Can a Video Game Really Capture the Spirit of a Zumba "World Dance Party?"

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For those who've dreamed of salsa-ing their way to a sweat with guidance from avatars who look like something straight out of Mortal Kombat, here's your chance. Zumba Fitness World Party, the fourth video game from Zumba Fitness, launches Nov. 5 for Xbox360, Wii U, and Wii and Nov. 22 for Xbox One. If sales of previous Zumba games are any indication, the product is set to be a huge success; since the company launched its first game, Zumba Fitness, in 2010, the series has sold more than 8 million units worldwide.

Some reviewers of the games have complained it's hard to follow the choreographed moves (and the system doesn't know when you're getting it right). But it doesn't seem like World Party's creators are interested in training professional Latin dancers. Instead, the game is designed to get players excited about fitness by inviting them to a “party” inspired by traditional dances from all over the globe (although yes, there is an option to receive a “technique score”).

The game's launch inspired us to imagine similar products inspired by other recent fitness fads. CrossFit workouts organized into Super Mario levels? Muay Thai fights in a Donkey Kong setting? Whatever works to get us off the couch, especially if we're hesitant to set foot in a mirror-walled dance studio or judgment-filled gym. At the same time, it's kind of ironic that World Party is about creating a global “community” by encouraging people to shake what their mama gave them alone, in the comfort of their own homes. If Zumba is supposed to help us develop self-confidence by laughing off our missteps with our classmates, the video games kind of miss that point.