Get outside and play…DDR
A popular stereotype of gamers is that they’re antisocial creatures who never emerge from the basement. But video games began as a face-to-face social activity – those of us between about 35-60 remember well when arcades full of coin-op machines were the social hubs of America’s youth, much like the drive-ins of “American Graffiti”.
Most of the arcades have gone the way of drive-ins, but a few are still hanging on, and DDR is one of the things keeping them in business. A lot of “serious” DDR players practice at home, but consider the hulking DDR arcade machines with their metal-slab pads to be the only venue where their skills really count. (In case you’re wondering, the steps for the songs are the same on both home games and machines.) They hold tournaments on them and have casual meetups with their pals around the machine, and even help to clean and maintain the pads. Customer-savvy arcade owners respond by setting up fans, letting players bring drinks as long as they don’t make a mess, and keeping the volume turned up.
I do most of my playing at home, but sometimes I treat myself to a few arcade games. It’s easier to play doubles on a machine, with no shifting and separating of pads. And for some reason, I feel like I burn more calories on a machine; at least my perceived exertion is higher.
Machines can be a little hard to figure out since a lot of them are in Japanese. And you only get about a minute to pick a song, so don’t hem and haw too long. (Here’s a hint: on the song wheel screen, press both arrow buttons at the same time to rearrange the songs into alphabetical order.)
The longtime DDR fan site DDR Freak has a list of machine locations that’s kept pretty much up to date. So if you’re out shopping and have a pocketful of loose change, go burn it up on a mini-workout!