Tag Archives: ddr

By Popular Request, Nine Years Late: Why I Hate Midnite Blaze

3,295 days ago, I penned a blog post reviewing a newly released Bemani remix CD, “V-Rare 5”. Within the context of that review, I wrote the following to open my discussion of track 6, “Midnite Blaze (SySF Mix)”:

And this will be a really tough sell because I HATE Midnite Blaze.

This may seem to casual observers like an awfully specific and odd sentence in the over 1,500 blog posts to point out. I would agree. Which is why I was left dumbstruck by a tweet I received this evening from @Tim_at_where:

"@Remy Please don't block me for this, but care to give me a history lesson on your #haterade toward Midnite Blaze by @U1_ASAMi?"

Well, Tim, since you asked…well, wait, I haven’t listened to that particular DDR standard since probably around 2005. For the sake of remembering it, here it is on YouTube:

Ah. Right.

I hate Midnite Blaze mostly because of the vocals. Scott Dolph‘s rapping was always way down my list of favorite things, and it’s pretty laughable here (“Step by step as I approach / I say to myself I need a coach”). The delivery is way too fast and comes in at really weird pitches. Listen to the second section of his rap – it’s all over the place, like he’s reading the words from the page for the first time and not sure which way his voice should go. And he wrote the lyrics himself, if his RemyWiki page is to be believed. For the record, I never liked Drop The Bomb either.

The refrain comes in at such a high register it gives me a headache, and just as lyrically bizarre. And for what it’s worth, the synth line also feels derivative – it’s a touch too close to Naoki’s Broken My Heart.

For whatever it’s worth: in the 9 years since I wrote that review, the only DDR music that remains in my iTunes library are the 2nd Mix and DDRMAX soundtracks, as well as the BEMANI BEST FOR 10TH ANNIVERSARY compilation and various Diverse System remixes. All the Dancemania albums and V-Rares EPs are gone.

And hey: anyone else has random questions about what I meant a decade ago, don’t be shy! I’m more than happy to elaborate – if I can remember what I was talking about!

Bucket Of Tears: A Review Of Dance Dance Revolution The Musical

Buckets Of Tears

It is a strange experience to watch something you once obsessed over – but no longer care for – get bastardized. You can tolerate much of it, perhaps even find some humor in it, because it’s no longer something you care for. But part of you can’t help but recall how strong that obsession once was, and feel that sharp taste of injury in the back of your throat.

I sat for 90 minutes last night in the Ohio Theatre, taking in the third public performance of Dance Dance Revolution, a new musical by Les Freres Corbusier.

For context: I started playing Dance Dance Revolution in September of 2001, and played at an unhealthy clip until the end of 2004, at which point things started to tail off. By this year, I’ve played less than 3 rounds worth of arrow smashing; I have moved on to other games to fulfill my music game addiction. But if I find myself near an empty DDR machine, chances are I will find my way back onto that stage and stomp through a few songs for old times’ sake.

Also: I am not a professional theatre reviewer. I do not frequently go to the theatre proper – I average 2.5 plays/musicals a year. This review should not be taken as anything more than a gamer opining on a show claiming to be inspired by a game he used to play.

Also: I ingested no alcohol or drugs prior to, during, or after the show.

Continue reading Bucket Of Tears: A Review Of Dance Dance Revolution The Musical

Strictly Business

Les Freres Corbusier present their latest show, the world premiere of Dance Dance Revolution, created by the company, directed by Alex Timbers, and featuring original songs by Gary Adler and Phoebe Kreutz.

Les Freres transforms the Ohio Theater into a fully immersive, bombed-out discotheque as it fuses unmerciful Japanese rave music with deeply regrettable sophomoric comedy in the futuristic dance spectacular, Dance Dance Revolution.

Riffing on fizzy dance musicals like Flashdance and death sport movies such as Rollerball, the show is set in an Orwellian society where dance is illegal. A group of local street toughs harbor no hope of overthrowing the fascistic no — fun government — until a mysterious dance prophet named Moonbeam Funk arrives.

