The last half of 2015 was a time of resurgence for Bemani in the Netherlands, as we not only saw the opening of a new arcade in Amsterdam, but also multiple DDR tournaments taking place throughout the country for the first time in years.
It all started in July with DDR-Exp in Alphen aan den Rijn, a tentative first attempt at getting today’s very dispersed Bemani fandom to come together once more to see who stomps on arrows the best. 12 people showed up and competed against each other on a custom Stepmania course ranging from 2-foot to 10-foot songs. Just a few days afterward, a sequel (DDR-Exp V2) was announced for the 24th of October, with about the same number of people showing up.
Drawing from these experiences of the community’s interest, as well as an idea by the late Final, one of the best DDR players in the country, Kevin a.k.a. Thumbsy took it onto himself to organize the first public DDR tournament held on an arcade cabinet for years – FAST2015. This event took place just last weekend, and we were there to play along and take some pictures. It was a really great event with lots of visitors and players (easily more than 20) and amazing organization – from a well thought-out ranking system to free water bottles to combat the inevitable exhaustion of playing the various versions of MAXX and PARANOiA in succession, it had everything a real DDR event needed.
And it doesn’t look like things will slow down, either. The next DDR-Exp meetup is already planned for the 6th of February, potentially featuring other rhythm games besides Stepmania, and FAST2016 is slated to include a Pump It Up Tournament as well. Until then, here’s some pictures of this year’s FAST, taken with a shoddy camera by yours truly: