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All she wants to do is dance

Once each quarter, we have a student worker meeting, and afterwards we usually try to do something fun. So today we went out to an arcade for a couple of hours. First was air hockey; I lost the one game I played pretty badly (although not as badly as I expected to), but the others were mostly evenly matched so it was really fun to watch them. Then we played a little skee ball and a few other things, and after that we made our way to the Dance Dance Revolution machine.

I had never played DDR before. I've long been curious about it, both because I hear it's fun and I've wondered if it might be a good way to get some exercise. But I never had a chance to play until today.

I loved it. I had a blast.

And, somewhat surprisingly, I'm actually sort of good at it. Not, like, amazing or anything (the one student who plays a lot could probably dance circles around me), but compared to the other two people who hadn't played before, I did really well. Definitely better than I would have expected for a game that's so physical.

So now I'm thinking much more seriously about picking it up for myself. I know there are some DDR players out there; any suggestions about which version is the best? (Of the PS2 games; we don't have an XBox. Although if anyone has tried the Wii version I'd be curious to hear that as well.) Also wondering whether the default dance pad is good enough, or whether it's worth shelling out for a higher-end one. Any and all thoughts on the subject are welcome.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 19th, 2007 07:16 am (UTC)

DDR EXTREME 2 has imo better songs (BUTTERFLY UPSWING MIX. SPEED OVER BEETHOVEN. CARTOON HEROES), but MAX2 has an easier system, i.e, you don't have to play a "story" mode, you can just go right into the songs (which are by and large very good, although my three favorites aren't on it *waves up*).

There is no "default" pad, but the cheap one - it's like 20 bucks - works fine. I've had mine for two years? And it's definitely a little weird now, but not broken by any means. It lasts long enough, and is cheap enough that it doesn't feel like... you know, a waste. The only problem is that since it's plastic, it slides around on some floors. >__> So you're in the middle of a song and you suddenly start missing ALL the right arrows, and then you realize it's because the mat has moved two inches. But~ it's really fine, the plastic cheap one.

Dec. 19th, 2007 07:42 am (UTC)
Dec. 20th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
(Two of those songs you've given me before, but I have downloaded the new one. ;)

Thanks for the input! Looks like that variation isn't made any more, but I might be able to find it used. I'll see what I can find.

I think I probably will start with the cheap pad -- like you say, it's cheap enough that I won't feel ripped off if it dies right away, and then I can always invest in a better one if I find I need it.
Dec. 20th, 2007 02:44 am (UTC)
The cheap one really is fine - as I said, I've had mine for two years of pretty heavy use, and it's only now starting to get kinda funky. And even then, it's not nearly broken - it's more like the "buttons" have slid around, so some of the steps are a little off.

By the way - I'd avoid playing DDR at home wearing shoes. The stomping gets loud that way, and stuff shakes around (i.e, you're jumping around, you know, and so on). When I was still living at Sirea's, she'd always tell me to "stomp softer," because I was making the fish tank ripple and stuff. *laugh* Anyway, on a plastic mat, shoes probably would be overkill...?

re, music: I swear, I have so much DDR music on my computer. A full playlist of random stuff, plus three CDs by BeForU who are best known for their DDR stuff. >> Speaking of which (happy dancey music)! Did I ever send you the Lucky Star music? |D
Dec. 20th, 2007 03:09 am (UTC)
I am concerned about noise, since we live on the 4th floor. So that's a good point. I hate wearing shoes anyway. ;) But if I end up doing serious exercise with it, I might need to support my feet somehow. I guess I'll wait and see on that one.
Dec. 20th, 2007 03:12 am (UTC)
I personally find it much easier barefoot (I also despise shoes), although on a hard mat it kinda hurts to stomp barefooted. XDD; Anyway, the game is really best suited for short bursts, not real steady exercise (15 songs, take a break, 15 songs, take a break), so I wouldn't really imagine that your feet would have much continual strain... although I admit I've never played it to exercise (just because it is crack).
Dec. 20th, 2007 03:09 am (UTC)
Oh, and I don't think I have the Lucky Star music. Is that DDR or something else?
Dec. 20th, 2007 03:16 am (UTC)
Lucky ☆ Star is an anime series (these two horridly bright icons I've been using are both caps); it's basically the life of four high school girls. One of them happens to be a mega obsessive game and anime fan, but most of it is extremely slice of life. Some of it is hilarious, but most of it just... feels like you're talking with your friends? Really random, detailed conversations about random things. Episodes tend to feel more like long conversations than actual /anime/. But it's fun, really. (There's also one male character, Minoru, who is MY HERO I SWEAR TO GOD) I'd check the anime out (but try to last past the first scene XD).

