What a passing fad DDR was when it came to the States. Like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, it forced many a parent to sink money into plastic peripherals that would later be sold at tag sales five years later. There are still plenty of folks who play it in the US; however they are definitely a smaller crowd compared to console gamers or mobile phone players.
On the contrary, the game hasn’t exactly died out in Japan. They are still in arcades all over the country, a place where arcades themselves are still highly relevant. The Japanese go to arcades, among other reasons, because the games offer experiences that can’t be replicated simply on home consoles. DDR machines are an example of this.
Arcades are also pretty darn popular in China, which often are stocked with rhythm games and DDR knockoffs. The arcades are usually located on a random floor of a mall, rather than being a standalone building. You’ll always know where they are located because the rhythm games’ speakers will assault your eardrums.
One day I was walking by a mall and just couldn’t help myself. Usually I’m turned off by malls, but this one had an arcade; we all know how I feel about arcades. So I wander inside and could only focus on the overwhelming musk that could only be described as “never-ending nerd sweat.” It was bad, and no one seemed to notice.
What everyone did seem to notice however was a pair of girls playing a Dance Dance Revolution knockoff, mainly because they were f***ing incredible at it. They didn’t miss a note, and they did it with an absolute swagger I could only dream of matching. The finished every song with a “Perfect Combo.” There was a small audience, which seemed like an odd way to spend a Saturday night until I realized that I too was a watching them play DDR-style games.
The next day I was walking in the mall attached to my own Wanda apartment and noticed there was a third floor arcade. The DDR machine was obviously outside to attract customers, and I noticed another fellow suavely busting some groove. Odds this will catch on in the US? Slim….
I love arcades. Let me know if you think we need more in the West!
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