Dancing Eyes by Namco[Arcade Obscurities is a bi-weekly column by Solvalou.com's Arttu Ylärakkola, probing some of the most interesting and obscure arcade games yet to be covered in the geek gaming press, thanks to Arttu's JAMMA board collection, and our insatiable quest for knowledge. This third column looks at Namco's odd/creepy 1996 3D puzzle action title Dancing Eyes.]

We all know the stereotypical perception of females in most video games. It gets even more embarrassing when dealing with games that contain women only to attract a bigger crowd: just think about all the zillions of "sexy" mahjongg games or "erotic" Qix clones.

However, when examining such a "genre" more carefully, one can find some that are actually very playable, some that are just plain offensive, and some that are out-there weird. Yes, weird in the way that makes you wonder how on earth such projects ever got greenlighted by a sane company. A prime example of a game like that is Namco's Dancing Eyes.

Dancing Eyes, Shrinking Clothes?

Dancing Eyes by Namco In Dancing Eyes you are a mouse in a grid-like landscape. When moving around the landscape's gridlines, you can (by pressing a button) eat away the lines. If you succeed in eating all the lines around one or multiple grid sections, that part of the landscape disappears. Eat enough and you complete the level, and can choose the next one from two presented choices. Your only problem is that there are various nasties that try to catch you. But fortunately pick-ups are available which give you special abilities, such as faster movement or weapons which you can use to eliminate your enemies.

What makes Dancing Eyes weird is that in most levels, the landscape which you try to destroy is clothing! There's nothing too weird (remember that we're talking about Japan-only video games here) about undressing 3D models of big-eyed Japanese girls, but after a stage or two you start to unconver such things as cows, male bodybuilders, sweaty salarymen. Unsurprisingly, the game lets you freely rotate the camera around while the undressed person/animal/whatever poses for you once the level has been completed.

Exactly The Novelty Effect!

Is Dancing Eyes a good game? No, but it's a perfect example of the kind of Japanese arcade weirdness that gets giggles from anyone who's ever seen the game. It's a road to insanity, as you start a new game, and while your mouse eats away a teenager's army wear in Level 1, you think it as a completely normal video game activity.

Then again, your comparison point is probably: "That cow with the enormous udders in Level 5's barrel was weird". Don't get me wrong - I am not moralizing: it's just that Dancing Eyes goes far beyond the weirdness of a normal T&A puzzle game.

So - Dancing Eyes, released in 1996, runs on Namco's PlayStation 1-like System 11 hardware. The game's not available for any console format, but don't despair if you don't have an arcade cabinet set-up: you can buy an action figure instead!