Yeah, yeah, Dance Dance Revolution isn’t an RPG, either. But it is scientific fact that rabbits also love DDR. Don’t believe me? I have a GIF to prove it.
I’ve mentioned before that my parents didn’t let me play video games, but that was not actually strictly true. They let me play a shitload of DDR.
When I was a teenager, my sister and I got really into anime. We managed to convince our foolish and impressionable high school administration both to let us start an after school anime club and to allow us to take poorly supervised school-sponsored trips to Katsucon. While there, amidst the sweaty throng in the video gaming room, I was introduced to my first DDR machine. I was instantly hooked. When we returned home, I tried to convince my parents to let me get a PS2 in order to play, but they refused. However, my dad was evidently intrigued by the idea of a video game that promoted exercise. I was on pretty heavy-duty mood stabilizers at the time, and I was gaining a ton of weight. My doctors wanted me to exercise, but I had zero interest in either sports or my dad’s exercise equipment. So he stole an old Gateway PC with Windows 95 from his office, found some PS2 dance pads with a USB adapter, and installed Stepmania all up on that bitch.
Stepmania, for the uninitiated, is essentially a freeware DDR clone for the PC. It functions exactly like DDR save for one key feature: you can make your own step files and download the step files that others have made. It’s amazing. You want to DDR to Led Zeppelin? Yoko Kanno? Nightwish? Go for it! (Stepmania is actually how I was introduced to Nightwish.) Of course, you could download song packs from the DDR franchise, too. There were many surprisingly excellent user generated step files out there, so I never got bored with it. I would go down into the basement after dinner and play for an hour or two. I never got over the hump between the Standard and Heavy difficulties, but I got pretty good at it.
I played infrequently for several years while in college, as neither of the small college towns that I lived in during that time had a DDR machine, but when we moved to Oregon, I was pleased to discover not one, but two arcades with DDR machines! One has since closed, but they had the decidedly inferior DDR Solo 4th Mix machine, so I didn’t care. The second, much larger and more successful arcade is in an enormous bowling alley on the edge of town. They have a DDR Supernova machine, which has an excellent and expansive mix. Their machine is pretty beat up, with a blurry, only mostly-legible screen and a busted down arrow on the Player 1 side, but it’s still better than shitty DDR Solo.
I was going to go after work today to the zumba class that I have been dropping in on occasionally, but at the last minute decided that DDR was what I desired instead. I mean, I like zumba. Mostly. It reminds me of Just Dance on Kinect. Only you’re playing on hard mode and you’ve never played before. Luckily, you’re on no fail mode, too, so you never have to stop playing. But there’s no tutorial, and the on-screen dancer is moving to fast for you to figure out what the hell she is doing with her feet, but there seems to be a lot of butt-shaking happening, so you just do that a lot. And that’s zumba. Just Dance on hard mode with more butt-shaking.
So sometimes I prefer the pure game experience of DDR.
I know the next-gen dance experience is technically superior, what with all these fancy, new-fangled cameras and motion controls. But there’s something so much more game-like about DDR. You’re still using a controller, you’re just controlling it with your feet. There’s only four buttons, so the combinations of steps are finite, which I feel like allows a real, pure, precise mastery of the controls and gameplay in a way that just isn’t possible with camera and motion controls.
So I love going to the arcade and playing DDR for like an hour. I seldom have anyone else try to play while I’m there. It’s Southern Oregon, so I somehow doubt that there are that many people around her who play. Certainly, I have held the high scores on all my favorite songs unopposed for more than six months. It’s fun when small children come behind me to stare at my feet with enormous eyes. Standard difficulty isn’t impressive to someone who really plays DDR, but it looks pretty impressive to people who have never played before.
The machine was broken the last two times I went to play, so I was worried that it would still be broken today. It was. But in a good way. The card reader on the machine was malfunctioning, and since so few people play the machine, the management had simply put it on Free Play.
It was a good day for DDR rabbits.
Seriously, if I ever win the lottery, first I will pay off my credit card and my student loans, second, I will get the mysterious leaking in my car fixed, and third, I will buy my own DDR arcade machine.