Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dance Dance Retrospective: Introduction

Somehow while watching Linkara's "History of Power Rangers" series, I had been inspired to make something like that for something like this blog.  It had to be something I was an expert on, that would give me a chance to blab on endlessly about it...  You were expecting James Bond, my favorite fandom?  Well, I had forgotten about that, maybe next time.  Nope, what we've got is a retrospective of the Dance Dance Revolution video game series.

EDIT 13 October 2014: With the series nearing its end, I have decided to rename it from "History of DDR" to "Dance Dance Retrospective".  To anyone who mistakenly believed the subject matter would be the former East Germany (a.k.a. the Deutsche Demokratische Republik), I deeply apologise.

As the first major music game series to hit it big in America (notice I said series... and major), I'd like to guess many of you know how to play DDR, especially if you're reading this blog, whereas the rest of you are just baffled by the name.  So to compromise, I'll keep it brief.  The game is played with a set of four pressure panels on the floor, one for each direction of left, down, up, and right.  On the screen, a sequence of arrows will rise from the bottom to the top.  Your job is to step on the matching panel(s) when an arrow passes over the Step Zone, a white set of arrows at the top.  The trick is that the sequence is timed to the music playing.  Is it really like dancing?  I'm sure this has been debated a lot when the series started, and the general consensus is no.  But when you're playing, you don't care!  At least I don't...

My experience with the series began in the Summer of 2002.  In the arcades, I was never all that attracted to the bigger games that cost $1 to play.  You could say I wanted to stretch my gaming dollar.  But after getting out of school that year, I fell of my bike and broke my right arm.  That compression fracture left me in a sling for two weeks.  Whether or not this attracted me to DDR or not I'm in doubt about, but this happens to be when I started getting into it.  I was really bad the first few times, but grew experience with the arcade version DDRMAX and the home games on PlayStation, and after a few months was able to play well on all but the hardest difficulty levels.

So what am I going to cover in this series of posts?  Well, I'm going to be talking about all of the "core series" games and a bunch of the side games.  In each entry, I'll cover the changes brought about by the new games (or lack thereof), some of the major songs (since it would be foolish to dedicate an entire blurb to every new song introduced), and if needed, notes about the history and/or release of the games.  There are a slew of other music games out there, including a whole brand by the publisher of the series (Konami), so if any of them relate to a particular DDR game, I'll talk about them when the time comes.  I do have my own prejudices about some games here and there, but as always on this blog, I'll let you know they exist and then throw them out the window.

NB: By "core series", I am of course talking about the numbered arcade (and some console) releases.  However, partway through the series, they stopped numbering the games in the traditional sense, so it gets a little subjective around that time.  If I'm talking about a side game instead, don't worry, I'll let you know.

Arcade Series:
Console Exclusives

Spin-Offs / Etc.:

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