''[=StepMania=]'' is a [[FreeWareGames free]] ''PumpItUp'' and ''VideoGame/DanceDanceRevolution'' simulator for any operating system. The unique thing about it is that it's fully customizable, from the theme setup to the notes during gameplay to even the game's metrics. The one thing that gets people playing is the fact that any song can be put into the game and be playable, but sometimes this doesn't work out so well. Since the notechart for each song has to be made first before playing it, unless one goes online and looks for ''simfiles'', downloads them and puts them on the game, and then you have to hope that the simfile is good. Charting the arrows takes enough time and skill, but syncing the chart to the music properly is a big hurdle as well, and extremely difficult for songs played by a band that change subtly in tempo. Then there's graphics...

There's also two ways to play Stepmania. Either Pad (like how one would play DDR) or Keyboard, [=KB=] for short (like how one would play other rhythm games like ''{{Beatmania}}'' or ''{{Keyboardmania}}''). Keyboard style is much more accessible and easier to play, but the learning curve is rather sharper than other rhythm games.

Currently, there's dozens of websites for the game and three games made off of it: ''InTheGroove'', ''{{Mungyodance}}'', and ''[[PumpItUp Pump It Up Pro]]''.

The latest version, [=StepMania=] 5 Beta 2a, can be downloaded from [[http://www.stepmania.com/wiki/Downloads the official site]].

!!Tropes associated with this game are as follows:

* AnnouncerChatter: Only if the player wishes it via packs.
* AscendedGlitch: The infamous "negative BPM" bug which could be exploited to cause "warps" in a chart, which could be used for all sorts of interesting effects. The 4.0 branch unfortunately fixed this bug, but the fork sm-ssc (later merged back in as "StepMania 5") adds a new element called a "Warp" (along with "fake" arrows) which can be used for emulating this behavior in a more future-proof manner.
* BossInMookClothing: There are simfiles of popular songs out there from artists like ''Music/JustinBieber'' called dumps that have charts that [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o8IBBUxqgQ don't make]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-_YpQYAQJE any sense]] and [[RuleOfFun are made to be as difficult as possible.]]
* FakeDifficulty: Often unintentional.
** People don't offset the music, meaning even if the chart is spot on, the every note will be off by some fraction of a beat.
** The wrong BPM is used. Even if you're off by 0.1 BPM, it's enough to throw the song off before a minute is up.
** Annoying patterns or haphazardly placed notes. Mashing a button/arrow down at 4 times the BPM of the song is not fun nor some random jumble that doesn't flow with the song. This is actually the hardest to get right (it's an art, the first two are a science).
* GameplayAutomation: Autoplay hits all arrows perfectly, but disqualifies you from making new records. Used when you want to see a stepchart without having to play it.
** Stepmania 3.95, [=OpenITG=], and beyond allows [=AutoplayCPU=] to be accessed during normal gameplay (other versions are used for demo only). This allows score records to be made. Furthermore, it is possible to set [=AutoplayCPU=] to perform 100% Marvelous/Fantastics by modifying AI.ini.
* HarderThanHard: Default names for each difficulty level, from hardest to easiest, are: Challenge > Hard > Medium > Easy > Beginner with Edit charts usually being harder than Challenge.
** '''''Justice'''''. For reference, the difficulty right below it shrinks the timing window down to 1/3 their normal size. '''''Justice''''' shrinks it down to 1/5th normal timing window, leaving a timing window of +/- 0.036 of a second to get anything other than a miss. It also makes it to where if you lift your foot off the pad during a freeze note (or hit a roll), [[FakeDifficulty you will automatically drop the note]]. Judgerank 8 is bearable, '''''Justice''''' is considered impossible by all but a select few that get shunned on every community.
* HighHopesZeroTalent: It takes some skill to play the game. Then again, even if you can play the game extremely well, it takes some talent to actually make a good stepchart yourself. The reason why 90% of charts are full of FakeDifficulty probably starts here when people don't realize this.
** SmallNameBigEgo: Of course it rebounded the other way, with people that could step simfiles really well (at least not the DDR-like ones) becoming elitist. As of late the KB community is recovering from this and is doing a decent job.
* InterfaceScrew: In addition to all the stuff InTheGroove had in Marathon Mode AND [[AscendedGlitch Negative-BPM/Warp shenanigans]], StepMania 5 now allows for stuff [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_zV56Z8cbU like]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6AwTVozORQ this]] to happen in normal gameplay thanks to a significant portion of the engine's core being exposed to LUA scripts. These are the same LUA scripts that are normally used to position elements on the screen.
* LevelEditor: Technically the game doesn't come with any songs, but the Stepmania disc does come with a batch of simfiles and the official Stepmixes.
* LifeMeter: You can adjust how much health you lose with each boo or miss.
* LostForever: Simfile archives commonly get formatted like it's going out of style. So if you think you can just upload a simfile online and think it's safe, think again.
* LuckBasedMission
** The Shuffle and Super Shuffle modifiers. Also present in InTheGroove.
** The [=RandomVanish=] mod. How does it work? It's an appearance mod that makes arrows disappear towards the center of the screen; when they come back 2 beats later, they're Shuffled.
* NintendoHard: There's a reason that [=StepMania=] and sadomasochism have the same initials.
** On a pad: During the last few years the definition of "paddable" has hyperinflated with the rise of new, better and better players. Mad Matt has passed an [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp54qbnotiA 18 footer]]. Even 16 steps per second isn't all that fast for the best (for comparison, Max 300 steams run at 10).
** On a keyboard: Any dump simfile whether it's by NVLM_ZK or Midare. Just because it may be a song from something like ''Film/CampRock'' doesn't mean it's going to be a complete joke.
** Speaking of keyboard charts, every "Vibrajacking" pack is hard. The difficulties start at 10 and a select few go up to '''''23!'''''
* {{Retraux}}: Using a theme from a classic VideoGame/DanceDanceRevolution version.
* SelfImposedChallenge: You can increase the rate at which the song is played, increasing the BPM and making it harder. Then there's increasing the judgement level all the way up to Justice.
* SturgeonsLaw: Jesus Christ on a stick, the FakeDifficulty in some simfiles.
* TrialAndErrorGameplay: X-mod unfriendly gimmicks can quickly turn a song into a complete mess if you haven't seen the crazy gimmicks ([=MacGravel=]'s Mellan and r21 Freak's Silikon ''really'' stand out in this regard).
* UnwinnableJokeGame: Hentai Sweedevibe, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aj14MynHt5I Dear Arch]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBIScSnL2mw Right Type of Mood]] among other simfiles, whether they are designed to be either awful on purpose or just plain awful (see SturgeonsLaw).
** And not even perfect [=AutoplayCPU=] could pass Dear Arch.