Tag Archives: dance

Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party Tips

Although I’ve played DDR years ago on my friend’s Playstation (2?) and in the arcade at Dave & Buster’s, I considered myself a newbie when I got my own copy of the game to play on my Wii console. If you’re an expert, this post probably wouldn’t be helpful to you, but if you’d like to share your own tips, please feel free to do so in the comments section. I won’t repeat the tips that could be found on the dance pad, in the instruction manual, and in the first venue of Groove Circuit Mode.

  • Konami recommended using bare feet and to avoid using “shoes or stocking feet”. When I played barefoot, it limited how long I could play because my feet eventually got sweaty and even though I tried to wipe them on the carpet, it eventually affected game play. I wasn’t sure if stocking was the same as socks so I didn’t take the chance in the beginning. Then one time I forgot to take off my socks and realized that I was fine. Sweat was no longer a problem.
  • I had a lot of trouble beating the “boss” level of the second level of Groove Circuit Mode called Genesis Venue. No matter what, I could not win. Finally, I turned off the Hand mode and my score improved. I don’t know if it’s my incompetence but the hand gestures don’t seem reliably responsive, and thereby messing my score.
  • To turn off Hand Gestures, go to the Options menu during the view that shows the songs.
  • Be careful about where your feet are while in the menus. I was using the Wiimote to navigate so I wasn’t even aware of the dancepad’s controls. I kept having my foot on the left arrow, which is used to select the songs. Because of that, the song selector kept going and going, which made me think it was in some spin-the-wheel selector mode. Not that everyone is as silly as me. :)
  • Since the hand gesture icons are diamond shaped instead of arrow-shaped, I had a hard time with the timing. I finally figured out how to do it correctly. The right and left points of the diamond need to line up with the horizontal line of the arrow, or think of the right and left points lining up with the arrow points. Once I figured that part out, hand gestures didn’t mess up my score as much.
  • Think of parsing the step arrows like reading words out loud. When reading, it helps to glance ahead and to group words that go together. In DDR, try to look at the arrows before they reach the top, and group them based on some common patterns that will become obvious with some experience (e.g., ???? or up-right-up-right if the fonts don’t turn out) and prepare to be in position for them.

Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party on the Wii

I stopped by Toys R Us tonight to see if they had Dance Dance Revolution in stock yet. I called on release day, yesterday, and they still didn’t have it. I checked on the website and did not see the DDR Bundle (which has the game and dance pad) for the Wii. I just saw a listing for the game by itself, which doesn’t get released until November. I was quite bummed that I wouldn’t be able to exchange one of my three games during the 45 day exchange/refund window. I figured I’d stop by TRU anyway to see if there were any other games I could get instead. Boy, was I surprised and happy when I saw the boxes of DDR for the Wii.

While I was at the customer service desk to return one of my games, one of the employees said he was so jealous of me that I was getting DDR since it looks like so much fun. I was so anxious to get home… good thing I’m not too far from TRU.

It turned out to live up to my expectations for it and I had a blast. I struggled in the beginning, though, so I wondered if I could continue playing the game. Eventually, I found the correct beginner mode that taught me some tips to improve my skills. Something I didn’t know before playing was that I wasn’t supposed to return my feet to the center of the pad after/between steps. That reduced the awkwardness of not knowing what to do in between steps. Another thing was that I didn’t realize that I was stepping on the arrows in the level selector screen, which resulted in my inability to select the beginner level using my Wiimote. This resulted in me ending up in a hard level and that was really frustrating since I didn’t realize that was the hard level… I just thought I was totally incompetent. Once I got a better grasp for the controls, and stuck to beginner level, I had a lot more fun.

I like the Workout mode where it keeps track of the calories I burn. I’m particularly motivated to lose some fat since I will be going to Maui in November. Wheeee! or Wiiiii!

I felt the dance pad was of decent quality… at least better than I expected it would be for a soft pad. After a few rounds, I noticed the pad shifted from where I had placed it on my carpet, but I don’t think it was bad enough to affect me during the dance rounds; I didn’t even notice it.

I saw some pauses during some of the dances… the arrow would be going upward and then hang for a second and then resume. Since this is the first DDR game I’ve owned, I don’t know if that’s part of the game or a symptom of a defect. (Update: After playing with it more, I think it is a part of the game. It’s tricky though and throws off my rhythm. I guess that might be the intention. :P )

Update 2007-11-28: I think that the addition of the hand gestures isn’t that great, and I’ve made it a habit to turn it off. Part of the issue is that I have trouble getting the rhythm correct and it messes up my score. A more serious consequence is that the cord connecting the Wiimote and nunchuck could and did whip me in the face. Additionally, sometimes, I have to make wide flailing arm movements to maintain/regain my balance. The cord wouldn’t be long enough to accommodate my arms’ range of motion. If it were longer, it would increase the likelihood of me getting whipped by it. It might help if the nunchuck functioned wirelessly.

Got My (Social) Dance Skills Back

I caught the dance bug in college at a dance party where people started doing swing dance. I was bummed that I couldn’t participate so I resolved to take one of the social dance classes at Stanford. I took beginner and intermediate Social Dance, and also took more advanced classes to hone my swing and hustle skills. After college, I continued to go to the dance scene at Stanford.

As the years went by, I went dancing less and less until I hadn’t gone for years. Even when I had opportunities, I couldn’t go because I couldn’t find my dance shoes.

Last month, a friend told me she was going to take dance classes at a dance studio not too far from my apartment. I figured it would be fun to take dance with friends, so I signed up for Intermediate East Coast Swing and Intermediate Cha Cha. I went shopping for new dance shoes but my friend told me that they weren’t required at the ballroom.
During the first class, I wore tennis shoes. I had so completely forgotten how to dance that I couldn’t even remember the basic steps of EC Swing was triple-step triple-step rock-step! If dancing was talking, I was stuttering on the dance floor. It was so pathetic. I felt so bad for my partners. I felt out of my league.

In the cha cha class, I couldn’t even get the basic steps there either. The instructor had to pull me aside to go through the steps. He asked me if I had ever taken cha cha. Yes, I did, but it was years ago and I forgot how to do it.

Before the second class tonight, I was more prepared. I had found my dance shoes. I also trimmed my fingernails so I didn’t have to worry about scratching my dance partners. Having the dance shoes helped me move better on the dance floor, especially when spinning. With short nails, I didn’t have to worry about hurting my partners. Those two things improved the experience for me.

I remembered more of the swing stuff so I had a better time in the class. I was still unsure of the cha cha steps, so my friend went through it with me. I felt lost at the beginning of the class and regretted signing up for cha cha. In the middle of class, I finally got it and ended up having a better time. The instructor also didn’t have to help me out individually during class.

As I left the dance place to go home, I felt really great. It’s so fun to dance when I can go through the patterns. I wasn’t perfect by any means, but I made a huge improvement from the previous class. There’s also that positive feeling that results from physical activity. Plus I liked the music that was playing in the car as I drove home.

They say it’s like riding a bicycle… you never forget. Well, last week I rode a (borrowed) bicycle for the first time in about 3 years and I also struggled with it. I almost gave up but forced myself to practice until I got it. Part of the problem is that I’m used to bikes with hand brakes and it freaked me out to brake by back pedaling.