October 3, 2002

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The dancer steps tentatively onto the raised, metal stage. It’s the dancer’s first time in this little neon-lit joint tucked down a Collegetown side-street. The dancer grips the pole for support and nervously scans the room: it’s full of raucous college students, and every eye in the place is glued to the stage. Then, the music starts. Flashing lights strobe in time to the rhythm. The pumping bass line fills the room, heavy, powerful, infectious. The dancer starts to get into things, letting the groove guide once-stiff legs. Laughter and shouts of encouragement ring out from the audience: “Yeah baby, shake it!” Suddenly it’s over — the music stops, the lights dim, and a voice rings out over the cheering crowd: “I can see a dream in your dance! I can see tomorrow in your dance! We can call it, our hope!”

The exhausted dancer turns and takes a bow — he’s just completed his first game of Dance Dance Revolution.

No, it’s not a strip club. Get your mind out of the gutter. But for a newbie, trying Dance Dance Revolution (DDR for those in the know) for the first time can make a player feel as self-conscious as a virgin stripper. The game is like a combination of Twister and a rave, requiring the player to step on lighted pads in time to 190 b.p.m. house music. It’s one of the hottest trends in videogames, and there’s only one place to go in town if you want your hardcore fix: PLaY!

PLaY! is Collegetown’s newest attraction. It’s located off Dryden Rd. in the former CD Caf