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Beatmania
2ndMix
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CompleteMix

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Append Gottamix
5thMix
CompleteMix2

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Beatmania III
ClubMix
Dreams Come True
Best Hits

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European Edit
Append Gottamix2
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The Sound of Tokyo!

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The Final
Beatmania (2006)

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Game Boy Color
WonderSwan
Beatmania Pocket

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BeatmaniaIIDX series
Beatmania Da!! series
Cameos
Ripoffs

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by Neil Foster - April 1, 2013

You are the DJ! Hit the Keys!

Since the time PSG soundchips were first being installed in arcade cabinets and computers, music has been a vital part of setting the tone of video games. In fact, most of what made our favorite titles so memorable were the songs that played with them, whether it be the loadup jingle of a C64 cassette or the final stage tune on a SNES cart. It still took about a decade or two for video game music to become sophisticated enough to be the game, though. A few titles experimented with making music the focal point of a game, but it wasn't until Parappa the Rapper was released in Japan in late 1996 that the rhythm genre had its first success. Shortly after, many developers tried to imitate it or make their own mark on tapping to the beat of a catchy melody in game form, and Konami's newly created Games & Music Division was one of the first to strike gold again and again.

G.M.D., later renamed Bemani, would go on to create many arcade music simulation machines, each with varying degrees of staying power and success. Rather than simply have the player press a button or input commands on their controller in time with a song, each of their titles would mostly consist of custom controllers and essentially scroll the sheet music of a chosen track from its video game jukebox for up to 3-5 songs. Their second series, Dance Dance Revolution, became a worldwide hit, spawning many imitators and even rival franchises like Pump It Up and In The Groove. Their Guitar Freaks and Drummania titles would pave the way for Guitar Hero and Rock Band to set sales records and create plastic controller bands and competitions during their boon a decade later. But it was their first title, Beatmania (officially stylized to beatmania), that started it all.

Beatmania is a DJ simulator, much in the same way Activision's DJ Hero is. You have 5 buttons, 3 white keys on bottom and 2 black keys on top like a piano, plus a turntable on the right. As the note bars fall down on the screen, you hit the corresponding key or scratch the turntable just as it passes the red bar. Your timing is judged by accuracy, reading each press as Great, Good, Poor or Bad. Hitting notes right will boost your groove bar rating, with missed or mistimed notes depleting it. To pass a song, your bar has to be above the top 20% of the groove gauge in normal play. If you're used to games like Guitar Hero, you might be surprised how tight and unforgiving the timing of the notes is by comparison, making the game a little harder than it looks.

Each arcade cabinet is fitted with 2 sets of 5 keys and turntables for 2 players or double play (in which one player has to operate both controllers), along with an effector button in between the 1P & 2P start keys to add an echo/delay effect to the music. Additionally, the cabinet is outfitted with many speakers and lights on each side to enhance the experience. Being a rhythm game, sound is very important, so most full-sized cabs house 10 speakers in total.

For music, the series has an eclectic mix of genres, ranging from hip-hop to trance to j-pop to drum 'n' bass and more, including some you might not expect to hear or play with turntable scratching, like ambient and ska. Konami employed dozens of in-house, commissioned and licensed musicians to compose the 70 to 120 second tracks in the game. The series grew so popular in Japan and parts of Asia that it had over a dozen arcade, home, and portable releases. In fact, G.M.D. soon changed its name to match the abbreviation of the series.

Beatmania lasted almost 5 years before it ended, at least in its original form. A sequel spinoff, BeatmaniaIIDX, took over and is still released in Japanese arcades to this day. Unfortunately, the franchise failed to take foot on Western shores with as much success as DDR did.

Notable Artists

Reo Nagumo

Considered the forefather of all Bemani games, Reo was the first sound director and composer for Beatmania. Reo covered many types of music all throughout Beatmania's lifetime, as well as Pop'n Music (officially stylized to pop'n music and Para Para Paradise. He mostly worked under the assumed name DJ Nagureo, but also used Jam Master '73, Tiger Yamato, N.A.R.D, and many others. He left Konami in 2006, later becoming the CEO of Yudo, Ltd. and composing for Aero Revolution on iPhones and WiiWare.

