Pump It Up (video game series)

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For other uses, see Pump It Up (disambiguation).
Pump It Up
Developer(s) Andamiro/F2/Freevolt/Nexcade/NeoNews
Publisher(s) Andamiro
Platform(s) Arcade, PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PSP
Release date(s) August/October 1999 (PC/Arcade)
2005 (XBX, PS2, PSP)
Genre(s) Music
Mode(s) Single player using five or ten panels or two players using five panels each
Cabinet Custom

Pump It Up (Hangul펌프 잇 업; RRPeompeu it eop), commonly abbreviated as PIU or shortened to just Pump, is a music video game series developed by Nexcade and published by Andamiro, a Korean arcade game producer. The game is typically played on a dance pad with five arrow panels: up-left, up-right, bottom-left, bottom-right, and a center panel. Additional gameplay modes may utilize two five-panel pads side-by-side. These panels are pressed using the player's feet, in response to arrows that appear on the screen in front of the player. The arrows are synchronized to the general rhythm or beat of a chosen song, and success is dependent on the player's ability to time and position his or her steps accordingly.

The original version of the game was originally released in South Korea in August 1999. The game has also been released in other markets, such as North America and South America and in Europe. There are two current releases in the series. Pump It Up Fiesta 2 is the international version, and Pump It Up Infinity is an exclusive release to the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. Pump it Up has tried to cater more to Freestyle players than "technical" players with more freestyle-friendly charts, as a result the game has more of a culture in the freestyle and Breakdancing disciplines. However, the game still caters well to technical players with a vast array of high difficulty songs and stepcharts.


A NX Absolute machine

A standard Pump it Up arcade machine consists of two parts, the cabinet and the dance platform. The cabinet has a wide bottom section, which houses large floor speakers and glowing neon lamps. Above this sits a narrower section that contains the monitor, and on top is a lighted marquee graphic, with two small speakers and flashing lights on it. The dance stage is a raised metal platform divided into two sides. Each side houses a set of five acrylic glass pads arranged like the pips on the 5 side of a die, separated by metal squares. Each pad sits atop pressure activated switches, and a software-controlled cold cathode lamp illuminating the translucent pad. A metal safety bar in the shape of an "R" is mounted to the dance stage behind each player. Some players make use of this safety bar to help maintain proper balance, do tricks during Freestyle routines, and to relieve weight from the legs so that arrows can be pressed with greater speed and accuracy. The community however, places more emphasis on no-bar play, as most major Pump it Up tournaments do not allow bar usage or have a separate division allowing it.

DX cabinets utilize a large Rear-projection television as their monitor (with the lights being on the sides of the screen's enclosure instead of along the top), and FX cabinets contain a Plasma display as the monitor, LED lights, and a pair of LED vertical VU meters on the sides. As of NX2, all Pump it Up machines now include USB ports on the side of the cabinet which allow the saving of statistics and unlocks to a proprietary USB drive. All FX cabinets contain them (as NX was slated to have USB functionality, which was later shifted to NX2), and the upgrade kit for NX2 includes the external USB ports so that they can be soldered to the machine if it doesn't already have them.

Home versions[edit]

Andamiro released home versions of Pump it Up for PCs, coming with a CD containing the game and a special dance mat, with arrows of the same size as the arcade's pads. On Korean versions, the mat is connected through the PS/2 port, and comes with an adapter to share it with the keyboard. On international versions, the mat uses a USB plug. Exceed and Zero were also released for the PlayStation Portable.

On November 11, 2004, Andamiro released the Korean version of Pump It Up: Exceed on the PlayStation 2, which includes most of the songs from the arcade Exceed version. An American version of the game was released on August 31, 2005 for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 under the title Pump It Up Exceed SE This version includes most of the songs from the Korean PS2 version, six US licensed songs as well as revivals and removals from Exceed 2. Exceed SE also uses the updated engine from Exceed 2

PIU can be simulated by the programs Kick It Up, Direct Move and StepMania.


