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Ankle sprains, sweaty feet, rashes and game design.
March 19th 2002, 18:05 CET by Kayin

I never knew playing a video game could be so painful.

Ankle sprains, sweaty feet, rashes, eczem... not to mention the most dreaded of them all: pinched nerves. I can go to any local arcade and meet people who know how to treat all of the aforementioned foot diseases, without the aid of a doctor's consent. They wrap and suture any wound with the efficiency of a World War II medic, tapping their fingers to the drowning beat thundering in the background. They're not even playing the game anymore, and yet they still instinctively run through the motions, helpless, caught up in the game's hypnotic clutches. A video game that can do this to the human mind... is a video game worth studying indeed.

I speak of Konami's Dance Dance Revolution, known as simply DDR to its fans. For the uninformed, DDR is a game of musical memorization, of dancing and kinetic movement. It turns the idea of a passive physical relationship with a video game on its head.

Alternate methods of player control usually fall on their ass coming out of the gate (the Activator, ROB the Robot and various craptastic glove adaptors spring to mind) but DDR somehow got it right... by taking the directional pad of a controller and throwing it on the ground. The game itself is simple, as it should be. 4 brightly colored arrows lie on the floor like the face of a compass, pointing up, down, left and right. A deliciously (or hideous, depending on your tastes) euro-pop influenced tune will play from a nearby set of speakers, accompanied by a stream of alternating arrows on the screen in front of you. Much akin of singing karaoke, the player must step on the arrows along with the beat, tapping out the rhythm as lights blaze on in the background. Hitting the arrows on time results in combos and the sounds of a crowd cheering for your babies; missing them lowers your life bar, makes you look like a klutz and disgraces the honor of your family and your dog. Thus, what sounds like an simple concept becomes a challenge that shoots taller every time you try to climb it... it's no surprise to hear that DDR is one of Konami's most beloved franchises. It eats quarters like Cartman eats Cheezy Poofs, and it's a hell of a lot of fun to boot.

Over the last couple of months I've seen DDR machines spring up in not so common places. Bars, dance clubs, raves, hotel rooms, the TV set of The Other Half... even in people's homes. People who would normally never touch a home console, much less a video game, are easily drawn into playing a song or two. (One such excursion with a group of friends lasted until the butt crack of dawn, where I finally pulled the pad out from underneath their feet and left, sleepy-eyed and exhausted.)

Love it or hate it, what, dear readers, is so enticing about this game? The fact that aerobic exercise is involved, a feature that no other video game can claim in its bullet list? (sans that damn monkey) Or is it their method of implementing the design, using ear-catching music as a lure, much akin to PaRappa the Rapper?

Or, more importantly, the direction I want to shoot this topic: what are the dreamy control interfaces of the future?

Hopefully it's not this...
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Home » Topic: Ankle sprains, sweaty feet, rashes and game design.

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#1 by Greg
2002-03-19 18:08:29
First!

Greg

-Swallow it all and be glad, for a shilling I've paid and a shilling's worth I'll be having!
#2 by Greg
2002-03-19 18:10:04
Actually, I've never played DDR. Everytime I've seen someone playing it, the people playing it look like they should be at a club. So I figure they are just killing time till the clubs open.

Greg

-Swallow it all and be glad, for a shilling I've paid and a shilling's worth I'll be having!
#3 by bluehorde
2002-03-19 18:14:12
scrappymag.com
For me there is only one control dream worth dreaming. . . games that can be completely voice controlled.

"Time to Switch over to the Red Mission Giver, who's standing across from the Rocket Burger Safe House."
#4 by jafd
2002-03-19 18:18:13
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
Let's see... there's a lot of bouncing up and down involved, and girls play it.

Don't laugh- you're next.
#5 by Martin
2002-03-19 18:20:38
http://www.mocol.nu
#4: Preferably well endowed girls.

-- Martin
"Burger me!"
#6 by Matthew Gallant
2002-03-19 18:26:30
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Everybody likes DDR because they heard that Cliffy B. likes it.

Marketing is a crutch for mediocrity and a handicap to excellence.
#7 by m0nty
2002-03-19 18:35:58
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
At my local gaming emporiums, the DDR machines and their ilk are almost exclusively patronised by Asian kiddies. NTTAWWT. I have observed this phenomenon over many years of patient study. Mind you, Australian gaming parlours, especially those in the city areas which I visit, are well known for also being dens of iniquity of the drug trafficking kind. Many a young 'un has been bemused by someone coming up to them in a gaming parlour and asking them "Are you Jason?", which is local pusher code (substitute "chasing" and it makes sense).

