Dance Dance Revolution PA Guide by TCCMagnus ***INSERT WITTY TEXT ART HERE! :O*** Versions: July 30, 2005 - Second Stage! Added song info on the Complicated Songs List. Seperated all of Chapter 3's Subchapters into it's own Chapter of subchapters. Added more to Subchapter 4B. Added a new chapter to get newbies to shut the hell up. June 5, 2005 - First Stage! Sup. ************ Contents: 1. Intro and Such 2. How to Get Better: Perfect Attack and the Grading Scale 3. The Nine-Footers and Other Hard Songs 4. WAT 4a. Using Mods Effectively 4b. Hug Someone's Bar Tonight 4c. Nonstop DDR Action! 4d. Headin' to the Gym 5. Look Ma, I'm on the Interweb! 6. Contact, Credit, Etc. ************ ************************************************ Chapter 1: Intro and Such ************************************************ Congratulations! You have just proven to yourself and your loved ones that you have no life at all! Welcome to the void that is Dance Dance Revolution, a socially depriving world that will sap your time and money like a venemous spider. Not to worry, however, using this guide, you'll make your time worthwhile. This guide will teach you, essentially, how to get better. Now, before you start spamming my e-mail into oblivion asking for more in-depth information, I'm going to admit right now that I am FAR from the greatest DDR players in the country. With my luck, I'd barely break the Top 1000 (which still isn't horrible considering the tens of thousands of people who play hardcore). But I do know the fundamentals of this game and I've taught some people how to get better the same way I did (leeching off information. Thanks, Random Negro!). To use this guide effectively, you must actually go out and play some DDR. For the sake of this guide, I will assume that you're starting to play Heavy (although people comfortable to Standard can use this as well to get to Heavy). If you have trouble deciding where the Down Arrow is, this guide is not for you. If you have problems passing 8-footers, go back to the arcade. If you've got a nice handful of AAA's and SDG's, you're probably going to want to stop reading this. This is for the people who want to get better and have the ability to do so. If you can devote at least one day out of the week to go to the arcade, pump a good $10-20 into an 8th Mix machine, and come out feeling accomplished, then you will get better. The speed of your growth is entirely up to you. ************************************************ Chapter 2: How to Get Better: Perfect Attack and the Grading Scale ************************************************ Well, this sure is an obvious chapter, isn't it? The best way to get better is to know where you stand. I don't care that you passed Rhythm & Police with a B, it's up to you to know where you are at in terms of progress. If you tell yourself that you are "awesome," you are probably not. If you tell yourself that you're "decent," then you are. The thing with DDR is that the score-system is flawed. The amount of points you get per song tells you almost nothing if you are unfamiliar with the concept of Perfect Attack. You can tell yourself that getting 55 Million Points on Tsugaru is a lot, but when you consider that the maximum amount of points possible on it is 90 Million, you easily see yourself in a slump. DO NOT trust the score system. Instead, there is an alternative. It is commonly known as "Perfect Attack." Perfect Attack, which will now be referred to as PA, is the basis for all score tracking in the DDR world. So what exactly determines it? Obviously, the amount of Perfects that you get. That's what it is, getting as many Perfects as possible. There are stipulations, however. Everything else that you get, a Great, Good, and so on, has an effect on your overall score. Getting a certain amount of Dance Points, or DP, will determine your overall ranking on the song. The DP System works like this: Perfect = 2 DP Great = 1 DP Good = 0 DP Boo (Almost on home versions) = -4 DP Miss (Boo on home versions) = -8 DP OK = 6 DP NG = 0 DP Remember that getting anything that isn't a Perfect will pretty much subtract from your score. While a miss is is -8 DP, you still lose the 2 points from not getting a Perfect. Therefore, it is better to see it as so: Perfect = 0 Great = -1 Good = -2 Boo = -6 Miss = -10 OK = 0 NG = -6 Looking at this, it works to your advantage to get as many Perfects as you possibly can. If you cannot, then the next best thing is the amount of Greats. When working on PA, you'll most likely hear from other players, "I got thismany Greats on soandsosong." This indicates that they got all Perfects and however many Greats they got, giving them a total of the maximum amount of DP possible minus whatever they got in Greats. Knowing this, it also works to your advantage to get every single freeze arrow. I cannot stress this enough. You could think to yourself, "what's so hard about that?" Kiss Kiss Kiss, Ordinary World, and others with freeze arrows, all of these are usually sort of easy songs. However, scores will be determined when it counts and you'll need to get EVERYTHING. Don't rely so much on your Perfect Attack if you're unable to hit all the freeze arrows through. A Freeze is worth three Perfects, and that could be the difference between getting that AA or losing to an opponent at a tournament. So how does this affect you? Simple. The percentage of DP you have is dependant on your ranking and overall score. With a certain amount of points, you can get that B, A, or AA that you've been looking for. All you need to do is some simple multiplication and minor percentages in order to figure out where you stand and what you need to do to get to that level. This is how your grade is determined. AAA = 100% DP (in other words, all Perfects and all OKs) AA = 93% DP A = 80% DP B = 65% DP C = 45% DP D = Anything Else (negative