I just bought DDR Extreme 2 and a dance mat for the PS2. The game came in Thursday afternoon and I was out of town until midnight last night, so I haven't even played it (or any DDR game) yet.
I bought it because I've been trying to fit more exercise in, and I will shoot myself if I have to walk one more fucking step on the fucking treadmill. This looks like it should be really fun, but I'm fat and slow and uncoordinated and I'll likely trip over my own feet and land on my own face when I finally get a chance to play. Maybe I'll videotape it for everyone's amusement.
If you can do this at home, that's the way to go. Less embarassment (unless it's a significant other laughing) and it's cheaper in the long run.
I've been doing this for a few months on the PS2 for exercise and I'm okay. I picked up two Cobalt Flux platforms for my birthday (heavily subsidized because they were a birthday present) and I love it. Doubles is a ton more fun than singles.
My thing is that I'm not really coordinated either, have little natural rhythm and worst of all, I'm very Type-A, so I must be able to play every song well and unlock everything. I thought I'd get frustrated with it originally, but I get tired before I get too irritated.
With the dance mats, try to either stick with very cheap ones or go for the Fluxes. Soft pads don't last long. I had two start misbehaving, one took about 5 weeks before buttons were sticking, and the other about 10 weeks before the same problem happened. I was able to take the first one back and trade up, but the 2nd one fell outside of Best Buy's 30 day return and RedOctane's 60 day return, so I'm stuck with it.
If you stick with the cheap stuff initially, at least you're not out much if you kill it and find out you don't care for the game. If you enjoy playing, and can afford it, go with a hard pad. I haven't read of anyone killing a Cobalt Flux ($300 each before shipping) and they're incredibly sensitive. You WILL improve your game. RedOctane does have a $200 hard pad as well.
Check DDRFreak.com in the forums. They have dedicated topics for each brand and model of dance pad.
They have an Ultramix series for XBox (2 versions) and the Gamecube has a DDR for Mario version coming out . . . before Christmas, I think? The problem is finding a pad that works for all three platforms. The PS1 had 3 US versions (DDR, DDR Disney, and Konamix), while the PS2 now has 4 versions (DDRMAX, DDRMAX2, DDR Extreme, and now DDR Extreme 2).
On the pads, I'm using modified $20 Naki soft pads. Went to Lowe's and got them to cut me some flooring wood, then I double-sided duct taped the pads to the wood, used padded staples to staple the corners to the mat, and then duct taped some shelving pads (the stuff you put in your dish shelves to keep the glasses/dishes from sliding around) on the bottom. Total materials including the pads cost $70 for 2 of them. No, it's nothing close to my brother's Cobalt Flux pad, but it works well enough for me :)
Stepmania + cheap PSX pad or two + EMS USB2 adapter + a basic chairmat + a little Velcro on the corners to hold it down == quick-and-dirty makeshift DDR at home. You can even create step patterns for your own songs, if you don't want to download the copywritten versions or if you just prefer your own music. (Imagine a warp-speed DDR step pattern for Party Hard.)
(edited by vsp on 5.10.05 1312) Vanilla Ice on stardom: "I had a weekend that lasted a couple of years."
A friend/ex of mine is really into it. Down with the whole DDR subculture thing, too; she went to a con during the summer and even listens to the music. Boggles my mind, but I suppose there's no accounting for taste, right? Personally, I have two left feet, so...
Drummania is cool, though. And the music doesn't make me feel like I'm coming down with diabetes.
(edited by Del on 6.10.05 2251) As always, I blame Khan.
Here (computerandvideogames.com) and here (pcgameworld.com) are interviews with the lead designer for the game. He talks about some of the new content (which will eventually be available for download via X-Box live, so fret not, X-boxers)