Beatmania

Beatmania
Beatmania.jpg
Cover art of the first home release of Beatmania
Genre(s)Music video game
Developer(s)Konami G.M.D.
Publisher(s)Konami
Creator(s)Yuichiro Sagawa
First releaseBeatmania
December 10th, 1997
Latest releaseBeatmania: The Final
July 26, 2002
Spin-offsBeatmania IIDX, Beatmania III, other Konami music games

Beatmania (ビートマニア) (styled as beatmania) is a rhythm video game developed and distributed by Japanese game developer Konami and first released in December 1997. It contributed largely to the boom of music games in 1998, and the series expanded not only with arcade sequels, but also moved to home consoles and other portable devices, achieving a million unit sales.[1] The Bemani line of music games from Konami is named after the series, was first adopted in the arcade release of Beatmania 3rdMix and kept ever since. The series came to an end with the last game being Beatmania The Final, released in 2002.

Beatmania gave birth to several spinoffs, such as the Beatmania IIDX series (a more advanced version featuring 7 keys and higher difficulty levels, and to this day still receiving new version updates) and the other being Beatmania III, a remake of the 5-key series which featured a more modern hardware platform, a pedal for optional effects and a 3.5" floppy disk drive to save play records.

While the series was never ported to home computers, there have been unlicensed hard-drive copies which made it playable on a computer's keyboard, or even with a modded PlayStation controller. Its popularity led to non-official simulators, with one of the most popular being BM98.

Beatmania and its variants have a following in Japan and all around the world. The password-based Internet Ranking service allowed competition wherever a machine is available. Today in the United States, many of the original Beatmania cabinets are in the hands of arcade collectors and Bemani enthusiasts, and consequently, are a rare sight at many arcades.

Basic rules[]

Keyboard and turntable controls for beatmania.

The player is a club DJ who must manipulate the controls according to the instructions on the screen to win the praise of the audience. Each game consists of a set number of songs of various difficulties, and each song must attain a certain degree of satisfaction from the audience in order to progress to the next.

The game controls consist of five plastic vertical rectangular keys that are arranged in a zigzag pattern like the letter "M" or in vibraphone type arranged. They resemble the layout of the keys of a piano (e.g. C, C#, D, D#, and E) and are color-coded in the same fashion, with the lower row white and the top row black. A turntable is to the right of the five keys, and is turned, or "scratched".

Each key has a corresponding vertical bar onscreen, as does the turntable. The bars indicate the path which rectangular icons cascade down towards a horizontal line near the bottom of the screen. The player must hit the corresponding key or rotate the turntable when the icon matches the line, which will trigger a preset sound sample and recomposes the song properly. Players are judged for each key press for the accuracy of the timing on a scale of p-great (from "perfect great"; also called "flashing great"), great, good, bad and poor. Hitting keys/scratching when corresponding notes are absent will deplete a bar indicating the audience satisfaction. The passing range is shown on the bar as a red region on the right, and green for the failing range on the left. The game may end prematurely if the bar is completely depleted, but this depends on individual machine settings.

The unit of score in the game is "money". A final grade (A – H) is given at the end of the game to indicate the player's performance. This grade is not directly based on the "money score", but is instead based on the player's overall accuracy.

Additional rules[]

Various game modes are available, with different rule alterations that provide suitable challenges for players of various degrees of skill.

Practice
Featured in Beatmania 2ndMix and Beatmania, inexperienced players can go through a training stage with DJ Konami, a voice-over that walks the player through the basics of the game. After the training stage players can select songs normally and regardless of their performance won't end a game prematurely. The voice over was not featured in any other Beatmania series game, although a similarly formatted Tutorial mode was recently added to the Beatmania IIDX games. Prior to practice mode players could choose to play a practice stage during normal games.
Normal
The regular mode. Players select songs and play normally. A pool of songs is available for every stage, with the next stage pool being more difficult than the last. Clearing is required to get to the next stage.
Free
Introduced in 6thMIX, Free mode is another practice mode that follows all the rules of the Normal mode, with passing and failing scores, but allows the player to play all the predefined number of songs regardless of each song's difficulty.
Expert
A mode for skilled players with courses that predefines the songs to be played. The rules for this mode have been modified throughout different versions of the game.
  • Beatmania
    Players must play through all the songs in a set order, with the audience bar dropping in greater degrees and increasing less. All the other rules follow the normal mode. Continues are allowed.
  • 2ndMIX
    Different themed course are given, each running five songs long. The scoring rules follow that of the previous beatmania.
  • 3rdMIX
    In addition to the courses format of 2ndMIX, the audience bar is now full from the beginning, and any decrease will carry onto the next stage, where good performance does not recover the bar. The audience bar is characteristically colored in red, and no continues are allowed upon game over.
  • completeMIX and after
    With the introduction of the Internet Ranking service, scores are now counted as 2 points for "Just Great" and 1 point for "Great", which makes the overall EX Score. Upon completion of the course, a password is given to the player to submit to the official website for worldwide ranking. All of the Internet Ranking services have ended and are no longer available.
  • featuring "Dreams Come True"
    The Dreams Come True ion uses the same rules as CompleteMIX, but also features a minigame in between songs where a player can rapidly scratch to restore life.
Expert+
First offered in 6thMIX, this mode is designed for the most skilled of players. A single course is provided, featuring ten of the most difficult songs in a particular version. The audience bar functions similarly to that of Expert mode, but falling to zero doesn't result in an immediate game over. Rather, "Danger" is displayed on the screen, and it will take several subsequent misses to end the game. The bar is restored after each song, though the bar will be increased to just barely over "Danger", should it have been in effect at the end of the song.
Easy
Available since 3rdMIX, the Easy mode offers simplified playing sequences for songs. The selection of Easy and Hard modes were discarded altogether from 6thMIX and after, with difficulty selection becoming options within the integrated Normal mode.

