List of Bemani series

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For the village in Iran, see Bemani, Iran. For the administrative subdivision of Iran, see Bemani Rural District.

Bemani (ビーマニ Bīmani?, /bˈmɑːni/) is Konami's music video game division. Originally named the Games & Music Division, or simply G.M.D., it changed its name in honor of its first and most successful game, Beatmania, and expanded into other music-based games, most notably rhythm games such as Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Freaks, and Drum Mania.

The standard Bemani logo.

Bemani video games[edit]

Since 1997, Konami has released many different series of music games under the Bemani brand. Each series has a unique way of playing the game and detaches players from the typical hand held controller of modern game systems by using their whole body to control the game. Dance Dance Revolution lets players dance with their feet, Beatmania gives players a DJ style mixing board complete with turntable, ParaParaParadise is controlled with the players hands and arm by setting off motion sensors during the dance routine, and GuitarFreaks & DrumMania let players use simplified instruments to create music. Below are the Bemani series of video games in no particular order.

Beatmania[edit]

Main article: Beatmania

Modeled after nightclub DJs and mixing boards, Beatmania, known as Hip Hop Mania in North America and Beatstage in Korea, lets you "spin" the music with five activator keys and a turntable. The Beatmania series was the first Bemani game introduced and its successor is still the most popular Bemani game in Japan. With dozens of releases in arcades and on video game platforms Beatmania set itself as a role model for future Bemani titles. The music featured in this series of games is still in use today in Beatmania IIDX and other Bemani games.

Beatmania IIDX[edit]

Main article: Beatmania IIDX

Continuing the Beatmania series, Beatmania IIDX (Typically pronounced "Two Dee Ecks") was released in 1999. The rules of the game remain the same from beatmania with the addition of two more keys giving players seven keys to play with along with the turntable. "IIDX" stands for 2 Deluxe, "Beatmania 2 Deluxe", as Konami gave the series an entire internal and external makeover. The deluxe versions of the arcade machines were bulked up with larger displays, a platform for players to stand on and literally feel the bass of the music, and other amenities. As time went on Konami ceased production of the standard cabinet and went exclusively with the deluxe cabinet.

Beatmania IIDX has been released on the PlayStation 2 platform for home players and continues to this day with arcade and home releases worldwide, including a release in North America, simply titled Beatmania.

Beatmania III[edit]

Main article: Beatmania III

Built off the Beatmania gameplay, Beatmania III added a foot pedal to the five keys and turntable used by players. The Beatmania III series was short lived with only a few releases and a series run of only two years, ending in 2002. Many songs from Beatmania III were ported to the IIDX series as well as other Bemani games.

Dance Dance Revolution[edit]

Dance Dance Revolution, known in Europe as Dancing Stage, was first produced in 1998. The game is played by stepping to music on a dance platform with pressure-sensitive arrow pads. The game has changed little since its introduction but has come a long way in terms of musical selection and visual appearance. Dance Dance Revolution was originally an arcade title but games have been released on many different platforms including the Sony PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii, and Microsoft Xbox. Other versions have also appeared on portable handhelds, cellphones, and as standalone TV plug'n'play devices. The series is still very active with over one hundred releases to date.

Dance Dance Revolution Solo[edit]

An offshoot of the Dance Dance Revolution series, Dance Dance Revolution Solo added two additional arrows to the dance stage. The series saw two major releases and two complementary releases before being canceled in 2001. Most of the music exclusive to Dance Dance Revolution Solo was reused in the main DDR series of games.

Dance Maniax[edit]

Main article: Dance Maniax

Controlled by two pairs of motion sensors that detect movement above them and below them, Dance Maniax, known as Dance Freaks in Korea, plays like Dance Dance Revolution for your hands. First released in 2000, Dance Maniax featured a song list from Konami's in-house artists and Toshiba EMI's Dancemania music label. The series ended after three major releases.

Pop'n Music[edit]

Main article: Pop'n Music

Released in 1998, Pop'n Music is like a simplified Beatmania. With larger, colorful buttons, no turntable, and easier note patterns, Pop'n Music presents players with a more childlike appearance. However Pop'n Music is viewed as every bit as difficult as Beatmania IIDX and has modes that use up to nine hand buttons at once. Pop'n Music is stylized with cute cartoony characters and a musical selection to match. The series continues to this day as one of the most popular Bemani games.

Pop'n Stage[edit]

Combining game elements from Dance Dance Revolution and Pop'n Music, Pop'n Stage takes the colorful buttons and lets players play the game on a stage with their feet. There was only one version of the game released.