percentages have been recorded) E = Failed the song at any point. Let's see how this plays out on a certain song. An easy one. Ah, Nori Nori Nori! A classic. It's easy to PA and it's Happy Hardcore up the wazoo. Plus, it's the only N song on 8th Mix. It has 215 steps and 16 Freeze Arrows, which totals up to a small but modest 526 DP. Nori Nori Nori Heavy DP Cutoffs AAA = 0 DP Missing AA = 36 DP Missing A = 105 DP Missing B = 184 DP Missing C = 289 DP Missing D = Anything Else E = Failed (you poor thing) Of course, you may not always be so lucky. Even if you get 36 Greats or less, you must factor in the amount of anything else you may have gotten. For instance, say you picked up 30 Greats and a Miss. That's a total of 40 Missing DP, so you get an A. 174 Greats, 5 Goods, 2 Boos and a Miss? That totals up to 190 Missing DP, so you just got yourself a C. It's a little confusing at first, but once you understand the system you're more likely to do better. Knowing is half the battle. Simply get Perfects. Alternatively, there's an unofficial count called SDG, or Single Digit Greats. If you'rehalf-intelligent, you should've guessed that means that one got a lot of perfects and less than or equal to 9 Missing DP. Most players at higher levels tend to shoot for this, especially on more difficult songs, than to simply play them out until they earn the coveted AAA. It's a count that can determine how well you play. Some go as far as to count the amount of songs which they score in the teens. Most online trackers have a section for this. Speaking of which, if you honestly want to get better, there's an easy way to keep track. There are online scorekeepers where players can upload scores they have gotten onto their account, compare themselves to others, and give/receive challenges from friends and other players. There used to be one called NNR, and it was a big success until the server crashed and left everyone searching for alternatives. There are now two well-sized trackers, one called Over the Monkey (, the other, which is the one I use, called DDRecall (, my account is THECapedCaper if you'd like to add me to your list). These are both free, although you can get Premium Services by making a one-time donation to DDRecall. Because of this, it is imperative that, if you decide to get an account (which is highly reccommended), that you update constantly and with plenty of scores so that you and others know where exactly you stand. Currently, I have most of the 256 songs on 8th Mix down (hate to brag, but most of them AA's ^^;;; ), so I know where I stand and where I can improve, as well as others to send me challenges that are respectable to my PA and help me get better. When you play, keep note of any scores you get (or want to keep, your choice). Take pencil and paper, or a camera (digital so that you don't waste film). Write down the amount of non-Perfects you get, and your OK amount if you got any NGs (since DDR only keeps track of how many OK's you got and not your NG's as well). Bring them back to your tracker to see your improvement. Over time, you'll start to remember your scores like they were your friends. You'll be scrolling through the Song List wondering, "Don't I have 48 Greats on that? I can easily break 35." Voila, you get a score that you weren't even thinking of getting when you came to the arcade. This isn't to say memorize your scores and be a douchebag about them. You're now my Apprentice, and I don't want my pupils going around and bragging, "I got 14 Greats on Freckles! TAKE THAT, FURRY!" If you are bragging about your scores to other people, you are either desperate for attention or you're compensating for something. It's okay to talk about them to other people, but try and show some respect for the masses. Remember, you are now playing to get better. But do not, I repeat do NOT let this get in the way of your ability to have fun with this game. One of the guys I've played with said it the best, "He who has the most fun is the true winner." It's good to get better, but if you're making a chore out of it then you should be playing something else. DDR was meant to be fun and competitive, but if you choose to be the more competitve type (like guys who come to tournaments to steal the prize money and waste most of their day not talking to people) you will probably be shunned by the DDR Community. Keep this in mind. Now on to happy things! ************************************************ Chapter 3: The Nine-Footers and Other Hard Songs ************************************************ Now that you know what PA is, it's time to get you started. First thing's first, no home versions. None. The timing window is too off compared to the Arcade's. Unless you're playing to prevent yourself from getting rusty, or if you like the exercise, you should not be playing home versions. A better thing to use is Stepmania (, it is a free download), a computer program that allows you to play DDR songs, official and fan made alike. You can pillage the Internet for StepFiles, just ask around. Honestly, home version is great to start off with for beginners. But for the more experienced, definitely hook up a pad (a hard one like the RedOctane Afterburner or the Cobalt Flux) to your PC, put on Stepmania and adjust the timing window accordingly. A nice thing to start shooting for, especially if you've grown comfortable to Heavy, is to start picking up some AA's. If not, then start getting A's on nine-footers and hard eights, which will be mentioned later. If you'd like to make a decent first impression on DDRecall, it'd be nice to put up a few AA's. That said, here are the 20 Easiest AA's to get on 8th Mix, with the amount of Greats you need (or less): ---Easy AA's to start off with--- Kind Lady- 47 1998 - 46 Let the Beat Hit Em! - 26 After the Game of Love - 28 Love Love Sugar - 35 Butterfly (Heavy) - 29 My