Inspired by the wildly popular video game of the same name, Dance Dance Revolution is like Footloose set in the future — but much scarier, and with 40 really attractive, barely-clothed young actors as well as free beer!

Konami Launches DDR Television Show On CBS

[Full press release](http://www.konami.com/gs/newsarticle.php?id=835), boldface is mine:

> Burbank, California – May 9, 2006 – CBS and DIC Entertainment (DIC), in association with Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc., today announced the production of a new dance competition series, Dance Revolution, to debut on September 16, 2006 on “**CBS’s Saturday Morning Secret Slumber Party**” branded programming block.

> Dance Revolution (previously titled Dance, Dance, Dance!), a live-action television series inspired by Konami’s hit video game franchise Dance Dance Revolution® (DDR), will join the new schedule of programming on “CBS’s Saturday Morning Secret Slumber Party,” a three-hour, E/I-compliant branded programming block exclusive to broadcast television. The series will encourage physical activity. Dance Revolution (E/I, TVY 7) complements the programming block’s overall theme of promoting healthy, balanced active lifestyles. **The line-up of previously announced programming to debut on “CBS’s Saturday Morning Secret Slumber Party” includes CAKE, Horseland, Kooky Kitchen, Littlest Pet Shop, Sabrina: The Animated Series, Trollz and Madeline.**

> **In Dance Revolution, ‘tweens’ and teens bring their freshest moves to this sensational new dance competition where teams of dancers display their innovative routines. Hosted by the charismatic Dance Revolution house band, kid-friendly judges determine the winners as the dancers perform their routines to the cool sounds of the band. Dance Revolution will also offer onscreen visuals that constantly encourage viewer participation by demonstrating specific dance moves and steps.**

> “We are thrilled to partner with Konami to create a program that will entertain kids of all ages, and get them motivated, active and off the couch,” comments Andy Heyward, Chairman & CEO of DIC Entertainment. “We are focused on using CBS’s Saturday Morning Secret Slumber Party as a vehicle to address the national concern of obesity and inactivity among children by providing motivating and innovative entertainment.” He adds, “We are excited to add this unique series to our schedule **and to the international markets.”**

> “This collaboration gives Konami an excellent opportunity to bring elements of the DDR franchise to television,” states Kazumi Kitaue, Chairman & CEO of Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. “We hope to create equal success with the franchise on TV that we have had with the video game and look forward to working with DIC on bringing fun, interactive entertainment to young audiences.”

> DDR is an interactive game that continues to sweep living rooms and arcades across the nation. It is the only game in which players move their body to upbeat tunes while allowing them to exhibit their own innovative flare and original dance moves. DDR combines quick reflex action with pulsating dance music for intense “get-up-and-play” fun. Players are challenged to match their dance steps with the flashing arrows on the screen while keeping up with the high-energy beat of the music.

> The workout component and interactive nature of the game have been highlighted as key elements to DDR’s success. Additionally, the DDR series has benefited from major game/dance tournaments that have been held around the world. The game has successfully crossed over international borders to win a global fan base.

> As part of “CBS’s Saturday Morning Secret Slumber Party’s” balanced active lifestyle theme, the block will feature unique animated and live-action interstitials threaded throughout the morning block to promote healthy eating and balanced, active lifestyles for kids. The messages, which will promote nutritious eating habits, will be created in consultation with Baylor College of Medicine’s Children’s Nutrition Research Center (CNRC), an internationally renowned institute devoted to pediatric nutrition studies.

> DIC will seek initial guidance on all programming to air on “CBS’s Saturday Morning Secret Slumber Party” from children’s experts from the DIC Educational Advisory Board–a group comprised of leading media experts, educators and pediatricians created to provide information, guidance, advice and general expertise to DIC in the development of multimedia programs and projects for children.

Dance Dance Immolation Pics

I’ve been a little frightened at the rate at which DDR has gained mainstream acceptance over the last few years. What used to be this weird quasi-underground game is now readily available in practically every video game store in the country, never mind the knock offs and the clones and everything else.