Personally, I only go to the places to indulge my long-standing pinball obsession. My Top 5 things to do when I win a million dollars:

1. Get me some of that new-fangled laser eye surgery, so I never have to squint again!
2. Get a fixed-line connector interfaced to my spinal cord, Existenz-style
3. Pay for plane ticket to Holland to kick Ashiran's arse
4. Pay for plane ticket to America to enjoy the privilege of having my arse kicked by Chella after I stalk her for a couple of months
5. Return to Australia and buy and renovate a selection of fondly remembered pinball tables, including Twilight Zone, ST:TNG and Judge Dredd ("One year for flatulence!").
#8 by m0nty
2002-03-19 18:36:19
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
erm... what were we talking about again?
#9 by Funkdrunk
2002-03-19 18:37:45
jflavius@bellatlantic.net
m0nty

Pay for plane ticket to America to enjoy the privilege of having my arse kicked by Chella after I stalk her for a couple of months


Dude, I think you have a problem........


Funk.
#10 by Bailey
2002-03-19 18:42:49
Why is it the only really serious DDR enthusiasts, those who form dance teams and whatnot, are pimply teenagers who sweat an awful lot? Ah, that's right. Because all the "beautiful people" would rather go to a real club. VirtuaSocialLife, feh.

As for controllers, that Claw thing that someone linked a few months back looked promising, what ever happened to that?

I have transferred all my self-loathing onto you.
#11 by Jadawin
2002-03-19 18:43:24
jadawin@wildmail.com
Hey m0nty, do you remember Black Knight 2000? I loved that pinball game...
#12 by Foodbunny
2002-03-19 18:50:18
foodbunny@attbi.com http://www.foodbunny.com
I want to play DDR, but I'm always afraid that if I get on the machine I'll have a blood sugar crash and pass out.  The closest arcade to my house also has a Para Para Paradise machine, but just waving your hands around in the air seems pretty silly.

"Our busts get bigger and bigger because they're bursting with great expectations for the future!  The he`t`nd p`rrhnn vd hnid in our chests is called life!"
#13 by crash
2002-03-19 18:50:49
dream controller: cranial jack. hands-free. put it in my skull behind my ear, gimme a dust-cover for when i'm not using it, and bang--speed-of-thought control. no feedback necessary or desired, pls kthx.

- if you can laugh at it, you can live with it.
- "Hey, how 'bout this: fuck you." -LPMiller
#14 by Neo-Reaper
2002-03-19 18:53:36
neoreaper@excite.com http://octobermoon.homeip.net
You know, I have yet to see one of these machines. They look amusing. None of the arcades around here are carrying them... but then again, maybe our asian population isn't large enough for it to be worth it, anyway.

My favourite pinball machine is most definitely Lethal Weapon 3.  Don't really know why, other than you can choose your music at the beginning...

Why is it the only really serious DDR enthusiasts, those who form dance teams and whatnot, are pimply teenagers who sweat an awful lot?

Isn't that the case with just about anyone who "gets serious" about something game-related?

"Dream of me... and maybe, just maybe, this nightmare will end."
#15 by Foodbunny
2002-03-19 19:06:18
foodbunny@attbi.com http://www.foodbunny.com
Meh, I don't notice that many more asians playing DDR than any other group of people.  I see lots of preteen girls, and lots of older teen guys.  All races.

"Our busts get bigger and bigger because they're bursting with great expectations for the future!  The he`t`nd p`rrhnn vd hnid in our chests is called life!"
#16 by Duality
2002-03-19 19:07:18
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
I think there's a DDR machine for sale at JP Gifts in the Mitsuwa japanese marketplace in Arlington Hights, IL.  Its been sitting there for a good 2 years, now.  Its actually almost become a fixture -- going to Mitsuwa and hearing the DDR machine's same demo audio tracks playing over and over and over and over.  I feel for the people who actually go there more than once a month.

What's funny are the DDR tournaments at anime conventions.  You've got the people who don't dance and don't play that look like they're hopping around like retards on a crack high, or they're the DDR freaks that go nuts about it.  To the point that they actually pride themselves on being the best at DDR.

Either way, you're making fun of somebody -- and that's all that matters!

uNF!
#17 by Ergo
2002-03-19 19:16:05
Unfortunately, I'll probably never be able to play one of these games. From what I understand, if you're over 200 pounds, you're shit out of luck. The same goes for the home version.
#18 by Charles
2002-03-19 19:22:54
www.bluh.org
Hey cool, maybe I'll go play a bunch, and trash as many machines as I can.

#19 by Bailey
2002-03-19 20:00:29
Neo-Reaper

Isn't that the case with just about anyone who "gets serious" about something game-related?

