How to DDR like a Pro

May 22, 2008
For those of you who don’t know, DDR is the wonderful video game also known as Dance Dance Revolution. Originally a game for the arcade only, it is now available for Playstation, Gamecube, and Xbox. There is a square-shaped mat with four arrows on it in a diamond formation: one arrow is pointing forward on the front, one points backward in the back, another arrow points left on the left side, and the last points to the right on the right side of the mat. It’s kind of hard to explain.

Take a step onto the middle of the mat where there is no arrow. You begin by selecting a song from a long list of techno, pop, R&B, and rap music. My favorites are the techno songs, which are usually the fastest. Choose the difficulty level with the up and down arrows and select one by stepping on the x button in the top right corner of the mat. Pick your song and get pumped up!
Now, when the song starts, arrows will begin moving up the screen and exit at the top. Each arrow corresponds to an arrow on the mat that you are standing on. For example, when an arrow pointing to the left scrolls up the path designated for all left arrows, step on the left arrow on your mat. However, you can’t step on it at any time you want. You have to wait until the arrow reaches the top couple inches of the screen where there are four outlines of arrows in a certain order: left, down, up, and right (<, V, /, >). They are positioned in a horizontal line, and each scrolling arrow will be moving up in the path of its outlined arrow. When the scrolling arrow matches up in the center of its outline, step on the corresponding arrow on your mat. This sounds very complicated, but if you saw it, it’s actually simple.

If you think you are already a pro at DDR from reading this so far, think again. There will not be just a single arrow you have to jump on. There will be a flood of arrows for about a minute and a half until the song is over. On the difficulty levels of light and beginner, the arrows will move more slowly and farther apart than they would on standard or heavy mode. The biggest difference between modes is the amount of arrows that will scroll across the screen. Also, the timing of arrows is more confusing on harder songs. A huge part of being able to play DDR is the ability to keep a beat. The time at which you need to step on the arrows is always in time with the music. Most of the songs have a loud pulsing beat, so it shouldn’t be hard to know when you need to step.

After you have played a fair few times, your reflexes will probably improve. Your feet may seem to take on a life of their own with your mind somehow disconnected. When this happens, you might be ready to move from beginner to light mode. I used to get a little discouraged when I couldn’t beat a song, but you have to remember to never give up! If a song is too hard and you’ve failed it a couple times, don’t beat yourself up. Just move on to an easier song, and one day, try the hard song again. I used to play songs on standard mode that seemed incredibly hard; I worked my booty off just to get a D. However, I played for about another year, and now I can beat the same songs on heavy mode and end up with a B, or even an A.

Sometimes, I’ll stop playing for around a month, but when I start playing again, I’m better than before. It’s a strange phenomenon that scientists are still trying to figure out. I think it happens because the motions of the game are being rolled around in the old noggin, and they will be etched in your mind for a matter of months. So if you’re having trouble getting in the groove, stop playing for a week and you might improve. Just remember to believe in yourself, and above all, have fun!

Master DDR is no walk in the park. It will take time, dedication, speed, and good stamina. It is no laughing matter. Most likely, you will feel better about yourself even being able to play on light mode. One day though, one day, you may become a DDR pro. I’m not a pro; I’m still training to be the greatest master of dancing. And I cannot stress enough: it’s not a game, but a way of life.

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Sally Gomez said...
Aug. 16, 2008 at 7:42 pm
that was srsly the best how to thingy ever!!!! omgg!!
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