Dance Dance Revolution Project
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Welcome to my, Nathan B's, report on Dance Dance Revolution. This report webpage will cover the various facets of DDR, beginning with an introduction into DDR's history and origins, the gameplay of the game itself, who plays DDR (and the results of a 30+ person poll), what DDR has to offer, where has DDR been in the media, the conclusion to all of this, and a Biblography of image sources and online resources.

Before I begin, I would like to point out the versatility of the webpage medium. *

· Thank you. I will be using these little asterisks in the place of footnotes. Make sure to look out for them. IN ADDITION to these asterisks, there will be some links that also expand. Web-links are green, and all expandable things are blue. To re-iterate, click on all blue links, and all web-links are green. You may now re-click that asterisk to shrink this footnote again.

Please click the asterisk after the last sentence.
In addition to being able to use those little asterisks, you may also look to the left to see the menu bar. The menu bar is a "freeze" step from the sixth and seventh mixes of DDR. *

· ...meaning that once you put your foot onto the step, you must hold it there until the length of that freeze bar ends. This is a slightly long freeze, however, I will go over the technicalities later...

The bars have an arrow at the beginning, an arrow at the end, and numbers in the middle. The arrow at the top corresponds to the top of this page, the arrow at the bottom to the bottom of this page, and the numbers are the individual sections in between. It will automatically move while you scroll this report up or down. Hover your mouse over any one of the numbers for a reminder of each section's name. For best results, view this webpage in Microsoft Internet Explorer.

On a personal note, I discovered Dance Dance Revolution through an online chatroom back in the year 2000. There were a group of people talking about songs they liked from DDR, and coincidentally, they were in California (the coincidence will be explained later.) I was interested in DDR because they kept talking about the songs that made it up. I hadn't even heard of the game before that day.

In the year 2002, during a vacation my family took in Florida, I encountered my first DDR machine at an arcade, and demanded to be brought back about every other day while we were in Florida. So that is, to say, I learned of the game from mouth first, but played it in an arcade next. From that day forth, I went out to buy a used Playstation One, some pads to play the game with, and obtained the DDR games themselves. Since playing, I have noticed a drop in visible chubbiness.. That is to say, I haven't lost scale-weight, but I definitely have gained leg-muscles.

After that summer, and purchasing the equipment, I started this college semester playing DDR about every day. I played approximately 10 minutes to an hour or more every day or so, and have watched my ability improve. When I began my DDR training in Florida, I was able to gain a passing grade on easy songs, which are around the realm of two or three 'feet' out of a possible nine foot *

· ...TECHNICALLY, there is a 10-foot scale of difficulty, but only the hardest song on the hardest difficulty gets the ten out of ten, and so, I only consider there to be nine...

) difficulty. Since then, I am able to get an A on songs of 6-feet difficulty, and pass songs that are of up to 8-feet difficulty.

I have stated my personal history with DDR, and now, it is time to move onto the report.

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1: DDR, The Game

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DDR, at its base, is a very simplistic game. Primarily, the game uses a huge pad for player input. Please click here to display the arcade version of the pad.
The display of the DDR platform.
Image Source: DDRFreak
To FULLY describe the pad, one must be quite verbose *

·...It is a 3 x 3 square, with the top middle square possessing the up arrow, the bottom row's middle column possessing the down arrow, and the middle row possessing a left and right arrow, both in the middle row, one in the first column, and one in the third...

but the picture mostly does it justice. There are the four directions, up, down, left, and right. In addition to those buttons, there are three other buttons on the arcade machine, two triangle buttons, and a rectangle in between them. There are three modes of the game, and they use the buttons as follows...

Upon depositing credits for the game, the player presses his or her rectangle button. On the next screen, it asks whether the player wants to play by him/herself, versus another player, or wants to deposit two credits, and play using both pads on the arcade platform. They are called "Single," "Versus," and "Double," respectively. You use the two triangle buttons to select which mode, rectangle to select, and then you select your difficulty. *

· ...You can change your difficulty later in the game, and these difficulties have various names, but I will explain both later...