Typically a game of Pump It Up starts by displaying a screen asking if the player is playing alone giving time for a second player to join in. This waiting time may be sped up by tapping the center gold arrow (used as a submit button). Players may insert a thumb drive containing PumBi data at this point. If a player wishes to save their data they may visit Andamiro's website and download a program called PumBi or they can buy a pre-loaded USB flash drive from their arcade.

If there are no thumb drives inserted, the game will default to Basic/Easy mode on more recent games. Games started with a PumBi drive inserted will default to Arcade mode. Players may input the "All songs" code to access this mode without a PumBi drive by tapping up left, down left, center, up right, down right quickly with their feet. Games prior to Pump it up Zero show the player a "Station Select" screen to allow the player to select their difficulty. Station select can be accessed in all games by tapping the upper right or left arrows and allows for alternate game modes on later games.

Once a player has selected their game mode they are presented a list of songs. To switch between songs the player steps on the rear right and left arrows on the pad. Various statistics such as the song speed in BPM, song artist and song difficulty will be displayed. Waiting with the cursor on the song will play a sample of the song and may display example background video from that song. To select a song the players must press the central yellow arrow. Games after Pump It Up Zero allow the player to select difficulty at this time. To select difficulty they may tap the rear arrows. To go back to the main menu the player taps the upper corner arrows. To begin the song the player taps the yellow arrow a second time.

The core gameplay involves the player moving his or her feet to a set pattern, stepping in time to the general rhythm or beat of a song. During normal gameplay arrows scroll upwards from the bottom of the screen and pass over stationary arrows near the top (referred to as the "guide arrows" or "receptors"). When the scrolling arrows overlap the stationary ones, the player must step on the corresponding arrows on the dance platform. Players receive a judgement for each step based on the accuracy of the step. Judgements include, from best to worst, Superb, Perfect, Great, Good, Bad and Miss. The timing window of these judgements vary from version to version and can depend on the difficulty of the machine set by the machine operator.

Regular arrows come on the full beat, half beat, quarter beat or sixteenth beat depending on the song's steps. Longer arrows referred to as "holds" must be held down for their entire length with them adding additional Perfects to the combo. In addition holds can be held on to before the hold passes through without penalty.

Successfully hitting the arrows in time with the music fills a life bar, while failure to do so drains it. If the bar is fully depleted during gameplay with Stage Break mode turned on the player fails the song usually resulting in a game over. If Stage Break is off, players only fail the song (and cause play to stop) by getting a combo of 51 consecutive misses. If the player completes the song without draining the life bar or missing too much the player is taken to the Results Screen which rates the player's performance with a letter grade and a numerical score among other statistics.

After completing a song the player may be given a chance to play again depending on the settings of the particular machine. The amount of songs in a credit is 3 songs + bonus on all versions other than Extra Mix and NX2. Extra allows changing the game to 2+1 while NX2 is 2+1 by default on Arcade Station (3 songs in all other Stations). If the player gets an A ranking or better on all songs in a game, the player earns a "bonus stage". Later games display how many A or S grades a player has gained that game on the select screen via a life bar featuring hearts. Getting any score other than an A ranking or higher will lower the number of hearts. If the player passes a song with a D rank or lower but does not fail then the player's song set will be reduced to just two songs.


The icon difficulty system in the NX series
The Numeric Difficulty system in the Prime series

The steps for the various levels of difficulty available for a particular song are ranked using a scale, the format of which varies from version to version. The difficulty ratings are subjective by nature and are therefore not always deemed accurate. Difficulty ratings are only useful with respect to other songs in the same mode. A level 5 Crazy song will likely be easier than a Crazy song ranked 8, but is probably more difficult than a 7 on Hard.

Early games had difficulty ranked by "Station" with all songs on a station having the same difficulty. Stations became ways to select song types in Pump it Up Zero and then became ways to select different game modes after the New Xenesis series. Some stations are meant for more advanced players despite hosting a selection of difficulties inside of them. For example, the Music Train, World Max and Mission stations are often for advanced players while Arcade or the Easy station are for general players.

