Heads up, rhythm gamers: I’ve got some great news to share with you. While I was initially worried that we eager American fans would never see the gorgeous and golden 20th anniversary edition of Konami’s legendary BEMANI series, a recent development has proven me at least a little bit wrong—and I could not be happier.
First released in Japan just this March, Dance Dance Revolution A20 (read “ace-two-oh”) will now be making its way to the United States exclusively through Round1 USA. If you’re looking for validation of this claim, look no further than the chain’s “ONLY in Round1” webpage.
A20, for those not in the know, is the latest entry in the foot-based rhythm game series. The mix features a multitude of milestone songs celebrating both the 20thanniversary of DDR and the 50th anniversary Konami. New songs include “CARTOON HEROES (20th Anniversary Mix)”, “50th Memorial Songs –Beginning Story–”, and “50th Memorial Songs –Flagship medley–”.
This impending release means that American fans won’t be left in the proverbial dust. But it’s worth noting that this release is unfortunately even more limited than 2016’s DDR A, which can currently be found at 50 Dave & Buster’s locations in addition to Round1.
Although Round1’s ability to import and showcase the latest and greatest Japanese rhythm games is crucial, that power is hampered by the company’s limited reach. It’s hard to provide anything more than a “limited release” when you’re hovering at around 30 facilities.
Even so, I don’t take a westward-bound DDR A20 for granted. Where we first had literally squat, we now have something—and that is always a good thing. But my concession doesn’t mean I won’t fight for wider availability, just as I have with Dance Rush Stardom and Ace in the past.
As a strong proponent of the rhythm game community—which, believe me, is alive and well—I truly hope Japanese manufacturers, North American distributors, and North American operators can find some way to meet us in the middle. Round1 can’t do it alone.
In the meantime, I’m so excited to have the latest mix on its way to America, as Dance Dance Revolution is hugely important to a great number of us sweaty nerds. Knowing that the sick gold cabinet with all of its fancy anniversary songs will soon be ours for the taking? That’s big news.
While not as exciting to me personally, I feel I should note that another cool Japanese music game is also making its exclusive Western debut at good ol’ Round1. The title goes by the name of “WACCA” and relies on a circular touch panel as its primary input device. That’s pretty neat, I think.
Though plenty more could be said about the legendary DDR A20, I’m just glad it will be available, in some capacity, in the North American region. Plus, now that I’ve got a Round1 in Louisville—albeit two-and-a-half hours away—there is some teensy-tiny chance I’ll get to try it for myself.
Maybe Dave & Buster’s is done with music games. Maybe Japanese developers are ignoring our market. Or maybe distributors and operators aren’t doing all that could be done to support our community. All I know is that A20 will be here soon, and it’s certainly better than nothing.
Here’s hoping for more DDR in the future.