Summer Love - 36 Sync (Heavy) - 45 Do it Right (Harmonized 2Step Mix) - 47 Sexy Planet (from Nonstop Megamix) - 44 We Will Rock You - 26 Sobakasu Freckles - 48 Happy Wedding - 39 Last Message - 51 Love Shine - 52 Mahou no Tobira (Door of Magic) - 41 Nori Nori Nori - 36 Spin the Disc - 45 Think Ya Better D - 33 La Copa de la Vida - 33 This is a general overview of what are the easiest songs to AA. Keep in mind that everybody has a different playing style. Knowing this, it is most likely that you will AA something not on this list before you can complete it. It happened to me. I was AAing harder things such as I'm in the Mood for Dancin' and Cow Girl before I even got Sync. Heck, Think ya Better D was the last thing on this list for me (although some argue that it's a hard song to AAA because of its slow beat), and before then I already had about 35-40 AA's. Investigate what is easy and what is not when you make your turn into the PA world. By getting used to the easier things, you will eventually learn the basics of what makes the harder songs work. Let's cover that now. Oh, and before you ask, I am not covering the ten- footers. Not only have I not beaten any of the "real" tens (I have too poor stamina for them. I am working on this, but I know what my flaws are as a player, which is why I'm trying to get better so that I CAN BEAT THIS SONUVAMOTHER), but they are simply hit-or-miss. Max 300, for example, is simply half-steps and streams, nothing incredibly complicated, just fast. Paranoia Survivor Max Oni is a complex mix of half-steps, gallops, speed changes, complex streams, and what have you, but some even consider that to be easier to PA than it's Heavy counterpart. For better information on this, I refer to you to Sir Orion's Level 10 Guide. It's a pretty good guide if you don't have Stepmania to play the songs with and don't know what to expect. Now the fun part. Here's the guide to all the songs that are deemed difficult to PA. I have divided them into seperate sections to fit specific playing styles. ***I WILL ADD SPECIFIC DATA FOR EACH SONG IN LATER VERSIONS OF THIS GUIDE*** ---Complicated Songs--- A Challenge Candy Star Dance Dance Revolution Heavy/Challenge Daikenkai Heavy/Challenge Do You Remember Me DXY! Dynamite Rave Heavy/Challenge Frozen Ray ~for EXTREME~ Gentle Stress (AMD SEXUAL MIX) Insertion Kakumei Heavy/Challenge Lovin' You ~Rob Searle Club Mix~ Stoic (EXTREME version) Sync Challenge The Reflex Trip Machine Survivor Tsugaru These songs, for the most part, aren't very fast and one is likely to not lose their breath over them, but they require some fancy footwork. Some of these songs will require you to turn (A Challenge, Sync Challenge, Frozen Ray), others love to have odd speed runs (The Reflex, Gentle Stress, Lovin' You is offbeat like no other), and some have annoying step-step-jump movements (Dynamite Rave, DXY!). Players often have trouble with these in the beginning because of the way the arrows are placed, causing unfamiliar turns, gallops, what have you. Others tend to see these as easier due to their overall lack of speed, causing more time to think about their body position and timing. Again, it's a matter of playing style. ___A Challenge___ Those familiar, or with a decent score, on A Heavy shouldn't really have much of a problem with the Challenge version. The trick here, however, is that while A Challenge is a nine-footer, it requires less Greats to obtain a certain goal than it's Heavy counterpart. It tends to piss off most players. The beginning portion of the song is about as difficult as the Heavy part. As soon as it speeds up, you'll find annoying step-jump patterns, which can pick you up some bad non-Perfects if you're not careful enough. After the Freeze Arrow, you'll get a constant stream of crossovers, and at 191 BPM it's easy to lose your place. A few measures into this, there will be an odd step plus another freeze arrow (some people turn on the odd step, so it can be learned eventually). After this, there will be a few more odd steps, which may require some fancy footwork in order to land. Overall, it's a slightly confusing song but it can be done with a little playing around. ___Candy Star___ Personally, there isn't much to it except for some odd steps with Freezes. It's not a necessity to crossover on the first half of the song, it can be done with moving your feet rapidly (especially with a high speed mod). Just be careful with the Freezes in this, as it is possible to get an NG from this part. Other than that, it's really not too difficult but it can bring you down if you play differently. ___Dance Dance Revolution___ Heavy The Heavy steps to DDR follow the lyrics and beat to the song, which gives it much space for off-beats, odd steps and crossovers. There are quite a few gallops as well, but it isn't incredibly difficult after you've played some songs with similar qualities. Challenge This song gives most people trouble. It's got tons of Chaos so it'll probably mess you up a bit. The key to remember here is that DDR Challenge consists of, well, DDR songs. You'll see Brunin' the Floor (I believe), Dynamite Rave, Afronova, AM-3P, Celebrate Nite, B4U, and more Dynamite Rave at the end. What confuses most players is this layout and switching the style from one song to the next. Just remember that the song does not change tempo. Afterall, who do you think of when "DDR All Stars" is named? Naoki. Almost all Naoki songs are same. 150 BPM. ___Do You Remember Me___ It's odd at first since there are so many gallops and freeze strings to deal with, but the thing to watch out for here are the crossovers. You're going to want to crossover whenever you can. If you shuffle your feet on something like this you'll most likely lose your spot. Keep with the flow and move your feet around. ___DXY!