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DDR Series Part III: Dance Praise, a Christian Alternative

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In my previous post for this series, I revealed alternative ways to play DDR on computer. I didn’t mention this program because it deserved a full article review.

Before I continue, I want to thank Digital Praise for the complimentary copy of Dance Praise. I really appreciate it.



Let me start out by saying that Dance Praise is not your typical DDR game. Dance Dance Revolution aficionados and purists would not regularly play this game. In fact, when Digital Praise sent me Dance Praise, they emphasized that it was not targeted to “hard-core DDR users, but [to] families with kids of all ages who love Christian music and want a game that reflects Christian values.” Let’s see if they’re hitting their target. Perhaps it may be that perfect Christmas present for friends and family.

Music
The main reason why I was so interested in this game was because of the music. Like I said in Part II, I use StepMania when I DDR. Also as mentioned in the article, StepMania is very customizable. You can add songs and stepfiles. Unfortunately, the Internet offers almost no stepfiles for popular Christian songs. There is a plethora of tracks in my music library that I wish I had the time to create steps for!

Luckily, Dance Praise uses some of those tracks. This game includes a variety of subgenera to please the diverse music tastes of different Christians. There’s Christian Pop, Christian Rock, Christian Alternative, Christian Contemporary, and Christian R&B. Unfortunately, most of the songs in the game are Christian Alternative and Rock. I was looking for Christian Pop, R&B, and Techno (I don’t even know if Christian Techno exists!). This is because I can’t really imagine DDR dancing to rock or alternative songs. Most of the songs in Dance Dance Revolution are Pop and Techno. It would be wierd dancing to anything else.

The Christian songs that I recognized were mainly from ZOEgirl, Stephen Curtis Chapman, and Out of Eden. However, my brother, who is into Christian alternative, recognized most of the other songs. Altogether, there are 52 Christian songs (if I counted correctly)

Setup and Installation
Like StepMania, Dance Praise requires a computer. It will not play on any gaming console, just a computer with Windows or Mac OS X. Installation and setup were relatively simple for my Windows PC. Just insert the CD-ROM, click “Install,” and follow the prompts.

Nevertheless, there were a couple of things that I didn’t appreciate about the installation. For one, the CD-ROM needs to be in the tray to play the Dance Praise. To me, that is too reminiscent of the 90s. Although I’m not an avid gamer, to my knowledge, most games do not require this anymore. I’m trying to think of the Digital Praise’s rational for doing this. Installing the software and passing the CD-ROM to a friend should not be a problem. I mean, Christian families are the demographic. Surely, this group would do less piracy. Besides, with today’s prolific CD burning technology, ordinary people can easily circumvent this barrier. Were they trying to conserve space? If so, modern computers ship with at least 40GB. I’m sure end-users can spare a gigabyte for this game.

Aside from the CD-ROM requirement, I’m worried that playing on the computer can be an issue. When I showed my friend the cover of the game, he started to laugh. Now, both of us play StepMania. So, we are pros in playing and setting up computer DDR. We know how to connect the PS2 pads and the TV to the computer. Most people do not. The reason why he was laughing was because there was a picture on the back cover with kids playing this game from a computer monitor. As I said before in my StepMania article, that is not fun. Most often, the computer is in the office or in similar room with clutter in the way. With this clutter and a (usually) small monitor, gameplay can be a little frustrating. So, it is important to follow the suggestions outlined for computer DDR (like connecting the computer to the TV) and apply it to this game.

Gameplay
Gameplay was a little shaky. There were a few crashes and slow arrows. Then again, when I play with computer software and games, I usually deviate a lot from normal usage.

The Dance Praise interface is pretty similar to DDR navigation. There is even a screen that cautions for injury. But, there are a few notable exceptions. For one, the dance arrows go down instead of up. This is pretty logical to a DDR newbie but not for a seasoned heavy-mode dancer.

Another difference with the arrows is that they are not colored. This really annoys me. Different colored arrows in Dance Dance Revolution let me know whether the upcoming arrow is on a steady quarter beat or a quicker eighth beat. Pretty much, with Dance Praise, you have to estimate the beat by assessing the distance between each note, which, by the way, is difficult.

