Dylan Beck, a New Zealand based coder and developer, live streams his video gaming on Twitch under the name Rudeism. Like a lot of popular Twitch streamers, Rudeism streamed Dark Souls on camera to thousands of viewers. The only difference is he started beating the game using a Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) dance pad.
Ask a gamer what the hardest game is, and most of them will probably tell you Dark Souls. The dark fantasy role-playing game from Japanese developer From Software gained quick notoriety for its difficult bosses and unforgiving gameplay.
Which is why the DDR pad is an odd choice. See, DDR is an arcade game immensely popular in its native Japan where players stand atop a floor-sized game pad which features several directional arrows. The goal of the game is to time their steps on the arrows perfectly to the prompts given by the screen, which are set to pop music. It was a craze that swept arcades around the world. Rudeism, ever the gaming daredevil, decided that he could probably beat one of the hardest games on consoles using a dance pad.
Which is why we just had to talk with him.
Okay. So, you play video games with a DDR dance pad. Why? How did that happen?
The why is pretty simple — for the same reason any of us play games, because it’s fun! I don’t only use the dance pad, either. It all started a little over six months ago, when I was streaming some Rocket League with a plain-old controller. In my circle of friends, I’m THAT Guitar Hero guy that played the hell out of the game, to the point that nobody wanted to play against me. An old friend and stream mod was watching me in Rocket League when he joked that I should try playing it with a Guitar Hero guitar. So I started planning it out loud in my head, and we decided that it’s definitely doable — the learning curve would be tough, but there’s enough buttons to get it happening! I tried it out in the next stream — my long-term goal was to get an aerial goal using the guitar. It didn’t end up being that long-term though, because out of pure luck I managed to pull it off on my first stream! People in the Rocket League community really liked it, so I made it a mission to see what control schemes and games I could mash together.
So far you’ve played World of Warcraft with a DDR pad, but perhaps more impressively you’ve begun beating bosses in Dark Souls with them. Why did you choose Dark Souls to test your dance pad prowess?
Dark Souls is very well renowned as being one of the hardest games out there. If I’m going to prove that I can play any game on any weird control setup, DDR Dark Souls has to be one of the best and hardest examples. One of the things I genuinely love to see when news of something I do gets around is when people call fake. Besides the feeling of “haha, it was so good people can’t believe it!”, it’s always interesting to see how people will try and call it out. It makes me think more critically about how I do future challenges, to try and minimize any kind of doubt about the fact that I actually did it. One of the big examples in DDR WoW was when people were like, “oh, he’s just going to get his friends to run dungeons for him.” OK then — I’ll roll a tank. That way, I have to contribute to every dungeon I’m in. I’ll also only do each dungeon once max, and solo quest only. That also carries over into Dark Souls, where I’m going to be taking down every single boss (yes, that includes Nameless King), and doing it on my own, no NPCs or players helping me.
Could you elaborate on your setup? How do your dance pad controls work?
To get the dance pads working on PC, I use a program that detects any controller and converts its inputs into keyboard presses and mouse movements. This is pretty much how I get any game working with any controller it won’t detect. From there, I can map out each button on the pads to whatever I like. Here’s my layout for Dark Souls, which lets me do everything I need to without having to touch the controller. I’ve since had to rearrange them a little, since my pads have gotten a bit worn out, but the general concept is still the same.
Does it feel natural after all the practice using dance pads as controllers or is it still a challenge?
For the most part, it does actually get a lot easier! I’d say the challenge of getting used to the controls isn’t much harder than getting used to the control scheme on a regular controller. Learning any weird control setup has its own challenges. For instance, playing on dance pads requires you to keep a good balance and not to overcommit yourself to button presses. Steering wheels require you not to overdo the steering — when I played Mirror’s Edge with a wheel, my arms took a fair beating just from the constant turning left and right to look around!
What games do you plan on playing with dance pads next? If you are still planning on using them.
I definitely plan on using them, but I also plan on playing with more controllers too! When World of Warcraft: Legion launches, I’ll be levelling my dance pad monk to 110, and partaking in some raids. I’m mid-way through a Doom run, where I’m playing with a guitar on Ultra-Violence. I plan on taking on Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst with dance pads or steering wheel, I’m not too sure yet. And with all the Pokemon Go hype abound, now might be a good time to have another go at playing five Pokemon games simultaneously, using one controller to play all five games!