Rhythm Games – Beatmania (1997)

Rhythm Games: Beatmania

Beatmania was developed by Konami’s newly-formed Games and Music Division and released a year after PaRappa the Rapper. Beatmania started as an arcade machine with a custom controller – five white and black keys reminiscent of piano keys, and a unique “turntable” controller intended to be reminiscent of club DJs.

Beatmania does not employ PaRappa’s call-and-response system. It shows the player a series of note presses which lasts the entire length of the song, largely without breaks. Also unlike PaRappa, Beatmania included licensed music from professional musicians, not just tracks made specifically for the game.

The familiar songs and interesting controls turned Beatmania into an overnight sensation. Konami’s Games and Music Division renamed themselves to “Bemani” in honor of the success and began research on new rhythm games, including GuitarFreaks with a custom guitar-shaped game controller, Pop’n Music, a colorful and fast-paced game controlled with nine brightly-lit buttons, and Dance Dance Revolution.

Bemani has released new Beatmania games with new track lists and occasionally new game mechanics consistently since release, and the Beatmania franchise has seen dozens of releases ranging from arcades to consoles to portable devices. Despite its success, it has seen very little competition from other studios.

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Beatmania IIDX controller gift of Ben Shields, 2013.009.001