Arcade rhythm games are actually tests for mecha control systems

Or companies have gone straight to training the Japanese youth as pilots. I think companies have exhausted the practical musical instruments to replicate and are now just greenlighting whatever pops into their head but they could all feasibly be re-branded as cockpit controls for mecha or military support systems.

SOUND VOLTEX has a similar button setup to Beatmania, featuring two rows of buttons, but adds in two knobs on opposite ends. While mashing and holding buttons you now also have to rotate these knobs to match a line on the screen, sometimes “slamming” the line to one side and rotating the entire screen in a circle like CRAZY! The current version if subtitles GRAVITY WARS and each stage is called a “WAR” so I wouldn’t be surprised if these are remotely controlling mecha in combat right at this moment.

jubeat features a matrix of 12 buttons with screens in them, allowing these to be used as both the interface and the control mechanism. You have to hit each button as it lights up and generally you’ll have many of them lighting simultaneously. This is one of those things that serve as no facsimile of something music related and was created only as a controller (or some weird military control system?).

MÚSECA has buttons again but this time they spin! So now you have five “dials” you need to press or spin plus one pedal on the floor you need to depress.

Just launching is Otoihora. This features the typical row of buttons but now you have slanted arced sliders on either side of your person which you need to move to the designated level or slam upwards when told to do so. Buttons themselves are also screens, just like Jubeat, but I don’t know if that is relevant to the gameplay at all.

Groove Coaster is a rhythm game from Taito that features two knobs that can be pressed and pulled in any direction. The concept here is very simple in that your avatar travels across a line and you just press the knob when your avatar reaches a marker. Some markers will be to press any knob or both knobs, or move one or both knobs in specific directions. Much of the appeal here is the visual presentation of your avatar journey on the line across a 3D space, the background and effects and camera constantly shifting with the music. Since the game’s control method is so simple there’s are faithful mobile versions of the game featuring tracks for both one hand or two handed “arcade style”. ZUNTATA does most of the music so if you like them this game might be up your alley. I think the most recent mobile version is Groove Coaster 2: Original Style, which also lets you play the game using sounds instead of tapping the screen.

Sega’s MaiMai features a round touch-screen with buttons placed on its circumference. Markers flow from the center of the screen to the edges and you have to press the button the markers hit or you need to drag you hand across paths on the touch screen. A lot of people wear gloves when playing this game to make it easier to move their hand quickly between the touchscreen and buttons. This one is infamous for looking like a laundry machine, which Sega was quite aware of based on their promo videos and the “Washing Festival” they held in cooperation with SHARP.

Chunithm has a flat touch panel with hand sensors placed up higher on both sides. You tap or slide on the panel where incoming notes hit and raise a hand by the sensor when commanded, making you look like a mad pianist.

And then there’s a whole host of touch-screen only games out there. What other arcade games with unique controllers have been coming out lately?


That’s a real nice cab

Unfortunately, the actual game is utter garbage and is probably going to get unceremoniously killed soon. :<

It’s bizarre to me how many new music games are getting released in arcades lately. Konami seems to be searching for a new hit, but everything new besides Sound Voltex Booth seems to be languishing or outright hated by just about everyone, so it just feels like they’re flooding the market.

Meanwhile mai mai and chunithm both seem to be huge hits with everybody (I’m just waiting for the rest of the crazy taxi and jet set radio soundtracks to be added and then boom, video games are officially over). Good job Sega!

Obvious candidates would be Dissidia’s dual flight sticks + giant summon crystal or Gunslinger Stratos’ twin light guns, but School of Ragnarok wins for me because it’s such an obviously low budget attempt at having the same “you can’t do this at home!!” feel while still using mostly stock arcade parts. I have yet to see a single person playing it in arcades:

I was in akihabara earlier today and the Taito arcade was the only one that wasn’t horrible moe garbage top to bottom

Sega was excruciating in this respect, which makes me realize what a good job they do of filtering stuff that goes west

Honestly not sure what you were expecting going to akiba, the love lives rule that town. Did you go to HEY?

(Also maybe I’m just inured to this stuff, but I can’t think of that many currently popular arcade games that read immediately as “horrible moe garbage”.)

yeah I mean, I expected it, I wasn’t caught off guard or particularly offended, but it’s still reaaaaaaaaally prominent

in fairness not all of the moe stuff was in actual arcade games under the typical definition of arcade games, but rather in other machines and whatnot in the arcades. there was some gundam team battle thing that looked cool though. actually lots of japanese moba equivalents that I’ve never seen anywhere else.

One of the three sega arcades has Osman.

And should have just gone to TRY. God I havent gone to try and like a year!

Im also with Moses here there isnt that much horrible moe in arcades compare to every other aspect of otaku culture.

