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Arno
When Beedooo! moved in with me she brought a number of things with her. One was a Playstation 2 Slim, an incredibly smart move (it also plays Region 1 DVD's!). Another was a dance mat, and the game Dance Dance Revolution. For those not in the know: Dance Dance Revolution (DDR for short) is a dancing game. In order to play the game you need a big mat hooked up to your gaming machine. This mat has four arrows on it: left, right, forward and back. As the player, you stand in the center. While music plays, arrows fly accross the screen. You have to hit the arrows on the mat at exactly the right moment to score points and keep going. The end result is that you are dancing by the instructions presented on the screen. Or stumbling, in any case.

Beedoo! has been using this game for quite a while as a way to excercise. Since I am very slowly getting more flabby, one night I decided to play it with her. Now, while it can be a two player game, we only had one mat (the above image is creative with the truth in that regard), I would be playing by myself. And you know what? It's harder than it looks! In a small way, it's like a game of Twister for the legs if you fail to plan ahead:

  • LEFT ARROW - Place left foot on left arrow
  • FORWARD ARROW - Place right foot on forward arrow
  • RIGHT ARROW - Place left foot on... Right Arrow...
  • BACK ARROW - Place right foot on... No, wait, that'll turn me around.
  • FORWARD ARROW - Jump to desperately try and get your feet in position. Land roughly on FORWARD and BACK
  • LEFT ARROW - Wait, I'm still trying to keep my balance!
  • WHATEVER ARROWS I DON'T EVEN KNOW ANYMORE! - Aaaah!

After a while I sort of got the hang of it, even if I did stomp loudly with every arrow (why? I DON'T KNOW!), which was fine until the next door neighbours politely requested that we stop playing cause they were going to bed. We danced like nobody was watching, but they sure could hear us! Fortunately we do them big favours taking care of their cat in their absence, so relationships are good, but obviously this would not do. And so we brought in pieces of carpet as dampeners, hoping to let me play badly more quietly. The pieces were to small, so duct tape was involved, and then the door mat...

And then tragedy struck: the mat, after many, many years of faithful service and surviving even a trip accross the ocean stuffed in a suitcase, finally gave out. And there ends my amazing adventure in disbalance and neighbour aggravation. We need to buy second hand mats from somewhere. Why haven't we? Because I'm too wussy to contact people about it, is why. But one day we must get another mat. My dignity isn't going to destroy itself!

(In my defence: I have a crooked foot, and a 'hollow' back. It's hard to hit the right places on the mat when you're not actually symmetrical. ;) )


Beedoo!
This dragon is a paragon of grace and beauty. I'm impressed that Arno wanted to try playing DDR with me. All of his gaming experience has at the least given him good reaction time. With me, it's more or less memorization that occurs over time. For instance, there was a song I was working on memorizing--one with a very complex pattern, requiring a LOT of either fast footwork or luck to get. This took me roughly 2 months to get as far as I had. I think I was near the end when the mat gave out.

Okay, confession: The mat did not "give out." The mat was murdered. By me. It's been a long time coming. I get mad at my equipment when it doesn't function right. This mat, having been folded up and stored in a box, had a lot of creases in it, which eventually began interfering with the gameplay: causing an arrow not to register, or be held down when it shouldn't have been. Now, I mostly solved this problem by taking a slice of the folded foam off the bottom of the mat. This worked, for the most part, for years. Now and then, it would act up again, and I would have to shake the mat around until it behaved. Recently, I was having particular trouble with it, and reached a hand through the split to see if I could clear any sand or what have you that was impeding my game, and I was a bit too rough with it. Apparently electricity still reaches the pad now, but none of the arrows respond. It's dead. I have another mat back home which I plan on importing when we get to AZ in July, and we've kind of looked on Maarkplaats.nl for a replacement, but haven't actually gotten around to ordering anything, as Arno mentioned. In the meantime, I've switched to doing yoga/pilates and doing curls and lifts with some 2kg weights. So far, though, I think I'm just gaining weight back, as the routines aren't challenging enough.

I may have mentioned a while back (and certainly did on FB)that I tried to purchase a hard mat for DDR. Well, I DID purchase one, only to find out that it would cost over $400 to transport it to the Netherlands, and before even undertaking that, we would have to figure out what kind of cord it took... it was certainly not something for the PS2 as advertised. (So if anyone's looking for a DDR hard deck... we've got one to sell!)



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