Despite the increase in popularity, Konami has been keeping the rate of development relatively slow. There hasn’t been a new arcade version since the end of 2002; home version keep coming out but only at a rate of about one per year. (In its heyday, there were two arcade and two home releases per year in Japan.)

Luckily, there are some people that are still finding ways to keep the game interesting.

Most everyone with a passing interest has heard about Dance Dance Immolation, the upcoming flamethrower-based version that’ll be at Burning Man. To steal the summary from the DDI page:

> Dance Dance Immolation is an adaptation of the popular arcade video game Dance Dance Revolution, but with fire! Basically, you play DDR; when you do well, the computer shoots big propane blasts up into the air. When you do poorly, it shoots you in the face with flamethrowers. Yes, you, as in your actual corporeal body. And yes, flamethrowers, like the kind that are on fire.
> Before you play, you’ll put on a full aluminized proximity suit, with a forced-air respirator, gloves, fireproof hood, the whole bit. These are the suits that are used for fighting fires at airports. So, as you can see, it’s completely safe!

My very good friend [Nicole Aptekar](http://www.livejournal.com/users/nicoletbn/) is in fact on the DDI team, working on a number of parts of the project. She’s put up a [fantastic bunch of pictures](http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicoletbn/tags/ddi/) (including the above one) from their first test at The Crucible’s Fine Arts Festival this weekend, as well as lots from the construction efforts. Be sure to check them out.

Deconstructing Konami vs. Roxor

*Please note: I am not a lawyer.*

Big news hit the Bemani world yesterday, as Konami filed a 16 page patent suit in Texas against Roxor Games.

Konami, as most of the world knows by now, are the creators of the very popular Dance Dance Revolution (or DDR) video game series. While DDR was hugely successful in Japan in the arcades and has seen large success at home over the last few years, the series has been unofficially on hiatus since the end of 2002, when the last Japanese arcade version was produce. Players differ in opinion as to what exactly represents a hiatus – Konami continues to make home versions, particularly for the US where only one legal arcade mix was created – but many players realize that without constant new versions in the arcade, their interest in the game was diminshed.

In the last two years, one of the many DDR simulator programs – Stepmania – was spun off into an attempted commercial project called In The Groove (or ITG). Available as a PC setup called a “BoXoR” (as in “*RoXoR BoXoR*”; I will refer to them as “kits”), In The Groove raised eyebrows during its introduction to the marketplace as it required to be plugged into an existing DDR arcade machine to be used. People representing the project, as well as fans, hail ITG as a game designed for fans of the dancing game genre.

Konami’s attempt to get an injunction comes just days before the release of the home version of In The Groove, produced in conjunction with Red Octane, arguably the most successful dance pad maker in the US. The court filings, available in PDF form from DDR Freak, include seven separate counts that Konami is seeking damages for.

There seems to be a lot of confusion in the community about what the exact point of the filing is, and what it means for DDR and ITG in the future. So, I’ll try my best to break it down to easy to digest portions. Click through for my deconstruction and analysis of the claims.

Continue reading Deconstructing Konami vs. Roxor

Juxtaposition Of The Day

As of this morning, the body count for the tsunamis in Asia is now at 119,747.

Relevant quotes:

> “Some survivors have not eaten since Sunday and now risk infections and diseases such as elephantiasis, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, malaria, meningitis and haemorrhagic fever.”

> “Countless bloated bodies, many of them young children, remained strewn on the streets and floating in the rivers of Banda Aceh under a tropical sun. Truckloads of bodies were delivered to freshly-dug mass graves, while others were simply swept up into the mountains of debris that clogged the narrow streets.”

> “Mr Yusef said there were about 15 small villages on Car Nicobar’s coastline and that all had been destroyed. “Everything is gone. Most of the people have gone up to the hills and are afraid to come down,” he said.”

Meanwhile, in Central NY, DDR drama goes on.

Relevant quotes:

> “I can’t run this tournament and have fun when I get people threatening me.”

