Dance Dance Revolution

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Not to be confused with Dance Dance Revelation.
Dance Dance Revolution
Dance Dance Revolution logo 2009.png DDR X2.png
Dance Dance Revolution X2, the latest arcade release in North America
Genres Music, Exercise
Developers Konami
Publishers Konami, Nintendo, Disney, Keen
Platform of origin Arcade
First release Dance Dance Revolution
November 21, 1998
Latest release Dance Dance Revolution Pocket Edition
October 7, 2013
Spin-offs Dance Dance Revolution Solo
Official website DDR Gateway(Japanese)

Dance Dance Revolution (ダンスダンスレボリューション Dansu Dansu Reboryūshon?), abbreviated DDR (not to be confused with Deutsche Demokratische Republik, the full name of the German Democratic Republic in German), and also known as Dancing Stage (ダンシングステージ Danshingu Sutēji?) in earlier games in Europe and Australasia, and some other games in Japan, is a music video game series produced by Konami. Introduced in Japan in 1998 as part of the Bemani series, and released in North America and Europe in 1999, Dance Dance Revolution is the pioneering series of the rhythm and dance genre in video games. Players stand on a "dance platform" or stage and hit colored arrows laid out in a cross with their feet to musical and visual cues. Players are judged by how well they time their dance to the patterns presented to them and are allowed to choose more music to play to if they receive a passing score.

Dance Dance Revolution has been given much critical acclaim for its originality and stamina in the video game market. There have been dozens of arcade-based releases across several countries and hundreds of home video game console releases, promoting a music library of original songs produced by Konami's in-house artists and an eclectic set of licensed music from many different genres. The DDR series was followed by games such as Pump It Up by Andamiro and In the Groove by Roxor. DDR celebrated its 10th anniversary on November 21, 2008.

Gameplay[edit]

The core gameplay involves the player stepping his or her feet to correspond with the arrows that appears on screen and the beat. During normal gameplay, arrows scroll upwards from the bottom of the screen and pass over a set of stationary arrows near the top (referred to as the "guide arrows" or "receptors", officially known as the Step Zone). When the scrolling arrows overlap the stationary ones, the player must step on the corresponding arrows on the dance platform, and the player is given a judgment for their accuracy of every streaked notes (From highest to lowest: Marvelous,[1] Perfect, Great, Good, Almost,[2] Miss[3]).

Additional arrow types are added in later mixes. For instance, Freeze Arrows (introduced in DDRMAX) which is a long green arrow that must be held down until the tail of it reaches the Step Zone, that is given an "O.K.!" judgment if it succeed or "N.G." if fails to do so, or Shock Arrows (introduced in DDRX), walls of arrows with lightning effects which must be avoided, which are scored in the same way as Freezes (O.K./N.G.); if they are stepped on, a N.G. is awarded, the life bar decreases, and the steps become hidden for a short period of time. Until DDR SuperNOVA2, the N.G. judgment did not break the combo, though it does decrease the life bar.

Successfully hitting the arrows in time with the music fills the "Dance Gauge", or life bar, while failure to do so drains it. If the Dance Gauge is fully depleted during gameplay, the player fails the song, usually resulting in a game over. Otherwise, the player is taken to the Results Screen, which rates the player's performance with a letter grade and a numerical score, among other statistics. The player may then be given a chance to play again, depending on the settings of the particular machine (the limit is usually 3-5 songs per game).

Aside from play style Single, Dance Dance Revolution provides two other play styles: Versus (Player 1 side of play style Single and player 2 side of play style Single playing together) and Double (One player utilizes both pads to play). Some games offer additional modes beyond these, such as Course mode (players must play a set of songs back-to-back) and Battle mode (two players compete with a tug-of-war life bar by sending distracting modifiers to each other). Earlier versions also have Couple/Unison Mode, where two players must cooperate to play the song. This mode later become the basis for "TAG Play" in newer games.

