For those who have wholeheartedly embraced the internet generation - doing everything on it from buying trainers to making friends - throwing an actual real party could be a chilling prospect. You've got to make conversation for hours, risk having your taste in music ridiculed and provide some sort of talking point to make it all sound brilliant the next day, be it a guest mistaking White Lightning for lemonade and barfing into the tropical fish tank, or waking up the next morning to find someone kipping on the toilet floor.
Fortunately, there are always games to fall back on when people start checking their watches. The best of the bunch are Sony's Singstar for competitive karaoke and - soon to be on Wii - Guitar Hero, perfect for getting the loons on their knees and strumming plastic guitars over their heads.
Boogie is the latest addition to the 'rhythm, singing, and making a fool of yourself only for some git to video it on their camera phone and show everyone the next day' genre. Or so you'd think at first glance. It's got karaoke - using EA's specially designed microphone - where you sing (preferably in tune) for points to party 'classics' such as You Can't Touch This and Fergalicious. And it has dancing, where you make your avatar bop by shaking the remote and nunchuk in time to the music.
Combos are pulled off similarly to a dance mat game, by copying the rows of arrows which appear - up, down, left and right - with the remote.
Right to party
The thing is, this is more your type of party game if you're putting ice cream with jelly instead of vodka, and your guests will be leaving with Spider-Man party bags instead of hangovers. Boogie is unashamedly aimed at the younger Wii connoisseur and, if you're old enough to drive a car, you're really too old to be shaking a Wii controller in time to Mambo Number 5.
Unfortunately, even the most easily duped youngster will find some faults with the game, the first being the unwieldy timing of some of the tunes. If there's one thing that kills a rhythm game, it's the rhythm being a split-second out. Not all of Boogie's tracks are duff and, with some careful examination, it seems to be the 'helpful' beat that comes out of the remote's speaker which is out of kilt more than anything. Turn it off, and suddenly combos nearly always work and you stop hearing the constant sound of failure - eurgh, eurgh, euuuuurgh - every time you tap seemingly in time to the music.
There are more messy moments than this though, and they're more to do with the flow of the game. In a game like Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat you get lost in the rhythm, travelling through the game almost subconsciously clapping and drumming. But in Boogie you never get lost.
From one song to the next, the challenge remains exactly the same. Jiggle the remote until your Boogie bar is sufficiently full for you to hold Z and trigger the combos. Weirdly, even if you do complete one combo perfectly after another, the bar still seems to run out. And, even more annoyingly, you can be dancing like Michael Jackson on springs only to be rudely stopped because the song has reached a solo section that you can't keep dancing to.
Song in your heart
Things improve somewhat in the Karaoke mode. The arrow that detects your pitch jitters about like a coffee addict's hand after one too many, making it tough to pull off a perfect verse, but the point system is generous to make up for it.
You have to wonder about the decision to include some of these songs though. We're not really convinced that many twelve-year-olds are going to be familiar with Boogie Oogie Oogie, Brick House1 and, Spanish hit, Baila Me - and even though we are, we don't particularly want to sing along to them in front of anyone else.
With the right song though, Boogie does deliver its fair share of chuckles. Bubba the starfish2 in particular has some hilarious dance moves, and looks especially good if you unlock the spangly pants, put them on over his trousers and combine them with a top hat. The Video Editing mode is limited to four camera angles and a handful of special effects, but it's possible to make some good videos, with you providing the vocals then making your characters slide and headbang along to them. The two-player dance-off is also fun - it's just, in the style of the rest of the game, very limited.