A number of fellow attendees at Gaming in Libraries were asking me questions about Dance Dance Revolution. What console to get it for, what dance pads, etc. Now I’m not nearly as well versed on the topic as someone like Eli and the other presenters. But, here’s my two cents from the player’s perspective.
For starters, get yourself a Playstation 2. It has the widest variety of DDR games available, and can also play versions designed for the Playstation 1. Each game has a different song set, and after a while you’ll probably want to move on to a new one.
However, do not buy the Playstation 2 off of Ebay or the like. The small bit of money you’ll save is outweighed by the risk of never receiving the system and being unable to verify its condition prior to purchase. If you’re looking to start out low budget, borrow one. Odds are that a library employee, one of their kids, or one of your kids’ friends has one. Explain to the owner of the system what it will be used for, and I’ll bet they’ll be more than willing to help out. Trust me: Nothing lights up an accomplished DDR player’s eyes like the prospect of group play.
If successful, invest in your own new system. They’re $150, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the price drops in the next six months.
Buying used games, though, is probably ok. And in the case of older versions of DDR it may be your only option. Check out your local Electronics Botique or Gamestop and browse their pre-played selection. I’ve never had a problem with a used game not working, and stores usually take them back if there’s a major issue (just be sure to ask before buying).
Lastly, the dance pads. If you really, really need to keep the budget low the first time out, try the $15-$20 foldable pads you’ll find in any video game store. But, I guarantee they will fall apart and/or stop registering steps correctly before long. The next step up are inch-thick foam pads such as this one. $99.99 each. I have this one personally, and like it a lot. But again, eventually they will break down under the pressure of sustained group play.
In the end, for long term use you’ll be best served by the Cobalt Flux hard metal pads that Eli uses. They’re on sale a bit at the moment, $569.99 for two. An investment yes, but it will pay off in the long run. And players will love you for it. Oh, whatever style of pad you decide on – make sure you’re buying it for the correct console.
Hope that helps.