[The original title for this piece was
This Is Your Life and It's Ending One Funky Techno Beat at a Time, but sadly it was too long to display properly. ]
Alright, so there you are, in an arcade, minding your own business, playing Marvel vs. Capcom or Tekken or Whack-A-Mole or whatever. When suddenly, without warning, you hear a funky techno beat and a high pitched female voice singing something about a butterfly. At this point you're probably thinking, "What the hell? Why do I hear a funky techno beat and a high pitched female voice singing something about a butterfly?"
Well, my friend, that funky techno beat is coming from a game called "Dance Dance Revolution." You may have seen this game popping up in some of the local arcades. The premise of the game is that techno music is fun to dance to, so why not FORCE people to do it? You pick a song and, as the music plays, arrows move up the screen. These arrows correspond with the four directions on the pad you stand on while playing the game. When the arrows hit the top, step on that part of the pad. They're pretty sensitive, so you don't have to stomp or anything, just move your foot. Sounds pretty easy right? No! Of course it doesn't! Some of these songs have you hitting three rapid steps in one beat, or jumping from side to side so you can hit two buttons at once!
Of course, now you're thinking, "Hitting three rapid steps in one beat, or jumping from side to side so I can hit two buttons at once!? I can't do that! Forget it! I'm never gonna try that game!" But if you never try it, you'll never find out how much fun it is! So, here, at CXM, I present to you four things to help you start your Dance Dance Revolution career.
1. Know your limits
If you've never played before, you may have trouble getting used to the setup. It's a little hard, especially when you're used to hand-eye coordination. Suddenly, it's feet-eye coordination! You have to move a whole different part of your body! Can your hardcore gaming body handle it? To find out, start with something easy. When you pick a song, there will be a certain number of feet at the bottom of the screen. This is the difficulty of the song. On your first one do something easy like Upside Down (one foot) or Silent Hill (two feet). There're plenty of easy ones for you to play while you get used to the game.
2. Think "Dancing"
This game is called Dance Dance Revolution for a reason. When you move, the steps work a lot like the steps in dancing. Having a dancing background will of course help, but even just listening to a lot of music can be beneficial. Before the arrows start going, listen to the beginning of the song and try to pick out the beat. Now start stepping to it. Get into the rhythm. Most of the songs (especially the easier ones) put the steps DIRECTLY on the beat, so if you're used to putting your foot down on the beat, you're already half way there.
3. Think "Movement"
Now, obviously, the game isn't ALWAYS going to go easy on you. Even in Upside Down (that one foot song I told you about) some people get flustered. Usually, it's because they always try to put their foot back in the center after hitting a step. My advice: DON'T DO THAT! It messes with the rhythm. The game is only expecting you to move when it tells you to, so when you try to move back, it may not give you enough time to get to the next step! Leave your foot where the game tells you to put it until it tells you to move it again. The game doesn't penalize you for having you foot on the right panel while you hit the left panel with your other foot. Other quick movement stuff: Look a little bit ahead in the arrows so you know where the next few steps are. That way, you can plan which foot you'll have to move, or which way you'll have to turn, and won't get so overwhelmed.
4. Don't be discouraged!!!
When you're at the arcade, waiting for your turn, you'll see some amazing players. The most number of feet on a stage's difficulty I've ever seen was seven, and the guy playing it actually cleared the stage. He was amazing. You will, without fail, run into someone like this. You'll see them moving and say to yourself "No way I can do that." I've seen little kids (we're talking like nine or ten years old) clearing levels I don't even have the guts to try. But don't be upset by this. They've probably be playing for a long time, might even have the Play Station at home. You may never be as good as them, but you don't have to be. All you gotta do is drop in fifty cents, and for a few minutes try not to make a complete ass out of yourself.
By keeping these four things in mind, there's no way you can fail. So go! Go find that arcade with the new machine, or that friend with the bootleg import! Go, my child, and play Dance Dance Revolution. You won't regret it.