Difficulty[edit]

Depending on the edition of the game, dance steps are broken into various levels of difficulty, often by color. Difficulty is loosely separated into 3-5 categories depending on timeline:

Year range Edition range Difficulty
1998-1999 1st to 2ndMIX, & 3rdMIX PLUS Easy/Soft Basic Another Maniac[4] N/A
1999 3rdMIX only Soft Basic Another SSR N/A
2000-2001 4thMIX, 4thMIX PLUS, & 5thMIX N/A Basic Trick Maniac-S/Maniac-D Maniac
2001 MAX N/A Light Standard Heavy N/A
2002 MAX2 N/A Light Standard Heavy Oni[5]
2002 EXTREME Beginner Light Standard Heavy Oni/Challenge
2006–present SuperNOVA onwards
(Pro mode in X2 and X3 VS 2ndMIX)
Beginner Basic Difficult Expert Challenge
2010-2011 X2 and X3 VS 2ndMIX (Happy mode) カンタン (Kantan / Beginner) ふつう (Futsuu / Basic) N/A N/A N/A

DDR 1st Mix established the three main difficulties (Basic, Another, and Maniac) and it began using the foot rating with a scale of 1 to 8. In addition, each difficulty rating would also be labeled with a title.[6] DDR 2nd Mix Club Version 2 increased the scale to 9,[7] which would be implemented in the main series beginning in DDR 3rd Mix. DDR 3rd Mix also renamed the Maniac difficulty to "SSR" and made it playable through a special mode (SSR Mode), which can only be accessed via input code and is played on Flat (all arrows are the same color) by default. The SSR mode was eliminated in 3rdMix Plus, and the Maniac routines were folded back into the regular game. In addition to the standard three difficulties, the first three titles of the series and their derivations also featured a "Easy" mode ("Soft" in 3rd Mix), which provided simplified step charts for songs (and reduced song list in some versions). In this mode, one cannot access other difficulties, akin to the aforementioned SSR mode. While this mode is never featured again, it would become the basis for the fully accessible Beginner difficulty implemented in newer games. DDR 4th Mix removed the names of the song and made it simple by removing those names and organizing the difficulty by order. DDR 4th Mix Plus renamed several song's Maniac charts as Maniac-S (for Single) and Maniac-D (for Double), while adding newer and harder stepcharts for the old ones as the "second" Maniac. These new charts were used as the default Maniac stepchart in DDR 5th Mix while the older ones were removed.

Beginning in DDRMAX, a "Groove Radar" was introduced, showing how difficult a particular sequence is in various categories, such as the maximum density of steps, and so on. The step difficulty was removed in favor of the Groove Radar. DDRMAX2 (and subsequent versions) re-added the foot ratings and restored the pre-4th Mix Plus Maniac stepcharts as the default Heavy stepcharts. DDRMAX2 also increased the difficulty scale to 10[8] (with the existing boss song, "MAX 300" from DDRMAX revealed to be the first) and added an official Oni/Challenge difficulty which can only be accessed in Oni/Challenging Mode. On DDR Extreme, Beginner difficulty is added for beginners and the Oni/Challenge is freely accessible. The game also adds the infamous "flashing 10" foot for songs that are considered too hard to be rated normally and only exists in several songs.

Although DDR SuperNova still has the foot ratings, it removed the flashing 10-foot that existed on certain songs for unknown reasons. Later on, DDR SuperNOVA2 removed the foot rating and replaced it with bars. However, all songs from the previous games remain identical, with very few changes to certain song difficulties.

On Dance Dance Revolution X, the foot/bar rating system was given its first major overhaul, now ranking songs on a scale of 1-20, the first 10 represented by yellow bars, and the second 10 represented by additional red blocks shown in place of yellow bars. All songs from previous versions were re-rated on the new scale. The same system was carried over to Dance Dance Revolution X2, although the difficulty bars were removed, replaced by simple difficulty numbers with the foot mark returning as the difficulty symbol for the first time since DDR SuperNova. As of Dance Dance Revolution, no songs are officially rated maximum (20); the highest rating available is 19, shared between three songs: POSSESSION on Double Challenge, and PARANOiA Revolution and Valkyrie dimension on both Single and Double Challenge. However, the game still allowed players to rate their custom edit data up to maximum.

