Dance Dance Revolution

From Academic Kids

This article is about the Dance Dance Revolution series in general. For the specific games in the series that also use the title, see the list of Dance Dance Revolution games.

Template:Infobox Arcade Game Dance Dance Revolution, or DDR (known as Dancing Stage in Europe), is a music video game series introduced by Konami in 1998. After being shown at the Tokyo Game Show in 1998, it was released for Japanese arcades later that year, with a fairly basic version coming to the US in 2000. 24 arcade versions have been produced, in addition to many home incarnations for various game consoles. Bemani music game series.

The game is typically played on a dance pad with four arrow panels: up, down, left, and right. These panels are pressed using the player's feet, in response to arrows that appear on the screen in front of the player. The arrows are synchronized to the general rhythm or beat of a chosen song, and success is dependent on the player's ability to time his or her steps accordingly.

Contents

Cabinet and controls

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. The wide base of the machine creates horizontal ledges on either side of the monitor, which may be used to mount cardboard displays that ship with the game, or to store player possessions.

Below the monitor are two sets of buttons, each consisting of two triangular yellow "Select" buttons, pointing left and right, and a middle rectangular green button labeled "Decide". These buttons are mounted on a raised plate, which forms a small lip between the monitor and the buttons. The "Select" buttons are used to scroll player options or songs, while the "Decide" button confirms a player's choice. On many DDR machines, players may often use tokens or other personal items to form an organized system of the players' order. "Coin lines", as they are commonly called, clearly shows the order or perspective players, as to eliminate confusion. Some machines are even equipped PlayStation memory card slots located below the buttons, to store player scores and to play "edits", or, a custom-created step pattern for a player's chosen song.

On the floor in front of the cabinet is a raised metal dance platform, divided into two "pads". Each pad consists of nine 11-inch squares in a 3×3 matrix: four arrow panels for input (up, down, left, right), and five neutral metal squares. There are four pressure-activated sensors underneath each arrow panel, one placed at each edge. Mounted to the pad behind each player is a metal bar, resembling an upside down "U", which is commonly used to assist in balance.

Dance Dance Revolution Solo machines have smaller cabinets, and only one dance pad, which includes the "Up-Right" and "Up-Left" arrows previously mentioned. Interestingly enough, there is no metal bracket surrounding the "Up R/L" arrows, which can make stepping difficult for a player not used to the extra arrows. Solo machines generally do not come with a bar, but all have the option for one to be installed at a later time.

Dance Dance Revolution Karaoke Mix has an standard DDR pad (only one) plus a smaller screen and a microphone so the player can dance and sing at the same time. Similar functionality will be available in the upcoming Karaoke Revolution Party, for current-generation game consoles.

Gameplay details

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DDR(bag).jpg
The main gameplay screen of Dance Dance Revolution.

In Dance Dance Revolution, a player must move his or her feet to a set pattern, which can span an enormous range of difficulties. The most recent versions of DDR include, (from easiest to most challenging)Beginner, Light, Standard, and Heavy. Some songs have an optional "Challenge/Oni" difficulty that adds another element of difficulty, while others simply have Challenge steps, with no other patterns to speak of. During normal gameplay, arrows scroll upwards from the bottom of the screen and pass over stationary, transparent arrows near the top of the screen(referred to as the "guide arrows" or "arrow casting"). When the scrolling arrows overlap the stationary ones, the player must step on the corresponding arrows on the dance platform. Failure to hit the correct arrows in time with the music will deplete the "Dance Gauge", or life bar, and can result in the player "failing", where he/she has not hit enough correct notes, and the life bar is depleted to zero. If a player successfully completes a song (life bar intact through the entire ordeal), he or she 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). Arcade operators/home machine owners can also set the machine to "Autofail Off", which will allow the player to complete the entire song, even if their life bar is depleted, and "Event Mode", which will return the player to the song select screen after every song, basically allowing the player to perform an infinite number of songs.

DDR is often criticized as being rigid and bearing little resemblance to actual dancing. Many 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" or "tech" or "perfect attack" (PA) players. However, there are those who prefer style over accuracy, and may incorporate complex or flashy techniques into their play movements. Some dedicated "freestyle" players will even develop intricate dance routines to perform during a song. Technical players will often practice the most difficult songs for extended periods of time, while freestyle players will choose songs on lower difficulty levels, as to accommodate their desires for easier movement.

