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Unraveling the soul of Dance Dance Revolution
First and foremost, it's a game. Something happens on the screen, you push a button, you get points if you do it correctly. However, there's 2 parts of that that make DDR...different. You don't press a small circle with your hand, you don't move a joystick. You don't steer a car or a motorcycle. There's no shooting, fighting, or secret moves. It's all about arrows.

"Arrows? What happened to no shooting?"
Not those arrows. Small arrows scroll up (or down, sometimes) to the beat of the music. You have 4 options. Up, down, left, and right. The arrow on screen points left. You look down, and see an arrow to your left pointing in the same direction (you were expecting something different?). You stomp on the arrow. You look at the screen. What does it say? "Boo"? "Miss"?

"But I hit the arrow! Did I hit it wrong?"
No, just not at the right time. When the arrow gets to the top, and the bass goes "Thump", then you hit it. But not too hard, some people might get angry and throw things (because stomping is loud, annoying, and can damage the machine).

"I hit the button when the arrow was at the top and the bass went "Thump", but it still says "Boo"! Why did you lie to me?"
Just like any other game, it takes lots of practice to get good. In the case of DDR, it takes a lot of practice to play without failing.

That about sums it up. If you don't do good after your 10th try, don't worry. Everyone does bad at first. Just keep playing. You'll get better and start passing songs on Beginner, then Basic, then Standard, then Heavy, although it could take months to do so.