Image: Kirsten Dunst in "Bring It On"
Universal Pictures
Actress Kirsten Dunst, foreground, is seen leading her cheerleading squad during the NBC Universal film "Bring It On." The movie's choreographer is a consultant on THQ's new cheerleading video game.
By Brian Tracey Associate editor
msnbc.com
updated 3/7/2008 8:41:09 AM ET 2008-03-07T13:41:09
COMMENTARY

Ever since Nintendo launched its hugely popular Wii gaming console, video game companies have scrambled to develop titles that leverage the device's uniquely interactive features. But now a game developer has taken us off the playing field and onto the sidelines with a virtual cheerleading game.

THQ's "All Star Cheer Squad" will allow players to "immerse themselves into the world of competitive cheerleading as they experience the thrill and excitement of cheer through creativity, customization, style and teamwork," the company said in press release this week. "Players will follow a year in the life of a cheerleader as they learn new cheers, participate in practices and create their own routines to make the squad and eventually become captain."

To make sure the game is as realistic as possible, THQ has hired cheerleading choreographer Tony G, best known for his work in the "Bring It On" movies, as chief consultant for the game.

The Wii game will be released this fall, as well as a version for Nintendo DS handheld system, so you can practice your standing full twist back tucks anywhere.

"With the explosive growth of the girls gaming market in recent years due to the continued success of Wii and DS, our ongoing goal is to stay at the cutting edge of that success by bringing a brand new property for this segment to these popular systems," said Jim Huntley, director of global brand management at THQ.

What, they're marketing this just to girls? We think geeky guy gamers will play this too, especially if one of the goals is to try to ask a virtual cheerleader out on a date without them laughing at you.

For your dog's ears only
A song that is inaudible to humans has become a top-selling hit in New Zealand and is reportedly set to be released worldwide.

"A Very Silent Night," said to be recorded at frequencies that can be heard only by dogs, was released as a charity CD by the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported.

To widespread surprise, it rocketed to the top of the charts, the newspaper said.

Now distributors in the U.S. and Australia are vying for the rights to international sales, the society has announced.

The CD was the brainchild a New Zealand-based advertising agency which claimed the recording was electronically synthesized so it can be heard only by canines.

Although dog owners sit through several minutes of silence while the disc spins, the dogs they own are reported to wag their tails, prick up their ears, and even dance in delight.

Maybe Apple should introduce the iPod Puppy.

Booze benefit
The term "working stiff" now has a new meaning: A Japanese company is planning to dole out thousands of dollars a month for its employees to get drunk in a bid to help communication.

Japanese firms routinely offer generous expense accounts to entertain clients, but Japan General Estate is going a step further by subsidizing workers' drinking sessions with one another, the Washington Post reported this week.

The company plans to offer managers who supervise 20 or more people up to 300,000 yen ($3 000) a month to take them out. Managers with fewer than 20 workers will get $2,000, a company statement said.

After-hours drinking is encouraged in Japanese corporate culture as a way to break the ice in work environments that can be uptight and formal.

But critics say the pressure to drink is one of the reasons why Japan's population is declining as men in particular spend little time at home.

Japan General Estate said the drinking benefits could alternatively be used for wedding or funeral expenses.

The latter perk may come in handy if an inebriated employee decides to drive himself home.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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