Nah, there's facial cleansers for guys, and you don't sweat much if you never move.

Nova Z

Hey cool, maybe I'll go play a bunch, and trash as many machines as I can.

Bulk Smash!

I have transferred all my self-loathing onto you.
#20 by Marsh Davies
2002-03-19 20:25:19
www.verbalchilli.com
Okay. Self indulgent hijack:

Aaaaaaaaaaarg! There is too much choice in MP3 players. Amazon, as linked, has the lowest prices I could find, but it rates nearly every player with four stars or more!

Help!

Which should I get? Please note that I am skint, and I am not willing to steal, murder, or sell body parts in order to acquire one of these things.

-- ex Spatula Man --
#21 by jafd
2002-03-19 20:34:58
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
I see lots of preteen girls, and lots of older teen guys.  All races.

Imagine that. /rolls eyes

On the bright side, at least these gals are getting some exercise. Which is more than I can say, after funnelling tens of pounds of quarters into the DDR of my day, Gauntlet. "Elf, missed the beat! Elf, needs rhythm, badly!"

Don't laugh- you're next.
#22 by chris
2002-03-19 20:39:08
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
At any arcade out here in SoCal, you'll have about a 75% asian group using any DDR machine. And if you only pick the players who are actually good at it, they're nearly 100% asian. It's interesting. Of course, the whole asian culture out here is interesting (very different from the east coast).

I dunno what the appeal is, personally, other than maybe it's a way for people who want to dance, but feel embarassed dancing, to go ahead and dance, because there's a "point" to it.

Personally, between the lousy music, and my general distaste for both dancing and pattern-matching puzzle games, it doesn't hold a whole hell of a lot of interest for me.

-chris
#23 by chris
2002-03-19 20:39:34
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
At any arcade out here in SoCal, you'll have about a 75% asian group using any DDR machine. And if you only pick the players who are actually good at it, they're nearly 100% asian. It's interesting. Of course, the whole asian culture out here is interesting (very different from the east coast).

I dunno what the appeal is, personally, other than maybe it's a way for people who want to dance, but feel embarassed dancing, to go ahead and dance, because there's a "point" to it.

Personally, between the lousy music, and my general distaste for both dancing and pattern-matching puzzle games, it doesn't hold a whole hell of a lot of interest for me.

-chris
#24 by chris
2002-03-19 20:40:48
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
what the hell? I only pressed "post" once. I swear.

-chris
#25 by The_Joker
2002-03-19 20:50:44
http://www.jackinworld.com
#9 by Funkdrunk:

A problem? m0nty has many problems, just look at his picture.

Joker, Ph.D. Procedural Assholian Behaviour, Pedophilosopher
- All your ass are belong to my wang Jafd. Prepare to are penetration.
#26 by Duality
2002-03-19 20:50:55
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
It wasn't you, no really.  Its the system.  We've been having problems all day.

Martin formerly known as Spatula:
I do so love my Rio600 MP3 player.  I picked it up for $100 plus an additional 16MB pack (with rechargeable battery).  I probably made a mistake by only getting 32MB, as that can't even fit a whole CD of decent quality.  I like it over the CD player or the hard drive jukebox types, because after so many years of CD players, I'm sick of moving parts.  The CD players, I don't like skipping.  Even with the skip protection older CD players had, I still had problems w/ them.  Yeah even if they do have a 5-8mb buffer or whatever, I still don't trust it.  And as for the HD ones.  Well damn, I know the inner workings of a hard drive, I don't even want to imagine what would happen if I were carrying around.  I would think one good shake would damage a head or scratch the platter good.

Even though I could store my entire MP3 collection on one ...

Maybe others who've used the others can dispel my fears?

uNF!
#27 by zakk
2002-03-19 21:02:05
zakk@timedoctor.org
Crap Crap Revolution!

-zakk
#28 by Funkdrunk
2002-03-19 21:02:41
jflavius@bellatlantic.net
Martin

  I have a Nomad Jukebox, which I've modded to 20gb.  I love this thing, except for 1 flaw.  The batteries.  I'm getting 4-6 hours from a charge, which I feel is too short.  To that end, Creative includes 2 sets of batteries, but no external charger - which adds to the problem.  To charge my spare set, it requires the jukebox.

 But I use it regularly, and I wouldn't recommend buying something without a hard drive.  I've dropped my unit a few times, and although I don't think it's a good idea to try this on your own, it's still working with no issues.

Funk.
#29 by zakk
2002-03-19 21:06:37
zakk@timedoctor.org
"Elf, missed the beat! Elf, needs rhythm, badly!"

Somebody should make an mp3 of that.

