DanceDanceRevolution goes mobile with iOS app

By Jonah Comstock
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DDR Pocket DanceDanceRevolution Pocket Edition

Popular exercise videogame DanceDanceRevolution may find new life in an unlikely place: the smartphone. Developer Konami has released DanceDanceRevolution: Pocket Edition, which allows iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch users to play the dancing game without the need for large hardware like external dance pads.

DanceDanceRevolution, or DDR, began as a Japanese arcade game in 1998, moving to America and Europe in 1999. It enjoyed fad-like popularity in the 2000s and it’s since been released for a number of home consoles. In the game, players step on one of four arrows in time with the music and onscreen instructions. The game plays popular songs and the dances increase in speed and complexity as the players progress.

The pocket version requires that the user have Apple TV. It uses the motion sensors built into the phone to track the user's dance moves and displays the game on the TV screen. It also tracks calories burned and other fitness statistics that can then be accessed in game, either individually or aggregated in a chart with past results.

Exergaming is traditionally associated with game consoles like the Microsoft Kinect or the Nintendo Wii. But mobile exergaming is gaining traction as people seek to do more and more with their smartphones. This summer, a game called Beatboxer+ launched for Windows PCs and tablets. The boxing game used a mobile device's camera as a motion sensor to score the user based on his or her movement, and tracked fitness statistics like movement and calorie burn at the same time.

Several peer-reviewed studies have shown that DDR can encourage increased physical activity for young people and even be helpful in autism therapy. Earlier this year, Konami partnered with United Healthcare to pilot a special classroom version of the game to improve physical activity scores in schools in Florida, Georgia, and Texas. The company also partnered with American Diabetes Association, the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move in Schools campaign, to bring DDR Classroom Edition to additional schools.

MobiHealthNews looked at fitness and exergaming on the Microsoft Kinect in our report "Kinect the Docs: How Microsoft's Video Game Technology is Changing Healthcare", available now in the MobiHealthNews research store.