Dance Dance Revolution, abbreviated DDR, is a game that was released in arcades by Konami on November 21, 1998 in Japan. DDR is a unique music video game involving dance and rhythm that defined the genre. The game involves timing and balance by having players use their feet instead of their hands like typical video games. In March 1999, the game was released to the Asian and North American arcade audiences. It was also released to the European arcade audience under the name Dancing Stage. Players and game critics were caught off-guard by the game's addictive qualities winning the new franchise many merits to its design.
On April 10, 1999, Dance Dance Revolution was released on the Japanese PlayStation, adding new music and gameplay elements. A console release was not made for any other region. Despite the global popularity of DDR the series remained obscure outside of Japan and few official additional arcade releases of DDR were made elsewhere until the multi-regional release of Dance Dance Revolution Supernova in 2006.
The general premise of Dance Dance Revolution is to move one's feet to a set pattern. One player can play using one dance pad (single mode), two players can play using one dance pad each (Versus mode), or one player can play using both dance pads (double mode).
Players must step to the beat, matching their beat to the arrows presented to them on screen by stepping on arrows on a dance stage. A judgment is displayed for each step, depending on the player's timing; Perfect!!, Great!, Good, Boo or Miss.... An on-screen life meter, known as the Dance Gauge, begins halfway full at the start of each song. Perfect and Great steps slowly fill the Gauge, while Boo and Miss steps quickly deplete it. Good steps have no effect either way. If players accumulates too many Boos or Misses, and the Dance Gauge becomes empty, the song fails and the game ends.
Players may play anywhere from one to five songs, depending on how many the arcade operator sets the machine to play each game. At the end of each song, players see their accumulated points, bonus points, and how many of each kind of step they made. They also get a letter grade that is dependent on the judgments received during play, ranging from SS, all steps Perfect, to E, failure, which is only seen in Versus mode when the other player passes. If players manage to pass their songs a cumulative results screen is given, totaling the stats from all played stages.
The song selection interface of Dance Dance Revolution is a jukebox-like menu of CDs that represent the available songs. On this screen, various step codes can be entered on the dance stage to modify the arrangement and appearance of arrows during gameplay. On the arcade version of Dance Dance Revolution step codes must be entered to switch between difficulty levels.
During gameplay, 3D dancing characters appear in the background of each song. Different characters can be selected at the main title screen by standing on either the left or right arrow panels while pressing the select button.
The music of Dance Dance Revolution is the collective soundtracks of the initial Dance Dance Revolution game in Konami's music simulation series. The soundtracks rely heavily on licensed music from Tochiba EMI's Dancemania series and also contain original songs produced by Konami's in-house artists Naoki Maeda and Yuichi Asami. The original arcade game contains only 11 tracks and the PlayStation released contains 16. Due to the staggered release of the game in other regions additional songs from newer releases in the series appear in the Asian, European and American releases.