Konami Hosts ‘DanceDanceRevolution’ Event

[dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]ne of the mainstays of the video game world is the DanceDanceRevolution franchise by Konami. It seems like no arcade is complete without a DDR stand, bumping club anthems, and decked out in its telltale fluorescent neon colors. Without fail someone will be playing the game – either a newbie who has no rhythm, or a seasoned veteran who has probably also drawn a crowd. Watching either spectacle, one has to know that the DanceDanceRevolution property is supremely popular.

Konami is bringing the DanceDanceRevolution experience to the PlayStation 3 this holiday season, but with a couple of new twists. This PS3 version of DDR will take full advantage of the PlayStation Move as well as the PlayStation EYE. To celebrate this exciting new addition to Konami’s lineup an exclusive DanceDanceRevolution Community Event was held at the Royal-T Café in Culver City, Calif. Konami invited Working Author to check out the game on the PlayStation 3 as well as other dance titles coming to other consoles.

In the main hall a classic DanceDanceRevolution arcade stand greeted guests and turned out to be one of the bigger draws for the evening as fans were eager to strut their stuff and compete. In standard gamer decorum everyone agreed to some kind of archaic elimination and card system to designate who had “next”. The crowd was thick here and it was hard not to get swept up in the spectator aspects of the game as players strung long combos only to have the onlookers explode in groans when someone missed a beat.

Punctuating the rest of the café were flat screen televisions hooked up to various consoles, and Konami representatives were happy to demonstrate the different games – though they were quick to throw in a caveat that the games were still in development. DanceDanceRevolution PS3 set up with the PlayStation EYE and Move did not fail to impress. Incorporating the Move into the gameplay, players now have to touch the motion controller to one of the four corners of the screen whenever the game instructs them to do so, adding an upper body rhythm element to complement the feet. It’s one step closer to actual dancing and watching gamers really get into the new mechanics is admittedly very cool. With the EYE, players get to see themselves dance, which can be hit or miss, depending on if the player actually dances or not. Another feature allows the EYE to take a picture of the player’s room, which creates opportunity for some club decorations, though that feature wasn’t demonstrated.

Upper body rhythm will be necessary.

A version of DDR for the Wii was also showcased and featured similar controls. Since the Wii doesn’t offer a camera-based system, an avatar of the player is displayed instead. Another dancing title on the horizon is DanceMasters for the Xbox 360 Kinect system, which was also available for testing. Rather than stepping on a dance pad, players are tasked with emulating a particular dance. The Kinect system displays the player onscreen dancing on a virtual dance floor next to the song’s performer. Dance Masters is one of the more exciting dance titles to keep an eye out for since it allows for real dancing, without having to approximate movements based on artificial controls. What was most impressive about DanceMasters is its ability to display only the gamer on the screen using the Kinect system without capturing anything in the background behind him or her. Several Konami representatives were asked how the technology worked, but all questions were redirected to Microsoft.

As a special treat for fans, Naoki Maeda – one of the game’s creators – made a guest appearance to take pictures with gamers and sign autographs. He later participated in a raffle giveaway, where lucky guests walked away with DDR related prizes, like games and accessories. Maeda also performed a special DJ set in the back hall of the Royal-T Café. It was his first time in the United States and the fans made sure to make him feel especially welcome.

DanceDanceRevolution PS3 will be available this holiday season and feature 25 original tracks as well as 25 licensed tracks. Working Author will have more information on DanceDanceRevolution Wii and DanceMasters when it becomes available.

For more information, please visit: www.konami.com/ddr.