DDR Dance Pad
Dance Dance Revolution

Beginners Guide

What do I need to get started
using a Dance Dance Revolution?

(this interactive guide shows you exactly what to buy and where to get started using DDR)

DDR Zone Menu

Dance Dance Revolution, or DDR, is a video game driven by the player's feet. It was first introduced by Konami as a video arcade game in Japan in 1998, and many variations have been produced, some even for home use. It is classified as a Bemani game (Bemani is a Japanese-style shorthand term for Beatmania, the name of Konami's first musical game, which has come to refer to all of Konami's musical games).

Dance Dance Revolution is the precursor to a number of similar games that are now available. For example, the popular Wii Fit from Nintendo also allows players to compete against each other using a Wii Balance Board instead of the iconic dance pad. Both games are acknowledged to offer a good workout and aerobic exercise which is why many people have embraced these gaming platforms for exercises as much as for their entertainment value.

Playing DDR can be good aerobic exercise; some regular players have reported weight loss of 10-50 pounds. One player reports that including DDR in their day-to-day life resulted in a loss of 95 pounds. It is argued however that the cases of significant weight loss have all been stories where a significantly overweight player loses a few pounds, and then becomes motivated to take action to lose weight, including dieting, and regular gym attendance. Although reports of weight loss have not been scientifically measured, some schools use DDR as a physical education activity, and in Norway, DDR has even been registered as an official sport.


Dance Dance Revolution - an Overview

ddr screen
This is a screen-shot of a Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) game. On the left you can see the arrows that correspond to the arrows on the dance pad. If this were in two-player mode similar arrows would appear on the right side.

While playing at home is an excellent way to practice DDR, and it saves money in the long run compared to playing in the arcade, a large part of the DDR games is the experience of dancing in public. DDR is a social game. Two players can dance together side-by-side as friends, or as fierce competitors. Crowds may gather while the dance is in progress and become involved. Skilled players enjoy showing off by looking away from the screen, dropping to the floor to press arrows with their hands, as well as other distractions.

DDR is also a phenomenon, around which subcultures of fans and enthusiasts have gathered. Tournaments are held worldwide, some to determine highest scores (called "perfect attack" or "score" competitions), and others for exhibitions of style (called "freestyle" competitions); a player who knows the steps can develop a routine for the rest of the body to follow while playing the game. One of the largest examples of this is the European Cup (held by DDR Europe), gathering players from all over Europe.


Playing DDR

Players select one of a variety of songs, which typically have a heavy beat. While the game is in play, there are four stationary arrows at the top of the screen. Other arrows scroll up from the bottom of the screen and pass over the stationary arrows. When scrolling arrows overlap the stationary ones, as the illustration shows the Up arrow is about to, the player must step on the corresponding arrow on the dance pad (it is permitted to remain on the square or "panel"). A "jump" step will involve pressing two arrows simultaneously. In this way, the game encourages the player to dance a pre-choreographed series of steps to the beat of the music. Each step is given a rating that indicates how close to the beat the step was. From best to worst, these ratings are PERFECT, GREAT, GOOD, BOO, and MISS. On many American home releases of the game, BOO and MISS are changed to ALMOST and BOO, respectively, and on DDR Extreme in Oni/Challenge mode (and in some simulators) there is MARVELOUS timing, which is even better than PERFECT. It sounds very mechanical, but once a player has learned to respond to the arrows, there is some freedom in style and balance which better players exploit, to the entertainment of other players and passersby. Some players prefer "doubles mode" (usually costing twice as much), where both platforms are used by one player; this is generally considered more challenging.

At the end of each song (assuming the player has made it that far), players receive a final score and a letter grade from "A" to "E" based on how many correct steps they made and how well-timed those steps are. Exceptional performances with almost all PERFECTs (over 90%) will receive "AA" ("S" on older versions) or, should the player make the commendable achievement of earning 100% PERFECTs, "AAA" ("SS" on older versions and see links below for such feats). A game may consist of one or more songs in a series, or multiple attempts at the same song. There are also challenging "courses," or specific groups of songs, which can be played.

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