I don’t think this blog can escape my absurd love for ITG (In the groove). So here is my little post about the game I love so much.
What is ITG?
ITG is a game based on the other popular arcade rhythm game DDR (Dance Dance Revolution). It’s similar, but has some key differences which I will point out later.
For now, let’s say it’s essentially the same as DDR. In that it’s a rhythm game, in which you choose a song and press panels with your feet that correspond with arrows on the screen, that are in turn timed to the beat of the music.
It’s a simple idea, but it goes all out. These games are not forgiving to new players. Often the default scroll speed is too slow, there’s too many songs they don’t know, and there’s a lot of information that they will never be given.
The game’s difficulty is usually measured in feet. Where 1-2 is good for beginners, 3-4 is when you’re starting to get a feel for it, 5-6 for people who are getting into it, and it just keeps going up. There are some songs with ratings of >20 feet, which is insane.
I personally can only play 11-12s at the time of writing, and I’ve been playing since around November 2016.
This difficulty curve can be hard for new players to get used to as there are a few milestones or hurdles that take some time and effort to overcome. Such as going from playing 12s to 13s.
Many things can contribute to the difficulty rating in a song, but towards the higher end of the scale it is generally the BPM of streams.
A stream is a series of notes one after another. Nothing really special. The difficulty of these streams are usually determined by the BPM and the interval.
The BPM, or beats per minute is how fast a single beat is in a song.
The interval is what determines how much of a single beat a note will take up. They are measured in bar lengths, so a note that takes up a single beat is a 1/4th note. Common note intervals are 1/4ths, 1/8ths (two notes a beat), 1/16ths (4 notes a beat).
Combined they allow for a method of providing a set number of steps per second in a song.
In most cases your left foot will be hitting the left pad, and your right foot the right pad. This is not always the cause, by cleverly placing steps one can force a player to “Cross over” their feet. So that their right foot is on the left pad or their left foot is on the right pad.
These can increase the difficulty of a song somewhat, and are generally aided by a wide stance when playing.
Footswitches are somewhat the opposite of a Cross over, instead of forcing you to use the opposing foot, it allows you to switch feet on a note to avoid it.
Usually by having a double note on the back, it allows players to switch feet after the first note on the back pad. This frees up their feet to hit another note without having to perform a Cross Over
Spins are the odd one out, they’re very rare but quite fun. They’re a set of notes that allows you to spin around on the pad while still playing. Not many songs implement it, but it’s damn fun. The best song I know that implements it is Right Round.
The difference between ITG and DDR
The main difference between ITG and DDR is that ITG is more of an Enthusiast game. It gives the player more fined grained control and feedback. It adds features that DDR at the time failed to provide. ITG also often allows users to play songs off their USB, meaning custom songs.
BUT another crucial difference is where the songs derive difficulty from. Most DDR songs are higher BPM streams with smaller intervals. They also have less intense streams and rely more on Cross Overs.