GuitarFreaks and DrumMania
|GuitarFreaks and DrumMania|
|Publisher(s)||Konami, Konami Digital Entertainment|
|Release||February 16, 1999 (GuitarFreaks)
July 10, 1999 (DrumMania)
|Arcade system||System 573 (1st to 11thMix)
Bemani Python 2 (V to V3)
Windows XP-based (V4 onward)
|Display||Raster, standard resolution, horizontal|
GuitarFreaks (ギターフリークス) is a music video game series produced by Konami. It is a rhythm game where the player uses a controller to simulate the playing of an electric guitar. The game consists of music predominantly from the rock music, rock and roll and J-pop genres. It is considered one of the most influential video games of all time, for having laid the foundations for popular guitar-based rhythm games, such as the Guitar Hero series. Working Designs attempted to bring Guitar Freaks PlayStation 2 games in the U.S., but patent problems with the guitar controller prevented the project from moving forward.
The game is now in its nineteenth version, GuitarFreaks V8, which was released in March 28, 2011. It was speculated to be the final release of GuitarFreaks V. A spin-off series, GuitarFreaks XG was released in Japanese arcades on March 10, 2010, which added two more buttons to the fret bar. A sequel, GuitarFreaks XG2, was released on March 9, 2011. Another sequel, GuitarFreaks XG3, was released on Feb. 23, 2012.
DrumMania (ドラムマニア Doramumania) is a drumming music video game series produced by Bemani, the musical division of Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.. It first released in 1999 as an arcade game, then subsequently ported to the Sony PlayStation 2 in Japan in 2000 as a launch title. Subsequent mixes have been released approximately once a year. In 2010, a series XG was introduced, adding a floor tom, left cymbal and left pedal to the cabinet setup. To focus on the new game, development ceased for the original version, with the last mix V8 released in 2011. The most recent arcade version is DrumMania XG2, which was released on March 9, 2011.
The game can be linked to its guitar-version sibling Guitarfreaks, allowing for cooperative play as long as they are from the same release. Earlier versions of the game could also be linked with Keyboardmania. From 7th mix onwards, the game has been linked to Konami's e-Amusement system, allowing for online competitive play.
System 573 era (1999–2004)
GuitarFreaks was released on February 16, 1999. It included a dozen of songs and uses the Bemani System 573 Analog hardware. DrumMania was released on July 10, 1999 along with GuitarFreaks 2ndMix. These versions included 26 and 33 songs, respectively, and could be linked together to play 14 common songs. Subsequent versions used digital hardware and featured larger song lists, eventually surpassing 120 songs. The GuitarFreaks version number continued having an increment of one compared to the equivalent DrumMania version until GuitarFreaks 11thMix and DrumMania 10thMix on April 22, 2004.
V to V3 (2005–2006)
GuitarFreaks V and DrumMania V were released on February 23, 2005. This version features 271 songs: 118 new additions, 125 from the previous version (« super "shomin" car » was removed) and 28 from older versions.
V4 to V8 (2007–2011)
These versions used Bemani PC hardware.
XG to XG3 (2010–2011)
These versions feature guitar and drum controllers with extra frets and pads, respectively.
This is the latest series, based on XG2.
GuitarFreaks is played using a controller designed to imitate the shape of an electric guitar, most like the Fender Jazzmaster or Fender Mustang. The neck houses three buttons, colored red, green, and blue. On the main face of the guitar, a pick lever is used to simulate the picking and strumming of an actual guitar. A small metal knob near the pick is used to alter the sound produced by the game, such as adding Chorus/Delay effects.
The interface is similar to other games in the Bemani series. Two note scrolls—one for each player—are displayed at the left and right sides of the screen. Colorful animations for each song are displayed in the center of the screen. Each note scroll consists of four columns: one each for the red, green, and blue buttons, and a fourth column, known as the Wailing Bonus column. Individual notes and chords are represented by small colored bars that scroll upward in the columns. To play the correct note, the player must hold down the buttons corresponding to the colored bars, and move the fret lever when the bars reach the yellow fretting line. When a guitar icon is displayed in the Wailing Bonus column along with an associated note, the player can tilt the guitar upright while playing the note to receive bonus points.
