Dead Dead Revolution
Today’s workout was 30 minutes of DDR Ultramix 3 on Xbox – not the shiny new 360, but the original black brick that the game world considers pretty much “dead.” I have all four DDRs that were released exclusively for Xbox, the Ultramix series 1 through 4. By the time Ultramix 4 came out in 2006, the Xbox had already been replaced by the 360 and it was not upwardly compatible, so it was barely noticed even by DDR fans.
That’s a shame, because I enjoy the Ultramix series, even more than the one Wii DDR I bought (the first Hottest Party). They include a lot of the familiar DDR songs from the other arcade and console versions, but there are also quite a few good songs that aren’t found on any other DDR release, at least in the US. Ultramix 2 has slick graphics and licenses like “Rubberneckin'” by Elvis and “Brick House” by the Commodores, and a random-endless workout mode where random songs play on your selected difficulty till you say uncle or hit your calorie goal. (All the Xbox DDR games have calorie counters based on your steps and bodyweight, and they closely match my heart rate monitor’s calorie counter.)
Ultramix 3, which I played today, features Devo’s “Whip It”, They Might Be Giants’ “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” and B52s’ “Rock Lobster”, all with the original videos in the background, plus Ray Charles’ “What I Say” (kind of an odd but interesting DDR choice) and songs by The Clash and Good Charlotte. Ultramix 4, the forgotten stepchild, has a neat “triples” feature using 3 pads (UM2 and 3 have quad modes but no way can I fit 4 pads across my room!) and extended-play mixes that test one’s cardio endurance, plus fun licenses like Don’t Cha and Get Up and Rock This Town.
Another cute feature of the Xbox itself is its built-in calendar and clock. If you play in the wee hours, the announcers might gently chide you for not being in bed! I like to play Xbox DDR on holidays just to hear holiday greetings for Christmas, Thanksgiving or even April Fool’s Day.
You can pick up a used Xbox cheap off Craigslist or other second-hand sources, and I’ve seen used Ultramix games at game stores. For a dance mat, you may have to buy a Playstation 2 mat plus an adapter for the Xbox. RedOctane’s Ignition pad comes with a multi-plug that plugs into the Xbox.
The Xbox DDR series may be commercially dead, but I’m hoping my Xbox will remain alive for a long time so I can keep on mashing those neon green and red arrows.