Dance Praise also lacks any background stimuli. Sure, they have the dancer that you can mirror in easy mode. But, it doesn’t have any videos or visualizations under the arrow overlay. The only background is just a swirly picture that doesn’t move. This doesn’t bother me much. Some people, especially DDR neophytes, actually do not prefer visualizations. But, for me, it makes things more interesting.

Though Dance Praise does not display any video, they do show lyrics. I think that is a nice touch. Many times, spectators like to sing along with the music instead of watching the dancer.

Difficulty
Dance praise offers easy, medium, and hard mode. The equivalents to the original DDR games are beginner, light, and standard mode. As you can see, they do not have a heavy or challenge mode. However, a Dance Praise hard mode can sometimes be mistaken for a DDR heavy mode. So, you can still show off on some songs.

Scoring
Unlike DDR, Dance Praise only gives a score, not a letter grade. That really disappoints me. People do not remember their previous scores. It is easier to just remember a letter grade to compare with you and your friends’ past performances.

Gameplay Modes
Digital Praise added have some really cool gameplay modes to Dance Praise. Some are not even available in traditional DDR games!

Conclusion
Overall, I think that Dance Praise is an outstanding game considering that it is the first commercial Christian DDR game. Like the makers told me, it is not targeted for hard-core DDR gamers (Though, it is still fun to play!). I would recommend it for occasional dancers or for people who are concerned about inappropriate lyric content in traditional DDR games. The gaming atmosphere is very wholesome, friendly, and safe for families. It would be perfect for youth groups, churches, and Christian schools. The difficulty allows for both children and adults to play at the same time.

Remember that Dance Praise is designed for computer. Maybe with more sales they will expand towards a gaming console. But until then, some extra equipment is needed. If you plan to buy this for Christmas gift giving, take this into consideration. You may also need to get a Playstation Controller to USB converter or just another pad that has USB as its connector like the one mentioned in my StepMania article. I hear Digital Praise sells also sells these pads with Dance Praise. It is usually not just and “plug and play” experience like with gaming consoles.

This is a large step for Christian entertainment. I hope they will continue supporting and improving Dance Praise. There is a need for Christian DDR. For more information, visit the Dance Praise press release or the Digital Praise website.

You can buy it at Amazon with a USB Dance Pad.

Please feel free to comment your thoughts on Dance Praise or this article.

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Posted on Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

18 Responses to “DDR Series Part III: Dance Praise, a Christian Alternative”

  1. duders34 Says:

    whoa dude its ddr
    with ur fingers

  2. bunny Says:

    1 words for this, LAME!!! ok its bad enough they have their own special music and persecute those who are not of the same faith but this is sacrelidge!!!! wtf mate?? please just stop it already!!! stop trying to make the world christian, cuz it’s not! i get soo sick of this kinda crap. if you are soo concerned with inappropriate content and cannot handle the topics of sex and the like, then grow up, go to a sexual relations class, and get over it! who the hell determines inappropriate? it is totally subjective and the ddr songs are moslty japanese techno. i don’t see the whole reason that the song blow my whistle is not allowed to be played at youth group. gee what does it really mean. well if your a pervert it can mean oral sex, but the video clearly shows the guy actually blowing a whistle!

  3. Crystal Says:

    -wow angry reply above, thanks for the description, I own a christian dance studio, always looking for alternatives…BUT not bad alternatives….I don’t think we should settle for less than to make it a God thing, looks like it would be ok for my younger kids but not my teens….and by the way…there is tons of christian techno and rap and hip hop, I teach Hip Hop at my studio and use christian techno and rap and funk all the time! Worldwide message tribe, Grits, Family Force 5, Cross Movement, Toby Mac, Verbs, KJ - 52, and lots of various artist cd’s that remix contemporary christian songs as techno songs……

  4. Charles Says:

    RE: Bunny
    One word: MORPHINE!!!! You need to calm down. You’re gonna blow a gasket one of these days. The reason we don’t like playing songs that express vulgar or offensive actions is because as little kids play them, they learn to follow that pattern in real life. You can say that it’s jsut a game all you want. Bottom line is, what you see, you WILL be affected by it, and it WILL have an impact on what you do. Parents who let thier kids run wild under the excuse “they’re just expressing themselves” or “it’s just a game, he/she’ll grow out of it” turn out kids like the guys at Columbine High School.

