Christmas was just around the corner and I was looking forward to the fun annual holiday party that my friends N and A would always throw at their place. The crazy part about it was religion-wise they did not celebrate Christmas but seemed to have every single piece of Yuletide-themed decoration you could ever find (an attestation of pop culture infatuation). The moment you’d entered their door a sight to behold would greet you: a towering fake pine tree that was adorned with all manner of lights and hanging ornaments in the shapes of tiny gift boxes, glittering glass balls, colorful beads and shiny snowflakes, not to mention the beautifully wrapped presents that sat underneath the central attraction. Did I mention they also had a working train station play set that circled the tree?  Even real Christians weren’t this elaborate and festive.

The number of guests that usually flock N and A’s get-togethers (at least the ones I’d been to) is small and quaint. We are essentially a group of people who all happened to be friends by association with the pair and thankfully we got along pretty well and cat fights were kept to a minimum. Typically a party would start out with a nice spread on the table, with main entrées normally prepared by the multi-talented hostess N and a few occasional desserts and drinks brought over by guests.

After dinner we’d usually chill out at the dining table for a bit to facilitate digestion. Those who smoked would bring out and light up their fags whilst non-smokers like myself would try to distance as far away as possible from the looming nicotine waste clouds that came from all corners, but I would still try to hanger on as closely as possible to listen in and participate in all the banter. We had had many thought provoking and interesting conversations around that round wooden table, and as the night wallowed on, newer topics became sillier than the last. I enjoy the company at A and N’s, always.

After the food had settled down, the next thing we’d normally do is to engage in some games to amuse ourselves. That one year someone had the bright idea of bringing in Twister, so there we were, mangled and tangled around each others’ legs, arms and torsos in an effort to touch a colored spot on the plastic mat which was clearly being mercilessly torn apart by our twisting feet. Thank God nobody brought that game this year, with my figure being the way it was, I wasn’t quite ready to start bumping flab with anyone that night, no – that’d be way too intimate.

The main entertainment for the evening instead came in the form of a shiny white Nintendo Wii gaming console. I knew what the Wii was but I never had the chance to play one before until that point. I love video games, being an Xbox 360 owner (thanks M!), and so I happily played along as we popped in a Wii Sports CD into the slot and started playing virtual tennis, bowling, baseball by swinging the controllers in sync. After a bit of that, some of us got tired and dropped off, but I just kept on going because I was just having so much fun.

And then H brought it out, the game that would turn my life around.

It was a game called “Just Dance,” and if I were ever to make a movie out of this story, this particular scene would have the game disc box being served up on a silver platter, slightly levitated, with a sparkling light shining down upon it, complete with a heavenly choir sound effect.

The premise of Just Dance was incredibly simple, you just had to hold the Wii controller in the correct manner and basically mirror the movements of the characters of each song that came on screen. There was no stupid dance mat to worry about like in other dance games, so you could basically move your feet to whatever manner suited you so long as you waved the controller the right way. What I truly loved about the game were the songs, some were familiar ’80s staples that I grew up listening to like New Kids on the Block’s Step by Step, and MC Hammer’s Can’t Touch This. It also had Y2K hits like Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head and Katy Perry’s Hot ‘n Cold, as well as some ’90s favorites like Blur’s Girls and Boys and Technotronic’s Pump Up the Jam. The song offerings were diverse decade-wise and deliriously exciting.

Me and my friends "Just Dancing"

Dec '09: Me shamelessly "Just Dancing" with my chums

The maximum number of people who could play Just Dance at the same time was 4 so we’d all take turns going out on ‘stage’ in fours. It was a wonder nobody’s eyeball got gouged out by the swinging controllers that night with space being so limited. Looking back at the video footage that was taken that evening, some of us were getting a tad competitive and were totally into the moves, judging from the red and sweaty faces, pouting lips and immersed expressions. After only about 2 songs, I began to notice myself sweating profusely, beads of perspiration oozing from every pore. Yet I just couldn’t believe how effortless and fun it all was.

The light bulb in my head lit up and the ringing in my ears rang loud. I finally found my aerobic answer, I knew what I wanted to do in order to start being active again. I was going to buy the Wii and play dance games till every ounce of my excess fat had evaporated!

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