Cabinet design[]

Two major styles of the Beatmania cabinet were originally created, the standard cabinet, and the mini-style cabinet. The standard cabinet was taller and wider than the mini-style and included a 29" screen, versus the 20" screen on the mini cabinet. The 1P/2P/Effect buttons were placed on the vertical face of the cabinet on the mini, while placed between the keys, ahead of the coin drop on standard cabinets. The mini-cabinet contained 6 speakers, 4 normal mid/high range, and 2 larger subs. The standard cabinet contained 10 speakers, including the 2 subs. Functionally the game boards, HDD, and ROM chips were the same between cabinets. Finally, the mini cabinet had a smaller spacing between the turntable and the keys, and the turntable was approximately half the diameter of the standard version. Today the mini-cabinet is much more difficult to find, especially in the United States.

Main artists[]

Beatmania offers many musical genres from different disciplines of electronic music. Below are some of the artists who made frequent appearances in the series.

Releases[]

The Beatmania series has been released on multiple platforms in addition to its arcade releases. The majority of the games are featured on the PlayStation, but other console ports have also been featured on the Game Boy Color, and the WonderSwan. The North American Beatmania on the PlayStation 2 also features the same gameplay as the arcade releases.

Several key mixes were never ported to home or portable consoles, including Beatmania 7thMix and Beatmania The Final. There are many console-exclusive songs that were also never introduced in the Arcade releases—those include "GOTTAMIX" and "THE SOUND OF TOKYO!" respectively. Many songs were also released on one mix at the arcades but released in another style for the consumer versions. The best example of this was Gottamix 2, which contained consumer-exclusive songs in addition to the "Complete Mix 2 Anothers" that was released months earlier as an arcade exclusive.

Arcade releases
The main platform for the series, most other releases were based on certain titles from the arcade series or featured a selection of songs across several of them.
The following are arranged in the order of their release.
Korean arcade releases

Korean local releases (licensed by Unico Electronics Co. Ltd. (now Uniana) removed Japanese vocal songs because of the Korean law at that time.

North American arcade releases
Konami released three Beatmania games in North America under the name HipHopMania.

Console releases

PlayStation:
The PlayStation releases were only available in Japan apart from one which was created especially for the European market. The first game acted as a key disc, which is required to play the subsequent releases through disc-changing, dubbed as append discs. Special hidden songs could be accessed for certain append discs if the discs were changed through a specific order.
Game Boy Color
Three games were released for the Game Boy color exclusively in Japan. The first two were backwards compatible with the classic Game Boy.
Wonderswan
Bemani Pocket
The Bemani Pocket line were portable gaming devices with a monochrome LCD screen, each featuring a :number of songs in a specific theme. As with most other Bemani releases, they were sold only in Japan.

Reception[]

In Japan, Game Machine listed Beatmania on their March 1, 1998 issue as being the most-successful dedicated arcade game of the month.[2] By May 1999, Beatmania had sold 6,700 arcade units, for which it received the Guinness World Record for Most Popular DJ-Simulation Arcade Game.[3] By 2000, the game had sold 25,000 arcade machines.[4]

The PlayStation version of Beatmania sold 1.09 million units in Japan by 2004,[5] and eventually a total of 1.1 million units in Japan.[6]

References[]

  1. ^ "Annual Report of a Foreign Private Issuer Form 20-F".
  2. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - 完成品夕イプのTVゲーム機 (Dedicated Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 559. Amusement Press, Inc. March 1, 1998. p. 25.
  3. ^ "Computer Games: Most Popular DJ-Simulation Arcade Game". Guinness World Records 2001. Guinness. 2000. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-85112-102-4.
  4. ^ Beals, Gregory (December 11, 2000). "Kings of Cool". Newsweek. Retrieved October 30, 2021. Konami has sold 25,000 Beatmania machines in three years. In the arcade industry, selling 1000 units is considered a success.
  5. ^ "Million-Seller Genealogy". Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (KCEJ). Konami. December 31, 2004. Archived from the original on March 15, 2005. Retrieved September 11, 2021.
  6. ^ "Japan Platinum Game Chart". The Magic Box. Retrieved May 2, 2017.

External links[]