This article is part of a series of comments I will be writing about games that changed my perception of what a good game is. Some of the games you may not know, some may not be on anybody else’s “best of” list, but they have changed me, and that’s why they are here.

Game #2: Dance Dance Revolution

One of the golden rules of making video games is: if you need special hardware to play it, then your game will tank. DDR is the only game I know for which this is not true.

For those who do not know it, DDR is a dancing game. You connect a special mat to the controller poprt of your console, and by stepping on different parts of that mat you activate what would otherwise be buttons. The gameplay is simple: The game plays some popular music and shows arrows that indicate which part of the mat you should step on – and voila, you’re dancing. Ridiculous, you say. I did, too. Then I watched two pros do this in parallel, and I thought: That looks cool. And then I tried for myself, and got into a sweat. It took a lot of prying to get me off that mat, I tell you.

A game like this could only be perceived in Japan, which already brought us Karaoke, a far inferior way to embarass yourself, trust me. For me, not only the controller issue, but the fact that a very simple idea like this can be a blockbuster, although it sounds so ridiculous at first, was a revelation. This game has cult status, official competitions, there are videos of people playing it on the net. And ultimatley, it is an extremely social thing. You practically need two mats. Although I have heard of people using this as an excercise program – something I am sure should have great results.