___ This song is hit-or-miss. I couldn't get this one until just recently, but that's just me. You've got some gallops in the beginning, followed by a somewhat easy stream. But the real killer is the stream of step-step-jumps towards the end. You'll probably end up doing an unintentional crossover here. This is a decent plan, but for a song like this it's best to try and avoid that. The steps could've been made better IMO, but for now just try not to crossover on this one. Ironic how I tell you when to cross and when to not, eh? ___Dynamite Rave___ Heavy Ah, classic Cata. You've got your gallops in the beginning, quarter-beats throughout the song, You'll end up with jump streams in the middle, followed by even more quarter-beat runs. Afterwards, some simple runs, followed by step-jump-step movements. Gallops in the end, but they're simple enough. It's odd, however. While the song is amazingly on-beat, it's hard to PA for most. Probably because they sneak in so many areas where people find their Greats. It's harder than it looks. Challenge About the same difficulty as its Heavy Counterpart, however it looks harder than it really is. Simple crossovers in the beginning, after the freeze arrows there are some step-step-jump movements from other songs. Don't worry, however, the quarter-beat runs are still there and they'll probably cause you damage. That, and the gallops towards the end make this one a song to watch out for. But if you have no problems with the Heavy version, the Challenge version shouldn't be hard for you as well. ___Frozen Ray (for Extreme)___ Slightly tricky, Frozen Ray will give you Greats like no other if you cannot shuffle your feet around, or if you haven't memorized the song. Lots of gallops in the beginning, followed by some simple runs. Afterwards, the turning. If you're uncomfortable with turning your back against the machine, you'll end up shuffling your feet. This is probably where you'll get most of your Greats. After that, some crossovers. You don't necessarily have to cross on this song, but it will probably work to your benefit to do so. ___Gentle Stress___ I. HATE. THIS. SONG. Onto happy things, you'll encounter some on-beat gallops in the beginning, followed by some crappy-beat gallops, and then some Sorrow-ish runs in the middle. Be wary of the jump runs. The middle-end piano runs are the worst. Remember it goes: "One-Two. One-Two-Three. One-Two-Three. One-Two-Three-Four. One-Two." Hell, that's even an inaccuracy. If you can somehow read 3x on this, it will be easy. It looks like Hell on 2x or pretty much anything lower. Of course we must mention the White-Boy Runs in the end. Learn to keep beat with just one foot, but even so it is a great challenge to get that through. ___Insertion___ Classic 5th Mix. Starts off with some gallops, which lead onto quarter-beat runs. This is going to keep going until you get to the stop. The trick after the stop is that the arrows will gradually slow down, speed up, slow down, and then pick itself back to its original speed. It generally follows the music very well. Afterwards, it's back to the gallops. For this portion, I reccommend crossing-over, keeping one foot on the down arrow and letting the other do the rest. This will happen for three measures, then there are sets of gallop-gallop-gallop-gallop-step-step. These ten arrows will continue until you get to the stream of half-step runs. This will then speed itself up to 225 BPM. Fortunately, it's not very complicated, so speed mods on this song are useful in taking care the slow part. ___Kakumei___ The Heavy and Challenge parts are pretty similar. Keep in mind of the gallops that take place on the piano parts. Most find the Heavy part to be one of the harder songs to PA, but the Challenge one is relatively easier. Before trying out the Heavy one, take on the Challenge, as it is only an 8-footer. Also be on the lookout for triplet runs, especially in the end's freeze arrows. It may look like a jump but it's really just fooling ya. ___Lovin' You___ While most consider Lovin' You to be offbeat, it essentially is not. Rather, the TIMING changes around in order to mess with you. It's a song like this that you should probably listen to a while before playing. While it doesn't change tempo, the beat slightly changes around from 3/4, 4/4, and 7/4 timing, which really confuses most people. Don't rush the quarter-beat runs, they will be on beat and are surprisingly easier to land than they appear. ___Stoic___ In a sense, it's a lot like DXY! is. The majority of the songs contains step- step-jump patterns that makes DXY! a pain in the ass. This becomes especially true in the middle of the song, before the quarter-beat runs. A nifty trick to do is to crossover-type trick with the jumps in order to avoid getting lost. Again, it's hit-or-miss for this one. Some people can SDG it easy, while others need more time to get it down. But it's a song worth getting down. ___Sync Challenge___ Face it, if you don't know the music for Sync, you should be playing the Heavy part first (but why wouldn't you, it's easy!). The song's steps follow to the blips, but what's tricky is that you have to crossover and them. It can be PA'd no problem with knowledge of the song, but some choose to use Shuffle when doing so. See if that works. If not, learn to crossover better. ___The Reflex___ This song is rediculously slow. Again, like Lovin' You, it's probably wise to listen a few times before playing. The gallops and quarter-beat runs make this one of the harder 8's, but the SLIGHT tempo change (it's only a 1 BPM difference) makes it even more confusing in the end when landing those jumps. ___Trip Machine Survivor___ It's no Trip Machine Climax, but Survivor is a tricky nine that is more bent on making you crossover than it is to trip you up. Fortunately, it's slower. You start off with your regular Trip Machine style steps, which evolve into quarter-beat runs