After selecting your difficulty with the rectangle key, you enter the song-select mode, and this is virtually the second part of three parts of playing DDR.

The player uses the left and right triangle buttons to change the song, and rectangle to select it. Various pieces of information is displayed in the song-select screen. Here

· The squares at the top left of the screen indicate the various game-affecting 'codes' that have been turned on.
· The big picture that says "Boom Boom Dollar" with a little bit of subtext indicates the little logo for this song.
· The Numbers in red, 170, indicates the Beats Per Minute of the song. 170 is somewhat fast, while the fastest song to date is about 320 BPM.
· The Yellow L symbol indicates that this is Light mode, the easiest for this song. It corresponds to the number of feet below, which is four.
· The Pentagon indicates the amount of particular steps in the song. This song has a high stream and voltage. The meanings of these five values is given from This website, which states the meaning of the five values, being, "Voltage measures the peak density of steps in a given song, while Stream measures the overall density of the steps. Chaos shows the irregularity of steps (for example: playing it to irregular notes in the song instead of the general beat), and Freeze displays the number of freeze steps (the step that requires the player to hold an arrow for some defined time and was introduced in the same game as the Groove Radar). Air gives you the number of jumps in a song, jumps being the steps that require you to actually jump in the air to hit two arrows at a time when you land.

...
is an example screenshot from the PC DDR simulator, Dance with Intensity. However, in the song select mode, a player can do various things on the dance pad to affect gameplay. In new versions, the player can simply hold down the rectangle button while selecting his/her song, and recieve a variety of options, but in old versions, the player must enter codes by doing specific actions on the dance pad. *

· ...See This Website for the list of codes that can be used in the 7th Mix, albeit that you could simply hold down the rectangle button and recieve the same options anyways...

The actions affect gameplay in specific ways, but the most important one of these is the simplistic command of hitting the 'up' or 'down' direction, on the pad below you, two times in either way. Up makes it easier, and down makes it harder to specific degrees. These degrees have various translations in the United States and Japan, which you can discover by clicking here.
Progressive Listing of DDR Difficulties
American
Japanese
LightBasic
StandardTrick
HeavyManiac
ChallengeOni
Oni and/or Challenge steps are typically related to their respective mode of the same name. (Eg: Oni Mode). In this mode, a few meager mistakes can end your game.
So, now that you've selected your playing mode your difficulty, and your first song, what next? You 'do' the song, so to speak.

This is where the pad below your feet comes in. The whole reason DDR is so wildly popular is because, even though the game's basic idea is simplistic, the problem is that your feet aren't too versatile. The gameplay is based on the correspondence between the arrows on your pad and the arrows that are flashing at the top of your screen. When you press a button on the pad below you, the arrow you hit pulsates on-screen. When a song you've chosen begins, arrows scroll up from the bottom of the screen. These arrows scroll at a speed determined by the Beats per Minute of the song, and you have to hit the arrows on your pad when the arrows scrolling up on the screen overlap the floating ones. It becomes a challenge when you choose harder difficulties, and you discover that you can't hit all four buttons at once, can only hit two buttons at a time, and that there is an abundance of arrows to be hit! So, what you have to do is gain more leg balance and strength by playing the game so you can play harder songs in the challenging way they were meant to be played.

