We all remember the flashing lights and eye catching dance mat peripheral of Dance Dance Revolution gracing our local arcades. National tournaments were held across the country, and forums like DDRfreak flourished. There was once a time when DDR was popular with the masses, but as the video arcade died out, so did DDR‘s popularity. While the modern arcade is slowly becoming extinct, Dance Dance Revolution is finding a new home in classrooms.
Konami and United Healthcare has brought DDR into three schools in Georgia, Texas, and Florida. Dance Dance Revolution Classroom Edition is a special version of DDR designed for classrooms. The initial specs of the game include wireless game mats, the capability for 48 students to play the game at once, and a smart card that will track each student’s progress with stats such as caloric burn rate, number of steps done, and Body mass index.
The course was developed by Dr. Lisa Witherspoon, co-director of the Active Gaming Research Laboratories at the University of South Florida. According to an interview with her at CES, 65% of kids are not active after they get back from school. It’s these periods of inactivity that contribute to the growing number of kids that are diagnosed with obesity. Dr. Witherspoon believes that the best way to get kids to be more active is by integrating technology with physical exercise.
Hopefully, Dance Dance Revolution Classroom Edition successes in the three starter states will lead to DDR being available in more schools worldwide. It’s great to see the game finally utilized to such a large degree. Dance Dance Revolution has always been available on consoles, but putting it in a school’s curriculum might just respark the DDR revolution once more.