Last night, as our daughter pranced around our living room, I turned to my husband who was laughing almost hysterically and asked, "who is this more amusing for- her or us?" Anya was more active than we’d ever seen her- dancing, jumping and spinning, and entranced with watching herself on our TV. We were reviewing the new Hasbro Dance Cam ($35) which hit stores this fall.
The Dance Cam is a unit that plugs into your TV, projecting whatever you point the camera at along with an animated cast of characters dancing and/or singing to the pre-recorded music. Its three modes allow varying levels of participation. The Cool Moves mode, which has four songs, with one of four animals singing dance instructions. The Dance Along mode has 20 songs with the characters dancing but not singing or instructing. The Freestyle mode allows you to plug your MP3 player (or anything that accepts a mini-stereo plug) and play the music through the TV. There are no graphics for this mode aside from the camera image.
I have to admit that although one of the songs is stuck in my head, the music ananimation is abysmal. Ok, maybe abysmal is too strong. How about kinda crappy? Then again, I’m an adult and accustomed to high quality special effects and Pixar-quality animation and graphics. And the box does recommend using the unit on a TV 27" or smaller; Our TV is about 27" but definitely not smaller. With the popularity of huge HDTV plasma and LCD TVs, I’m surprised they wouldn’t keep that in mind and increase the image quality to accommodate this.
Another thing that bothers me is that the above image, which is part of the product packaging, is pretty misleading. First of all, the quality is nowhere as good, even on a small TV. But the TV shown is MUCH larger than the 27" or smaller unit that Hasbro recommends using. And finally, the background behind the kids looks like a sky- unless the wall behind the kids is that color, it’s pretty misleading as only the foreground shows.
Fortunately, none of this is a problem for Anya. She’s 3 and not nearly as discerning. She’s thrilled to see herself on TV. She wants to know "what’s that doggie name is?" Or pretend to eat the birds and clouds on the screen. She kept requesting certain characters over and over- doggie and cat. (I have to admit Josh and I like the rapping dinosaur named "Go-Go" who wants you to do his signature dance, "The Go-Go.")