DDR was released in October of 1998 in Japan while another music-making game was very popular; BeatMania. This game has a turntable and a small keyboard-like button apparatus. (5 keys: 3 whites, 2 black.) Because BeatMania also used songs that were already on the market, Konami could also use those same ties to copyright laws to get permission to use other songs for their new game. At its inception, DDR had, on average, an hour-long line, and months after its release, this didn't wane. (Paragraph source: [DDR] History)

There also exists a "DDR Solo" version, where a player can use the typical pad of four buttons, or two additional new ones, that are in the up-left and up-right, respectively. Other games by Bemani, the name of the company under Konami that produces music games, are "Guitar Freaks," a game with a guitar-like controller, 5 buttons, and strings, or "Para Para Paradise", a game where you basically break on-screen panels with your hands to the music, with the use of infared sensors. All these games, including DDR, take songs ranging from 70's disco music (Such as Café by Disco Direct Sound), to modern pop music like "Oops, I Did It Again," albeit remixed and sung by a different artists than you're used to; Rochelle, in this instance.

 

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2: Who Plays DDR, Anyways?

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So, you may be asking, "Who are the people who have lost one hundred and seventy pounds by playing this game," or, "Who are the people who have churned out thousands of dollars while playing this game?" Well, I took a survey of people who played DDR at both the website www.ddrfreak.com and www.ddrmaniax.net. And here are the results of 40 votes.

1: How did you discover DDR? 20: · Without anyone else's help. (IE: I found it, or I was shown it by somebody who DID NOT know about it before he/she showed me it.)
19: · Through word of mouth, or somebody showed it to me.
1: - confused voter: Specified negative answer to question 2 instead of to #1
2: Has your weight been effected by your DDR activites? 37: · Positive: I have lost fat and/or gained muscle. (Someone had lost over 70 pounds!)
3: · Negative: I have not lost fat nor gained muscle.
3: Where did you first play DDR? 30: · At the Arcade
5: · At My House
5: · At a Friend's House
0: · I have not played DDR, yet I still am interested in it.
4: Have you made any purchases involving DDR? 16: · I own DDR paraphernalia/etcetera and gaming accesories
19: · I own only DDR gaming accessories
2: · I own only DDR etcetera.
1: · I own neither, but I use free DDR-related softwares. -- Note, to actually play the PC versions as they were meant to be, one must own at least a dancing pad, and so the next poll result was added due to lack of foresight:
1: · I own some DDR accessories, but I use free DDR-related softwares.
1: · I own neither.
5: If you have played, or do play DDR, how would you approximately rate your current ability, based on the game's grading systems? 2: · A on 10-foot songs?
6: · AA or higher on 9-foot songs?
12: · A on 9-foot songs?
8: · A on 8-foot songs?
8: · A on 7-foot songs?
2: · A on 6-foot songs?
2: · A on 5-foot songs?
· A on a difficulty equal to a 4-foot song, or lower, to 1-foot songs? (To Min Difficulty)
(One vote was omitted due to no data)
6: Where are you located?
10: · Northeast of US
3: · Middle-North of US
4: · Southeast of US
3: · Middle-South of US
4: · Northwest of US
10: · Southwest of US
2: · Canada
1: · The UK
2: · Australia
1: · The US, did not specify

I would like to thank the 39 people who answered this poll personally. Thank you for helping with my report!



After viewing the results, it's surprising to find that the number of people who were introduced by friends to DDR is equal to the number of people who discovered itself, not to mention how many people encountered it first in the arcades. Almost everybody who has DDR has bought DDR gaming accessories to play DDR elsewhere, after presumably their first arcade playing.. In addition, all the people who end up going to the websites, and are fans of the game, have proceeded past the beginner's level. It appears that if DDR is popular in other countries, it has not developed enough to cause people to visit websites like DDRFreak. In addition, anybody who has played DDR replied to this poll. Anyone who did not, did not submit answers to this poll. (See results to #3) Finally, I'd like to point out the fact that 92% of the people who have played DDR have experienced positive side effects from doing so. This brings me to my next topic.

