Tag Archives: video game

My Workout Routine with Dance Dance Revolution

Last week, I had my physical examination where my doctor asked me what I did for exercise. I told him Dance Dance Revolution for the Wii. He asked some additional questions and said that that’s fine to use DDR for my exercise routine as long as it got my heart beat up and I sweated.

My current routine is to do 30 minutes in Workout Mode in the morning before work. Since it is quite cold in the mornings now, this routine has the additional benefit of warming me up. The time limit prevents me from losing track of time.

The following may be too much information for the people who don’t want to know about female issues so you can stop reading now. :)

If one of the symptoms of PMS that a woman experiences is breast tenderness, it makes certain exercises, like jogging, quite painful. DDR is no exception due to the jump steps. However, unlike jogging on a treadmill in the gym or outdoors, dancing in the privacy of one’s home has the benefit of making it possible to minimize the cause of the pain in a way that would be inappropriate to do in public. I remember going to the gym during the days before my period… ouch! In DDR, there’s an option to turn off the jump step but I haven’t tried it yet since I want to maximize the health benefits to the best of my abilities.

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.

Toys R Us: Buy two get one free game; Wii available 9/23/2007

I dropped by Toys R Us to see if they had a GameCube Wavebird I could buy (they didn’t). I did find that they had a sale on all video games: buy two get one free (of equal or lesser value). If there are at least two games you would have liked to buy, this is a really good deal. There were only two there that I wanted that didn’t already have, but the third one I wanted, Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party, wouldn’t be released until this Tuesday.

I asked the employee when the sale was over. He said that it was likely to be tomorrow, Sunday. He revealed that they had a shipment of Wii’s to sell Sunday so they would want to ensure the deal was available so that people could buy games once they got the console. Sounds like a good idea to me.

However, that didn’t help me as much since I already own a Wii and the third game I wanted wouldn’t be available until after the sale. I discussed the return/exchange policy with the employee. In the end, I decided to buy a third game that I would exchange for DDR once it is available. I would just have to pay the difference since DDR is more expensive than any of the available Wii games since it includes the dance pad.

In summary, if you want a great deal on games that you would have wanted to buy anyway, check out the buy 2 get 1 free deal. This is good for any platform, even portable ones. If you don’t have a Wii, check out Toys R Us on Sunday. Good luck and have fun!

Super Paper Mario is Fun and Funny

After my ups and downs and then up again with getting Super Paper Mario as a birthday gift to myself, I should provide an update after playing it for a few days.

SPM is one of the funnest video games that I have ever played. Its 2-D / 3-D mechanism is a refreshing change of pace. I’ve cracked up out loud when a blocked off item seemed impossible to get only to find out that in 3-D, the obstacles weren’t that game-ending. The dialog and story is as funny as others have described. There are lots of twists and turns and terribly difficult ordeals that turn out to be less difficult, either by luck or by using my brain.

The puzzles are rewarding to solve. They’re not as difficult (to me) as Legend of Zelda so that I can figure them out on my own, most of the time, and when I do, there is a nice sense of “cool, I figured it out on my own, plus props to the game designers for their creativity and cleverness.” Basically, the puzzles are challenging and engaging without being obnoxiously impossible.

The game doesn’t take itself too seriously, often poking fun at itself and characters. There is even teasing of the game-playing demographic. Any game that manages to put in a reference to DVRs gets full geek cred. :)

When I am stumped, there is a fortune teller who offers helpful hints perhaps most of the time. Sometimes she’ll give advice to do something that I already did. :P

I guess it’s a good thing that it’s too early for there to be complete guides for the game, so I feel less tempted to follow one as Zelda necessitated. However, when I needed help, Nintendo’s forums had posts that answered my questions on how to figure out something.

If I had to suggest an improvement, I would wish I could get more play time out of it. It seemed as if it took me longer to finish New Super Mario on the DS, but maybe it’s just that SPM is so compelling that I can play it for hours on end, and thus shortening the time period from start to finish.