Groove Radar[edit]

The foot-rating system was completely removed for 6th Mix, and replaced by the Groove Radar. The Groove Radar is a graphical representation of the difficulty of a song based in five different areas: Stream, Voltage, Air, Chaos, and Freeze. The Groove Radar was not very popular among seasoned DDR veterans. The foot-rating system would be restored to work with the Groove Radar in the North American home version of the game and in the next arcade version, DDRMAX2, and almost all future versions (except for versions based on the North American version of Extreme, which only use foot ratings). All of the 6th Mix songs on 7thMix received foot-ratings, excluding songs that are removed from DDRMAX2.

SuperNOVA 2 featured special edits of songs specifically meant to max out specific categories on the radar, culminating with Dead End (Groove Radar Special), maxing out all 5 categories. While not related, SuperNOVA 2 also featured a variation known as "My Groove Radar" as part of e-Amusement, which is also divided into five categories, though it is meant to measure the player's stats on songs rather than showing the song's difficulty.

Extra Stage System[edit]

The Extra Stage, originally introduced in 1st Mix and reintroduced in DDRMAX (and appears in subsequent arcade versions), rewards a player for receiving a grade of "AA" or higher on either Expert or Challenge difficulties on the final stage. The player receives the opportunity to play a free extra song, which often defaults to a very difficult song with forced modifiers (such as 1.5x speed and Reverse) and a life bar identical to the battery bar similar to Challenge mode with 1-4 lives depending on their score in the final stage (or a non-regaining life bar before Supernova 2). Beginning on SuperNova 2, players may be able to access the modifier menu and the forced modifiers (save for the battery bar) are no longer used. However, the Replicant-D Action event in DDR X2 did not allow players to select modifiers for its Encore Extra Stage.

The default song for the extra stage is predetermined, although as of Extreme, any song can be played on the extra stage, although there is still a song that is designated as the Extra Stage (which usually is marked with red letters* on the song wheel, and must be unlocked for regular play). A player who attains a grade of "AA" (or "A" in SuperNova) on the Extra Stage is invited to play an additional stage, "One More Extra Stage" (OMES, or Encore Extra Stage post-SuperNova), with another special song option played in sudden death mode, in which any combo-breaking step or missed freeze will cause an instant failure. SuperNova 2 and X allowed players to play any song for Encore Extra Stage, but X2 went back to the original predetermined songs, though the players are still able to change the modifiers. Usually if this final boss is beaten, a special credits sequence is played.

With the implementation of e-Amusement in DDR, mixes after SuperNova have contained multiple songs as extra stages, often based on specific conditions, such as playing specific difficulties or songs.

From 7th Mix onward, the BPM of Extra Stage songs was displayed as a random, changing number, instead of the song's true BPM. For every Extra Stage song except for MAX. (period), the random BPM display was replaced with the normal BPM display in the next mix, and as of Dance Dance Revolution X, after said song has been unlocked for normal play.

Hardware[edit]

Arcade machines[edit]

An original Dance Dance Revolution machine.

A standard Dance Dance Revolution arcade machine consists of two parts, the cabinet and the dance platform. The cabinet has a wide bottom section, which houses large floor speakers and glowing neon lamps. Above this sits a narrower section that contains the monitor, and on top is a lighted marquee graphic, with two small speakers and flashing lights on either side. Below the monitor are two sets of buttons (one for each player), each consisting of two triangular selection buttons and a center rectangular button, used mainly to confirm a selection or start the game.

The dance stage, divided into 9 sections, 4 of them in the cardinal directions contain pressure sensors for the detection of steps.

The dance stage is a raised metal platform divided into two sides. Each side houses a set of four acrylic glass pads[9] arranged and pointing in the orthogonal directions (left, up, down and right), separated by metal squares. Each pad sits atop four pressure activated switches, one at each edge of each pad, and a software-controlled cold cathode lamp illuminating the translucent pad. A metal safety bar in the shape of an upside-down "U" is mounted to the dance stage behind each player. Some players make use of this safety bar to help maintain proper balance, and to relieve weight from the legs so that arrows can be pressed with greater speed and accuracy.