 

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3: Benefitting from DDR

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DDR is obviously a workout for those gaming geeks who have little to no exercise, or the average joe who doesn't play a sport or get too much exercise. When the people who created DDR realized that a lot of people were playing DDR for purposes other than recreation.. Exercise.. In the home versions, they introduced a 'Diet Mode.' A player would input height, age, and weight, desired goal for kilocalories burned *

· ...Technically, everywhere you see "Calories" mentioned in the west, it's actually kilo calories.. To say you were actually eating one thousand more every day would be slightly less necessary, and more scary, I guess...

. In addition to the Diet Mode, there was even a "DDR Diet" that was mentioned at DDRFreak, which is this picture is from .

In addition to people adding DDR to their list of exercise machines, a middle school featured on The Early Show on CBS (Source DDRFreak) had bought DDR Arcade machines in addition to new, fancy equipment. Comments from the article involve like one student who spends his lunch money on DDR instead, and has already dropped 15 pounds in a few weeks. The article pointed out that some students who weren't participating in Physical Education before, were now active, and hard to take off those machines. This same article pointed out that the school had to pay about $8,000 for each of the machines. However, another article (Source DDRFreak) from the Wall Street Journal stated that a arcade operator purchased a DDR machine in May for $25,000, and had already earned its price, and $15,000 over by the time the article was published in August of the same year.

It is likely that the purchase the school in CBS' article has made will be profitable. The article states that the game is free during the school day, and $0.25 per play after school. It is likely that such a machine will regain its original cost, too; the lunch-skipping student in said CBS article spent $5 each day on the machine. If it is guessed that there are 20 other students like him, that amounts to five-hundred dollars per week. If these students play for every day of the one-hundred eighty day school year, that amounts to $18,000; the cost of two of those machines, and $2,000 on top of that.

Schools are profiting, the once-dead arcades are being revitalized, and many introverted people are paying money to dance in public; a fear possibly greater than public speaking. What a dramatic effect this arcade game has had! Also, nobody has actually died from DDR to date.

 

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4: DDR in the Media

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What better way could there be to promote your footwear, than by showcasing someone wearing your sneakers while playing one of the newest, hottest dance-games out there? That's what Sketchers brand sneakers did in their Fall '02 "Find Your Style" ad campaign. One of the five things that students were portrayed doing was playing DDR in an arcade. Obviously, to promote their brand, this kid was quite adept at playing the game; his arms were swaying, he was not afraid to turn to face away from the screen for awhile, and also moved his upper torso a lot.. But.. look at those amazing foot skills! It must be the sneaks, dude! *

· Upon further inspection (see the next paragraph's source), it turns out that this DDR-er's name is "Just Jaye," who had won a freestyling competition in Las Vegas. In fact, the machine he's playing on is reputed to not even be on! "Freestyling" is a term for playing the game to show off, and not necessarily needing a high grade in the game. If you want to get a AAA; a total perfect on a song, then you're a "technical" player. Source: DDRfreak.com.

Where else has DDR been? Well, thanks to the "Official 'OMG I SAW DDR' thread" *

· Translation: The official, "OH MY GOD, I SAW DDR!" thread

at DDRfreak.com *

· It's like they indirectly wrote this report for me, folks! Ha ha, just kidding.

, there hav been DDR sightings in various TV shows. "King of the Hill" featured a game that was 'clearly' DDR, but was not called it. "Yu-Gi-Oh", another animated series (this one Japanese, however) featured a DDR that had arrows at every corner of the 9x9 square. Okay, so these two series aren't wildly popular. "Rugrats," however, a series so popular that it has prompted two movies from the children's TV network, Nickelodeon, had featured it in one of its episodes. Other shows DDR was listed as "being on" (sans the name, due to copyright issues) were Lizzie Maguire (Disney), Even Stevens (Disney), a vague appearance in The Daily Show on Comedy Central, a Primetime special about the game, a New York Times article discussing 100 great ideas, and is even reputed to be in a French movie, Wasabi! .. The forum had at least 4 more pages of data when I viewed it on Wed, Dec 7th, 2002. The list of places that DDR is popping up is increasing. A popular game, to say the least!

