Arcades in 80s through the mid-90s were the place to be for those who loved video games or considered themselves gamers. While in the United States, arcades would eventually be phased at in the mid-2000s with only a few existing in bowling alleys, laundromats and places like Dave & Busters, arcades in Japan would still continue even today and not ever seem to die down. While crane games, pachinko machines and fighting game cabinets like Virtua Fighter and Tekken would keep Japanese arcades busy near the beginning of the turn of the century, there was a game released that would change the video game world forever. A giant machine with metal bases that had several colorful button inputs appeared in arcades in Japan and even in the United States and these strange machines would begin to attract dancers and those who considered themselves rhythmic junkies. The title of this super popular game that would revolutionize the gaming landscape was called Dance Dance Revolution and it came from the famous gaming company Konami.
Today we here at Honey’s Anime have a simple goal to meet for you readers out there in the world. We wish to share the history of one of the most historic gaming franchises and equally show how it shaped a new wave of gaming phenomena in the video game world. We will take about what caused this arcade cabinet to become something video game players would spend hundreds of hours perfecting, why they did this and talk about how clones of Dance Dance Revolution would begin to pop up in a variety of forms. We will also discuss how Dance Dance Revolution, even today, is still seen in the gaming scene despite the lesser popularity it has now versus a decade or so ago. Now journey alongside us here at Honey’s Anime as we delve into a game no one should ever forget in our article titled The History of Dance Dance Revolution.
What Sparked the popularity?
Dance Dance Revolution was one of those games that when we first saw it—mind you, this is going off on our memories from the past—it intrigued us like many other gamers out there. This giant steel arcade cabinet with flashing lights, big speakers and colorful dance pad with buttons representing directions was just something you couldn’t help but see when you walked into an arcade. Then once people began to learn Dance Dance Revolution and began to master its insane speed levels—seriously go on YouTube and look up some players of Dance Dance Revolution—it became a place for everyone to gather and watch as a new player stepped up to play.
While Dance Dance Revolution thrived in the arcade scene—in America, it would take a few years to get to this point from the 1998 conception—like any game the popularity expanded thanks to home release. Dance Dance Revolution could actually be played at home and for many, that was a great thing. While some dancers/gamers had no qualms about going up alone to play only to then have an audience of ten to twenty people gather while he/she plays, not everyone is so happy to begin to shine in public. For many gamers, Dance Dance Revolution was a game you wanted to play alone or with a close friend in the comfort of your own home. Now we won’t say it was the perfect way to play—those regular dance pads in comparison to the metal ones were terrible—it still showed that Dance Dance Revolution could be popular outside of arcades. Several hundred videos of people mastering songs on extreme settings proved that and would also prove that it didn’t take much for Dance Dance Revolution to become a popular title.
Why was Dance Dance Revolution so enjoyable?
Dance Dance Revolution is one of those games that—for some—you have to wonder what makes it so enjoyable? Is it the fact that it plays popular songs or is the gameplay factor? This is where opinion comes into focus as many gamers would describe Dance Dance Revolution’s enjoyment in many ways. Some gamers love to push their bodies to the limits as they try to go for perfect combos and avoid missing a single note. Equally, there are also gamers that just love the feeling of putting down the controller or using the traditional arcade stick with buttons in lieu of a dance pad that has your feet being the main way of input. Regardless of the specific reasons, Dance Dance Revolution is a blast to play because it’s a rhythm game that tests you in a more physical way then just your hand to eye coordination. Dance Dance Revolution takes skill to play and only those who are willing to learn and practice will truly understand this. Speaking of which, did we also mention that could be another means of entertainment for some who love Dance Dance Revolution, competition?
That’s right folks, Dance Dance Revolution is actually a pretty competitive title whether you’re at the local arcade or at home with a buddy/family member. There are still tournaments held today for Dance Dance Revolution worldwide with gamers gathering to prove their mettle and skills to others in a competitive environment. At homes across the world, it also isn’t uncommon to have a brother or sister challenge you saying their skills surpass your own! Dance Dance Revolution is fun because it has so many ways of playing whether its self-competition to prove you’re getting better by beating your own times or going against others. Heck, some gamers even like Dance Dance Revolution because it’s a form of exercise and that is fun for people…right?