Hiroshi Watanabe

Hiroshi was one of the first commissioned artists to work for the Bemani franchise, starting with 2ndMix and ending with Core Remix. He dabbled in multiple genres under many pseudonyms like Quadra, Nite System, DJ FX, DJ Oddball, Crunky Box, and DJ Mazinger. Hiroshi had a relatively short run for the early titles, but re-emerged for one song in Beatmania IIDX 18 Resort Anthem after 10 years of absence.

Takehiko Fujii

Joining in on the series for 4thMix, Takehiko tends to work in techno and drum 'n' bass with an odd filtered tone. He would create music under the names Slake, Sparker, Calf and Deprogram Man throughout the rest of Beatmania's run and up until 2004 when he left Konami to work solo, occasionally lending his talent for remixes afterwards.

Kouichi Yamazaki

He is also known as RAM. Debuting with "Chain” in 4thMix, he specializes in electro, techno, drum 'n' bass, and especially rave music. He also composed for the first Ape Escape game and ICO.

Sugimoto Kiyotaka

Primarily a sound director for the first few Pop'n Music titles, Sugimoto began working on Beatmania starting with CompleteMix2, where he did many of the remixes on that release under the name Doctor S. Most of his other work in the franchise he did as DJ Simon.

Toshiyuki Kakuta

Mostly goes under the name L.E.D. His first contribution was "Genom Screams” in 4thMix before mainly sticking to the home versions of Beatmania and its sequel series IIDX for over half a decade. His style skews to the hardcore / hardstyle side as seen in "Hell Scaper” and many of his later IIDX works, even with blends of happy hardcore and some harsh drum 'n' bass / techno beats, alongside some dabbling in metal riff mixture and trance. Almost all of his music in the 5-Key series is under is early variant moniker L.E.D. Light.

Tatsuya Furukawa

Though not as big a contributor to the 5-Key Beatmania titles, having started on Beatmania IIDX 2nd Style, he played a big role in CompleteMix2 and Beatmania III. His pseudonym is Good-Cool, with Delaware used exclusively in CompleteMix2. He generally creates house music or rock / metal on the lead guitar for many Bemani titles, and occasionally does vocals.

Osamu Migitera

A sound data analyzer turned song writer and director. His first work was the opening theme for Core Remix, before making music for 6thMix onward, along with many other Bemani and Konami titles. He composes music under many pseudonyms, including Des-Row, D-Crew, Positive MA, and many more in later rhythm game installments. Most of his well-known work is actually rap / rock music from Pop'n Music like "Daikenkai,” which also appears in Beatmania The Final, Dance Dance Revolution Extreme, Guitar Freaks 9thMix & Drummania 8thMix.

Yuuki Kuromitsu

Going exclusively as Pink Pong, Yuuki composes nothing but trance throughout the series, though he started late debuting in 6thMix. Most of his song titles have the word Dream in them.

Takayuki Ishikawa

Once a composer for Namco, DJ Taka began working with Konami on the sequel spinoff BeatmaniaIIDX with a Gradius sample-base track "Gradiusic Cyber.” While most of his work is for IIDX, he did lend his talents to the 5-Key series starting with "Logical Dash” in 4thMix.

Sanaea Shintani

Though not a composer, Sanae (or Sana) was one of the first vocalists hired by Konami that made it big. Her debut was in the home version of 2ndMix on the YebisuMix disc. Currently she has half a dozen albums and has done the vocals for many other Konami games and Konami-sponsored anime themes.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Director:

  • Yuichiro Sagawa (original game)

Genre:

Themes:


The original arcade cabinet

A selection of home version controllers

beatmania (Arcade)

beatmania YebisuMIX (PlayStation)

beatmania 7thMIX (Arcade)

beatmania GB (Game Boy Color)

beatmania THE SOUND OF TOKYO! (Arcade)

beatmania (PlayStation 2)


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Intro
Main Composers

Page 2:
Beatmania
2ndMix
3rdMix
CompleteMix

Page 3:
4thMix
Append Gottamix
5thMix
CompleteMix2

Page 4:
Beatmania III
ClubMix
Dreams Come True
Best Hits

Page 5:
European Edit
Append Gottamix2
Core Remix
The Sound of Tokyo!

Page 6:
6thMix
7thMix
The Final
Beatmania (2006)

Page 7:
Game Boy Color
WonderSwan
Beatmania Pocket

Page 8:
BeatmaniaIIDX series
Beatmania Da!! series
Cameos
Ripoffs

Back to the Index