Songs and levels

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How to play screen

Music in DDR comes from two primary sources: songs licensed from, although not limited to, Toshiba-EMI's Dancemania collections, and music made specifically for the Bemani series by in-house artists such as Naoki Maeda. Most songs average between one and two minutes long, and may be edited from their original length to accommodate this limit. Exceptions include the three-song medleys (better known as "Nonstops", where the music and step patterns from three different songs are mixed together into one stage) in DDR Solo Bass and Solo 2000, and Long Version songs from DDR 5thMIX (songs at a normal 3:00 length.)


Music in DDR may be fast or slow, and may even change tempo. It is a common mistake to assume that slower songs must be easier; often, the exact opposite is true, as reading fast-scrolling and thus widely spaced arrows is often easier than reading lots of dense, slow-scrolling arrows.

Excluding full song pauses, "be in my paradise" from Dance Dance Revolution Club Mix has the slowest scrolling speed of any DDR song, clocking in a constant 63 BPM(beats per minute.) Sakura ("cherry blossom" in Japanese), from Dance Dance Revolution EXTREME, reaches a tempo of just around 11 BPM near the midpoint of the song, but speeds up to over 300 seconds later. In terms of fastest scroll speed, "Across The Nightmare" and "Max 300" (from DDR Extreme and DDR Max, respectively) both stay at a constant 300 BPM, although Max 300 pauses for 2-3 seconds in the middle of the song.) The songs "Maxx Unlimited, from DDRMAX2, and "The legend of MAX", from DDREXTREME, both have their difficulties labeled in question marks on the game screen, but are reportedly in excess of 320 BPM, with one section of "The legend of MAX" traveling over 600 BPM!

The common misconception of the stated BPM is that the song in question actually contains x BPM. In reality, the displayed BPM is the scroll speed of the arrows, and not the song itself. For example, the previously mentioned "Max 300" is actually 150 BPM, but with the step pattern consisting of numerous 1/8th notes and several 1/16th notes, Konami labeled the song as 300 BPM.

Each song has multiple step patterns, rated in difficulty from 1-10. The difficulty is measured in units called "feet", as the game screen will display a certain number of feet attributed to the song's difficulty before the player chooses it. Naturally, the more "feet", the more complex the step pattern will be. The 1-3 foot step patterns are recommended for newer players and 4-8 ranger from intermediate to, at times, frustratingly difficult (many players have complained about songs being "mislabeled", that is, given foot ratings that do not properly measure their difficulty.) Nine foot songs, commonly referred to as "catas" (short for "catastrophic", the label given to this difficulty of steps on 3rdMIX and DDR USA) generally require high levels of practice of one of more specific DDR skills (such as stamina, rhythm recognition or special techniques such as "spins" where the steps follow a circular patter, "crossovers" where a player's feet must cross over one another to continue the pattern of steps, or "gallops", where a player must hit 1/4th notes and 1/16th notes in succession, which ends up sounding similar to a horse's gallop.), Songs with 10 foot step patterns are considered the most difficult, as they often travel at a very high speed, require quick foot speed (runs containing 10 arrows per second are not uncommon) and extreme placed on a player's physical endurance. Four songs have also earned the distinction as "Flashing 10 Footers", which require the same skills as 10 footers, but are generally longer and require even more from the player in terms of individual skill and stamina.

Higher foot ratings generally bring more and more arrows in more elaborate and difficult arrangements. Many songs include Freeze Arrows which require the foot to remain on the appropriate pad arrow until the scrolling arrow's "tail" has disappeared. Sometimes the scrolling arrows will stop completely to match a gap in the music, and resume unexpectedly. Players may also introduce modifiers, such as distorting the patterns of the steps and changing the scroll speed of the arrows. This is done in newer versions by holding down the start button for a few seconds when choosing the song (as opposed to just tapping the button).

Nonstop and Challenge/Oni Mode

Many DDR games released after DDRMAX feature one or both of these gameplay modes. In both modes, the dancer chooses a course that consists of four or more pre-determined songs, and then plays them all in order without any breaks between songs. When playing at the arcade, these courses often give the player more songs than a normal game would.

In Nonstop mode, introduced in the arcade version of Dance Dance Revolution 3rdMIX, courses are normally made of 4 songs (some home versions feature courses with more songs). Each song in each course has given difficulty of either Normal or Difficult. Players who choose Normal will likely face Light and Standard songs, while, naturally, those who choose Difficult will see Standard, Heavy, and possibly a Challenge song thrown in. Play proceeds as normal, with each of the four songs being played one after another. Until recently, Nonstop was available only on machines up to 4th Plus, but DDR Extreme brought the popular play mode back. Modifiers can be added to the course by holding the start button when selecting the course.