    RE: article
    1) Do you know if the file formats are compatable to be converted to SM songs from DP? I’m trying to find more christian songs to play to, and I can’t find ANY. The best I’ve found are a few of the songs from my favorite Final Fantasy games.
    2) My computer monitor is bigger than my TV and it’s out in the open. If you’re a computer gamer, your comp should ALWAYS out perform any other piece of electronics in the house. If Dance Praise is laggy on my comp, then there’s something wrong with the programming code.
    3) I much prefer to play on computer keyboard with a monitor. TV resolutions are so low most comp games played on it will look excrutiatingly horrible. I also have 2 left feet, and I play them to increase my eye-hand coordination for typing and piano, so a dance pad is out of the question for me.

  5. Randy Says:

    Haven’t yet played it, but sounds cool! I’m a big chrsitian music fan, so it’s about time there’s something to accomidate people who enjoy the music. Wanna get this for the youth group. A cool way to show what’s out there for christian music. If you like christian music, this game sounds awesome…if you don’t…I’m sure you’d still like the game. How many people actually enjoy the techno in the original DDR game?

  6. Ricardo Says:

    Well hey. some christians really like DDR. i know i do. but its just that there are some songs that arent appropiate. STAKEOUT for example. who wants that?

    god bless to all.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    hello

  8. Andy Wener Says:

    try dance gorilla, it automatically creates step files for your mp3 music

  9. Andy Wener Says:

    have you heard of stepmania? is there a good place to download the songs you listed?

  10. Captain Anus Says:

    This is the stupidest thing since religion itself. You’ve taken a great game, replaced the music with bad songs, and then destroyed its mechanics. I would approve if all you Christian conservative dipshits died.

  11. ddrfreak007 Says:

    lol this game sux! ive played it… its #bad
    in my opinion if they wanted to really just throw some christian alternatives in there they could have just made songs that would work for SM and not have a stand alone program with gay functionality and stuff. thats just my opinion though.

  12. Simon Says:

    To cool

  13. VicksCornatto Says:

    quote “This is the stupidest thing since religion itself. You’ve taken a great game, replaced the music with bad songs, and then destroyed its mechanics. I would approve if all you Christian conservative dipshits died.”

    First off.. it’s good music, stop being conservative your self and realize times have changed, and so has christan music. You seem to think that “Dub I Dub” is cooler than The Benjamin Gate’s “nightglow” Your forgetting that half of the traditional DDR songs are embarasing to play. You only think those songs are cool cuz they are on a video game! At least we have a better reason to like our music!

    Second off I’m sick of people comparing christians with conservitaves. Though I disagree with some of the stuff that liberals are doing these days… I too am a liberal. A liberal Christian… go figure right?

    What I mean to say is, don’t diss somthing till you know what your talking about. I doubt you even tried out this game to give it a chance. Otherwise you’d see it’s just new music to play DDR to, nothing more, nothing less. By making this game they are not condemning DDR, and trying to say it’s satanic or somthing. It just would be nice to play DDR with some of the music we like.

  14. Christian music fan Says:

    Wow, some angry responses out there….Last time I checked no one was out there forcing you to buy a christian item if you were not interested. Just like we are not being forced to buy your violent unappropriate video games….

    We can’t wait to buy this game.

  15. brett Says:

    i like this game let me play it

  16. yoshi kills people who hates christians Says:

    Do you know how much it hurt just reading those bad comments sigh..
    Yoshi give a high ten to you christian game makers
    out there! Keep up the good work. and also check
    out the out of sync game \

  17. yoshi kills people who hates christians Says:

    Guitar Praise!

  18. 3kidsmom Says:

    Our whole family has enjoyed this…we are newbies to the ddr thing, but really liked the music selection. We hooked the laptop to the tv and enjoy playing it that way.

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