In my recent post, I mentioned that I love playing Dance Dance Revolution and that I recorded onto VHS some of the DDR songs I played on Raquel’s Playstation One (PSOne) so that I no longer need to load up the PSOne everytime I wanted to play DDR.
The idea worked well… for a while.
There were problems with the idea. First, after playing the tape over again a few times, the song selection and song sequence got pretty old. It was starting to become monotonous. Second, even if I make a mistake in the footwork, it doesn’t really matter as the footwork performance was pre-recorded. Even though it was my own footwork that was recorded, it was pretty static. Even if I improve in actuality, I wouldn’t get any feedback from the game (as it was now only just a record of the game).
So, I searched the Internet about getting some PSone DDR games. I was also specifically looking for the DDR 3rd Mix version of the game as it was my favourite from playing it in the arcades in Makati. I missed my favourite songs from the game like Butterfly, Boom Boom Dollar, Captain Jack, and Wonderland.
Unfortunately, my search yielded nothing. Although I know the older DDR games existed for the PSone, those games were quite difficult to find. The next best things were DDR Max and DDR Max 2 both for the Playstation 2 (PS2). Since we didn’t own a PS2, that also meant we’d have to buy the console, too. The consolation though was that we already own the dance pads for PSone and those would be compatible with PS2.
I canvassed at Electronics Boutique (EB), Dick Smith Powerhouse (DSE) and Harvey Norman for PS2s. A new PS2 is around $240 while a pre-owned PS2 is at $150. A pre-owned PS2 would do the trick. The problem was that, there doesn’t seem to be any DDR games for the PS2 for sale in Australia. I would probably need to buy in online and have it imported from the US or something. Anyway, if I wanted to play DDR on PS2, it would take a long while before I could start doing so and the DDR game I really wanted wouldn’t be what I would get.
There must be another alternative, I thought. Well, another item that popped up while I was searching for DDR games on the Internet was a freeware software called StepMania. The home site for the software described it as follows:
StepMania is capable of playing many game types. Currently, it supports games similar to Dance Dance Revolution, Pump It Up, EZ 2 Dancer, and Para Para Paradise. In the future, it will support games similar to BeatMania, Guitar Freaks, DrumMania, and more.
The games played by StepMania are rhythm games. Notes scroll up from the bottom of the screen, and the player must hit the corresponding button on the controller in time to the. All games can be played using the keyboard, but the real fun comes when using specially designed controllers, like a dance pad or hand sensors.
StepMania’s opening screen.
Very intriguing, I thought. So, I downloaded the software and had it installed on my PC. To my pleasant surprise, when I started the software, the user-interface that greeted me had the same look-and-feel of a DDR game!
I wasn’t able to play it yet though as I didn’t have songs installed, it said. I went back to the website and looked around. Apparently, given the right files, it could actually work like DDR. Look at these screenshots:
I got some songs from the Internet and I was able to run them on StepMania as expected. It was simply great! It can even be set to auto-play mode so that it would play the whole song and supply the correct footwork steps automatically without my help. This meant that it would run just like how the songs I’ve recorded on VHS. I could still keep up with the necessary footwork but I wouldn’t get any feedback on whether I was committing mistakes or performing very well.
Super Dual Box USB-PSX Controller Adapter.
I later found out that there is such a thing as a USB-PS2 adapter. That is, I could connect a PSone/PS2 controller to this adapter and have it connected to my PC’s USB port and I could use the controller on my PC! I bought a Super Dual Box USB-PSX Controller Adapter for $50 at Harvey Norman today. I was very excited to know if it’ll actually work.
When I got home, I quickly connected my dance pad to the adapter. It worked all right but it wasn’t as easy as I’d hope. Apparently, I couldn’t get the left and right buttons pressed at the same time. So, whenever I used it to play StepMania, I’d get a “Miss” on footwork that required me to step on both the right and left buttons. It was so frustrating but I was later on able to fix the problem.
After that, I spent like two hours playing StepMania! I was dripping in sweat afterwards. I hadn’t perspired that much in a very very long time. I was tired but at the same time, I had lots of fun. It was just like when I was still in the Philippines and I’d spend like an hour in Glorietta in Makati playing DDR 3rd Mix in the Timezone arcade. Well, at least now I’ll get some exercise done but at the same time, it wouldn’t feel like a chore.
Update: I have to add that I fixed the problem of not being able to get the left and right buttons to work at the same time by downgrading back to version 3.0 of StepMania. Apparently, the old stable version can get around it but the release candidate versions (rc1 and rc2) couldn’t.