> “One of my best friends is being physically threatened by this cunt. Warn me i don’t fucking care. This tramp has crossed a line that is totally unacceptable for ANY reason, and I refuse to be part of any event that she will be even present at. Your doubles division is cancelled. Everyone else can do that which they wish, but thank Katy-Chan for putting a damper on what was to be a great time for those of us who aren’t egotistical, pieces of garbage. You want to threaten one of the nicest guys I know? Guess what skank, I’m no internet buddy, and touch Sherlok, and it will be an event you will live to regret.”

> “I’ve been fed up with this community as of late between senseless drama and just the large influx of noobs.”

Compare and contrast.

Review: V-Rare 5

This is the musical review of the CD that comes with MAX2JP. Standard 1-100 scale. (50 is average, 60 means it ends up on my main playlist, over 80 means it ends up on my “really good” playlist.) Reviews are written while I’m listening to the song.

Kind Lady (Long Edit)

Kind Lady has always been one of those songs that feels like it COULD be good but never actually IS. This mix – which essentially combines the Rough Instrumental Interlude from V-Rare 1 and the original and then extends the hell out of it – finally makes it feel complete. Even with the weird breakdown near the end, it feels complete enough to get a 62/100 from me.

Do It Right (Harmonized 2Step Mix Long)

This game-length version sort of warmed me up to the song in general, but didn’t do as much for me as the 80’s Electro mix. This version…it takes a minute and a half to get to anything resembling “2step”. I’m unfortunately getting burned out on the lyrics, since no one seems to have the decency to even cut-and-paste it in a different order like they did for Burnin’ The Floor. I could live without this. 48/100.

Look To The Sky (Extended Trance Mix)

Nearly 6 minutes of the Oni course mix from MAX2CS. I forget who said it (probably Reo), but if they had left the vocals out, this would be PERFECT. Like, I love the non-vocal parts, but as soon as “Anna” comes in, I cringe – partially Kyle Snyder’s fault. Squeaks by with a 60/100.

Feelings Won’t Fade (Extended Trance Mix)

And this is entirely new. And holy crap, it’s almost like exactly what I was asking for last time. System SF trance, only without any vocals! Woo! (Edit: I realized where this is from – this is the end credit music from MAX2CS. Still, it rocks.) 70/100.

Kind Lady (Future Trance Mix)

And while we’re in the trance section, let’s see how this works out. Apparently Konami wants Kind Lady to be the new overplayed song of the decade. This sounds more like the intro to Jump by Van Halen than Trance…oh there we go. Ooh, crazy vocal loopage…and wow. It doesn’t feel like a perfect fit, but it works really well. Okay, well, this little breakdown is meh…ooh, but back to the good stuff. It gets a little electro here and there. My one complaint is that the refrain hits with minimal build a couple of times – but the one right at the end is solid. 82/100.

Midnite Blaze (SySF Mix)

And this will be a really tough sell because I HATE Midnite Blaze. Harder than the rest of the trance we’ve heard thus far. The rap part vocals are put through some filter, and again we’re going more towards electro than Trance. It’s a little uneven, but it’s good enough for science. 60/100.

Glacial (Radio Edit)

Hey, welcome to Diversionville! Population, Riyu! And, uh, wait, this is Hyper Eurobeat in Japanese. It works a little better than the KILL ME NOW do-over that Dive Into The Night turned into. Outside of Riyu, Naoki sounds like he’s having an indentity crisis. Apparently he got bored of just doing Eurobeat, so now he’s merging BeForU Breakdown-style guitars with the “thoughtful piano” from the Naoki Underground stuff. But then we start getting everything all at once, and it’s just a mess. Decent, but not good enough to make the rotation – 55/100.

i feel…(New Age Hope Mix)

They weren’t kidding about the New Age part. Okay, so V-Rare 1 ended with the piano version of Memories, where Paula Terry proved she could actually do alright without The Hyper Eurobeat Machine behind her. This is some piano and the “I FeeeEEEEEEEllllll iiiiittttt” vocal bit over it and overlayed on itself a bit. Again, Kyle Snyder ruined this for me, but Kyle cannot entirely be blamed, because this sucks. 41/100.

Overall consensus: Good enough!