Sunday, December 19, 2010

Non-conventional dancing in a public setting, and why I do it

Now that exams are over (mostly), I'm happy to announce I can finally start updating this thing again! And oh, how I've missed it...

Purposefully contradictory with the time of year is weight loss and working out. My method is quite unique... albeit geeky most times. It's something called "In The Groove," or "ITG." It's a DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) equivalent, essentially. ITG is nice because it's a very customizable version of DDR, where a person can upload "stepcharts" onto a USB drive, plug it into the front of the machine, and play songs off of it. Our friend who owns the machine (and was one of the best DDR players in North America at one point) also puts any song we want onto the machine to play. This includes old DDR songs, which John and I usually play (for nostalgia's sake. What do I mean by this...?)

John and I met in an arcade playing DDR about 6 years ago. Back then, ITG never existed, and there was a fairly large community of players. Competitive players. Tournaments and conferences were frequent, and the first one I ever went to, John had won it! At that time, I had a boyfriend and had no idea that I had feelings for him. I learned later that he had a crush on me since the day we first met... =)

Those days are gone now, as evidenced by the lack of interest in the most recent conference being held by the machine owner (or maybe it's the fact that it's the dead of winter and between Christmas and New Years' that the conference is being held... not sure!). The community broke up a long time ago, gradually, as people began to move away, go to post-secondary, and as DDR machines began to break down due to lack of care. Despite this, John and I still love to play, both as a workout and because we love the game so much. We love improving ourselves. Not everyone can say that they can pass 'an 11' on ITG. The hardest songs got in DDR was a 10, for example. So we feel quite accomplished.

We, as well as a select few of our friends who will still occasionally play, make an effort to go at least twice a week to play this game for hours at a time. By the time we're finished playing, we're both dripping with sweat due to the intense cardio workout that it can be. We've gained a lot of stamina playing the game as well, as a lot of the custom songs on the machine are long (some between 5-10 minutes, compared to the typical 2-3 minute song).

Why am I writing about this? John and I went to play last night, the first time in about a week for me due to exams. We went late, leaving here at around 8 and got home around 11:30 or so. Not only does it remind me of the good ol' days where I would just pick up and go to the arcade in the middle of the night or whatever, but it reminded me of another reason why I am grateful for John in my life. He helps me with everything. We share (most) everything together. He's been with me through everything.

Playing ITG also reminds me of mum. There was a time where I went over to her house to visit and she had bought a DDR pad and game to play at home. She told me she's playing it to lose weight and get a workout, too. I was so excited for her! But... she said I couldn't see her play until she got 'as good as me.' She said when she got good, she wanted to play against me. Haha...

When she passed away and we were cleaning out her house, I found that DDR game and the companion pad. I debated selling it, but I decided to hold onto it. I'll never really know how good she got, but it touches me to know she looked up to me when it came to that silly game. Although I play for myself, I also play for her, too. I always have. =)

Until next time...

(Does anyone else have any geeky guilty pleasures?)


Tara said...

I am way tooo uncoordinated for DDR, it's sad, really. I'm also too uncoordinated for things like rock band or guitar hero. I can't make my hands and feet do the things the screen is telling me to do. so, kudos to you for being really good at it!

Also, congrats on almost being done the semester, you can almost breathe a sigh of relief, and start to relax and de-stress!

I'm glad you held onto the DDR game and the companion pad that your mom had, it's a cute little connection to her that's really unique.

La Angel Caida said...

I agree. I didn't feel right giving it away at the time. I think if I ever meet someone who is really into the game I'll give it to them. There's one girl I saw at the arcade that was playing the machine and seemed to really enjoy it... I think the arcade owner might know the family, so I'll inquire and pass it off to her.

I think as long as I have the memory, that's what counts. =)

It took me a long time to get where I am, with lots of hiatuses (is that even right? Maybe 'hiatai'? haha...) along the way. Though... I think being good at DDR has helped with other rhythm games. I caught onto things like DJ Hero and Guitar Hero instantly... so I'm not sure! =)

Pianistic Wordsmith said...

I am so glad you still play! And I had no idea there was a winter conference this year, or I would have come! Man, last time I was at a winter conference was in 2005. That feels like ages ago. Pretty sure you'd beat me solidly this time around, though. =)
I've thought about playing more consistently again since you mentioned it a while ago. I do miss being in good shape in that way. A couple of years ago, I bought a new foam insert pad off ebay with the intent of doing just that, but to my chagrin, the down arrow didn't work, and I'd paid a hundred bucks for it. =(
Anyway, I was thinking - I'm heading back for next semester in a few days here, but I'll be back for a week during reading break in February - we should get together, and you should introduce me to ITG. =)

Krista said...

Hey missy!

I would be honoured to introduce you to ITG! The best part? You can still play DDR songs. Haha. John and I always warm up playing DDR songs.. =)

I have that soft pad still that I was going to give to that little girl if I ever saw her again. Maybe if I don't see her again, I can give it to you? John also made a metal pad years ago that he doesn't use anymore... maybe he could tweak it up and you can bring it with you? Though if you're flying, that may be tricky... =(

Either way, definitely let me know! It will be great to see you again! =D