Thanks for the long post explaining all the music games.

I still cant believe they named a game jubeat.

as strange as a lot of these new games are (i.e. museca, i played it in seattle and it was not very enjoyable) i’m really happy because it seems like this might be the second wave of rhythm game fever. and i have kinda sold my soul to rhythm games, i grew up playing ddr and now i play beatmania iidx and i’m invested enough that i have a setup in my room to try to simulate the arcade and i just ordered parts to build a new computer to be able to run its pc version properly

speaking specifically on what i know, it’s wild to me that iidx is on its 23rd numbered iteration and seems to be going as strong as ever. there was just an arcade championship that was streamed the other day! and last december konami released a game for play at home (the aforementioned pc version) for the first time since 2009.

iidx is the most enjoyable and difficult game i have ever played and i want to get extremely good at it and will be playing it for a very long time chasing that goal. i believe it’s the most difficult music game based on the skill ceiling and the timing (the window to get the best judgment on a note is only 16ms wide and getting the best grade of an aaa on a song requires you to be at least 88.89% within that window over the entire song, for lack of a better way to explain it)

anyway here’s my setup, slowly robotifying my brain for mech piloting

also @Rudie if it means anything it’s pronounced yu-beat although i agree the name is really awful

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I can confirm that IIDX is still very popular in Japanese arcades, but it’s also clear that nobody new is really getting into it. At the same time, I’ve been playing it on and off for like a decade and still enjoy it quite a bit, even if the upper end of the skill ceiling has been blown out a little too high for my liking. It’s a weird place to be in. I’m impressed they’ve managed to keep people around this long with a game that’s maybe only slightly more inviting than Tetris the Grand Master, basically.

Pop’n Music is still the better game overall to me since it has a learning curve that accommodates actual human beings and has a wider variety of music, but it also seems like it might be on the way out? The newest version of the game mostly has fan-submitted music, which is still weirdly good and much better than anything in Sound Voltex, but between that and the switch to that generic art style in the last version, it… all feels a little desperate.

Maybe the weirdest thing about current versions of the game is that you can pay an extra 100 yen or so per play to get a pop’n music trading card, which would have been okay if they hadn’t just changed the art style to generic 2016 anime garbage. I did this 3 times, and got one card in the old style (cool) and two in the new style. Still, interesting to see them trading on the inherent appeal of the characters in such a blatant way.

One of my favorite things about JP arcade culture is the community notebooks they tend to have near cabinets or stairwells, where players can write notes to each other. For pop’n music, though, I’ve seen arcades (I think Club Sega Shinjuku West had one?) where the notebooks have sections for players to draw artwork and doodles that later get photocopied and inserted under the machines’ buttons, which is just great:


iidx is starting to get a little (tiny bit) traction in the us thanks to the japanese chain round1 opening stores all around and bringing over not only the latest bemani games (iidx, sdvx, gf/dm) but also having them connected to konami’s e-amusement network so that we can save scores and stuff like that. unfortunately i live really far from any of them but i have been to two in the past year and they’re really great. particularly noteworthy to me was that there were some people playing who were obviously pretty new at the game but were working on improving. so that coupled with the rumored worldwide release of infinitas (pc version) has me hoping that even if things are a little stagnant in japan, the american audience is getting a little bigger.

i didn’t know that about the notebooks but it’s really charming and i wish that was a thing over here too. those pop’n buttons are great!

They have like half of these cabs at Round 1 outside of LA. Sound Voltex is the coolest looking thing.

if I can get my live show setup to be anything close to these games’ controllers I’m never doing anything else but playing shows

I enjoy rhythm games and I love IIDX but to be honest the high level play of that does not look like what I want out of that controller. This could be true for most rhythm games but the unique qualities of that controller seem to disappear as you focus mostly on hovering a finger over each button for rapid presses. In IIDX you only gently nudge the turntable rather than really getting into the motion of rotating it. Same thing with high end MUSECA’s rotating dials- those dials can spin really well but you’re mostly just going to be nudging them so you can get back to tapping the buttons. Pop’n is cool because just the size of buttons means you’re still smashing those things on high level note charts.

@yarusenai what IIDX controller do you use? This thread actually came up because I was looking into maybe getting one of those DJDAO Pop’n or IIDX controllers.

Man I fell in love with Osman when there was a cabinet for it at MAGfest last year and I saw that cabinet again this year so someone there clearly loves that game too.

If it makes you feel any better the US arcade release was called ubeat and the US iPad release was called jukebeat!

