All Tyjenks wanted to know about DDR but was afraid to ask

Despite Tyjenks’ protests, any gamer with an ounce of adventurousness should really give Dance Dance Revolution a shot. If you’ve ever even entertained the thought of playing Samba De Amigo, or buying the Maracas… why not?

DDR conceptually is a very simple game. There is a platform with four arrows: up, down, left, and right.

There are four stationary arrows at the top of the screen. There will be arrows that scroll up from the bottom of the screen.

When the scrolling arrows overlap the stationary arrows, you then hit the corresponding arrow on the platform. And that’s it!

DDR is a videogame, a music/rhythm game, and exercise all at once. As with all great games, it’s easy to understand and fiendishly difficult to master. It’s also the only game I’ve been able to consistently play with my wife since… well, ever. DDR is extremely female friendly. It’s a great party game. And it’s really entertaining. Fun even! Way more fun than your average exercise machine.

I’m assuming, like me, you don’t want to try this in front of the kids at your local arcade, so I’ll be discussing home versions only. First, you’ll need to obtain two DDR dance mats. You can get by with one, but the game is much more enjoyable with two players. And once you develop enough skill, with two pads, you can try doubles mode: one person using both pads.

Anyway, I recommend this store. Two quality DDR pads for $45 + shipping. An outstanding deal.*

Now decide where you’re going to play DDR. By FAR the easiest way is to get a Playstation 2 and buy DDR Max ($40, anywhere). Or, if you have access to an old surplus PS1, you can buy DDR Konamix ($30, most places). DDR Max is definitely the better of the two games, however, so I strongly urge you to go the PS2 route if you can.

If you don’t have a PS2 or PS1, and you’re unwilling to buy one-- it is possible to play a variety of DDR versions on the PC, both open source and official. However, if you want to play on the PC you will need a PS2-to-USB converter. Not all of them will work, because of the way they map the buttons. This is the one you have to use:

Of course, you’ll also need to hook your PC up to your TV via your video card’s TV-out. Once you’ve cleared that hurdle, you have three options:

DDR PC (legit Konami release, but a rather old version of DDR)

Dance With Intensity (open source clone)

Stepmania (open source clone)

If you download either of the open source clones, you’ll also need to obtain song MP3s and song step patterns. There are sources on the 'net for these-- some are ripped from earlier DDR games, some are user-created. I have a bunch here that I got by paypal-ing some guy $20 to burn/mail me 3 CDs. If anyone wants 'em, PM me.


  • As your skill level increases, you may find the default soft foam inside the pad’s zippered insert is keeping you from hitting rapid steps accurately; at that point, you will need to put something firmer inside or under the pad. There are a bunch of ways to do this, but the easiest is to buy these ultra-firm $14.95 inserts:

And for those of you who, like myself, are filled with gravy, yet skeptical about the exercise aspect of DDR:

In fact, a good number of DDR players have lost weight improving their game. Eric Kjellman, 24, of San Jose, Calif., stomped his way down from 380 to 250 pounds. Todd Brown, 25, dropped 35 pounds but got tired of hunting down DDR machines, his exercise equipment of choice. So he recently bought a used arcade version on eBay for $5,000.

“There aren’t many things that keep me active, but this does,” says the blackjack dealer from Prior Lake, Minn., who posted a message on urging any experts in the region to drop by his home. “I just close the door to my garage and go at it. I don’t dance and I have no style. It’s a workout.”

Dave Henkin, 24, of Austin, Texas, has been playing for a year, lost 60 pounds (“my sister didn’t recognize me”) and figures he has spent a few thousand dollars pumping tokens into DDR machines.

Some tips from TechTV’s extended play,24330,3333406,00.html

… and just because I love David J. Long more than I love life itself:


DDR is a lot of fun, but I live in an apartment above someone else. Guess I’ll have to stick to the maracas and Space Channel 5…

Hah, as if. Every night from 5-10 I hear thumping coming from upstairs.

