leader. In the last week of August, the game made the top 10 in overall game rankings, according to Gametrix, a research firm that bases its figures on user trends at PC rooms.
For a casual arcade-style game, it may seem a bit surprising that “Audition” is competing with such heavy-hitters as “FIFA Online” or “StarCraft.”
Yedang Online, the publisher of the game, says that in Korea alone “Audition” attracts around 30,000 players at a time, and that the company is seeing its sales increasing by 20 percent a month.
For those who have never played “Audition,” the game is similar to “Dance Dance Revolution” ― only no real dancing is involved. Arrows appear on screen to the beat of music selected by the player. When the arrows reach a certain point, the player must press the corresponding arrow or space bar on the keyboard, which makes the game character perform dance moves. The game can also be played in multiplayer mode, for player against player or team against team.
One reason for the game’s popularity is that users get involved in online communities within the game itself and romance can arise during “couple dances,” in which a player has to find a dancing partner of the opposite sex.
Since the game is free, Yedang Online makes money selling various cyber-items with which people can decorate their game characters. Some players go overboard shopping to deck out their game character with crazy hair-dos, apparel, shoes, accessories and makeup.
About 60 percent of Audition players are teenage girls, but a large number of young men and women in their 20s also enjoy the game, according to game polls.
Another dancing game, “Groove Party,” this time involving break dancing, was released last month by HanbitSoft. The game is very similar to “Audition,” though the dancing is more powerful than cute.
Players can select a fast-beat hip hop, techno, or house tune to dance to. A record feature also allows the player to review their moves. Some of the neat break-dancing feats include flipping backwards and performing handstands.
In addition, another dancing game is scheduled to enter the market by the end of the year: “Onair Online,” offered by GNP Entertainment, will feature the dance moves of the actual singer that sang the song with long-legged characters as avatars.

by Wohn Dong-hee

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