Challenge/Oni Mode, however, is much more demanding. Introduced in DDRMAX2, players choose a course with 5-10 songs (some home versions feature even more, the "Ultimate 16" course on the Japanese Playstation 2 version of DDR Extreme features the game's 16 most difficult songs.) Each song in each course is again designated a difficulty, usually Heavy. Unlike Nonstop Mode, the difficulty for a course cannot be changed. Players must then play through the course with only four lives. Judgments of Good or worse (known as Non-Combo steps) will result in the loss of a life, as well an N.G. for not holding a Freeze Arrow. The Life Bar is replenished upon successful completion of each song, but the amount of lives given back is predetermined and depends on the course. Losing all four lives life results in immediate failure, and any unplayed songs in the course are forfeited. Unlike Nonstop mode, modifiers cannot be added to the course whatsoever. There are, however, courses with pre-selected modifiers per song. (NOTE: In the United States, Challenge Mode appears in the home version of DDRMAX, but that version was actually developed after the arcade version of DDRMAX2.)

  • Getting a Miss on the beginning of a Freeze Arrow only causes one life to be lost; this is because N.G.s are only given if the Freeze Arrow is attempted in the first place. However, a Freeze Arrow can be considered attempted if it is stepped with a Boo or higher. Thus, getting a Boo or Good on the Freeze Arrow, and then continuing to get an N.G. will result in two lives lost, not one.
  • In DDR Extreme, both Nonstop and Oni courses feature a "Marvelous" step rating, which rates higher than Perfect.

Endless Mode

Featured in many home versions of DDR, Endless mode lets the player select a song playlist, modifiers, and difficulty (or a random difficulty for each song), and keep playing random songs until the player runs out of energy.

Score/Grade

After completing (or sometimes, failing) a song, DDR games award players a score and a letter grade, from "E" (fail) to "AAA" (all Perfect and/or Marvelous). The numerical score is the song's difficulty (1-10) multiplied by 10,000,000.

In later releases, the score system is weighted towards steps later in the song, so a Perfect near the end is worth many times more than one at the beginning. The intention is to give a losing player a chance of a comeback all the way to the last step.

The "MAX" scoring system is the most popular system for grading, due to it being the newest, and most innovatively organized (it's included in MAX and all subsequent versions). The grades, in order from best to worst, are: "AAA", "AA", "A", "B", "C", "D", and "E" (failing). In order to obtain these grades, you must obtain, respectively, 100%, 93%, 80%, 65%, 45%, or less than 45% total Dance Points. Dance Points are earned as followed:

  • Perfect: +2
  • Great: +1
  • Good: 0
  • Boo: -4
  • Miss: -8
  • O.K.: +6
  • N.G.: 0

Beginning with DDRMAX, earning a AA on a Heavy difficulty song for the final song triggers the message, "TryExtraStage!". In DDRMAX and DDRMAX2, the Extra Stage is an extremely difficult song. In DDRMAX, the player has an opportunity to play "Max 300", scrolling in reverse, and 1.5x its normal speed. In DDRMAX2, the opportunity exists with the song "Maxx Unlimited", as well as "The legend of MAX" for DDREXTREME.

It should be noted that a player is not forced to choose these difficult songs in DDREXTREME for their Extra Stage, as every song (Heavy difficulty only) can be selected, with the Extra Stage modifiers still intact. In DDRMAX and DDRMAX2, however, the songs are preselected and this choice is not available. The previously mentioned songs, however, give the player an opportunity to earn "OneMoreExtraStage!" also known as the Encore Stage. If a player can score an AA or higher on the aforementioned songs, the game will enable the Encore Stage. is triggered by a AA score on Extra Stage. The Extra Stage life bar is more punishing to players in that it starts completely filled but does not replenish as a player does well. Encore Stages, while ordinarily easier than Extra Stage songs, fail players for getting a No Good or receiving a rating of Good or worse on any single step. In DDRMAX, the Encore Stage is "Candy*", sped up x3, scrolling in reverse. In DDRMAX2, players must play "Kakumei", a remix of Chopin's Revolutionary Etude, with similar modifiers. On DDREXTREME, the Encore Stage is "Dance Dance Revolution."

In addition to aiming for the highest score possible, dancers can also try to get the "Max Combo", which is hitting every step with a Perfect! or Great! rating. possible. A combo is displayed on screen when a player gets a combo of 4 or more. On certain modes in certain mixes, a Great will only keep a combo where it is, without increasing it as it normally would.