and gallops. Throughout the song, it will also hit you with offbeat steps. After the freeze, it will land you with even more of them, followed by some crossovers. ___Tsugaru___ Again with the tricky nines. It's way harder than Apple Mix, but you probably already know this. Like it's brother, Tsugaru's got an insane amount of gallops. Keep in mind that in the middle of the gallop streams, it'll trick you with what looks like jumps. These are actually gallops that are *VERY* close to each other. It is possible, but unlikely, that one can just jump on these and get two Perfects. Oftentimes, at least one Great comes from this. Keep in mind the crossovers throughout the song as well. ---Fast Songs--- Across the Nigthmare Heavy/Challenge Afronova Can't Stop Fallin' in Love -Speed Mix- Colors (for Extreme) Challenge Dead End Drop Out era [nostalmix] Exotic Ethnic Fantasy (Mellisa) Gradiusic Cyber Healing Vision ~Angelic Mix~ La Senorita Virtual Matsuri Japan Mikeneko Rock Orion.78 (AMeruo-MIX) Rhythm and Police (K.O.G G3 Mix) Sakura Challenge ska a go go V (for EXTREME) Challenge Waka Laka Witch Doctor The exact opposite of the complicated songs, these songs are built for speed. The majority of these songs breach 170 BPM, which is moderately speedy. What sets these apart from the easier songs is their complexity, obviously most of these songs are nine-footers (some argue Witch Doctor to be worth nine, although it is an eight). However, most of these songs take into consideration the stamina of the player. Drop Out's last 25-35% is a maniac run of 260 BPM in which most players find their non-Perfects, same with ska a go go final machine-gun runs and Gradiusic Cyber's runs in the middle. Again, a matter of playing style. Since these songs require you to hammer on the pad, one is good at running in place (preferably on beat) will have little problem trying to PA these songs. You may notice that some of these songs are not fast at all, but rather they contain quarter-beats which MAKE them faster by comparison (Orion.78 (AMeuro-MIX) is only 100 BPM, but with quarter-beats and half-steps throughout the song, it may as well be 200 like the other version). They're not entirely difficult, but fast. ---Complicated and Fast Songs--- Afronova Primeval Burning Heat! (3 Option Mix) Captain Jack (GRANDALE REMIX) Cartoon Heroes (Speedy Mix) End of the Century Heaven is a '57 metallic gray (gimmix) Leading Cyber Love This Feelin' Orion.78 (civilization mix) Pretty much all the Paranoias So Deep ~Perfect Sphere Remix~ Sweet Sweet Heart Magic The Least 100sec Trip Machine Climax Xenon The children of the first two, it is these songs that cause people the most trouble when learning to PA. Even people with hundreds of AA's find them hard (I've yet to get all of this list, but have come pretty close on those that I don't have). Not only do these songs require fast footwork but an even faster mind. Most of these have crossovers, gallops, odd foot-placements, the works. The most dreaded are easily Cartoon Heroes, The Least 100sec, and Xenon, but the rest of these songs require notice by newcomers to PA. Sweet Sweet Heart Magic, Captain Jack, and Paranoia Rebirth are excellent songs to build stamina, which will be described later. ---The Sorrows--- Hyper Eurobeat [this is debated, however] i feel... L'amour et la liberte Memories On the Jazz Rain of Sorrow Tears Vanity Angel These songs are hit-or-miss. Some despise these songs with an ever-bitter passion for their high numbers of offbeats, gallops, and turns. Others love them for their complexity, as they are excellent picks in tournaments. Decent PA on L'amour or Rain of Sorrow will win 75% of the time, I saw the best player in America lose On the Jazz to someone who didn't place, people SHIVER at the sight of Tears. If you are going to start to play competitvely, these songs are great picks against most players. Regardless, these are the songs that will most likely be difficult to the beginning PA player, but with practice they are so easy. Learn these songs. ************************************************ Chapter 4: WAT! ************************************************ I put a bunch of subchapters with miscellaneous crap here. Mwaha laziness. :< ************************ Subchapter 4a: Using Mods Effectively ************************ Something you're going to see a lot out of PA Players is that they will not play "Virgin Style." This is basically the default setting, 1x Vivid. This is mostly from people who have played after 6th Mix (DDR MAX) came out, when mods were only a system of challenge and not of aid. After 6th Mix came out, there was a useful addition to Mods, and those are the speed mods. 1x, 1.5x, 2x, 3x, 5x, and 8x. Beginning players see these as intimdating and pretty much refuse to use them, thinking they speed up the song or change it in some style. This is not the case. It changes the speed of the arrows, which in turn seperates them and makes it easier to read. For example, Brilliant2U Heavy is 150 BPM, plus it contains some gallops in the song. Wouldn't it be easier to land those gallops if you could read the arrows better? Of course. By applying a 1.5x mod to it, it will be like the song is 225 BPM, which is slow enough to be comfortable and spreads the arrows out a bit. But if you can read even faster, apply a 2x mod to it, to make it seem like it is 300 BPM. It's still the same song with the same steps, the only difference is the speed of the arrows. Because of this speed, the arrows are now spread out to make it easier to read. Some will go as far as to place a 3x mod, making it seem 450 BPM, and bar rape the song and read it incredibly clearly. In turn, you are sacrificing reflex time for reading. Try and figure out how fast you can read and go from there. If you can pass Max 300 Standard and have no problems reading it, you should be able to 