Tuesday 11 June 2024

DDR, the 10th year

Another "10th year" among many others that I have already wrote about on my blog, but DDR is different. This is something that I consistently keep track of, and progress is really made over the time. 

Since when did I started playing DDR? A local Osu! player lured me to try so when we were in arcade where I played Taiko (up to 9* and a few 10*s at the 11th gen cab) and jubeat (level 10 in Copious). That was a X3 vs X2 mix cab with a very beginner friendly mode where everything is limited to 1-5 "foot level" (the old foot level was already scrapped).

Like everyone else, I started with failing these easiest levels. But soon I started passing level 8 (I believe) consistently, then level 10 then 12, a year later 14. This arcade closed around the end of 2015 Q3, but this is a story for another day but you would probably have seen mentions of the exact same arcade somewhere else in the blog.

The exact time where I started couldn't be dated precisely, but surely it's well before the second half of 2014 because I had evidence of me playing up to level 13-14 at the time already. In many occasions I wrote the (N-2014)th year in the title but actually it's the (N-2014+1)th year of me playing DDR. 

I ended up settled in new arcades. The first one had an ITG but soon disgustingly replaced that by PIU, so I ordered soft pad and practice with stepmania at home until another arcade opened where I stayed for a long time.

Here are some snapshots:
2016, the 2nd year: doing well at level 14, attempts on MAX300 the gateway to advanced level
2017, the 3rd year: doing well mostly at level 16 and a few 17, almost passed 嘆きの樹 ESP
2018, the 4th year: doing well at level 17 and a few 18, 500 credits since DDR2014 (not accounting X3 and 2013 ver.)
2019, the 5th year(in Chinese): doing well at level 18 except OTP and ENDYMION, able to do 18 set, looking to clear 19
2022, the 8th year: Fully cleared 18, yet unable to clear at level 19

I was possibly the best in 2019 when my stamina was clearly prepared for 19. After covid I became better in terms of single attempts, but never bested the 2019 self in terms of readiness towards level 19. I had a 750k score at Paranoia Revolution CSP but that was it.

It is a bit sad to say that my performance peak in 2019 aligned with my physical peak in terms of age. You clearly feel that more warmup is necessary in 2024 for similar performance than in 2019. That does not imply I am never going to outperform the 2019 self again, but it requires great and consistent effort. In fact I am quite happy with a few scores obtained in the past year. Such score on a shitty 2nd gen cab means I can easily get an A in a proper cab. 

And I am back ready for the challenge.

Reason behind that? Well firstly I am done with Chunithm. Not because the game was poor, but I already had my potential fully exhausted in reaching 16.00. I can probably go slightly higher if I try really, really hard but it is not very meaningful. Chunithm is known for its vast song collection, but after playing the game intensively for a year the collection lost its attraction. Yes SEGA is still adding new songs in mass frequently, but I do not play the game just for the song and DDR is still my top choice.

Another reason is...I finally have my hands on a gold cab that I can play in long term. Not when I travel to Japan where I had to travel between two golden league seasons just for the golden league scores so that I can unlock those course trials. But a gold cab that I can play any day I desired.

I do not see myself getting close to my 2022 let alone 2019 performance for now. It takes time to get used with gold cabs with the lowered pads. When I did course trials in the past that was in survival mode, or travelling mode at the least where I don't try hard for scores. In general practice though that should be something worth minimal care. Gold cab speed is also significantly different: 450BOOST becomes 400BOOST -- at least I know I can only read 350BOOST on 2nd gen cab not because I lost my reading ability. 

My first goal is to resume my practice of 7 credits a session, then clear most 18s. Many new gimmicky/almost 19/plain bullshit level 18 maps had been added these years, and let us see how my plan goes! We will meet again in this record in a year.

For the record before Konami scraps the site again:

X2-2014 + ITG: ~500 plays without hard evidence
A~A20plus: 1993 plays
A3: 226 plays up to 09/06/2024.

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