When Konami released "Dance Dance Revolution" to the world in 1998, I don't think they had in mind what went down at the Carson City Library last Tuesday.
Teens Embracing Reading in Carson, or TERiC, the Carson City Library's youth advisory board, put on a DDR competition for Teen Tech Week. About 37 teens showed up to compete in the competition, not including Cory King, the advisor of TERiC, the other librarian who stepped up to help out, or the members of TERiC themselves. That number also doesn't include the number of people who just showed up to watch. The kids were competing to DDR Ultramix 3 and DDR SuperNOVA on the PlayStation 2 and XBox consoles.
There was a sign-up list full of names and a huge pile of shoes (you aren't supposed to step on the console dance pads with shoes on). A full case of water bottles was decimated within 45 minutes.
So many kids showed up that King didn't know if he was going to be able to finish the competition on time. I ran home and grabbed my DDR pad and copy of DDR Extreme 2. Getting the PlayStation2 connected to the TV and working was another matter, but once we got it together, the kids loved it.
For the kids who were waiting to get a chance at DDR or who were just waiting around, a member of TERiC had brought their new Nintendo Wii, which was drawing quite a crowd with Legend of Zelda and Wii Sports. In fact, Eric Guildark, 15, came specifically for the Wii. "I don't like DDR. I don't like dancing, period." He said, watching friends play with the Wiimotes and nunchuk. "I came to be with my friends and play a Wii."
About an hour into the competition, things had calmed down. King still didn't know if they'd finish the competition (they had two hours allotted them), but he was enjoying the success.
"This is what I envisioned. It's controlled chaos," he said. "I'd heard about other places doing this sort of thing and mad crowds showing up, but I didn't think that would happen here."
Dance Dance Revolution was released as an arcade game, that was followed up with an American PlayStation release in 2001. It's a part of the company's Bemani series of music-themed video games that includes DDR, GuitarFreaks, Beatmania, and Karaoke Revolution.
Many gamers do not like DDR, but it does have one thing that endears it in the eyes of the public: It forces the inactive youth of today to exercise. When I first got into DDR, I could honestly tell my former ROTC instructor that I was, indeed, exercising several times a week.
Mikki Keirstead was taking part in the competition. She had a punk outfit and aquamarine hair, and she loved DDR.
"It's active. It's one of the only real active video games out there," she said,. "Those gamers, they don't get out a lot."
She added that most people in Carson City play DDR at their houses. Only the Gold Dust West on Highway 50 has a DDR platform, so most kids from Carson have to travel up to Reno or Sparks to play.
I was talking to a friend of mine about how I was going to go watch kids play DDR at the library and he threw his hands up in frustration. "DDR at the library? What's the world coming to?" Obviously, he isn't a fan.
However, anything that'd draw teenagers to the library is a good thing. If just one teen left the DDR competition and signed up for a library card on their way out, the "travesty" of DDR being at the library was well worth it.
As for TERiC, they seem like a fun-loving bunch. There's a sense of camaraderie amongst them that's reminiscent of my high school days. Any middle or high school student can join TERiC, and that's evident. There are punks, goths, preps, and really anything else you can label anyone in TERiC, and some middle school students, too. They even have a Myspace: www.myspace.com/carsoncitylibrary.
For questions about TERiC, call Cory King at the library, 887-2244.
1st Place Beginner Mode: Destiny Martinez
1st Place Standard Mode: Leah Wegner
1st Place Difficult Mode: Andria Love
Each winner won a $15 gift card to GameCrazy.
Where to find DDR
There are 71 machines located in Nevada. Most of them are in Southern Nevada. However, there's a few within driving distance of Carson City:
• Gold Dust West, Carson City - DDR MAX2.
• Silver Strike Entertainment Center, Gardnerville - DDR MAX2.
• Grand Sierra Resort FunQuest, Reno - DDR MAX.
• Circus Circus, Reno - DDR Extreme.
• Atlantis Fun Center, Reno - DDR SuperNOVA, Stepmania, DDR Extreme.
• Eldorado Hotel & Casino, Reno - Solo 4th Plus.
• Peppermill, Reno - DDR MAX2.
• Wal-Mart Kiezkie Lane, Reno - Solo2000.
• Harrah's Casino, Reno - Solo 4th.
• John Ascuaga's Nugget, Sparks - DDR Extreme, In The Groove 2.
• Hobey's Restaurant and Casino, Sun Valley - DDR Extreme.
• Boomtown Family Fun Center, Verdi - In The Groove 2, DDR Extreme.
• Harveys Casino, Stateline - In The Groove 2, DDR USA.
• Harrah's Funzone Arcade, Stateline - DDR EXTREME, DDR USA.
• Horizon Casino, Stateline - DDR MAX2.
• MontBleu, Stateline - DDR Extreme.
• The Village Arcade, Stateline - DDR Extreme.
• Cal-Nevada Resort, Crystal Bay - DDR Extreme.
- Source: DDRfreak.com.
Dance Dance Revolution is available for purchase as well.
For the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 consoles, as well as Microsoft's Xbox. You will need to purchase dance pads; these range anywhere from $20 for a soft dance pad to $300 for a hard one.
• Tasha Costa is an Appeal employee and a reviewer for Advanced Media Network. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her blog at http://techtasha.wordpress.com.