Before Exceed was released, the difficulty for all game modes ranged from 1 to 10, with the exception of "Vook", a song introduced on The Premiere 2, which was level 12 on Double mode. Level 1 was the easiest song available at that difficulty while level 10 was reserved for the most difficult. With Exceed's debut all levels were reworked into a unified range from 1 to 10 for most modes, up to level 15 for Crazy mode and ranging as high as 20 for Nightmare mode. Successive games have resulted in higher level ranges for all song difficulties as well as an overall higher maximum difficulty cap for Nightmare Mode. With the current release of Prime the hardest songs are rated at over 30 on Nightmare mode.

Exceed 2 added the infamous "????" rating for unusually difficult songs. This level is often referred to as "unrated". Many unrated songs are more difficult than the allowed maxiumum. All "another" rated songs given a level of "??" in Exceed 2. Later games have most "another" step songs show a numeric difficulty instead of question marks. Unrated songs often feature gimmicks, experimental charts, or are not made to be beaten by a single player and are not recommended for the average player. Another rating charts vary in difficulty and can be easy, however, they are typically harder than the regular chart of the song at a similar level.

Early games up to Zero and including the New Xenesis series showed the levels via icons. These games use a star scale to measure the lower levels, which goes up to 8 in half increments (for a maximum level of 16). The higher levels are measure by a skull scale which goes up to 8 in whole increments. On NX2 and NX Absolute, the difficulty scale is modified with a line of circles that go up to 8 in whole increments. Higher difficulties replace these circles with stars and even higher difficulties replace the stars with skulls.

Starting with Zero then continuing with Fiesta, the Normal / Hard / Crazy / Freestyle / Nightmare modes are replaced by prefixing the difficulty level before the difficulty number. All levels show their difficulties numerically except for unrated levels. Another difficulty charts are placed among the regular charts for the song and are prefixed with "Another" instead of a difficulty level. The Prime series color codes difficulties with blue representing beginner level songs and green representing Nightmare level and writes if the chart is a singles chart or doubles chart above the numeric difficulty.


Since the first release, all game modes accept modifiers which are enabled by using special codes inputted by rapidly stepping on the game pad. The effects vary from speeding arrows up, changing the design of the arrows all together, making them fade as they go up, or making them appear in random places instead of their pre-defined column (while still being on the same beat).

Most players after a starting period get used to applying the modifiers to make arrows faster which makes them more spaced out and can lower the number of total arrows thus decreasing the song difficulty. All songs have a default speed of 2x. It is also possible to decrease the arrow speed which can sometimes add more arrows. Using modifiers a matter of personal preferences even though the increased speed options are very popular, especially at higher levels where there are many arrows on the screen at once.

The most popular step codes for the specific version are contained on a sticker affixed to the machine. If a player has a PumBi drive inserted theur preferred modifiers are automatically saved and will be applied to every song until the player changes their modifier settings.


Station select in the NX series

Games before Pump it Up Zero used the Station select to choose the game's difficulty, however, later games use the Station Select screen to choose the game mode.

"Easy Mode" or "Basic mode" is the default mode on all games starting with Pump it Up Infinity. [1] In this mode, song difficulties are rated on a 1 to 10 scale and are color coded to help identify harder songs. Green songs are the easiest, while yellow and red songs represent the harder ones. To leave Easy mode the player can enter the "FULL MODE" command from the Pump It Up Fiesta series or insert a flash drive containing PumBi data to place themselves back in Arcade Mode. The Pro series also supports mission mode, music train and the regular arcade game once out of easy mode [2]

"Arcade Mode" or "Full Mode" This mode is for players familiar with the game. In this mode the player may access hundreds of songs not available in Easy Mode. The screen also changes to show the traditional difficulty modes and colors. [3] If a thumb drive containing PumBi data is inserted the thumb drive saves players high scores for later use and the machine will display local high scores after each song. These scores may be uploaded to the Andamiro website to join in the global rankings. [4]

"Ranking Mode" is an extra hard mode for machines connected to the internet that requires a thumb drive with PumBi data on it to access. This mode pits similarly-skilled players against each other in a score duel under the exact same conditions. The songs are more difficult starting at level 13 and up, scoring windows are strict, and no modifiers may be used. All points scored are recorded on the Andamiro website as well as on the player's personal thumb drive. [5]

"Music Train" This mode was introduced in Pump It Up Fiesta. Music trains are pre-selected courses where multiple songs play continuously. Many music trains feature a unique theme or gimmick to them, catering to advanced players.[6]

"Mission Mode" Mission mode is unlocked by inserting a USB drive into the machine. Mission Mode presents new goals for advanced players to meet which can be as simple as a different step pattern to a familiar song or as complex as modifications to the game's interface. When a player attempts or clears a mission, they are granted EXP (experience points) to advance further in the mode.[7] The mode was expanded into the World Tour mode on NX, and the RPG-styled WorldMax on NX2.