2x a majority of the songs. Keep working on this, and eventually you'll be able to read 350 BPM, 400 BPM, and so forth. I've seen people go as far as put Max 300 Heavy on 2x (of course they needed to use the bar), making it seem 600 BPM, just to prove that they could. Train your eyes to handle the kind of speed necessary to read certain songs. Some people go as far as using Boost, with or without speed mods. Same story, it helps the person read better to the way that they're used to. Try it out and see how you like it, it may come in handy on certain songs (I know people who use it on MaxX Unlimited and AA it no problem, for example). There are other kinds of mods as well, some of these coming long before 6th Mix. Solo and Flat are two commonly used modifiers as well. Solo changes the arrows colors so that they don't change, so that it is easier to see different kinds of beats. Flat makes it so that all the arrows' colors don't change, but rather they are all the same color. This can be effective when using high speed mods, but most people tend to prefer Solo than Flat. Sometimes they are frowned upon (Solo mostly because it effects both players, regardless of whether or not both agree on it. It's a real pain), but they can be extremely useful to the beginning PA player, especially Solo. If you're playing with someone, it usually common courtesy to ask them if Solo is okay with them when you're picking. If not, stick with Vivid (default setting), it will do you better in the long run. Oh, and Little makes the songs easier by erasing anything that isn't a full- beat. Obviously not worth your time. Sudden, Hidden, and Stealth are generally for challenge purposes, something new to play around with if you get bored. Not very handy for PA-building, it's more of a way to show off to newbies. Lastly, step turns. In general, not worth it if you've gone into PA, unless you like a challenge. They're seen as a crutch on some songs (Afronova on Left or Right is ten times easier than playing it normally), but there are times when you may need them, such as 5.1.1. or Brilliant2U Orchestra Groove Challenge. Put Shuffle on these. Shuffle is different because the steps that come up could be either Left, Right, or Mirror, so it's random in this sense. Experiment around and you may find it to be easier to PA with. Use mods to your advantage. Besides, 1x can get boring after a while. ************************ 4b. Hug Someone's Bar Tonight ************************ You know that little thing behind you when you're playing? That tall, red metal bar with the black leather laced on top of it to prevent people from slipping and falling on their ass and breaking their necks and suing Konami and the arcade for millions of dollars because there wasn't a safety device? We'll just call it the bar. To some, it is a safety device that prevents people from hurting themselves. To others, a method to score higher on their PA. Using the bar controls your balance, keeps your upper body still to read the arrows better, and lifts weight off of your lower body in order to reach the arrows faster and (sometimes) with more efficency. It is also greatly frowned upon by a majority of players (it is often called "bar raping" instead of "bar hugging"), insisting that it is a crutch which gives players an insane advantage. This isn't so. Using the bar also has its advantages and disadvantes, the same with mods. While you are benefitting from the rewards mentioned before, you sacrfice movement. This means that gallop streams, turns, and odd steps are now your predator. That is the precise reason why people generally don't use the bar. They don't feel like they're dancing. Although people will say that is very difficult to do harder songs without bar, and in this case they couldn't be more right. Fast, complicated songs and especially the ten-footers are the most bar-hugged, obviously for stamina reasons and precision. Because of this, it's probably wise to pick and choose when to hold on to the bar. For this, I point you to Kevin Boddy's 7974 Legend Road video. (, thanks to ANakedG for hosting the vid.) Notice how Kevin uses the bar. On Max 300, he clutches the bar with both of his hands, in order to maintain his balance and work his feet to get each Marvelous with ease. On MaxX Unlmited (2:04 in the video this case), he lets go of the bar in order to cross over to his left, so he keeps his left hand on the bar in order to keep as much balance as possible. He suffers a Great out of this, but it's way better than getting a string of Greats or even something less. He lets go on Sakura, only grabbing it to land the 14 BPM note, in which he ends up getting a Marvelous. On The Legend of MAX, he grabs onto the bar until 5:45 to land the odd stream, and then goes right back to holding onto it. What's probably the coolest part of the video is the great hand-work he does at the end of Paranoia Survivor MAX Oni. At 7:41, he does what he did in Unlimited and keeps the bar held with one arm so that he can crossover. He switches hands twice in order to land all of these steps. He finishes the oni course with a whopping 2452 Marvelous, 204 Perfects, 12 Greats, and a Miss. (Tough call on whether that's a pad miss or not, but either way it's a rediculously high score). The point of this video is to examine how he uses every aspect around him, including the bar. He doesn't necessarily "rape" it, but rather he uses it to his advantage and doesn't when it is a burden. "I'M HOT JAVA! I'M HOT JAVA!!!" That'll never get old. In my opinion, I think bar hugging on easier songs is overkill. People will claim AAA's and other high scores on easier songs but they do it with a crutch, the same way more experienced players can get the same scores by playing straight DDR. It's almost as if they feel accomplished by this, and this is sad and weak. However, on harder