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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Rah-rah Game's No Powder Puff:
Jets Cheerleader Test-drives New Nintendo Wii 'All Star Cheer Squad' 

Posted by James at 5:54 PM ET

By Patrick Huguenin
New York Daily News
Flight CrewThe newest cheerleading video game is sure to have you shimmying from your fingertips to your feet - but being a pro might help in playing it.

"All Star Cheer Squad" for the Nintendo Wii system hits stores this week at $39.99 a pop. We invited Natalie, a member of the New York Jets Flight Crew, to test it.

Natalie showed up with her pompoms, but proved this game levels the playing field a bit.

To become a virtual cheerleader, a player holds the Wii remote in one hand, Wii's "nunchuk" control in the other and steps onto the Wii balance board so the game can sense her foot movements.

Just mimic the moves of the virtual cheerleaders onscreen and you're raising team morale in no time.

Sound easy? Not when you factor in the timing needed to nail each movement.

"I feel like I'm directing traffic or something," said Natalie as she swished her arms through one confusing segment.

"I'm prepared in that I know some of these movements," she said. "But I've been taking dance since I was 2 and you can see I'm not perfect."

Maybe that's because the game calls on an encyclopedia of moves dreamed up by celeb choreographer Tony (G) Gonzalez, who has worked with Paula Abdul, Jessica Simpson, Alicia Keys, and on the "Bring It On" movies.

Gonzalez invented complex routines and the game's animators filmed his squad of dancers with motion-capture technology to bring realism to the rhythm.

"I created 316 moves and did about 20 to 30 dance pieces that we can incorporate, cut up or move around, to give life to the movement," said Gonzalez.

Natalie pegged the game's high and low "V" arm positions as cheerleading classics, as well as the hands up "touchdown" motion that frequently appears. Others, such as diagonal and arm-crossing motions, didn't come so easy.

Timing is the most difficult part of the game. Cheer too early or too late and your points are slashed. The game often requires the player to perform while high-kicking or, if you aren't as practiced as Natalie, standing on one foot.

The end verdict: ra-ra-ra, sis-boom-bah! "I teach cheerleading," Natalie said. "And I think my little girls would really like this."

[New York Jets Flight Crew]

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