Battle Mode, appearing on "Pump it Up 2nd DF", player with higher score would win the battle. On Perfect Collection and The Premiere, a player could "attack" their opponent with modifiers by creating combos, with longer combos results in more damaging attacks. On Exceed 2 there are extra bonus arrows containing power ups activated by action steps that come up later which launches the attack. The battle could be decided in only 1 song in most cases. Stage Break does not affect this mode.

Division Mode, appearing on Premiere 2 and Rebirth, utilized special stepcharts with "switches" that could switch between a "Groove" style (for freestyling), and a "Wild" style for more advanced charts.

Half-Double, appearing on Premiere 2 and Rebirth and remaining until Premiere 3 and Prex 3, was a mode which only used the 6 panels in the middle (both centers plus the right arrow pair on the 1p side and the left arrow pair on the 2p side).

Nonstop Remix Mode or Long Cut Mode: longer club mixes of several songs, and sometimes even long versions of existing songs.

Training Mode was introduced in NX, and consists of special tutorials themed on various fundamentals of play. Lessons consist of 3 songs with special stepcharts emphasizing the theme of the lesson.

Brain Shower was introduced in NXA. It is a new type of game that combines traditional timing of steps and arrows with mental exercises including mathematics, observation, and memory.


Pump It Up 1st Dance Floor (also Pump It Up: The Ultimate Remix) is a dance simulation arcade game developed by Korean coin operated machine developer Andamiro. It is the first of Pump It Up series. It was released in October 1999, nearly a year after the release of Dance Dance Revolution.[8] The first game in the series was followed by 2nd Dance Floor, 3rd: O.B.G (Oldies but Goodies), 3rd: SE (Season Evolution), The Collection, Perfect Collection, Extra, and Rebirth.

The first internationally released version was titled Pump it Up: The Premiere, an adaptation of the Perfect Collection version containing 6 covers of American songs. The next version was called The Prex (combining Premiere with the Korean Extra version), and The Premiere 2, based on Rebirth. Another Prex title was released, Prex 2, followed by Premiere 3 and Prex 3. The International and Korean releases would be unified on the 9th version, Prex 3, which was released in Korea and in the rest of the world. The series began catering to both Korea and the rest of the world starting with Exceed

Konami filed a lawsuit in Seoul, Korea against Andamiro in 2000, claiming that Pump it Up infringed upon their design right for Dance Dance Revolution. The court found in Konami's favor, but Andamiro appealed. At the same time, Andamiro sued Konami in the state of California, claiming that DDR violated their patent for Pump it Up. Both suits were ultimately settled out of court, and the details were never publicly released.[9]

Improvements Across Versions[edit]

The first series title was Pump It Up 1st Dance Floor, released by Korean coin-operated machine developer Andamiro in October 1999 for the arcade. This game introduced the series first in-house musician introduces BanYa, the South Korean band working with Andamiro to compose original songs as well as a selection of popular K-pop and dance songs.[10] All versions between this one and Pump It Up Zero simply added new songs and new steps. If a game is not noted in this section, then that game simply introduced new songs with few noteworthy changes.

Pump It Up Zero for the arcade and PlayStation Portable was released in 2006. Zero contained a brand new interface, now featuring previews of background videos and the ability for two players to play on separate difficulties. Zero also contained the Easy Station, a mode containing a modified interface and a selection of easy songs. The Mission Station contained sets of songs played with specific conditions that must be met when they are played - such as getting a specific amount of a judgement for instance.

