Use P2P And Get In Shape?

They say that you can do anything on the Internet, but using P2P to get in shape?

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

That may cause a bit of a stretch of the imagination when you are talking about exercising more then your fingers, eyes and mind.

With a little software and a little hardware, you can accomplish intense exercise.

There is a trend online if you know where to look. It is called Dance Dance Revolution (DDR). Tournaments are organized in different areas of the world. It is the one arcade game that is medically proven to actually help people get into shape.

In fact, it is so popular, that someone has programmed a simulator called Stepmania, which does all the neat tricks DDR does with a few slight differences.

For those who do not know, both Stepmania and DDR are games with four arrows on special dance pads that you step on in accordance to the arrows on screen. On harder levels, one can really work up a sweat (I’ve worked up a sweat on the easier songs as I have tried it myself).

The information for each track is organized in a Simfile. The Simfile is essentially responsible for the dance step path and when and where to play videos and animations on screen.

The extension is often a .DWI, or the less popular .SM. A DWI file can be opened in notepad. Simfiles are created with music which measures in length of about one minute and forty seconds and sometimes two minutes and forty seconds and in very rare cases are longer then three minutes. The Simfiles are synced with the music along with the occasional movie that plays with it. Some users use different professional software to find out how many Beats Per Minute (BPM) the songs play at.

For some, game maker Konomi is not making these games fast enough, despite 8 different “mixes” which total to well over 200 songs being made. With the ease of making the Simfiles, any users can make their own levels with music they have either made or downloaded.

With all of these Simfiles being made, it was only a matter of time before the makers started to compete with one another, which developed into tournaments.

The East Invasion Tournaments, which is better known as the DDRei Tournamixes, is probably the best known Simfiles tournament. It is a tournament to see who can make the best Simfile

Recently they released their 6th Tournamix which contains well over 100 songs. Sadly, they have also announced that it was going to be their “last Tournamix ever”.

Basically, the preliminary round entries get put in the package and released for the general public in “brackets” so that users can download them via the powerful P2P protocols of today. They can either just be played for recreational purposes, or actually evaluated and commented on. Through judges and users alike, eventually a winner is announced on the website.

Slyck requested an interview with the DDRei Administrator “Sivus” but he was not available for comment.

If one were to get Stepmania through the official website, they will notice right away that it is seemingly strictly PC, not arcade based. A little digging on the website will uncover that users need to buy an adaptor and a dance pad for the full experience (which, luckily, the site has some recommendations for adaptors as well).

There are also “Unpaddable” Simfiles, which can not be played on a dance pad, instead users have to beat on the four arrow keys on a keyboard. There is controversy over whether or not “Unpaddable” songs are of value.

As for well known aspects of actual Simfiles, there is the memorable Arch0wl who attained a triple ‘A’ on “Quasar” in a video which is hosted on a few sites, such as GPrime.

Getting a triple ‘A’ grade means to hit every arrow at near perfect timing. “Quasar” is a particularly challenging level on Beatmania that is addapted for Stepmania. A user known as Eggman made the step path. Stepmania and Beatmania are two different games.

There is also the controversial Simfile called “Armflapster” which the creator reportedly forgot to remove an offensive picture that contained nudity.

There was also the creator for “NeoMax” who stated in the readme that he would actually send the song and Simfile in a portfolio to Konomi in hope of getting a job.

There was the “OMEGA” level where the creator admitted to being drunk while making the level according to the readme.

A version of “Beethoven Virus” featured sound effects from the video game “Star Craft”.

“Right Type of Mood” featured a difficulty that was a joke according to the readme.

There are several more memorable songs that range from popular bands like “Red Hot Chili Peppers” and “Linkin Park” to more obscure bands like “Captain Jack” and “E-Rotic” and even some interesting songs by “The Black Mages”.

One thing is for certain, the potential to broaden ones music horizons is very great should one delve into this side of digital content.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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