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New Music Videogames: Virtual DJ?

So your dreams of being a music-video choreographer or hot DJ/producer have been crushed by the reality of pushing papers around inside a tiny cubicle. Well, weekend warrior, that's what these new videogames are for. Like Dance Dance Revolution, Dance Factory (Codemasters; PS2/$39.99) is a mat-based game where you high-step and booty bounce in time to the console's predetermined dance steps. Built-in calorie counter aside, the real twist to Dance Factory is that it makes up a choreographed routine to any music you feed it-gabber obviously generates the crazed footwork of a squirrel on crack, while Sonic Youth is good for stoking an interpretive dance session. A party game if we've ever seen one.

Rather less exciting is Beatmania (Konami; PS2/$64.99), which bills itself as the "first DJ simulation" for the Playstation 2. Bundled with a purpose-made controller-a box with a miniature turntable and seven white keys-the object is to push the buttons and scratch on time with flashing lights on screen. You're not allowed to make your own compositions-and the faux turntable only mimics one kind of scratch-but if your idea of fun is honing your hand-eye coordination to anonymously-produced epic trance songs, then who are we to stop you?

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