How to Buy a DDR Arcade Machine for Your Home Game Room
Do you love to dance? Do you love video games? Were you an arcade kid who came of age in the late 1990s and early 2000s? If so, then you should consider buying a DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) arcade machine for your home game room! If you're part of that young Gen X or Elder Millennial cohort and grew up in the '90s or early 2000's, you're probably already familiar with the Dance Dance Revolution craze. Even if it wasn't ever central to your life, you have probably heard that DDR and other rhythm and dance machines are a lot of fun, enjoyed by many, plus they are even known to provide a great workout.
In this blog post, we will teach you everything you need to know about buying a DDR arcade machine for your home. We'll cover new machines, used machines, and even how to build your own DIY DDR arcade machine. We will discuss the different types of machines available, the features you should look for, and where to find the best deals. Let's get started!
What is Dance Dance Revolution and what is a DDR machine?
Dance Dance Revolution (commonly known as DDR) is a music and rhythm game that was created by Konami in 1998. It's one of the most influential music and rhythm games of all time, helping bring the genre from Japan to the United States. The game became popularized in arcades, but has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years due to the release of the Ace machine in 2016.
DDR machines generally comprise a large controller pad that the player steps on, timed to visual beat instructions on the display. The machine also needs to be hooked up to a computer, display, and sound system in order to function properly. DDR machines can mostly be found in public arcades today, but a growing number of fans are adding them to their home game rooms as well. If you're interested in buying a DDR machine for your home, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First and foremost, you'll need to have enough space in your home to accommodate the machine. DDR machines can range in size from smaller, portable machines that leverage video game console hookups to full-sized arcade cabinets. You'll also need to make sure that you have a solid surface on which to place the machine, as they can be quite heavy and require stable footing. Additionally, you'll need to factor in the cost of the machine itself as well as any necessary peripheral equipment like a computer, display, and sound system. DDR machines can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on their size and features.
Once you've considered all of these factors, you'll be ready to start shopping for a DDR machine that's right for your home game room. You can find machines for sale online from a variety of retailers, or you can check your local arcade to see if they have any used machines available. With a little bit of research and planning, you'll be well on your way to adding a DDR machine to your home game room in no time!
How to play Dance Dance Revolution?
Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) is a popular arcade game that has been around for over 20 years. The objective of the game is quite simple! Players need to step on specific arrows on a large control pad on the floor which correspond to arrows that are crossing a target line on the video display, which are synced with the music. Missing steps will cause your health to drain until eventually losing. If you complete the song before losing all your health, you win the round. Bonus points are earned for completed streaks and combos.
While the objective of DDR is simple, the game can be hard to master as it's all about rhythm, movement, and timing. Players need to have good coordination and stamina in order to do well. That said, DDR can be played by people of all ages and skill levels and even if you're not good right away, practicing can be just as fun and rewarding as winning consistently.
How much does a DDR machine cost?
TL;DR on how much a DDR machine will set you back:
- Brand new: $9,000-$20,000+
- Used: $3,000-$20,000
Depends on what you're buying. A brand new Dance Dance Revolution arcade machine as well as the Pump-It-Up or StepManiaX competing products could run you anywhere from almost $9,000-$20,000+ from a game room retailer like Game Room Guys.
On the used market, prices vary quite a bit. You are just as likely to find an older model Dance Dance Revolution arcade style cabinet for a few thousand dollars (likely $3,000-$4,000) to close to new in box prices. All of this will depend on your location and the condition/age of the machine.
There are of course cheaper ways to get an inferior DDR experience at home, such as buying a USB soft style control pad meant to be used with a video game console, but that's not what this guide is about!
How much space do I need for a DDR machine?
If you have a home game room with minimal free space, fitting a DDR arcade machine could be a challenge. While each model and manufacturer will have slightly different dimensions, you can ballpark something like the following for the dimensions of a DDR arcade machine:
A Dance Dance Revolution arcade machine is roughly:
- H:88″ W:49″ D: 30″ for the Monitor Cabinet
- H:48″ W:70″ D: 43″ for the Dance Floor
If you're just looking to buy a rhythm game and the physical act of dancing isn't as important to you, there are other rhythm style games to consider like Konami's Sound Voltex and Jubeat Arcade machines.
Why did they stop making Dance Dance Revolution?