songs (especially ten-footers) I think it's fair- game. I watched a video of a guy playing Legend Road no bar, but even he had to clutch the bar a few times to keep his balance up. Unless you have a physical ailment that prevents you from playing no-bar (I know a few people), or if you're playing a hard song, you should not be using the bar. By all means, if you slip, grab onto it. It's common sense. But in no way should you be bar raping on Kind Lady for an easy AAA. That's complete atrocity. Save it for the harder songs. ************************ Subchapter 4c. Nonstop DDR Action! ************************ Aside from playing song after song, there are alternatives to playing normal DDR. You've probably seen them and have maybe played a round or two. These are the Nonstop and Oni Courses. While they generally don't mean much when calculating PA, they're a great help to building it, especially if you play or want to relearn 1x (from the Oni courses). Online trackers such as DDRecall also keep track of Nonstops and Onis, thus building even more competition with others. Nonstops are great for stamina, quick thinking, chaos, and probably even speed training. Since you can apply mods, they're just as versitale as playing normal songs. There are plenty to choose from, but what is most reccommended is Random All Nonstop, or Random Caprice Nonstop. On Random All, you don't get to see what comes ahead of you, but Random Caprice you do (but they mostly tend to be easier songs). I generally prefer Random All with a 2x mod attached to it, but if you're uncomfortable with your PA (or Marvelous Attack, rather), it could be wise to play one of the other Nonstop courses. Pop4 is a great way to start, as it's easy to MA and it is one of the more popular courses. Onis work the same way, of course with two huge differences. Firstly, you don't get to select your mods. Secondly, anything that is below a Great (or NGs) deduct from your life, which can become costly if you go down in the first or second level. Oni Courses are generally preferred to Nonstops, due to the complexity and extra rules set for them. However, people who have grown attached to speed mods often find themselves blundered at even the simplest of Onis. Naoki Standard, Soul 6, and From Solo (in that order) are probably the easiest Oni courses to start yourself out at. Although, if you're hardcore about boosting your PA, you might want to stay away from Onis. But if you're up for the challenge or if you simply want to milk some more fun out of the game, go ahead and try them. You won't be disappointed. ************************ Subchapter 4d: Headin' to the Gym ************************ This question always pops up in every DDR Forum. "What exercise can I do to improve on DDR?" This answer is always the reply. "DDR." It is typical for a player to believe that since DDR is a form of exercise (a damn good one at that), other forms of exercise will improve on their ability to play. This is not the case. It's good if you're losing weight or trimming your flabby body, but it will get you no better in stomping arrows. It's probably obvious to you. Over the months you've played DDR, your legs, especially your calves, have probably acheived a thick muscle from stepping so much. Right there it makes it pointless to work these muscles out. Why work on building muscle for them when you do it anyway at the arcade? It's pointless. The same thing goes for stamina-based workouts. While it's nice to jog or swim once in a while, it won't get you better at DDR. While some argue that it helps when passing harder songs, and this is probably true, it will probably have little to no effect on your Perfect Attack. High-intensity workouts, swimming, climbing, long-distance running, will probably improve your stamina. Sports such as football, soccer, and rugby (if you live in one of those wacky countries that constantly play it) are good bets, especially if you are constantly in motion. However, it's not worth it unless, like your PA, you do it constantly and preferably with consistancy. Then you're double screwed out of it all. Besides, you can work on your stamina by playing "Stamina Runs," or a game that consists of only hard songs that you normally lose your breath on. Play a lot of these and you will notice how quickly you won't break a sweat on some songs. So there are no shortcuts to this game. To get better at DDR, you have to, gosh, *PLAY* DDR! What a coinkydink! Surely nobody thought of this! ************************************************ Chapter 5: Look Ma, I'm on the Interweb! ************************************************ This isn't really a part to help you out with PA, it's more of a guide to get others to help you out with PA. Nobody can determine your speed of growth but yourself. Always remember that. No matter who you meet, you are always in charge. Take advice the same way you're taking mine: Liberally and with close attention (kind of an oxymoron if you ask me =P ). From my experience, the best way to find out how to get better is to watch other people, ranked at or above your level, play DDR. If you're within the targeted level I reccommend for this guide, there should at least two to a dozen people at your arcade significantly better than you. Watch how they play. See how they move, look at their mistakes, think about the mods they use and how it affects their PA. I'm going to tell you how I got from Standard to Heavy. I was on a school trip down state to Bowling Green, Kentucky (har har redneck). The mall they have there has an arcade, Alladin's Castle, which of course contains an 8th Mix. I was playing some of the 8th Mix songs on Standard, and when I'm done playing, this guy, a lot larger than me, in full clothing, comes up and plays Let's Groove 2x. He gets an A on it. Now, this was back in the day, an A was amazing! There's no way someone