Reference and information on earlier scoring systems: AaroninJapan.com (http://www.aaroninjapan.com/taren/scoring/ddrscoreframe.html)

Arcades, home consoles, and clones

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Screenshot of StepMania, an open-source DDR simulator for personal computers
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Screenshot of Flash Flash Revolution R2, the online DDR simulator.

There are over 2000 arcade style DDR machines in the USA. California is home to over 25% of these machines. (for machine locations, check [1] (http://www.ddrfreak.com/locations/locations.php).

Several versions of DDR have also been released on various video game consoles, including the Sega Dreamcast, PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and Xbox (a GameCube version, DDR:Mario Mix, is planned for Summer 2005) release Home versions are often used with soft plastic dance pads, similar in appearance and function to the Nintendo Power Pad. More durable dance pads may be constructed out of materials such as wood, hard plastic, and metal. See dance pad for more information.

DDR has even reached Nintendo's Game Boy Color, with three versions of Dance Dance Revolution GB released in Japan. The games come with a small thumb pad that fits over the Game Boy's controls to simulate the dance pad.

There are several simulators of DDR available for personal computers. These games use their own music and step files, and a variety of both are widely available. The obvious advantage these programs hold is the ability to create a step pattern for any song in .mp3 format. Such programs include include Dance With Intensity for Microsoft Windows; StepMania for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X; the Flash-based Flash Flash Revolution; and the cross-platform pydance, which runs in a Python environment on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux among others. A particularly novel DDR simulator called Text Text Revolution can be displayed on text-only terminals.

Konami has also produced their own version of DDR for the PC in North America. It uses the interface of DDR 4thMIX, and contains about 40 songs from 1stMIX through 6thMIX. It has not been as well received as the console versions.

Critics of ports for home video game consoles tend to gloss over the inferior quality of home pads, given the availability of third-party hardware (see dance pad). Their main criticism is that despite the increased capacity of DVD storage media, the home ports have much less musical selection than the arcade machines do, and have an unfortunate tendency to "leave off" fan-favorite songs. This is especially true of releases that reach the American market, due mainly to licensing rights.

The DDR phenomenon

Many players would tell you that playing at home is an excellent way to practice, and it saves money in the long run compared to playing in the arcade. However, many would also say that a large part of DDR is the experience of dancing in public, and becoming part of a local community. Two players can dance together side-by-side in friendship, the better player offering encouragement to the lesser, or in competition. Crowds may gather while the dance is in progress and become involved. Some players enjoy showing off by looking away from the screen, and dropping to the floor to press arrows with their hands, among other performance techniques.

DDR is a phenomenon around which subcultures of fans and enthusiasts have gathered. 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. One of the largest examples of this is the European Cup (held by DDR Europe (http://www.ddreurope.com/)), gathering players from all over Europe.

Many news outlets are beginning to report how playing DDR can be good aerobic exercise; some regular players have reported weight loss of 10-50 pounds. One player reports that including DDR in her day-to-day life resulted in a loss of 95 pounds (http://www.getupmove.com/storytanya.html). It is argued however that the cases of significant weight loss have all been stories where a significantly overweight player loses a few pounds, and then becomes motivated to take action to lose weight, including dieting, and regular gym attendance. Although reports of weight loss have not been scientifically measured, a handful of schools use DDR as a physical education activity, and in Norway, DDR has even been registered as an official sport.

Internet fandom

Dozens of fan websites have been created in response to DDR's popularity. In the United States, one of the most popular is DDR Freak (http://www.ddrfreak.com/), which was originally formed in 2000 to promote DDR in the San Francisco Bay Area. It has since become an international player resource, featuring DDR-related news coverage, codes and "step charts" for the various games, a database of machine locations, Internet forums, a web radio station and an IRC channel. DDR Freak's forums are heavily trafficked, and boast over 50,000 members as of 2004.

Aaron In Japan (http://www.aaroninjapan.com) is another popular website, and is geared more towards "tech" players. The site's forums tend to discuss specific DDR issues, such as technique and timing on specific songs or mixes, or reverse engineering of scoring and grading systems. The largest section of the website is dedicated to storing photographic records of "AAA" grades accomplished by DDR players worldwide.

Releases

Main article: List of Dance Dance Revolution games

Dance Dance Revolution has been released in many forms, in arcades and on various video game consoles. Major arcade releases include:

See also

External links

Template:Dance Dance Revolution gamesde:Dance Dance Revolution es:Dance Dance Revolution fr:Dance Dance Revolution ja:DanceDanceRevolution nn:Maskindans pl:Dance Dance Revolution fi:Dance Dance Revolution

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