Zero also introduced the "Another" step chart difficulty. Another Step songs are not entirely new songs. Rather, they are songs with steps which differ from their original counterparts drastically with some being very experimental in nature.[11] Another Step songs are not given a specific category and are listed with the regular charts for each song. Generally the difficulty of Another charts range from easy to extremely hard, with some songs being impossible to complete without a second player.[12] This has remained a standard feature in later games.

Pump It Up New Xenesis, or NX, was released later in 2006 with new tracks and a mode with nonstop remixes. The channel arrangement on NX was altered, now featuring a default channel containing all 29 new Arcade Station songs. NX is World Tour was a new series of missions for Mission mode named after capital cities of various nations throughout the world as well as after the developers of NX at Nexcade. It consists of a group of 64 missions of 3 songs each, all with unique step charts containing various challenges such as passing a song, or completing a song with specific conditions or goals to accomplish.

The Remix Station from Zero had been changed to the Special Zone: an area containing nonstop remixes, long versions of songs, and Another mode songs. All of Pump it Up Zero's Another songs have also been moved to the Special Zone. Most of the unlocks however, depend on playing through World Tour mode. In addition, a new cabinet style has been added to the lineup featuring a futuristic design and a 42' plasma display. Yahpp, who split from the BanYa team, became the project lead leading to a style similar to the early games.

Unlike in earlier games the difficulty level of a song in NX is not visually represented by a number. Levels 1 through 14 are shown as star icons, each level corresponding to a half icon, while levels from 15 to 22 are shown as skull icons, with each level corresponding to a whole icon. Pump It Up NX2 displays both the stars/skulls and a digital level indicator. The Extra and the Prex series of games also use this graphical style. A "????????" rating is given to songs that are "beyond the charts", gimmick charts that are meant to be impossible for one player, or charts that are meant for two players at the same time. The "????????" rating was kept for extreme songs in later games outside of this series.

NX 2 released in 2008 added support for Andamiro's proprietary USB flash drives, which save player progress and worldwide ranking. A new metagame life system was introduced that allows players to play four songs instead of three if they have life left at the end of three songs. Getting an A ranking or higher allows the player to maintain their life points, however, anything lower than an A will cost the player life points. If a player does especially poorly their set will be reduced to only two songs.

The Fiesta or 10th Anniversary Edition in 2010 added two new mission modes (Quest and Skill Up) and removed difficulty levels in favor of chart options. The sequels Fiesta 2 (2012) and Prime (2014) feature a wide selection of music with Prime introducing the global Rank Mode. [13]

The Pro/Infinity Series[edit]

Pump It Up Infinity logo

Pump It Up Pro was released by Fun in Motion and Andamiro in 2007. The product is a spin-off of Pump It Up, and is developed separately from the main series with the intent of getting players who normally play 4-panel dance games to try 5-panel dancing.[14]The game utilizes a heavily modified build of StepMania 4 for its engine and was purchasable as a cabinet or as an upgrade for existing Pump It Up machines running MK6 or MK7 hardware.

Kyle Ward is the project lead and is responsible for many of the songs and step charts in this series. [15] Many elements of the game are inherited from In the Groove, a four-panel dance game which Kyle Ward was previously involved with, such as the ability to save stats and song edits on a USB flash drive. Andamiro built cabinets for and distributed In the Groove 2.

The default mode is Easy mode which offers a simplified user interface where a minimal amount of options are selectable and the most difficult songs have been removed. [16] The Revision 5 patch added Half Double mode as a difficulty which uses the 6 panels on the inside of the pad layout excluding the outer corners from play. Pump It Up Pro does not contain a separate mode for remixes and long versions, the long songs and remixes present on Pro are present in regular play, and require two rounds to play. In place of a Remix mode, is Progressive, a mode containing courses consisting of 4 songs each. A sequel was released in 2010.