is better than that! The guy looked at me, he was all, "Eh." When I got back home from the trip, I turned on my PS2 with DDR MAX2 inside. Let's Groove was the first song I played. Of course, I had forgotten about mods, but I pass the song anyway. From there, I start to play more sixes and sevens, and eventually work my way up to the eights and nines. I went back to Bowling Green a few months later. I'm having problems passing nine footers, and this guy comes up to me and says, "Wanna play Sakura?" I figured, "What the hell, can't be that bad, right?" Sakura obliterated me into a pulp. I'm pretty sure I failed it, and even if I passed it would have scored a very low D. The guy I played with had a low score as well, but passed. "It's more like a 9.75 footer." He smiled at me. From there, I played at the arcade a lot more, pretty much forgetting about the home version. Sometime that summer, I was getting a lot "better" (still sucking, haw). This guy comes up to me and wants to bet on a game of DDR, since I had just gotten an A on B4U. I was reluctant at first, of course I'm not going to do this. But he kept pestering and pestering me to do it. So I give in for a bet of $1. He wipes me out on the first two songs. I pick The Legend of MAX as the last one to see how good he really is. He slaps a 1.5x mod and passes it with ease. I walk out feeling gyped. It turns out the guy was Jayvis, creator of OhioDDR and other Ohio-based Video Game Organizations. WOW, I FEEL LIKE SHIT NOW, DON'T I? Not really. These experiences basically told me to get better. Not because there are people in front of me, not because I can get recognized for it, and not because I can sandbag random people for money (I did it once, but I gave the money right back and told the person to not bet on a video game). I do it because the fun factor of the game significantly increases as you get better. Players begin to notice you and you start to befriend them. You eventually go to tournaments and meet more people there. You join communities and talk about this stupid arrow game and how much it sucks, yet you go back week after week and pump more money into the machine and brag about your new scores. It's Crack Crack Revolution! The best way to get better is to meet people and meet them, talk to them, get ideas from them. If you live in or near a populous state (or at least one with at least enough DDR machines to go around), it's very likely that your state has a DDR Community. I live in Ketucky, but I reside in the Ohio DDR community because it's got more players, more locations, more tournaments, and what have you (plus I'm like ten minutes from Cincinnati, woop-de-doo). I know there's a Kentucky DDR, an Indy DDR, DDR Texas, DDR New York, even a DDR Maine, plus countless state-oriented DDR communities. Non-state-oriented include DDRFreak, Bemani-Style, tons more. International communities also formed: DDR Europe, DDR England, DDR Spain, all at your disposal. All it takes is a valid e-mail address and a half-intelligent mind and you've got access to people who play at your level and love DDR as much as you do. Why are they here? "Why aren't they here?" should be the correct question to ask. Because people love DDR and they still play it, even after three years since the most recent official mix was released, people cling on to hope in the alleged 9th Mix. All the while, people have gotten better, some have AAA'd the game, friendships were made and relationships have started (and even bitter, bitter chaos!). The fact that a game, a simple game such as this, has brought so many people together it is unmistakable to dismiss the power of a community. Find a community near you, or a widespread community across the nation. Either will work. Befriend people who can help you and you can help back. Symbiotic relationships are the best for a game like this, since everybody has a different playing style. Or, if you're extremely lucky, as I have, you'll meet a DDR Freak from a friend who doesn't play DDR at all. That's how I came across Random Negro, whom I owe pretty much the majority of the credit for helping me get better over the past year. By taking his advice, emulating it, and forming it to mold on my playstyle, I've improved gracefully. I went from one AA to 225, from not knowing what an SDG is to almost 40. You'll probably be able to find someone be your DDR guru, it just takes a little looking around. Eventually, you'll start seeing someone else where you were and want to help them get better too! All it takes is a little socializing and lots of DDR. ************************************************ Chapter 6: Contact, Credit, Etc. ************************************************ ___CONTACT___ email: AIM: TCCMagnus phone: 859-347-1111 (tastes so good you'll want it bad) DDRecall: THECapedCaper ___CREDIT___ GameFAQs for hosing. Konami for making the awesome game. DDRecall for the online tracking system (nod to Over the Monkey as well). ___ETC___ Special Thanks to the Cincy DDR kids, thanks for all the awesome times on Newport's crappy machine. Also to Random Negro for getting to where I am now. The people at OhioDDR, who are assholes for the most part until you take away their computer monitor, then they become really sweet people. Copyright information: Dance Dance Revolution, DDR Extreme, Bemani, and such namesakes are copyrighted to Konami. This work is written and owned by me. It may be posted at with my permission. No one else may use this work, in whole or in part, without my permission (I'm not too concerned about fame, just give me an e-mail if you want to post this). This work may not be used to earn profit, including but not limited to advertising directly on this FAQ. This work is copyright 2005 by Andy Schreiner (TCCMagnus). Remember, it is not who's got the best PA, it is who has the most fun. More versions will come.