Monday, August 4, 2008

Cleaning house — DDR-style

So, yesterday, it was my turn to exercise with Dance Dance Revolution: Ultramix 2, aka DDR. I like this particular game, the song selections range from enjoyable to gasp! And a random spin of the song selection wheel usually pulls up a fun song to dance to. I did notice, however, that I've had this game for almost 4 years, and some of the grades I've received on the songs were an embarrassment to my 1337-skilzxorz, so I made it my mission to improve those grades from (what grade I've had for years → what grade I have today). Fruitful:
  • Sleepwalker: B → A

    Abrupt changing tempos mid-phrase always bring out the beast in me; this time I got the better of the song, and not the other way around.

  • Hit 'n' Slap (Asletics): A → AA

    This has got to be one of the baddest (in the sense of 'coolest') songs in the repetoire, and the very slow tempo should make this super-super easy. Nope: the density of the arrows demands constant attention, which, this time, I gave to it.

  • Love Shine: A → AA

    This song is right up there with Waka Laka, not for difficulty, for Love Shine is merely very hard, not, well, Waka Laka hard ...

    EM, after I completed a Waka Laka run: Papa, why did you fall down on the futon?
    Me, gasping for breath, not responding for about 30 seconds: ...

    ... Waka Laka, by the way, is only a 2-minute song.

    ... but for its unapologetic exuberance. Getting the AA grade was sweet after 4 years of working at it.

  • Monkey Punk (Big Idea): A → AA

    This has got to be one of my favorite songs in the entire DDR repetoire. Getting a AA after 4 years of playing just shows how hard it is ... a fast-fast tempo with some tricky transitions makes it fun, and hard!

  • Mellow (Alien#Six13): A → AA

    It's too bad I haven't found a link for this song: the very smooth sound belies dense arrows during the show tempo, and the fast tempo is very much faster than the slow parts. I have no idea how I got the "AA" other than that I made it my mission to study every nuance (particularly during the tricky slow parts) for two runs before arriving at the AA in the third run. But I always do that; what made the difference today?

  • Tittle Tattle (Zonk): B → A

    Mean, mean, mean song — it has a traditional build up, with the usual tricks in the transitions, and then in the wind-up takes a completely unexpected turn down La-la lane.

  • Balle le Samba (Big Idea): A → AA !!

    Okay, I don't remember how I got to A (the first few times I tried this song on hard, I failed it within the first 10 seconds), and I have no idea how I was able to play this song flawlessly, but there I was, hitting every arrow, after arrow, after arrow, and then suddenly the song was over, and I had the AA. Huh? How did I do that?

  • Skulk (echo !mage): A → AA

    Okay, this song was determined to keep me down — I did it three times in a row, earning a AA each time, but my technique was not as good as it needed to be to earn me the final grade of AA from my previous A ranking. Well, this was simple: I would earn the AA, with or without the compliance of the scoring system, so I danced it to near perfection one more time, and DDR finally capitulated, giving me my earned AA.

    This little conflict reminded of way back when I was in high school, I was watching Beki practice with Sport over a not too difficult jump. Sport flat out refused to jump it, balking at the jump each time she cantered him forward. Beki, in turn, flat out refused to accept anything other than Sport going over the jump. I watched as she cantered up to the jump, as he balked, and as she circled him around in a large loop back to the jump; he balked again. She did this 5 times, 6 times, 7 times. She wasn't angry at all: she just simply was having Sport take the jump, and she wasn't going to accept any other outcome.

    At the seventh attempt, he went over, smoothly and easily.

    You don't stop an Auclair from doing what they set out to do.

  • Brick House: B → AA

    Ugh! I hated doing this one, with BPM at 117, I had to play the wait-wait-wait game for the arrow to arrive, then when it did, I needed to pounce with exact timing to get an above "Good" mark. It took me 3 attempts, all "A" efforts to for system to improve my grade, but when I had it, I had it — my next go rewarded me with the "AA" grade.

So, the above summarized yesterday's satisfying results. Today was just a normal workout with a new DDR game I have, DDR: Extreme.

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