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Hands-On: Experiencing Michael Jackson on the Wii

Hands-On: Experiencing Michael Jackson on the Wii (photo)

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While they’re perpetuating popular hardcore franchises like “Splinter Cell” and “Assassins’ Creed” on the Xbox 360 and PS3, Ubisoft’s quietly established a successful micro-niche of choreography dance games on the Wii. “Just Dance”–the first of these games–emerged as a best-seller when it came out last year and followed by “Dance on Broadway” this year, which gave players the chance to do routines from classic musicals “Guys & Dolls” and “Hair.” Now those titles are being joined by “Michael Jackson The Experience.”

The game lets players dance (and sing, in the PS3 and Xbox versions) to the late superstar’s choreography. I had a chance to check out the Wii version of “MJTE,” the baby brother of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 offerings. Those games have been delayed, leaving the Wii game the only one still scheduled to arrive this holiday. (There’s also a handheld version on the Nintendo DS, which plays very similarly to the 2006 hit “Elite Beat Agents”.) The Microsoft and Sony versions of the MJ game use those companies’ Kinect and Playstation Move motion gaming hardware, while “MJ” Wii uses the standard remote. In each case, your movements are tracked to see where they match up with the on-screen movements, Where “Just Dance” and “Dance on Broadway ” have gentler interpretations of playable footwork, the Micheal Jackson game takes none of the complexity away from the Gloved One’s moves.

The King of Pop gets a weird, slightly fantastic visual interpretation in the video game memorial. There’s no other way to put than to say that he doesn’t quite have a face. In some songs, he’s the Afro-sporting, bell bottoms-rocking dancing machine of the J5 years, only slightly grown up. In others, his skin color’s the light-skinned beige of his later years. In none of them does he have a nose (any of his noses) or a mouth. Ubisoft says that this decision is meant to let players more easily think of themselves as Michael Jackson, but it has the odd effect of only reminding you just how bizarre he wound up looking before he died.


Still, one cool corollary to making Jackson’s discography playable is that Ubisoft’s made videos for songs that never had them. The Afro MJ that I mention above was dancing through “Workin’ Day and Night,” from the 1978 album “Off The Wall” Never mind that MJ had aged out of the J5 attire by the time the album was released, the creative license here offered by the game in these instances is still fascinating. In such cases, the steps in the game’s new music videos have been created with the help of choreographers who worked with Jackson.

As far as the music itself, six tracks have been announced already. Nothing further on the track listing or whether there will be downloadable content for the game has been made public. Here’s what out there so far:

• Bad
• Beat It
• Billie Jean
• Black or White
• Earth Song
• Smooth Criminal
• The Girl Is Mine
• They Don’t Care About Us
• Who Is It
• Workin’ Day And Night

If you’re in New York City this weekend, you’ll be able to try out these songs this weekend at New York Comic-Con. Look for Ubisoft at booth #1617 at the Jacob Javits Center. The Wii version of “Michael Jackson The Experience” will be in stores on November 23rd and the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions should be out early next year.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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