 

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5: So, What Should I Do If I Want to DDR?

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Well, that's a simple question. First off, it depends on what you want to do. You could play in the arcade first, or play at home first, but the real deciding factor is where you're located, if you want a choice.

DDR is in many arcades worldwide, and you can discover one that's nearest to you by using DDRFreak's Machine Locator. It's mostly run by fans, and visitors to DDRFreak, so there is a chance that machines go unlisted. In addition to finding the nearest arcade with a DDR machine, it would be good advice to visit DDRFreak itself to find out tips on improving your abilities, and for mental shortcuts on how to get better grades. Since it's run by many pros and fans, it's definitely worth your time. You could also post on a DDR site's forum.

If you're interested in playing DDR at home first, before you get into any public situation which could embarass you, DDRFreak also runs a where to buy DDR page that could be a place to start. It lists the games for the United States, various locations to get home DDR pads, and where you can also buy the DDR soundtracks. However, almost all the home versions of DDR are for the Playstation.

However, there is a DDR simulator program at called Dance With Intensity.. AKA, DWI. If you purchase a Playstation DDR pad, and get a cheap USB cable (about $13, including shipping US), you could hook up your DDR home pad as a sort of computer game controller, and use it to play DWI. DWI allows for people to make their own songs for this DDR-like program, in addition to a lot of other features, such as changing the way the sound-select screen works, the person who is the announcer, and even your own steps for old DDR songs. The website that hosts this mirror site of DWI, DDRManiax, is another slightly popular DDR site, which features its own forum, info on DDR, and has a location where a person who wishes to play old DDR songs in DWI can go to. It has all the necessary files required for almost every song from every DDR mix/version.

 

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6: Conclusion

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So what have we read here? We have read that DDR was created in 1998 during a popular music-game craze in Japan, hit the US soon after, and has created a cult following. People who were barely at the arcades, or even standing up for more than thirty minutes are now hammering their feet in public, losing their emotional and mental barriers, and are more open and willing to meet people.

Arcades, places that weren't typically hotbeds for social gatherings, are now places where even passerby will stop to watch some gamers (Specifically DDR players) dance their hearts out, and perhaps feel something inside themselves pushing them towards the machine. Profits are rising, with demand for this game, too. That gets the network and advertising bigwigs' attention, most definitely.

In the end, what is really happening here is that people are joining together again for something that benefits their health. They meet each other at local arcades, decide to make some sort of online webpage about how much they love this game, and are promptly joined by others. Communities grow, and this is yet another way to create them. I have never personally desired to visit an arcade, but with DDR there, it makes my visit the more likely. Hey, maybe I'll be the best player there this time.

 

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X: Bibilography and Online Resources


Chmielowiec, Aaron R: Aaron in Japan, "Dance Dance Revolution History". http://www.aaroninjapan.com/ddr6.html Viewed 12/13/2002

Kraatz: "DDR", http://hartland.k12.mi.us/~kraatz/ddr.htm . Viewed 12/14/2002.*

· This paper was never meant to be in "MLA" format, not to mention it is a webpage. Regardless, I put the title DDR in quotes, because it is one of her pages; it is on a seperate topic from the rest. DDRFreak is italicized below because the whole site is called that.


Ko, Jason and accompanying staff: DDRFreak, http://www.ddrfreak.com . Last Updated: 12/10/2002, viewed 12/14/2002.

 

 

 

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Thank you for reading this report. -Nathan B, December 16th, 2002

 

 

 

 

Click Here to Go to the Top of this Report. Click Here to Go to Part One: The Game Click Here to Go to Part Two: Who Plays DDR? Click Here to Go to Part Three: Benefitting from DDR Click Here to Go to Part Four: DDR in the Media Click Here to Go to Part Five: So, What Should I Do If I Want to DDR? Click Here to Go to Part Six: Conclusion Click Here to Go to the End of this Report.