In 1998, the release of Dance Dance Revolution resuscitated the dying arcade industry by challenging often shy, introverted gamers to compete in dance competitions on top of neon platforms in front of eager fans. Yoshihiko Oto and his team of developers premiered the game in Tokyo, and it quickly took the country by storm, with DDR fanatics lining up in queues for their chance to compete. The game was then released in America, where it became a massive global hit, popular for its dedicated fan base, and the social interactions it spawned between users. One American user even claimed to lose 95 pounds playing DDR alone. Though the arcade scene in the West has since died down, Japan it still thrives, especially at the Konami Arcade Championships, which invites DDR gods from around Asia to compete in front of teeming audiences for their shot at #1. DDR continues to evolve with its fan base, with Dance Dance Revolution A, the 15th official iteration just released in February. Konami’s newest iteration features move catered to a whole new generation of DDR competitors and offer dance hits from the hardcore house and rave musicians with deep roots in video game culture.
In this episode of Pixel by Pixel, host Nick Norton examines the loyal and seemingly everlasting DDR scene in Tokyo.
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