-zakk
#30 by Gunp01nt
2002-03-19 21:08:08
supersimon33@hotmail.com
MP3 players: those new IRivers are neato-de-peato! they're basically regular discmans (sleekest slenderest design ever though and they're very compact) but they can read Audio AND data cd's, and can handle MP3 and WMA. and they also handle CD-RW!

so you can play 90min CD-R's full of MP3 on it! about 15 hours on a battery pair (rechargeable) and a cool lit-up screen on the device itself and on the remote.

friend of mine has one, it really rocks! the price is the only downside.

www.iriver.com IIRC

"I'm not sleeping with a junior high-schooler, I have a life sized doll that looks just like one."
#31 by m0nty
2002-03-19 21:12:12
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
The_Joker (#25):
A problem? m0nty has many problems, just look at his picture.

This from a man who draws a dreadlock goatee on his pic?
#32 by Bezzy
2002-03-20 04:36:41
painberry@hotmail.com http://www.antifactory.org
If you like Final Fantasy games, I do not want you to like my comic strip anymore

Sick and tired and not impressed with shoehorning art into a profitable industry.
#33 by Sgt Hulka
2002-03-20 04:40:10
I don't go to arcades.  Haven't really been in one since about 1985 or so.  I stepped into one in like 1997 and it was all house of the dead, and the simulator craze was hitting hard.  Ski simulators to the left of me, Nascar simulators to the right, in front of me was a jet ski simulate, and right behind me, a fishing simulator.  I couldn't believe it.  Some dude was paying 3.50 a pop to simulate catching a fish.  

I was thinking, why doesn't he just go fucking fishing? Insane.

Haven't been back since.  Thanks heave for little consoles!

m0nty aka red beard said

3. Pay for plane ticket to Holland to kick Ashiran's arse


I'm afraid you'll have to get in line.

.....When you sneeze, all the numbers in your head go up by one.
#34 by Greg
2002-03-20 04:40:15
Bezzy, you need your own topic where you can keep putting in links to your comics.

Greg

-Swallow it all and be glad, for a shilling I've paid and a shilling's worth I'll be having!
#35 by Sgt Hulka
2002-03-20 04:42:00
I meant to say, thank heaven for consoles.. My brain and my fingers do not want to cooperate this evening, and I'm not posting drunk!

BTW: That's a great title for a story, "Posting Drunk"

.....When you sneeze, all the numbers in your head go up by one.
#36 by Kayin
2002-03-20 05:00:22
evilshinji@tokyo-3.com http://www.livejournal.com/users/doubleyoumouf
I got my crappy, unused digipen research paper on PC! hoorj amateur journalism!

Anyway, does anyone remember the hologram game that was in the arcades a few years back? I never caught the name, mainly in fact I was too busy staring at chicks... but you put your hand into the hologram, and "touched" things to move / use items. Man, did that ever suck...

Bezzy: your comics are delievered by god.

and as for staying on topic: not all DDR'ers are pimply, sweaty teens (like myself? crack) I've actually seen a couple moderate looking adults / older folk try it out. Granted, this is Gameworks, and most likely they've had a couple of beers and aren't quite in their right minds, but still...

i recall someone mentioning a control scheme where you "cast" spells by moving the mouse in an ideograph or symbol, like motioning a dreamcast-like swirl for cure level 2, etc. i think something like that, getting the factor of human precision and error involved, would be a lot more fun than *click* magic *click* water *click* cure. *animation.mdl* *cure.wav* hoorj *zzzzzz* but is it possible / feasible?

i like mudpuddles.
#37 by Post-It
2002-03-20 05:00:26
keithlee@speakeasy.net
Just as a follow up to the recent narrative thread, Mark Stephen Meadows new book, Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative goes on sale the 29th. Check out the websites for some excerpts from the book.
#38 by Bezzy
2002-03-20 05:10:00
painberry@hotmail.com http://www.antifactory.org
Greg:

Bezzy, you need your own topic where you can keep putting in links to your comics.

Well.. the subject matter might bring up some conversation. I might do that. Then again, it's Easter Holidays soon, and I might set up a dedicated site and keep doing them when I get the urge.

And sorry for continually putting them in random threads, but I doubt any other place understands them as well as your average PCrapper.

Kayin:
Bezzy: your comics are delievered by god.

Nope. Sorry. God hates onanists. (Thanks though).

Sick and tired and not impressed with shoehorning art into a profitable industry.
#39 by Foodbunny
2002-03-20 05:10:28
foodbunny@attbi.com http://www.foodbunny.com
Kayin, I think you mean Black and White.  Most of the symbols were pretty easy to pull off, but it was more frantic when you really, really needed them.