And for those unlike Wumpus who wouldn’t be caught dead on a DDR mat, mocking those who play DDR is a particularly enjoyable pasttime, although not very challenging.

And for those unlike Wumpus who wouldn’t be caught dead on a DDR mat,

Actually, your typical gamer type games are a lot harder to justify to people than DDR is. And when I say people I mean women. Seriously. Try showing your wife/so how good you are at Splinter Cell, Eternal Darkness, Grand Theft Auto or whatever, and you’ll probably get one of those barely concealed eye rolls.

DDR, unlike those games, has a universal rhythm/music appeal to both sexes-- that is, if you can get past the initial awkwardness. It’s well documented that DDR is one of the very few arcade machines that actually attracts a sizable number of women.

That’s not to say that there aren’t obvious differences in how men and women approach the game. In typical Mars/Venus style, I play for high scores/ratings, and my wife couldn’t care less about her score (as long as it’s not failing). I have to give Betsy credit, though-- she’s good. I’d say about 40 percent of the time she outscores me. And even if we weren’t at the same skill level, DDR allows independent selection of difficulty level per player, which is a real lifesaver when you’re teaching someone how to play the game.

Anyway, I don’t see how playing DDR is any nerdier than playing IL2-Sturmovik, Animal Crossing, Warcraft III… or really any other videogame. Heck, DDR is actually more accessible and more interactive than 99% of the games I can think of.

Anyway, I don’t see how playing DDR is any nerdier than playing IL2-Sturmovik, Animal Crossing, Warcraft III…

It’s not nerdier. It’s gayer.


Gayer? Tell that to the couple doing this DDR freestyle routine:

9.0mb MPEG video of DDR freestyle routine, 1:42

I don’t know, Tom. Men and women dancing together generally isn’t “gay”, per se. And that’s what I’m advocating here. Now if you and I were to come up with a DDR freestlye dancing routine together… and, say, perform it on pay-per-view… that would probably be pretty goddamn gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Now if you and I were to come up with a DDR freestlye dancing routine together… and, say, perform it on pay-per-view…

“Was that a pass?”


Jesus. Talk about “scared straight.” They could show it in the schools and male homosexuality in the United States would drop off precipitously. Lesbianism, on the other hand, could very well skyrocket.

Well, with guys, it’s more about competition-- getting a higher score or whatever. There are a number of interesting versus/combat modes in DDR Konamix, some of which cause the other player’s steps to get more difficult, increase in speed, decrease in speed, arrows become invisible, change position, etcetera. Sort of like multiplayer Tetris, actually.

Betsy will only grudgingly play these challenge modes, and she clearly doesn’t enjoy the competitive aspect of the game. Particularly when I KICK HER ASS IN IT!!1!

Anyway, point being: I am promoting DDR as a game which you can play with “the ladies” on an ongoing basis. Whatever you do behind closed doors with your male drinking buddies is absolutely none of my business.

What did that really have to do with DDR? It looked like they were just dancing, but there was a DDR machine in the way.

eg, they’re actually hitting all the right arrows at the right times to complete/pass the song. Don’t worry, Tom and I will clear this all up for you guys soon enough when we present our “Le Tigre” DDR routine at this year’s GenCon. In our Royal Tenenbaums costumes, I mean.

Which one of you will play the girl with the mustache?

Yeah, right. Me and Desslock are just going to keep pumping free weights, you full of gravy nancy boy. And if I see you on the beach, I’m kicking sand on your dance mat. ;)

[size=2]Did anyone else think this thread had something to do with RAM?[/size]

[size=2]Shhh. Yes. Regardless of whether you thought of dancing games or hardware, they are just different types of geekiness. It would be bad form to poke fun.[/size]

Hell, I was wondering what Tyjenks wanted to know about East Germany and why he was afraid to look it up.

I would pay to see that, which song will you be doing?

It’s Raining Men