Dance Dance Revolution.

    With flamethrowers.

    Pointed at you.

It is a well-known fact of life that everything can be made better by adding fire, and Dance Dance Immolation is living proof. The art group Interpretive Arson has built its unique dance game adaptation around special effects: good performance shoots propane blasts into the air. Less than good performance shoots them at the player's face. As the group isn't completely insane, players wear extensive protection including silver firefighter suits.

DDI was first conceived in an IM session in early 2005. In a burst of late-night insight the conversants first applied the "Hey wouldn't it be cool if we could do this" rule and then realized that they in fact could. After much tinkering, several upgrades and a few lost eyebrows the machine occupies a round space roughly 20 meters in diameter (most of which is a safety radius) and is operated by a minimum crew of ten when at full capacity. In the center stand two players, using metal pads and a large screen to dance to a modified version of the open source DDR emulator StepMania. It has made appearances at events in or near the Bay Area, such as a fire arts festival and appropriately Burning Man.

Despite everything, Interpretive Arson takes its field seriously. Dance Dance Immolation is littered with warning systems, fail-safes and kill switches, while its fenced perimeter is manned by security personnel. The suits themselves are described as "ridiculously overengineered" and would take a 30-second fireball while they're exposed to flame for two seconds at most. Since the greatest risk is inhalation of superheated air, players wear forced-air respirators to provide a sealed air supply under their hoods, themselves held in positive pressure so that any compromisation causes air to leak out instead of in. While these measures are designed for safety, it's clear from gameplay videos that they don't exclude getting down.

Although I can't relate personal experiences because of the "another hemisphere" thing, Dance Dance Immolation is a thing of beauty, and not just because of the enchanting nature of fire. It shows how a little ingenuity can harness destructive urges into something new and seriously freaky. It's jubilation just because you can, the horrified but excuberant scream of "In your face, survival instinct!" In the best case this catches on and in the future we'll be treated to flames spreading to a number of activities, such as table tennis, ballet and baseball.

DDI homepage, incl. awesome photo
Dance Dance Immolation Report by Jared Rea,
The group's terse grant request (approved)

YouTube videos
Great proof of concept
Quality dancing, not much flaming
Good times


Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.