"Our busts get bigger and bigger because they're bursting with great expectations for the future!  The he`t`nd p`rrhnn vd hnid in our chests is called life!"
#40 by Bezzy
2002-03-20 05:15:18
painberry@hotmail.com http://www.antifactory.org
Mechanics wise, DDR = Dragon's Lair, except missing an instance does not kill you dead. DEAD.

It's realtime simon with a point system. It may be nothing new, but as far as a gameplay experience goes, it's a lot more involving than pressing X repeatedly to get rid of the random monsters (*coughagain*).I don't have a problem with it, but I don't want to play it.

Sick and tired and not impressed with shoehorning art into a profitable industry.
#41 by Bezzy
2002-03-20 05:20:06
painberry@hotmail.com http://www.antifactory.org
I know a lot of people who fell foul of Black & White's spell casting system. Don't let me sound patronizing, but they couldn't handle the skill factor... they just couldn't get the shapes right. That became factorable as part of the skillset.
I really liked it, though, even though there was a bit to much of a selfrighteous insistance on a "no buttons interface" when occasionally it would have been far faster than going through the two tier spell casting (there didn't need to be so many spells).
Hell, I started casting "food" in the supermarket without thinking after one 10 hour stint, so it HAS to be intuitive.

Sick and tired and not impressed with shoehorning art into a profitable industry.
#42 by chris
2002-03-20 05:33:36
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
I could get the shapes right, I just thought that the spell system was a complete piece of dog-ass that should never have been put into the game.

-chris
#43 by None-1a
2002-03-20 05:35:45
I know a lot of people who fell foul of Black & White's spell casting system. Don't let me sound patronizing, but they couldn't handle the skill factor... they just couldn't get the shapes right. That became factorable as part of the skillset.


It could have used a bit wider margin of error with the shapes. There where quite a few times when I got the shape 'right' but the mouse chord got hung on some thing or the ball was a bit to dirty making the spell fail just because of that smallish missmatch.
#44 by Matthew Gallant
2002-03-20 05:50:13
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Japa-nese power!

Marketing is a crutch for mediocrity and a handicap to excellence.
#45 by jjohnsen
2002-03-20 06:02:39
http://www.johnsenclan.com
#20
I have got my wife a cheap creative Nomad II, because it can record lectures in her class.  One 64 mb card hold a coupl of hours and it came with a charger/synch.  The sound is good, as long as you don't use the free headphones that came with it.  It's a little iffy with XP but besides that, no problems.

#46 by crash
2002-03-20 06:03:29
resident evil, the movie, has few redeeming qualities--one of which, of course, is milla. with that said, i don't feel like i wasted two hours of my life or five bucks of my money. nice, cheesy, b-movie schlock-horror entertainment.

but how do dogs that don't breathe, growl? puzzling.

what struck me on the way home, causing me to laugh enough to nearly clip the car next to me, is this is most likely how joe mainstream evaluates computer games.

epiphany? naah. just kinda ironic, i guess. or something.

- if you can laugh at it, you can live with it.
- "Hey, how 'bout this: fuck you." -LPMiller
#47 by Gabe
2002-03-20 06:09:14
http://www.dartpublishing.com
RE made me feel like I wasted my donkey bandwidth.
#48 by jafd
2002-03-20 06:09:47
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
*click* magic *click* water *click* cure. *animation.mdl* *cure.wav* hoorj *zzzzzz*

Blasphemer.

Although FWIW, I agree. 3 years ago, however, that was all the rage...

I didn't have much trouble drawing the shapes in Black & White. Well, I did at first, but you know what? Repetition is the mother of skill.

Don't laugh- you're next.
#49 by Sgt Hulka
2002-03-20 06:16:10
I liked RE.  It was a good popcorn movie.  Had a few good scares, some creepy gore, but not enough humor for my tastes. In fact, I'd say it's the best video game to movie EVAR! I liked it better than Mortal Kombat. It's not fantastic, but it's quite good and full of some good scares, and nasty gore.

That laser scene was something else! It had shades of Dawn of the Dead and Aliens, but it stands on it's own two feet.  I never really cared about any of the characters, well, I did care for one zombie chick. She was kinda cute, but she dies.

Other than than, good date movie.. That is if you like scaring the living hell out of your date.

BTW: JasonX is coming to theaters soon.  Jason is mean.  Even in space.

.....When you sneeze, all the numbers in your head go up by one.
#50 by chris
2002-03-20 06:30:53
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
The production notes on that site are bad. Really bad. Like, terrible. Some of the most poorly written PR I've ever seen.

Coourse, I probably shouldn't expect much from "Jason in Space" :P

-chris
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