Why Play DDR?
Everyone has a different motivation to play. Let's figure out yours!
All around the world, thousands of people play DanceDanceRevolution every day. Some are casual arcade-goers trying something new; others are returning players looking to improve their skills; others yet are seasoned veterans grinding for the highest scores. The fact of the matter is that every one of these people has a different reason for playing. No single source of motivation could possibly draw this many people to a single game. In this article, we'll look at the various reasons why people choose to play DanceDanceRevolution. Maybe one or two of them will resonate with you!
In a Nutshell
Besides being a fun videogame, DDR is a great source of exercise, has a banging soundtrack, offers near-endless opportunities for self-improvement, and comes with a devoted community of players who love to see new faces at the arcade. Give it a shot!
It should come as no surprise that a game where you move your legs constantly can be a good source of exercise. One of the best aspects of this source of motivation is that it applies to everyone, regardless of skill level. While it might seem like the return on investment would increase as you progress into the harder difficulties, much of that progression is driven by optimizing your form - conserving energy to hit more arrows without burning out. As a new player, you'll naturally burn more calories on each step at the start of your journey!
It should be noted that DDR isn't a replacement for a full exercise regimen. The closest comparison to traditional exercise routines would be high-intensity interval training, a form of cardio workout. Nonetheless, it's a great source of exercise with plenty of well-documented health benefits. DDR has been used in schools and fitness centers to promote exercise for children, and it's even helped one player with cardiovascular problems lose 125 pounds. DDR can be a great way to augment an existing fitness routine - or, if you don't have a routine outside of DDR (as is common among players), it's a vast improvement over doing nothing.
Turns out you can play videogames to have fun! Crazy, right?
Exactly what makes DDR fun to play is something that varies from player to player almost as much as the very sources of motivation we're already discussing. Maybe you enjoy listening to the energetic soundtrack, or the thrill of finally comboing that one song, or going head-to-head in Versus mode with your friends. Maybe it's the unlockable song events that appeal to you, or just the mental space of focusing on one very simple task for a few minutes, leaving all your worries behind for the moment.
The soundtrack in particular deserves more than a passing mention - the music of DDR is highly varied, spanning the classic high-speed dance sound that older DDR mixes were known for to modern bangers for the current era of the game. Get your daily exercise while listening to eccentric, memorable songs like SAKURA or Dazzlin' Darlin' or even MAX 300! There are 800 songs in the latest version of the game, so you're sure to find something you'll vibe with.
But a lot of players find it fun just to get better at the game over time.
The thrill of improving
Raising your scores, clearing harder songs, and comboing what once seemed impossible to combo are all valid sources of dopamine. Further, playing with the deliberate goal of getting better can grant your sessions structure and purpose - rather than aimlessly playing whatever sounds fun, try aiming for specific goals like clearing every song in a folder, working up to harder levels, or attaining full combos on your favorite songs! For more detailed advice along these lines, check out our article on deciding what to play.
Maybe you've watched videos of high-level players obtaining seemingly impossible scores on ridiculously hard charts. Though it may be hard to believe, you, too can reach this level of skill with enough determination! It takes years of practice and a will to consciously improve at the game, but these aren't traits that anyone is born with or without. All of the best players started from the same place as you; if you're able and willing to put in the work, you can join them at the top! This particular motivation requires a lot of investment up-front, but the payoff can exceed your wildest dreams if you follow through.
There's something magical about a videogame that requires you to get out of your home to play. While DDR has had home console releases in the past, right now most players are hitting their local arcades (Dave & Buster's and ROUND1) for the latest DDR mixes. This means that you'll be interacting with other regular players, and often playing alongside them (it's more time-efficient for two players to dance together than to take single-player turns). It's a great way to make friends who automatically have one interest in common - and often more!
Besides meeting your fellow arcade-goers, lots of players talk about DDR on social media. You can find players from all around the world, at every skill level, who are looking for people to chat with on Twitter, in Facebook groups, and elsewhere online. Come join the conversation, if you're interested! The DDR community is overwhelmingly supportive of new players, and posting your achievements online can be a good source of positive feedback from players all around you.
After you've honed your dance game skills for awhile, you might even gain interest in attending DDR tournaments. You don't need to be the best of the best to participate - many tournaments have lower divisions, and even in the absence of those, DDR tournaments are generally arranged to match evenly-skilled players at the start. Tournaments are where you'll get to meet the players you've talked with online, and maybe even make some more friends. Actually playing in the tournament is just a nice bonus perk for those who attend.
This article goes hand-in-hand with deciding what to play, which discusses possible motivations for playing specific songs.