Getting Familiar With Japan’s Arcade Music Games

Ever since I moved here last year, I’ve made a point of getting out and doing things rather than just holing up in my room. It was rather intimidating at first since everything is so different, but iit got easier as time went on. One of the things I really wanted to do was try the games at my local arcades, but was a bit hesitant since I’m not exactly a kid anymore. Thankfully for me, it seems arcade aren’t just “for kids” here in Japan. I’ve seen plenty of 30+ people (men and women) enjoying the games, so I decided to just go for it and see what I could do. There’s lots of fun to be had here, but it turns out the music games are where its at!

Video from YouTube channel: Andrew Cheng

There are so many music games to choose from here! Guitar games, lots of of dancing games, DJ games, drum games, piano games, some sort of game that plays out on a cube and one where you just move your hands! There’s so many, and it feels like everyone is way too good at them. I’ve never been good with anything involving instruments or dancing, so I’ve mostly stuck to the purely rhythm-based games.

Video from YouTube channel: nohewxh

My personal favorites are MaiMai Splash (seen in the first video) and Groove Coaster. The former is a lot like the Persona 3/4/5 dancing games: you have a ring of buttons, and you need to push them in time with the prompts. It’s extremely easy at the lower difficulties, and darn near impossible at the high-end. Seriously, I have no idea how those guys in the first video are able to keep up with it!

After a few weeks, I’m able to do most songs on the second-highest setting, but it still takes a lot of practice to learn each of them at that level. They’ve got some great options to play along with, including “City Escape” and “Live and Learn” from Sonic Adventure 2! If you like rhythm games and find yourself out here someday, I highly recommend MaiMai.

The other one I’ve gravitated to is Groove Coaster. It’s a bit more difficult overall and the songs are mostly from anime and Japanese musicians rather than games, but most songs are awesome to play along with. They’ve even got Megalovania from Undertale (a rare exception)! What really sells this one is the presentation. Groove Coaster is a blast to watch as you play it out, and I can’t help but want to go back to it at least once a week. I’ll never be good at it, but it’s a blast all that same. Also highly recommended should you ever visit Japan!

It really is a shame that arcades have mostly died out in the USA. There’s still great fun to be had here, and game companies are still finding ways to make their stuff interesting. I’ve even gotten to play a game that simulates piloting a mech-suit; it was incredible! That game is only in big cities like Tokyo, Osaka and probably Nagoya, so for now its more music games for me!

Do you enjoy music games? What could would you play at the arcade if you could?

featured image from the official Sega game page

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  1. DDOCentral says:

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