Some DDR cabinets are equipped with Sony PlayStation memory card slots, allowing the player to insert a compatible memory card before starting a game and save their high scores to the card. Additionally, the equivalent home versions of DDR allow players to create and save custom step patterns (edits) to their memory card — the player can then play those steps on the arcade machine if the same song exists on that machine. This feature is supported in 2ndMix through Extreme. SuperNova didn't support memory card slots. However, it introduced Konami's internet based link system e-Amusement to the series, which can save stats and unlocks for individual players (but cannot store edits). This functionality however, could only be used in Japan. During the North American release of Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA 2, an e-amuse capable machine was made available at a Brunswick Zone Arcade in Naperville, Illinois. It, and one other machine located in the Konami offices of El Segundo, California, are currently the only e-amuse capable machines in the United States.

The Solo arcade cabinet is smaller and contains only one dance pad, modified to include six arrow panels instead of four (the additional panels are "upper-left" and "upper-right"). These pads generally don't come with a safety bar, but include the option for one to be installed at a later date. The Solo pad also lacks some of the metal plating that the standard pad has, which can make stepping difficult for players who are used to playing on standard machines. An upgrade was available for Solo machines called the "Deluxe pad", which was closer to the standard cabinet's pad. Additionally Solo machines only incorporate two sensors, located horizontally in the center of the arrow, instead of four sensors (one on each edge).

Characteristics First generation arcade cabinet Second generation arcade cabinet Third generation arcade cabinet
Year released 1998 2008 2013
Thematic color of arcade cabinet Red[citation needed] Black White
System board
  • System 573 (Extreme and earlier)
  • Benami Python 2 (SuperNova and SuperNova 2 only)
  • Benami PC type 4 (X and later)
Benami PC type 4
Screen CRT-based,[10] 29" or 32", 640x480 LCD-based, 37", 720p LCD-based, 42", 1080p
Front lights Neón LED No
Lateral LED lights No Yes
e-Amusement card reader SuperNova and newer upgrades only Yes Yes
Memory card slots Yes (2ndMix Link and newer) Yes No
Panel lights Yes
Panel colors
  • Pink (vertical)
  • Baby blue (horizontal)
  • Black background
  • White text and arrow borders
  • Pink (vertical)
  • Baby blue (horizontal)
  • Black background and arrow borders
  • White arrows
  • Pink (vertical)
  • Baby blue (horizontal)
  • White background and arrows
Handle bar colors Red Black Baby blue and pink

Arcade System[edit]

The first Dance Dance Revolution as well as its followup DDR 2ndMix uses Bemani System 573 Analog as its hardware. DDR 3rdMix replaces this with a slightly upgraded Bemani System 573 Digital which would be used up to DDR Extreme. Both of these are based on PlayStation.

Beginning in DDR SuperNova, the hardware is replaced by Bemani Python 2, a PlayStation 2-based hardware which was first introduced on the fellow Bemani game GuitarFreaks V and Drummania V. This would also be used in the followup DDR SuperNova 2.

Along with the cabinet change, DDR X also changes its hardware to the PC-based Bemani PC Type 4. This more powerful hardware allows for high definition graphics which would be used until today.[11]

Releases[edit]

Dance Dance Revolution has been released in many different countries on many different platforms. Originally released in Japan as an arcade game and then a Sony PlayStation game, which was a bestseller.[12] DDR was later released in North American, Europe, Korea, the whole of Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America and Mexico on multiple platforms including the Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Wii, and many others. Due to demand, Japanese versions of the game, which are usually different from the games released in other countries, are often imported or bootlegged. DDR fansites make an attempt to keep track of the locations of arcade machines throughout the major regions.

Home releases[edit]

The use of dedicated gamepads is only possible on home console versions.

DDR games have been released on various video game consoles, including the PlayStation, Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, GameCube, Wii, Xbox and Xbox 360, and even PC's. Home versions often contain new songs, songs from the arcade version, and additional features that take advantage of the capabilities of the console (e.g.; Xbox 360 versions such as the Dance Dance Revolution Universe series include support for online multiplayer and downloadable songs over Xbox Live, and high definition graphics). DDR has even reached Nintendo's Game Boy Color, with five versions of Dance Dance Revolution GB released in Japan; these included a series of three mainstream DDR games, a Disney Mix, and an Oha Star. The games come with a small thumb pad that fits over the Game Boy Color's controls to simulate the dance pad.

