If you’re not familiar with Beatmania (and there’s a good chance many of you aren’t, since a lot of non-gamers read this site lately), you might not be able to fully appreciate what it is you’re looking at here. But trust me when I tell you it’s impressive:
Beatmania is a music/rhythm game by Bemani (Konami’s music video game division), the same label behind Dance Dance Revolution. But unlike DDR, Beatmania never achieved the same levels of mainstream mass success in America. Whereas there was once a time you could walk into practically any arcade and find a DDR machine, you’d almost never see a Beatmania cabinet.
The game is played by pressing black and white piano keys and spinning a turntable in sync with the music notes that fall from the top of the screen. Most Beatmania music is extremely fast-paced Eurobeat or trance with heavy beats and catchy melody sequences, but there’s also a couple of laid-back, groovy tracks like Jamiroquia’s “Virtual Insanity.” My favorite Beatmania songs are “Remember Me” and “Yesterday.”
My introduction to Beatmania was through a friend of a friend back in 2002 or thereabout, who had a hacked PS1 and was running all kinds of pirated Japanese games. Beatmania 6th Mix was one of them. The game hadn’t been released in the United States yet, so pirated copies of the Japanese games were the only way to play them. Later on in 2006 I bought myself the PS2 Beatmania game, which was the first U.S. release of the game and came with a version of the IIDX controller (7 keys instead of 5). I was always disappointed it never included my two favorite songs, though.
Though I was never very good at Beatmania (I’m much more skilled at playing fake guitar in Rock Band), at least enjoyed playing it for the challenge and listening to the kickass music. Every now and then I have a desire to hook up my PS2 again and dust off my Beatmania controller and have another go, but then I see videos like the one above and it just makes me want to cry.