Dance Dance Revolution
Dance your feet off to the beat! The wildly popular Dance Dance Revolution (or simply, DDR) doesn’t need much of an introduction – at its height in Europe during the 2000’s, DDR took gamer hearts by storm and created what was probably the biggest wave of European arcade gaming interest in the 21st century.
The gaming mechanic is simple, but addicting: Follow the arrows on the screen by moving your feet onto the arrows on the dance pad! DDR is a game that’s easy to get into, but hard to master. With a soundtrack that’s become notorious throughout most of the northern hemisphere, it’s created its own little biosphere of players, modders, and even freestylers!
A long-running classic since 1999, Beatmania IIDX puts the authentic club feeling right at your fingertips – you get to be the DJ to over 700 tracks, pressing the buttons and spinning the turntable to the tune of the music. If you miss, the sound doesn’t play, and if you perform badly, the audience might just boo you off the stage!
There’s 12 difficulty levels and 3 classes (Normal, Hyper, Another) to choose from, so beginners can quickly find their way into the game, but pros will always be able to find a new challenge. Often dubbed “one of the hardest arcade games in history”, there are maybe only a handful of people in the world who have truly mastered it.
Originally released in 1998, pop’n music is the last of the “classic 3” of Konami’s rhythm gaming devision. It features 9 brightly flashing buttons that need to be pressed in time to the music and is fun for all ages. The play- and colorful interface attracts a lot of children, and the concept is quite easy to get into – but that doesn’t mean it’s just a kid’s game! It has the widest difficulty spread of all BEMANI games by far, reaching from Level 1 to Level 50, which is probably too hard for anyone to play ever. Easy to get into, but (nearly?) impossible to master – that’s pop’n music!
One of the newer additions to the BEMANI games, Jubeat features an innovative rhythm gaming concept unlike anything else you’ve ever seen. With an entirety of 16 (!) buttons to press, this game will keep you on your edge for sure, whether you’re a beginner or an expert. Underneath the translucent buttons sits a monitor which displays certain effects that appear in time with the music. Your job is to hit the corresponding buttons as quickly as you can – kind of like whack-a-mole, except infinitely better. Hand positioning is the key to mastering this game, and it’s drawn quite a fanbase since it was released in 2007. There are currently two of these cabinets in France (Lyon and Paris), as well as 3 in London (VEGA and Las Vegas) and 1 in Stockholm.
One of the newest series of the BEMANI franchise, SOUND VOLTEX plays similarly to Beatmania IIDX, seeking to emulate the feeling of a mixer console. It features 6 square buttons (4 white, 2 black) and 2 turnable knobs. With the help of those instruments, it’s your task to guide a spaceship along its way inside the hyperspace of sound – or something like that. It’s pretty cool, that much is certain! SDVX’s soundtrack consists mostly of remixes of popular BEMANI- or doujin songs, but there’s a few original songs as well. The newer installments tend to focus a lot on popular doujin music circles such as Hardcore TANO*C, IOSYS, and SketchUp! Recordings.
Sadly, there are no publicly available SDVX cabinets in Europe.