Home versions are commonly bundled with soft plastic dance pads that are similar in appearance and function to the Nintendo Power Pad. Some third-party manufacturers produce hard metal pads at a higher price.

A version of DDR was also produced for the PC in North America. It uses the interface of Dance Dance Revolution 4thMix, and contains around 40 songs from the first six mainstream arcade releases. It has not been as well received as the console versions.

Similar games[edit]

Gameplay screen in StepMania 4, an open source DDR clone.

Due to the success of the Dance Dance Revolution franchise, many other games with similar or identical gameplay have been created.

Commercial competitors of DDR include the popular Korean series Pump It Up and the American series In the Groove by Roxor, the latter of which was met with legal action by Konami and resulted in Konami's acquisition of the game's intellectual property.[13] As well as TechnoMotion by F2 Systems, EZ2Dancer by Amuseworld, and MC Groovz Dance Craze by Mad Catz. A Christian version of DDR, named Dance Praise, has been made by Digital Praise. Ubisoft produced a dance game based on Disney's The Jungle Book titled The Jungle Book Groove Party.

Fan-made versions of DDR have also been created, many freely available to the public under open source licenses. The most popular of these is StepMania (pictured), upon which the game In the Groove is based. These simulators allow for players to create and play their own songs to their own programmed steps. As a result, many DDR fans have held contests and released "mixes" of custom songs and steps for these simulators. Notably the Japanese Foonmix series and the DDR East Invasion Tournamix competitions. Other simulators include Dance With Intensity and pyDance for Windows, both of which are no longer developed, and Feet of Fury, a homebrew game for the Sega Dreamcast.

Besides direct clones, many other games have been released that center around rhythm and dance due to DDR's popularity. Dance! Online released by Acclaim combines dance pad play with an MMO element. ABC's Dancing With the Stars and Codemasters' Dance Factory are more recent examples of games that pay homage to DDR and the genre it created. Konami itself uses music from its other rhythm game series such as Beatmania and Beatmania IIDX, Drummania and GuitarFreaks, and Pop'n Music, as well as making references to DDR in its other games and vice-versa.

DDR today[edit]

Tournaments are held worldwide, with participants usually competing for higher scores or number of Perfects (referred to as "Perfect Attack" tournaments). Less common are "freestyle" tournaments, where players develop actual dance routines to perform while following the steps in the game.[14]

Playing styles[edit]

Many DDR players, in order to better focus on timing and pattern reading, will minimize any extraneous body movement during gameplay. These players are commonly referred to as "technical", "tech" or "perfect attack" (PA) players. These technical players usually play the most difficult songs on the highest difficulty levels in an attempt to perfect their scores. The more "technical" a song gets the more the player must use minimalistic movements in order to hit all the arrows with perfection. These players perfect using their heel as well.

Other DDR players choose to incorporate complex or flashy techniques into their play movements, and some of these "freestyle" players develop intricate dance routines to perform during a song. Freestyle players tend to choose songs on lower difficulty levels, so that the player is not restricted in their movements by large quantities of required steps. Some players can even dance facing away from the screen.

Somewhere in the middle are the players which choose to do a little bit of both of the formers. There are criticisms of the In The Groove style of play which focuses on "perfect attack". More traditional players say it takes the fun away from the game the harder the step-charts get, which makes players use much less movement overall to conserve stamina. By doing this, it is no longer a dance game and many arrows do not fit perfectly with the beat because there are simply too many of them. The middle players enjoy moving to the beat and still trying to improve their scores without having to adopt the In the Groove style of play.

A freestyling act can also involve performing other stunts while playing. On an episode of ABC's short-lived series Master of Champions, Billy Matsumoto won the episode when he played 5th Mix's "Can't Stop Fallin' In Love (Speed Mix)" on Heavy mode while juggling three lit torches.

As exercise[edit]

Many news outlets have reported how playing DDR can be good aerobic exercise; some regular players have reported weight loss of 10–50 pounds (5–20 kg). In one example, a player found that including DDR in her day-to-day life resulted in a loss of 95 pounds (43 kg).[15] Some other examples would be Matthew Keene's account of losing upwards of 150 pounds (68 kg) and Yashar Esfandi's claim of losing 85 pounds (39 kg) in four months through incorporation of DDR.[citation needed] Although the quantity of calories burned by playing DDR have not been scientifically measured, the amount of active movement required to play implies that DDR provides at least some degree of healthy exercise.