Guitar Freaks and Drum Mania[edit]

Main article: Guitar Freaks
Main article: Drum Mania

Also known as Gitadora in Japan, the combined series of Guitar Freaks & Drum Mania are games that use simplified instruments after their namesake. Guitar Freaks uses a small, plastic guitar with three buttons known as "frets", a strum bar, and a motion sensor that players set off by pulling the neck of the guitar up and quickly down again. Despite the similarities, Guitar Freaks predates Guitar Hero by several years.

Drum Mania lets players play a set of drums. Modeled after modern digital drum kits, the player strikes the appropriate piece with the drumsticks on cue with the music and failure to do so causes the song to sound incorrect. Many American players will recognize the Drum Mania setup from more recent games like Rock Band, which is unrelated to the Konami game.

Despite being separately released games that can be played independent of each other, Konami markets the Gitadora series as a pair that can be linked for co-operative play in the arcades. The two series continue to be released to this day.

Keyboardmania[edit]

Main article: Keyboardmania

A MIDI synthesizer game. Keyboardmania features a mini musical keyboard and players create the primarily piano based music by striking the keys to the note patterns on the screen. Keyboardmania saw only three major releases before being canceled but features exceptionally difficult and unique gameplay for the Bemani series of games. "Real Mode" actually requires players to know how to play the piano in order to easily pass the songs.

Keyboardmania can be multi-session linked with certain versions of the GuitarFreaks & DrumMania series.

Para Para Paradise[edit]

Main article: Para Para Paradise

Built around the Para Para dance style made popular in Japan, Para Para Paradise recreates official dance moves within the game by setting off arrows on screen by using player's hand under a set of motion sensors. The music in the game centers around Eurobeat and features songs from Konami and Avex Trax. Only three version of the game were released as Para Para dancing fell out of mainstream popularity in Japan, and the series never saw light outside of the country beyond music game importers and localized Korean versions of the arcade machines.

Jubeat[edit]

Main article: Jubeat

Announced on December 22, 2007, Jubeat, (Spelt, and pronounced, UBeat and YouBeat in the American test releases), is similar to Whack-a-mole, where players must tap the square-shaped touch screens when they light up. It was released in Japan in July 2008. A localized version of the game for North America was announced the month after with tests held at an arcade in Southern California alongside Dance Dance Revolution X. After two separate testing phases Konami cancelled all plans to release the game in North America. Jubeat is released only in Japan and several East Asian countries.

Bemani Pocket[edit]

Main article: Bemani Pocket

Similar in style to Tamagotchi hand helds, the Bemani Pocket series released finger play versions of Dance Dance Revolution, Beatmania, and ParaParaParadise.

Reflec Beat[edit]

Main article: Reflec Beat

Reflec Beat was first released on November 4, 2010. Its gameplay is similar to air hockey using fingers. Players must touch appropriate circular symbols moving to the player on the right time. It adopted one-on-one matching system.

Sound Voltex[edit]

Main article: Sound Voltex

Sound Voltex was first released on January 18, 2012. Its gameplay is inspired by beatmania, with four white buttons, two green buttons, and two knobs, one colored blue and the other colored red which required to be turned (similar to the turntables), giving the iconic "wooshing" sounds. Many of the songs are vocaloid-based. Recently, it also has a contest, called "Sound Voltex Floor" in which players can submit their original songs and artworks to be featured in the game.

Dance Evolution ARCADE[edit]

A Kinect-based game is also considered a part of Bemani series, previously being exclusive to Xbox 360. It was released on March 27, 2012. Its gameplay is similar to the original game, in which players must follow the in-game character's movements by touching and drawing line on the air correspondingly with the movement.

ミライダガッキ FutureTomTom[edit]

ミライダガッキ FutureTomTom is the newest addition to the Bemani series, first released on June 20, 2013. Its gameplay involves hitting drums to match the notes in the screen, akin to Taiko no Tatsujin.

Bemani artists[edit]

In addition to licensed music tracks, primarily from Toshiba EMI and Avex Trax, Konami employs a list of in-house artists to produce the music for its Bemani series. These artists often go by pseudonyms when credited with their songs. Some Bemani employees have broken off and become independent artists. The current list of artists under Konami's label are listed on the Bemani website (now moved to Bemani Fan Site).

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Bemani portal Official Japanese Konami music game portal (Japanese) (Closed down on January 3, 2012)
  • Bemani Fan Site Official fan site for Bemani music games (Japanese)

References[edit]

External links[edit]