Short answer - they haven't stopped making Dance Dance Revolution arcade machines! While Dance Dance Revolution did decline in popularity following its initial release in the United States, it has continued to remain popular in Japan, and Konami and a few other producers continue to make new editions for the U.S. market, though there were some years where the models they produced never really made it stateside and were kept mostly in the Japanese market. Today, modern DDR machines are mostly found at large public arcades like Dave and Busters and Round 1, however they can be purchased for home use as well.
How do I experience DDR arcades at home?
The absolute best way to get the true Dance Dance Revolution experience at home is to buy a new DDR arcade machine from a game room retailer. While expensive, this will ensure you get to enjoy the full arcade experience in the comfort of your own home. Plus, most arcade machines tend to hold value fairly well, so as long as you keep it in good shape you should be able to recoup most of your investment when you go to sell it again (this is not financial advice, of course).
The second best way that will still give you the arcade experience, but may take extra work to source and some technical know-how to fix or repair issues, is to buy a used DDR arcade machine from a place like Cragislist, Ebay or Facebook Marketplace. Often, going this route lets you purchase from other home arcade and DDR fans, or from local arcades that are selling off old or unused inventory. Here, it helps to be somewhat familiar with general electronics and computer repair, as you may need to fix bad wiring, replace boards, or solder a thing or two to get a broken machine working properly. YouTube can be a great source of information for this kind of work.
There are DIY DDR machine options available if you're electronically inclined and don't mind putting in a little manual labor. DDRPad.com is a great place to look for parts and accessories for a DIY style build.
Alternatively, if you're desperate for that Dance Dance Revolution fix but can't bring yourself to pay the full cost of an arcade style cabinet, there are plenty of rhythm and dance games to be found on video game consoles like the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5 (PS5). There's also the whole world of VR systems like Meta's Oculus and the popular Beat Master series.
For console rhythm and dance games, be sure to check out:
- Beat Master
- Just Dance
- Groove Coaster
- Muse Dash
Types of DDR Arcades to Buy
If you're looking for a DDR experience for your home game room, there are a few different directions you can take. You can buy a new DDR arcade machine, buy a used DDR arcade machine, or even build your own.
New Dance Dance Revolution Machines (full cabinet)
There are a limited number of producers making full cab DDR style arcade machines. And to be quite honest, for the home gamer, a new DDR machine can be hard to come by in general.
That said, a full cabinet style Dance Dance Revolution machine include everything you need - the dance pad controller, display, computer system, sound, speakers, songs, etc. These are mostly geared towards professional operators who plan on including these games in an arcade environment. But, like all sorts of other arcade games, if you have the space and the budget, you can definitely purchase a DDR arcade machine for your home game room, it might just take a bit of work and ingenuity, or willingness to try a manufacturer other than Konami.
Here are a few of the current full size cabinet dance and rhythm games on the market today.
StepManiaX Dedicated Machine (5th Generation)
One of the best if not the best competitor to Konami's Dance Dance Revolution. The StepManiaX Dedicated Machine (5th generation) can be hard to find and is frequently sold out when available. StepManiaX will look very familiar to any veteran of DDR style games. Its big advantages over a dedicated Dance Dance Revolution machine is its large song library (approaching 300 songs), graphics and quality of life improvements, customization options, and generally lower costs of ownership. Plus, StepManiaX doesn't seem to include any of the operator access restrictions that Konami does with its DDR machines.
Pump-It-Up LX 55" 20th Anniversary - Andamiro
This is the 20th anniversary release of the Pump-It-Up arcade cabinet by Andamiro, originally release in 1999 out of South Korea. This will again look familiar to any Dance Dance Revolution fans. Fans of Pump-it-Up complement the general flow of the step charts compared to DDRs, as well as the large catalog of available songs.
DDR players also tend to prefer Pump-it-Up for more creative step charts at higher skill levels, and a general commitment to higher quality modern releases then those of Konami and Dance Dance Revolution.
Like StepManiaX, Pump-It-Up machines can be easier to obtain for professional operators who are on the smaller side, or home arcade customers.
Dance Dance Revolution Dedicated Cabs - A3, A20, etc.
Unless you're a commercial operator of an arcade or other public venue like a Dave and Busters or Round 1, it can be really difficult (if not impossible) to get your hands on a new Dance Dance Revolution machine. Even if you can find one of the models released in recent years (i.e. 2013 or 2019), you may not be able to connect to Konami's e-amusement network unless you're an authorized commercial location or you've found some way to buy or hack your way to access.