Dance Dance Revolutions clones and influences
Now like any popular gaming franchise, you can tell the success of a title in the competition it receives. Gaming companies aren’t stupid, folks. When they see a game title release and see the success it brings to the developer of said game, the competition begins to either make some similar games that will be even better or just clone it. Dance Dance Revolution has a ton—and we mean a ton—of clones out there with some being on PCs and others being on consoles. Probably one of the best clones of Dance Dance Revolution would come in the form of Stepmania which could be played at home for free with songs being uploaded by fans. It’s just one example of Dance Dance Revolution’s clones out there but then there are also the influences that Dance Dance Revolution had that truly changed the gaming scene.
Ever heard of a popular gaming series called Just Dance? What about Hatsune Miku’s Project Diva franchise? If you look very closely, folks, you can see these were games that took direct inspiration from Dance Dance Revolution as they utilize the same gameplay mechanics albeit with unique ideas. In the case of Just Dance, players could use cameras or controllers—depending on the console they played it on—to mirror a dance on screen for maximum points. Meanwhile, Hatsune Miku Project Diva games have players using controllers to input flying symbols at just the right time with difficulty settings adding more notes at a faster velocity.
These games and their companies might not outright claim they copied or were influenced by Dance Dance Revolution but to the trained eye there is no doubt they were. Dance Dance Revolution inspired competition in the gaming landscape and this is something seen with games like Call of Duty, Halo and so many more. In many ways, even games like Rockband and Guitar Hero echoed the style of Dance Dance Revolution with players using alternative controllers—in the case with the two mentioned guitar controllers—to score points and get massive chain combos. Dance Dance Revolution will always be the dancing game to end all dancing games but its greatness inspired generations of competition that gamers should respect the next time they play a rhythm game with combos and scorestreaks.
The End of Dance Dance Revolution?
Like all good things and all video game franchises, there is a time where the series loses the same popularity or love it had when it first released. Dance Dance Revolution however hasn’t completely been fazed out yet folks! Surprisingly, despite arcades in America being relatively less popular—or as we mentioned not even existing—Dance Dance Revolution still thrives in the Japanese landscape and some arcades scattered about. Now you may be wondering how do we know that Dance Dance Revolution is still alive and kicking despite being nearly 2 decades old. Well, we know this because two years ago—meaning in 2016—we saw a Dance Dance Revolution game release but we have seen this behemoth dancing arcade cabinet in various locations throughout our travels.
Dance Dance Revolution A—still from developer and publisher Konami—released in Japan in March 2016 while the US would see it less then 4 months later and various other countries within a span of a year. With 98 new songs and numerous songs from the past returning—meaning Dance Dance Revolution A has quite a bit of playable tracks now—Dance Dance Revolution A returned fans to the same great game they loved but with some modern tunes to boot. With this newest alliteration, you might think there might be a slew of changes to the gameplay mechanics but very little has changed aside from cosmetic looks and slight alterations in how players choose their song to dance to. That goes to show you Konami is still well aware that Dance Dance Revolution needs to remain the same for people to continue showing their love for this amazing rhythm game. Which makes sense if you really think about it. Why change what isn’t broken?
Now will Dance Dance Revolution A be the final release? That we aren’t too sure of here at Honey’s Anime. Dance Dance Revolution might be extremely popular but franchises are always destined to eventually lose steam and have to either die out someday or change things up. However, we equally know that even if Dance Dance Revolution A is the final release that won’t stop people from still loving the franchise. When we went to Anime NYC in 2017, there were arcade machines for Dance Dance Revolution A and we saw lines to play them. Goes to show you Dance Dance Revolution is a series that won’t be dying out anytime soon regardless of when a new entry releases or if one never does at all.
Dance Dance Revolution has definitely been one of those games that just seems to continue thriving regardless of the world its in. Konami’s rhythm series has led to the birth of competition with other games trying to mirror Dance Dance Revolution in some fashion whether it be dance pads the player uses or various other apparatus. Though that is what shows the greatness of Dance Dance Revolution. Not only do companies recognize what it did correctly but they wish to also challenge it with their own concepts and video game designs. Dance Dance Revolution will continue to be loved for some time in the future and we don’t need to be psychics to tell that. What about you guys and girls out there in the world? Do you have any fond memories of playing Dance Dance Revolution or any stories to share? Comment down below to share and for even more entertaining articles like this one, keep stuck to our hive here at Honey’s Anime.