There’s going to be location test for DDR at Puente Hills Mall tomorrow, held for two weeks. This is a big deal. A big, big deal. Konami has not considered the United States worthy of their game for many, many years. I mean, look at their own website.
Even if I love it, I’m not sure how well it will do
I’m excited but worried. Even ignoring all Konami-is-evil controversy, the game is very unlikely to capture the nostalgia that it so desperately needs to grab for it to do well in the United States. Many of the licenses for older favorites does not exist anymore and the game’s primary composer left Konami to work with Capcom. I can get excited about the game because I follow it religiously, but I understand the soul of the person who wonders why they can’t just push the easy button and bring back the mid 2000s.
The reality is that it’s not that simple. Rhythm games specifically deal with a lot of licensing. It would appear that it is actually necessary to have a dedicated legal team on board just to manage the paperwork, and even then many songs are simply inaccessible. You know So Deep (Perfect Sphere Mix) from DDR MAX? You can’t even license that song. Trust me, ReRave tried and it’s just not there. I only mention this because I absolutely know that this will be a criticism of the game. DDR is more than just arrows. It’s a lot about memories, but those memories are basically gone and trapped behind weird copyright mazes.
Community – Bars and Stuff
The US community was fragmented. It’s not because we’re all jerks, but I think the game itself lends itself to less than perfect interactions. For example, the game is beat mostly by effort and self-introspection. You can’t share that much strategy before hitting the “Just play more” wall. A lot of that strategy is really just muscle memory.
Even when conversing at a casual level, there’s potential for negative vibes. After a good player climbs off the machine. Usually he’s stand-offish, disappointed or just not that talkative. It might seem rude! The fact is that most people don’t talk when tired or upset and DDR brings a little of both, but the impression sticks around.
On the other hand, you have players who feel like it is mandatory to play a specific way in order to earn respect. This is oftentimes coming from players who couldn’t get the same score even if they employed the same strategies. Yes, the bar. The elephant in the room that only exists in the United States. It doesn’t exist in Japan because the community understands that technical play comes with the bar and that no-bar is the exception to the rule.
Right at this very moment, the current US community does not have this problem because we’re so tiny and, but it will inevitably rear its ugly head if this game comes back. Instead of fighting it like we used to by simply putting another person on the casual do-not-talk-to list, I think the only true way to community happiness is just being patient. The evidence of good form equals progress over time, but when a person challenges another person to a right-or-wrong contest, the stubbornness helps people ignore the benefits to playing for the long term.
But this is my(our) chance
I want to step out and say that I want to be a part of the dance game community. I’m going to dedicate some of my life to bettering it. I’ve helped people feel good about themselves and I’ve helped people feel like crap. So today, this blog is going to move less towards me just ignoring it and thinking about video games and more towards discussing dance games. Hopefully with the location test, we get a chance at recreating the golden age of DDR. But more than that, I hope we have the golden age of rhythm games and the return of arcades as we know it.