Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).
I graduated high school in 1999. Like most other schools, we had a year-end prom to commemorate our collective coming of age. We voted on our “official” prom song, choosing from about a half-dozen hits of the era. What song emerged from this chaotic democratic process, you ask? “All My Life,” by K-Ci and JoJo. Since then, I’ve always thought of it as an aberration, or maybe just a product of our collective apathy. (I’m sure I wrote in a Weird Al song or something equally “rebellious.”) Martian Middle School Dance has made me consider that we were instead victims of a burgeoning cultural phenomenon, swept away in those dulcet tones.
The game puts you in control of an “exchange student,” a gender-neutral Martian trying to negotiate a middle school dance. After choosing which gender you’d like to represent among the segregated herds of boys and girls, it’s up to Martian to get the dance party started. Using the number keys, you wiggle your arms in rhythm to Nelly’s anti-sartorial oppression anthem “Hot In Herre.” Eventually, it comes time to slow dance—the K-Ci & JoJo moment of truth—so you have to position your arms correctly and try not to make awkward conversation with your partner. Despite multiple playthroughs, I had some trouble getting through the dance without my dance partner telling me that I was a weirdo. Some things never change.