Not having access to the e-amusement network can be severely limiting for the enjoyment of your game, so often times if you're looking for a new machine your best bet is to go for a competing product like StepManiaX, Pump-It-Up, or build your own solution.
New DDR Controller Pads
One of the best options for dedicated fans of Dance Dance Revolution and other rhythm and dance games is to just buy a controller pad and hook it up to your own cabinet or computer / monitor system. This is possible thanks to Stepmania, which is essentially an open source version of Dance Dance Revolution that's free to install and runs on all major platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux). It's even what powers the major DDR competitors, StepManiaX and Pump-It-Up!
Popular controller pads for DDR style games include:
Where to Buy a Used DDR Machine
If you're looking for a used DDR machine, there are a few major places that you can look for options. As with most use goods, your usual suspects include places like Craigslist, Ebay and Facebook Marketplace.
There are also some prominent buy/sell groups, also on Facebook. For example, those looking to buy a used Dance Dance Revolution, StepManiaX or Pump-It-Up machine can look at the following groups:
Group Description: "This group was created to help people buy and sell BEMANI-related merchandise. Anything from arcade cabinets, artwork, home releases, trinkets and tie-in merchandise is welcome here. Fan-made creations that relate to BEMANI or other rhythm games are welcome as well but please don't spam the group with commission offers. Feel free to post sales/requests for other rhythm series such as Taiko no Tatsujin, Technika, Neon FM or other arcade/home rhythm games. While the main focus is BEMANI, there are lots of great music games out there!"
The Official Buy/Sell/Trade group for rhythm game players
Group Description: "This page is perfect for anybody in the rhythm game community looking to buy, sell, and/or trade online. There aren't exactly any restrictions in regards to what you can/cannot post, but because of the nature of this group, you should expect to see a LOT of Bemani/rhythm game related items being posted, but don't be discouraged! While this is a rhythm game influenced page, please feel free to post anything you're trying to sell/salvage/trade! :D"
Just be sure to inspect the machine thoroughly before you buy it and be prepared to spend some money on repairs or replacement parts, as these can be quite pricey.
The last place you can look is your local arcade or bowling alley. If you catch these businesses as they are upgrading or selling a DDR machine themselves, you may be able to buy it from them.
Where to Buy a New DDR Arcade Machine
As mentioned previously, it will be hard as a home buyer to purchase a new Dance Dance Revolution machine as Konami typically sells to professional operators and large arcade chains.
However, you'll probably have much better luck trying to buy one of Konami's DDR competitors like StepManiaX or Pump-It-Up. Some retailers and distributors may also sell you older model Konami DDR arcade machines, but you're still unlikely to get access to Konami's e-amusement network.
The first place you should look is your local arcade or game room distributor. This way you can build a relationship with a provider who is local to you, who you can turn to for future purchases or repair / maintenance assistance. That said, other vendors you can explore include:
How to Build Your Own (DIY) DDR Machine
The last option for the DDR fan who wants an arcade style experience for their home game room is to build your own machine.
This will require some work on your part, but it will also be the most rewarding option as you'll get to put your own personal touch on the build. Not to mention, it will be the most cost effective way to get the machine of your dreams.
You can find plenty of guides online for building your own DDR machine, but here are a few key things you'll need to keep in mind:
- You'll need a controller or dance pad. The best option is usually an arcade quality controller or dance mat, as they will be the most durable and responsive. You can find these new or used online, but expect to pay a pretty penny for a good one.
- You'll need a monitor. Unless you want to use your TV, you'll need to purchase a monitor specifically for your machine. Again, you can find these new or used online, but make sure it's the right size and has the right input options for your controller or dance mat.
- You'll need an computer or game console. This is what will run the actual game software. You can use an old desktop computer, a laptop, a Raspberry Pi, or even a current generation game console like the PlayStation
Once you have all of your parts and pieces, you'll need to put it all together. If you're not comfortable doing this yourself, there are plenty of guides and videos online that can walk you through the process step-by-step. Alternatively, you can hire somebody to do it for you.
Just be prepared to spend a lot of time (and money) on this project if you go the DIY route. But if you're up for the challenge, it can be a fun and rewarding experience.
So there you have it! A comprehensive guide to buying a DDR arcade machine for your home game room. Whether you buy new, used, or build your own, just be sure to do your research and inspect the machine thoroughly before making your purchase. And most importantly, have fun!