Dance Evolution Arcade, one of my all-time favorite games to watch at a Japanese arcade, is the “next big thing” in dancing arcade entertainment. I think.
Also known as Dance Evolution or DanceMasters, the premise of the game is fairly simple. The player (or players) stand on their “spots” and follow the movements of the character on the screen. It is by the makers of Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), a game famous in the early 2000s where players had to “dance” on a mat with four arrows, using visual and listening clues to “dance” along with the music – if anyone remembers that craze.
Dance Evolution Arcade is basically the same thing, only cooler. With an “identical” version released for the Xbox 360 Kinect in 2010 and the arcade version released in March, 2012, they are a sight to see. Dance Evolution Arcade has rapidly gained popularity in Japan; every time I got to an arcade in Tokyo, there is always a couple players dancing up a storm on the machine, with a crowd of on-lookers.
I’ve tried the game a couple times, it is insanely difficult.
This game has a single player and multi-player option. Both work the same. A player stands on their “spot” and mimics the on-screen character’s dance movements. Dance movements are taken straight for their music videos; most up-beat songs in Japan have an “official” dance that the artist (or artists) performs while they sing.
J-pop and K-pop have both gained popularity from their strikingly attractive singers who dance “sexily” while performing. Dance Evolution Arcade basically takes those dances and scores the player by how well they can mimic the movements.
I know a couple K-pop and J-pop dances, and I still sucked at performing them on the Dance Evolution Arcade game. However, when I did a song I had never heard before, I scored fairly high. It is interesting.
When you play, you have to hit certain spots, also known as ripples, with your hands. You can tell where the ripple is because a target will appear on your on-screen character’s hand (or hands). Sometimes, in between the ripples, you have to draw a “stream” in the air, connecting the two targets. Your score is a combination by how many ripples you hit, streams you connect, and how often your feet were in the right spot. The rest of your body doesn’t count; if you don’t see a target or stream, you don’t have to follow it.
Basically, Dance Evolution Arcade is a Japanese game that judges your dancing ability based on whether you can move your hands and feet to the right position at the right time. Unlike DDR, however, even beginners can do this game. If (basically when) you mess up, it is not obvious. It also involves more of a “whole body” dance, rather than just focusing on the feet, like DDR.
I rate as “intermediate” on DDR and beginner on Dance Evolution Arcade. Nonetheless, I love Dance Evolution Arcade. While my childhood heart will always belong to DDR, the “adult” me prefers Dance Evolution Arcade as an arcade game.
It is fun to play (even for beginners) and super-fun to watch.
Next time you are in an arcade in Tokyo, Japan – look for a group of people huddled around a machine, cheering and taking pictures (even though it is prohibited). You will have found Dance Evolution Arcade.
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