If you live on the west coast. :frowning:

r1 actually opened a location near boston and they plan to open another location near philadelphia! there’s also one in chicago and i think one in texas? they are definitely expanding!

i use a dj dao fps with 50g omron switches which is pretty much the standard.

for what it’s worth high-level play in iidx can actually be met a few different ways, there are different play styles and hand styles and stuff. for example this player is really good but he is definitely a lot more dynamic in his play than most other play videos you’ll see. moves his hands and stuff more. and there’s a type of turntable note where you actually have to keep rotating the turntable for the duration of the note and then scratch in the opposite direction at the end of it, so there is a little more than just quick nudges!

but i definitely see what you mean about pop’n. i’ve never heard anything bad about the dao pop’n controller. if you’re on the fence about dipping into pop’n i have two of the japanese pop’n ps2 games (11 and 14) and a pop’n minicon 2 i’d be more than happy to let go for much less than i paid for them. dao controllers will run you the cost of the controller +$80 or so for shipping if you’re based in the us, so it’s definitely something to think about before you jump in.

Whoa, Philadelphia is still too far away for a casual visit but it’s getting closer! Thanks for the offer on the Pop’n controller but I’ve looked into the minicon in the past and it’s just not what I want to use (I saw one of these on sale at Magfest last week too). I just need to the actual arcade experience. The only problem is that I think a Pop’n controller might be too loud for my current living arrangement.

This kind of play is my nightmare for the future of IIDX.

fair enough, i came to the same conclusion about the minicon which is why i’m trying to get rid of it! dunno where you’re based but i think there’s a place or two in maryland that has a pop’n machine set up. pop’n controllers are loud as heck, all that tap’n and slap’n and pop’n

but ugh yeah that video was a nightmare, i’m familiar with that song/difficulty but i want to believe it’s playable in more ways than just the hellish static positioning that player took. idk i’ll see when i get to that level

I still remember when the console version of Troppers dropped, and folks discovered Mendes black was in the game. A lot of the best players took umbrage with the fact that it was effectively a “joke” chart, the kind of thing you’d see in a bad simfile, and that Konami had broken an unspoken rule about how stupid the game would become. Was this shit even physically possible? Did anyone care? Hadn’t we all been asking for this, on some level?

You have to remember that the mindset of IIDX players is the same as speedrunners or players of any other competitive game, and including a song, no matter how dumb or badly designed, is an unspoken challenge to the players that they have to accept or reject. Ultimately, I think the community (at least in the US) decided that Mendes black was ignorable, and it still hasn’t been included in arcade versions of the game, which might be Konami’s way of saying “yeah, jk sorry guys”.

But then, people have gotten so good at the game (note that this dude is not even a top tournament player, he’s just good at full combo’ing songs) at this point that I don’t even know if it’s considered that hard anymore??

I popped into some arcades in Bangkok, and it was pretty much all these types of games. Either Paragon or MBK also had a VF4 cabinet, and SFIV is set up as a side-by-side sit-down rig.

The rhythm games seemed pretty popular, and there were a bunch of nerdy teen girls in there, so I guess it’s cool that arcades actually exist and function!

Top props for thread concept.

Meanwhile in the last year, more arcades have closed in Japan than there are Round1 locations in Japan. I had expected that by now Konami would have a music game designed specifically for mobile in an effort to diversify as arcades slowly wind down in Japan, but they still don’t have anything out there, which is worrisome.

It is kind of amazing that Konami keeps pumping out a new music game series every year, and despite everything after Voltex and DanEvo being a flop, arcades gladly continue to buy six to eight cabs of the new thing assuming it will turn out fine, and then it doesn’t. How long does this need to go on before they get the hint?

[quote=“mosesplan, post:3, topic:1009”]School of Ragnarok wins for me because it’s such an obviously low budget attempt at having the same “you can’t do this at home!!” feel while still using mostly stock arcade parts. I have yet to see a single person playing it in arcades:

I’ve been meaning to come back and say that I had no idea this game had so many buttons. This never looked like a winner from the first gameplay video, and I’m not surprised it’s bombing, but control scheme just sames way too complex for how limited the gameplay actually looks. I wish I could read some interviews about this game because I’m really curious whose idea it was. Dimps, where is the comeback of The Rumblefish you teased god knows how many years ago?

Are none of their existing mobile games doing well? jubeat Plus has around $1500 in DLC and someone’s gotta be buying that stuff. They’ve also got GitaDora (with the hilarious guitar control concept where you hold your phone like a fretboard), Beat-Gather U (no idea how the monetization works on that), and a few other things.

These are some interesting ones! The new Attack on Titan TEAM BATTLE has lightgun controls! Instead of acting as guns it’s used to aim the grappling hook things that swing you around.

And Byking announced Magicians Dead. It looks to be along similar lines as their previous outings, Gundam Vs and Gunslinger Stratos, but now it’s 1v1 and is controlled through hand gestures (+1 joystick for movement). It’s the kind of thing you always imagined would come out of the Kinect but somehow never did.