The theme song - Take It! Sailor Uniform! - is a bit of a... well, it's a really catchy song, and there's a complicated dance that goes with it, and it's awesome and reminds me somewhat of DDR.

It's catchy as hell, seriously.
Dec. 20th, 2007 03:20 am (UTC)
Sounds like "Friends" for the anime set, except it's high schoolers. ;)

The song is catchy, but the animation seems weirdly low-energy next to it. Like, I'd expect a lot more jumping around, and flashing lights, and stuff.
Dec. 20th, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)
That's true. In one episode there's a longer version, but generally, the song is better than the dance. It's based off of another anime - The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya - which had a similar song/dance gimmick to it. That dance was actually much better done, although I can't stand the anime: it's a case of an interesting idea, good animation, and the most grating main character I've seen in years. I wanted to hit her at least twice per episode; instead she's celebrated as one of the best anime characters of recent years.

Lucky ☆ Star is pretty low-key. XD It's cute and it's funny; a lot of it is punchlines, and there isn't a plot. At all. I'd definitely go on YouTube and check out the first episode (although the Japanese voices can be a little grating: re, the main character).

In Lucky ☆ Star, they actually admit that they were trying for a "Haruhi" feel in their dance. (Lucky ☆ Star has a lot of the same voice actors, so it's full of references to that anime)
Dec. 19th, 2007 09:00 am (UTC)
DDR is wonderful. It helped me get in shape for my surgery. (As you've probably seen me babble.)

I'm thinking about getting a better pad than the default, since as you probably noticed it scrunches up a bit and may scoot around. However, I've certainly gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it as is, and so far it hasn't shown signs of wear. I'd suggest trying it with that and seeing if it's good enough. (Note that I think taping it to the carpet would solve all problems.)

OH. There's one reason to get a higher-end one, possibly. The default pad that came with mine only had the following keys:
D-pad (directional)
X, O
select, start

so it was missing triangle, square, and trigger buttons. Making it impossible to use for anything except mini-games in the FF series.

It's my ambition to get a dance pad that lets me play regular video games. I will say the chocobo mini-games in FFX were ten jillion times more interesting and vivid when it felt like I was weaving through the course!
Dec. 20th, 2007 01:27 am (UTC)
Which DDR do you have? The number of options is a little bewildering...

That's an interesting point, using the dance pad as a controller to play other games. I think I agree with you, though, that it makes sense to start with the cheap version and move up. Thanks!
Dec. 19th, 2007 11:27 am (UTC)
I prefer the hard dance pads for two reasons -- it's hard to wear shoes on the soft ones (and we put a piece of plywood down under ours) because your shoes kind of "pick up" the plastic, and going shoeless ends up with the balls of your feet developing bone spurs like my friend did. (she was using it as her primary form of exercise)

That said, she lost a TON of weight, and had the nicest butt ever. Shell out the extra for the better, hard dance pad, or retrofit yours with a piece of plexi on the top, and a piece of plywood on the bottom. Your feet will thank you.
Dec. 20th, 2007 01:29 am (UTC)
Thanks, that's good to know. I probably won't invest in a hard pad right away -- I'd hate to sink a ton of money into one and never use it -- but if I find I really take to it, I expect I'll probably upgrade. Do you recommend any particular hard pad?
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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