Dance Dance Revolution

West Virginia was the first school system in the United States to incorporate a video game (Konami's Dance Dance Revolution) into its physical education curriculum. Now, West Virginia University, ResCare Home Care and the Special Olympics are conducting a study to see if the series has benefits for people with disabilities. According to the very small blurb I was able to find, "Participants will play the game three days a week, for eight weeks. If it is successful, the Special Olympics may consider making 'DDR' a competitive event during its annual games."

Tera Kirk

Tera Kirk

Tera Kirk grew up in a small Nebraska town called Papillion. Although she has a nonverbal learning disability that affects her visual-spatial skills (among other things), she's always loved video games. Her first game system was a Commodore Vic-20, which her mom bought at a garage sale for $20. With this little computer Tera learned to write Mad Libs in BASIC, to play chess and to steal gold from Fort Knox.

But then a friend introduced her to the seedy underworld of the Mario brothers and she spent her saved-up birthday and Christmas money to buy a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Her mom didn't like the Nintendo at first, but The Legend of Zelda changed her mind. (When Tera got Zelda II: The Adventure of Link one Christmas, she suspected it was as much for her mother as for her).

Though she graduated from Agnes Scott College in 2002 and recently learned how to find the movie theater restroom by herself, Tera still loves video games. Far from being a brain-rotting waste of time, they've helped her practice spatial skills and discover new passions. Her love of games like Kid Icarus and The Battle of Olympus led to a degree in Classical Languages and Literatures. She thinks games have a place in discussions on disability and other cultural issues, and is excited to work with the like-minded staff at GameCritics.com.
Tera Kirk

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2 Comments on "Quickie: Study examines benefites of DDR for people with disabilities"

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PlasmaFire3000
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7 years 6 months ago
…the In the Groove series, though acquired by Konami, is still possibly one of the longest-lived and by far most-difficult 4-arrow dance games around. For those who know what I mean, the ITG2 arcade’s USB support (and OpenITG, for us cab hackers) has greatly increased the replayability of this game, and overall custom stepchart difficulties have gone up the roof. If anything, national ITG tournaments are amazing spectacles of physical endurance and mental challenges (those 13-feet difficulty songs are nothing to laugh at), and they’re still happening to this date. So…if DDR, Pump it Up, and/or In the Groove were… Read more »
Dale Weir
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Dale Weir
7 years 6 months ago
It is great news that Dance Dance Revolution might possibly be considered for the Special Olympics. I admit to not knowing much about the Special Olympics and its criteria for events, but given the physicality of DDR and its addictive, fun nature, I can’t see why it wouldn’t be given serious consideration. I know the (South) Koreans are watching this very closely. If a videogame can become an “Olympic event”, Special Olympics or not, it opens the doors for them to get StarCraft (I and II) and Lineage II in there. I can only imagine the petitioning that will go… Read more »
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