Pole Dance Hero is yet another new game featured on AdultSwim.com created by This Is Pop. I have to say, just looking at the name, I got all giddy and excited. I thought to my late-night T.V. watching self, “finally, a progressive game that takes an exotic dancer/superhero through awesome ass-kicking adventures!” That would be amazing right? What I failed to initially understand was that the “Hero” part in Pole Dance Hero is simply referring to its mechanical and instructional similarities to another game (Guitar Hero).
So here you go, you’re playing Pole Dance Hero, living out your “dream[s] of a promising career in exotic dancing”, if you’re a girl, or if you’re a boy, “enjoy[ing] a gentlemen's club experience in the comfort and privacy of your own home.” Queer people and willing lovers be damned! I don’t have a thing against exotic dancers. I really honestly don’t. But what irks me about this game is what happens when you miss a beat—the exotic dancer falls flat on her face. While this isn’t a main function of the game in general, Adult Swim advertises this feature on their commercial for the game as one of it’s alluring points; make a stripper fall on her face.
Here’s what a level looks like:
Notice the falls and the sound that comes from the audience when SHE—the nameless exotic dancer—does fall. It’s almost like a cheer! Am I hearing this right?! This also doesn’t seem like the most authentic “gentleman’s club” experience based on the moves performed by this dancer. Even most experienced exotic dancer would probably be sick to her stomach just being exposed to the amount of spins per second this computerized dancer executes.
Another point of contention is the cheers/jeers coming from the right side of the screen. They seem to be in a quote bubble, as if someone was shouting them at the exotic dancer. She is not only being controlled by you, the player, but being controlled off screen by what could only be assumed is her boss, the club manager. Or perhaps she’s being mocked by an overly critical audience member.
Whatever the case, this whole game is one big FAIL. It panders to the omnipresent male gaze, excludes willing and/or experimental partners, not to mention the queer populace, and like its aforementioned colleague (Zombie Hooker Nightmare) allows for the desensitization of violence against women who are prostitutes or exotic dancers. I repeat, whatever the case, this whole game is one big FAIL.
The cherry to the most ridiculously offensive sundae is the titles to the various songs in the background of Pole Dance Hero. They include such gems as: “Polegasm”, “STDeviant”, “Hard One”, and my personal favorite “Womb with a View”. While I certainly don’t doubt the titles to these songs, I have to admit that I found it on YouTube, so it may be the product of some 15 year old’s imagination as well.