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Friday, April 12, 2024

Dance Dance Revolution

How to play the game 




The object of Dance Dance Revolution is to keep up with the fast paced Japanese techno and pop music by stepping on a tough, sticky platform. The directional arrows on the pads mark where to step and must match the arrows flashing on the screen to the millisecond because the light flashes so fast. 




As the player advances, he will face faster patterns and more challenging combinations of arrows. 




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The goal is to step on each arrow with such accuracy that the game recognizes \perfect"" steps. Less-than-perfect steps appear as good, fair or poor. 




Though DDR players get sweaty from the quick steps and jump patterns, DDR club members said the game title is misleading. 




DDR Club Tournament Director and UW-Madison junior Tim Ho said the game slightly resembles a tap dance, but functions more like a treadmill. 




Ho, a video game enthusiast and avid runner, finds a dual satisfaction in the game. 




""When I don't have time to [play video games and work out] it's a good way to do both."" 




Some players are more concerned with doing tricks than their precision. Though these freestylers are hard to find, they often draw a crowd with their ability to flip and dance between steps, said DDR Club President and UW-Madison freshman Tony Mueller. 




DDR is one of both Memorial Union and Union South's most lucrative games. It garners $2,000 per month and creates the need for security cameras, according to Recreation Services Manager Bob Wright. 




Each game costs 50 cents to play, and offers a two player competition for $1. In an average month the seventh edition game in Memorial Union and the Eighth Mix in Union South get about 2,000 plays. 




Outside of the arcade, Playstation makes a soft pad version of the game, and GameCube is coming out with its own version in the near future. 




Mueller said these pads are harder to practice on because they are less sensitive and slip out of place on the floor. 




Starting the Revolution 




What began as a three person get-together in 2003 has evolved into a 200 member organization with a mission: bridge the gap between beginners and advanced players by encouraging closet Revolutionaries to get out of their dorm rooms and into the arcade. 




Although the club is now bigger than ever with a consistent 25 members at each practice, Mueller said recruiting at the student unions is difficult.  




""People come [to the union] only after they've practiced,"" Mueller said. ""New people should practice here more often."" 




Instead, Mueller said most students learn on their lower quality Playstation soft pads before advancing to the official cobalt flux pads of the arcade. 




But Mueller, who claims he's only a mediocre revolutionary himself, has been trying to remedy this by spreading the word that his club focuses on learning the game as well as tournament play. 




According to Ho, the club meets nearly every Friday for a two to three hour practice in Union South, which houses the most advanced DDR, the Eighth Mix. 




Ho also plans tournaments in the university's MLC satellite room and at East Towne Mall, where Ho models competitions after larger ones held throughout the country. 




In a tournament, players are assigned to perform one random song solo. They are judged based on how many ""perfect attacks"" the game recognizes and are then put into a 16- or 32-person tournament bracket.  




From there, players face off at the same time in hopes of having the most accurate steps. 




Despite the growing interest, the club has trouble finding members with tournament standard cobalt flux pads to compete with and the UW-Madison campus does not have the best pads. 




Mueller said this may change, though, when the group asks Associated Students of Madison to fund the club as a valid UW-Madison organization. He has tentative plans to do this in the near future, Mueller said. 




History of DDR 




In 1998, Konami Corp. released it's first Dance Dance Revolution game in Japan.  




By 2000, the trend was hitting its peak abroad but just appearing in U.S. arcades. Even in the U.S., the exercise video game retained its Japanese roots by offering pop and techno trance music to dance to.  




""The fad is already gone in Japan,"" Ho said. Ho said now, the trend in Japan games similar to DDR, but instead of dance simulations, players compete with digital musical instruments. 




Since its U.S. debut, the game has undergone seven software upgrades and is now at its eighth and final edition, according to Ho. What started as a simple game with 12 songs to choose from has transformed into a 256-song challenge with varied difficulty levels. 




The song ""Make a Jam"" from the very first mix might as well be called ""The Konami Song"" because it is possible hear the music of the Konami logo. 




While the DDR trend is fading in many parts of the U.S., it is still extremely popular in Texas and California. Freestyle and precision tournaments are still held regionally and often draw crowds of several hundred, DDR Club members said. 




Additionally, the UW-Madison DDR Club has grown substantially this academic year, and now hopes to sponsor regular DDR tournaments. 












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