Pump It Up Infinity (2013) was intended as a reboot of the original Pro idea and introduces a "Basic mode" to encourage new players.[17] Infinity features songs from all Pump It Up versions, including the spinoff series Pump It Up Pro and Pump It Up Pro 2. [18]


The songs used in Pump It Up consist primarily of Korean-based music. Premiere 3 and Exceed were the only versions to put a greater emphasis on international Pop music due to its branching into other markets such as North and Latin America. After Exceed, the focus shifted back to K-Pop as the players worldwide generally favored the game's original Korean music. Much of the music on Pump is contributed by an in-house (and mostly anonymous) collective known as BanYa. Two of the main members, Yahpp and Msgoon - recently became independent artists (and as of NX and Fiesta respectively, all of their songs are now branded using their aliases). Aside from the K-Pop licenses, most in-house songs on Pump it Up are of Korean influence. The diversity in genres is very great despite this, covering everything from general pop to heavy metal to Hip hop as well as an assortment of uncommon genres such as jazz, folk, and ska.
Some of BanYa's songs include covers of classical pieces such as Canon in D, mostly performed in a symphonic rock style.

In comparison to Konami's Bemani line-up and other arcade rhythm games, there has been negligible emphasis on electronic music in Pump, but the first instances of electronic music on Pump occurred on NX2, as five crossovers from the American-made spinoff appeared, who in contrast, has a greater emphasis on electronic music.

Software Versions[edit]

If available, song lists are provided with release-based catalog numbers.

1st Dance Floor[edit]

Release Date: October 1999

Available For: MK1 Arcade System

Songs List

2nd Dance Floor[edit]

Release Date: December 1999

Available For: MK1 Arcade System

Songs List

3rd O.B.G Dance Floor[edit]

Release Date: May 2000

Available For: MK1 Arcade System

Songs List

3rd S.E (Season Evolution)[edit]

Release Date: September 2000

Available For: MK3 Arcade System

Songs List

The Collection[edit]

Release Date: November 2000

Available For: MK3 Arcade System

Perfect Collection[edit]

Release Date: December 2000

Available For: MK3 Arcade System, PC

Songs List


Release Date: February 2001

Available For: MK3/UMB2 Arcade System

Songs List

The Premiere[edit]

Release Date: June 2001

Available For: MK3 Arcade System

Songs List

The Prex[edit]

Release Date: November 2001

Available For: MK3 Arcade System


Release Date: January 2002

Available For: MK3 Arcade System

Songs List

The Premiere 2[edit]

Release Date: March 2002

Available For: MK3 Arcade System

The Prex 2[edit]

Release Date: November 2002

Available For: MK3 Arcade System

The Premiere 3[edit]

Release Date: May 2003

Available For: MK3 Arcade System

Songs List

The Prex 3[edit]

Release Date: October 2003

Available For: MK3/MK5 Arcade System, PC

Songs List


Release Date: April 2004

Available For: MK5 Arcade System

Songs List

Exceed 2[edit]

Release Date: December 2004

Available For: MK5/MK6 Arcade System

Songs List


Release Date: February 2006

Available For: MK5/MK6 Arcade System

Songs List

NX / New Xenesis[edit]

Release Date: December 2006

Available For: MK5/MK6 Arcade System

Songs List


Release Date: August 2007

Available For: MK6/MK9 Arcade System

Songs List

NX 2 / Next Xenesis[edit]

Release Date: December 2007

Available For: MK6 Arcade System

Songs List

NXA / NX Absolute[edit]

Release Date: November 2008

Available For: MK6/MK9 Arcade System

Songs List

Pro 2[edit]

Release Date: February, July 2010

Available For: MK6/MK9 Arcade System

Songs List

2010 Fiesta[edit]

Release Date: March 2010

Available For: MK6/MK9 Arcade System

Songs List

2011 Fiesta EX[edit]

Release Date: March 2011

Available For: MK6/MK9 Arcade System

Songs List


Release Date: March 2013

Song List

2013 Fiesta 2[edit]

Release Date: November 24, 2012

Available For: MK6/MK9 Arcade System

Songs List

2015 Prime[edit]

Release Date: December 2014

Available For: MK9 Arcade System

Songs List

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • Andamiro Entertainment Website - Makers Of PIU (In Korean and English)
  • PIU Official Website
  • Pump Haven – Fan site featuring an international Pump community, simfiles, game music and videos, and various other PIU media.
  • PH's PIU Master Song List 1, 2, 3, & 4 - Statistics on all released Pump It Up songs from all games, mix appearances, levels, artists, etc.