Many schools use DDR as a physical education activity in gym,[16] and in Norway, 'Machine Dance' has even been registered as an official sport.[17]

Many home versions of the game have a function to estimate calories burned, given a player's weight. Additionally, players can use "workout mode" to make a diary of calories burned playing DDR and any self-reported changes in the player's weight.

Use in schools[edit]

At the start of 2006, Konami announced that the DDR games would be used as part of a fitness program to be phased into West Virginia's 765 state schools, starting with its 103 middle schools, over the next two years.[16] The program was conceived by a researcher at West Virginia University's Motor Development Center.

Caltech allows its students to use DDR to fulfill part of its physical education requirement, as students may design their own fitness program.[18]

University of Kansas (KU) has a class for Dance Dance Revolution open for students to take as a 1 credit hour course.[19]

Cyber Coach has sold in excess of 600 systems in schools in the UK and features the DDR Game Disco Disco 2.[20]

Awards[edit]

The success of the Dance Dance Revolution series has resulted in Guinness World Records awarding the series with: Gamer's Edition 2008. The records include "Longest Dance Dance Revolution Marathon" which is currently held by Alex Skudlarek at 16 hours, 18 minutes, and nine seconds. and "Most Widely Used Video Game in Schools."[citation needed]

Official sports[edit]

In 2004 Dance Dance Revolution became an official sporting event in Norway. The first official club DDR Oslo was founded in 2004. The tournaments in Norway was divided into two parts, first there was a group play where the 2 or 3 best players from each group went to the final rounds. Elimination of the player with the lowest game score was used for each round in the finals. The scoring system used was based on people dancing to 2 or 3 songs. Some random selected songs (which had to be played by everyone) and some player chosen songs (which introduced some strategy into the game, as some songs had higher possible scoring than other songs). Dancing Stage EuroMix 2 Was officially used for the Norwegian tournaments.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ First appeared in the Nonstop and Challenge mode of DDR Extreme and first used for normal gameplay as of DDR SuperNova 2.
  2. ^ Boo for DDR 5thMIX and earlier. Not present in DDR X2 onwards.
  3. ^ Boo for DDR SuperNOVA1, DDR SuperNOVA2, and DDR X only.
  4. ^ For play style Single, Versus, or Couple only in DDR 2ndMIX and earlier.
  5. ^ Appears only on certain songs on certain NonStop courses only.
  6. ^ 1 for Simple, 2 for Moderate, 3 for Ordinary, 4 for Superior, 5 for Marvelous, 6 for Genuine, 7 for Paramount, 8 for Exorbitant.
  7. ^ 9 for: Catastrophic in DDR 3rdMIX, Evolutionary in the DDR 2ndMIX mode of DDR X3 vs DDR 2ndMIX.
  8. ^ 10 for Revolutionary in the DDR 2ndMIX mode of DDR X3 vs DDR 2ndMIX.
  9. ^ Betson Enterprises Online Catalog - Konami
  10. ^ Either semi-flat or flat.
  11. ^ Except those that were upgraded from first generation arcade cabinet of DDR.
  12. ^ Dengeki PlayStation sales chart, August 1999, published in Official UK PlayStation Magazine issue 48
  13. ^ "Publisher acquires rights to Roxor game". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 2006-10-20. 
  14. ^ IGN Staff IGN: Dance Dance Revolution Tournament Report, Retrieved on 2008-05-23.
  15. ^ "Welcome to Get Up Move!". Web.archive.org. 2007-10-11. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  16. ^ a b "West Virginia Adds Dance Dance Revolution to Gym Class". MTV. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  17. ^ "Positive Gaming: Machine Dance as Fitness and Sport". Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  18. ^ "Caltech Course Catalog- Physical Education". 
  19. ^ Weslander, Eric (2007-08-11). "10 cool classes / LJWorld.com". .ljworld.com. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  20. ^ http://www.Cyber-coach.co.uk

External links[edit]