The player's accuracy is judged for each note played. The current system uses the names Perfect, Great, Good, Poor, and Miss to indicate a player's accuracy. Ratings of Poor or Miss will deplete the player's Groove Gauge, while Perfect and Great ratings will replenish it. If the Groove Gauge is emptied completely, the player fails, and the game ends. Players are allowed to play anywhere from one to five songs depending on the game cabinet's configuration, with the ability to earn additional songs in certain versions of the game
Upon successful completion of a song, players are graded on their performance. When the game ends, the player's total score across all songs played is tabulated.
DrumMania simulates real life drumming. It is played using a controller designed to imitate a drum set. Five pads are arrayed from left to right for the hi-hat, snare drum, high tom, low tom, cymbal and bass drum. On XG series, a left cymbal, left pedal and a floor tom are added. During play, the player presses the pads and steps on the pedal in sync with the notes falling vertically from the top of the screen in time with the music.
DrumMania uses a modified Yamaha DTXPRESS electronic drumkit. This drumkit is used for players for gameplay and navigating through select screens. Navigating can also be done by pressing Select and Start button on the right side of the machine. On home releases, a drum controller made by KONAMI can be used, although rather than separating each buttons on their own pads, home controllers place the pads on a single place, more resembling a palette. PlayStation 2 DUALSHOCK Controllers may also be used.
One of the major selling points of GuitarFreaks is its ability to be linked to another of Konami's Bemani games, DrumMania. This allows up to three players to join together to play simultaneously in Session Mode. During a session, the music will play simultaneously from both games, and the players' guitar and drum sounds are relayed between the two games.
Because the second version of GuitarFreaks was released prior to the first version of DrumMania, GuitarFreaks is one "mix" number higher than the DrumMania version it links up to. For example, GUITARFREAKS 6thMIX is designed to be linked with DrumMania 5thMIX. The mix versions were synchronized with the release of GuitarFreaks V & DrumMania V eschewing the long-standing number system, and replacing what would have been the 12th and 11th mix, respectively.
Seen only in two releases each of GuitarFreaks and DrumMania, Super Session allowed the games to be linked up with Keyboardmania 3rd Mix as well. In addition to having three players control the guitars and drums, two more could be added playing along on keyboards. However, when linked with Keyboardmania, only about a dozen songs are available to play. Keyboardmania 3rd Mix can be linked with GuitarFreaks 5th Mix and DrumMania 4th Mix, or GuitarFreaks 6th Mix and DrumMania 5th Mix.
As with DrumMania, the current version of GuitarFreaks features 500 songs in total. Most songs are either crossovers from other Bemani games, and J-pop and J-Rock. Some mixes also contain covers of popular North American songs.
The game's songlist has steadily grow with each release, with the final version V8 containing over 500 songs. Songs are primarily in-house original compositions, covers of popular Japanese or English songs or edited master tracks licensed from the artists. Most songs are pop and rock in style, although there are often a wide variety of musical genres available.
Initial reception of the PlayStation ports were negative. IGN's criticized the game for its lack of realism, that it was "nothing like real drumming" . Nevertheless, the arcade version of the game remained popular and continues to be played in arcades throughout Asia.
In 2008, Konami sued Rock Band developer Harmonix for allegedly violating three patents for its drum and guitar based music games. The lawsuit was eventually settled in 2010 and its claims dismissed.
In Asia, outside of Japan, DrumMania releases from 1st to 10thMix are known as PercussionFreaks.
- GuitarFreaks 2nd Mix
For PlayStation 2
- GuitarFreaks 3rdMix & DrumMania 2ndMix (Released on 7 December 2000)
- ギタドラ! GuitarFreaks 4thMix & DrumMania 3rdMix (Released on 20 September 2001)
- GuitarFreaks V & DrumMania V (Released on 16 March 2006)
- GuitarFreaks & DrumMania Masterpiece Silver (Released on 31 August 2006)
- GuitarFreaks V2 & DrumMania V2 (Released on 22 November 2006)
- GuitarFreaks & DrumMania Masterpiece Gold (Released on 8 March 2007)
- GuitarFreaks V3 & DrumMania V3 (Released on 4 October 2007)
- Jeffrey, L. Wilson (June 11, 2010). "6. GuitarFreaks (1999)". The 10 Most Influential Video Games of All Time. PC Magazine. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- "What Guitar Freaks Could Have Been Like In North America". Siliconera. 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- "GuitarFreaksXG". Konami.jp. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- DrumManiaV3 Release Page Archived May 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- DrumManiaV4 Яock×Rock Release Page Archived May 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- DrumManiaV5 Rock to Infinity Release Page (in Japanese)