Let’s start the last week of April off with some news that is mainly focused on the Japanese arcade scene.
Wonderland Library Now Available – Sega has launched a new addition to compliment their popular RPG arcade title Wonderland Wars called Wonderland Library. Appendix cabinets like these are very common in Japan, being found for fighters, racers and other types of games when the company wants to offer more for the player to do without backing up the line of people wanting to play the actual game. In the case of Wonderland Library, it allows you to replay & download videos from tournaments or other footage made public. You can upload that to a USB stick or your smartphone (iOS or Android). It also has features detailing the cards which are vended for the games.
Pump It Up Prime Japan Getting Ver. 1.12 Update; West Getting V. 1.16 – For Korean based Andamiro, they are also striving to push their dance game and rival to DDR onto the Japanese market, with that they are launching v1.12 of the software this week. As Prime is available worldwide, they are also launching v1.16 for international versions of the too, which shares content from the Japanese build and offers other improvements to the game.
v 1.16 trailer
Capcom’s Crossbeats .Rev Sunrise Launching on 4/28 – It’s been interesting to see how one location test of an America music game had an effect on the direction of Japanese rhythm game development. That is referring to Step Evolution’s ReRave, which tested for a brief time in the country back in 2012. I’m not sure if any units are still there (I have the cabinet that was used there for the test) but since that time, Konami, Capcom and Namco have all tested or released games that are similar in style and play. On Capcom’s part, their recent boost for arcade developments has given the market Cytus Omega and Crossbeats.REV. In the case of Crossbeats, a major update subtitled Sunrise is launching on the 28th. Here’s the trailer for it:
UPDATE #2 – Posting this above, hopefully this is the last we need to worry about this for now as it is a lot of time spent over something like this. I gave Kyle Ward, head designer of ReRave a call and I asked him about the situation from the time and his thoughts on it. Since this was a phone call I have to do some paraphrasing but distilled down what he passed along to me was: All rhythm games pull influence from each other in some way. It’s like how in Mario you collect coins and in Sonic you collect rings; or all of the similar elements that pinball machines share with each other. You do have to be careful however to not violate patents. In regards to ReRave, when he first approached Konami they already had known about about the game; they are very thorough in their investigations and all developers are keeping tabs on what else is going on in this industry. Before ReRave, no one else had a large touchscreen format or the positional aspect like they did. Namco had their hands on ReRave both in Japan and in Europe well before they released Synchronica and Kyle was surprised by how similar that game was to ReRave. They also approached a Chinese distributor (Wahlap) about distributing the game in China but after they declined, they released their own touchscreen game called Top Star two months later. He stated that he felt that there was ‘no doubt’ that there was some influence there but it is difficult to pin down exactly where every instance falls.
I hope that helps clear things up.
UPDATE: I seem to have stepped in it with some vocal DJ Max Technika/Japanese rhythm game fans regarding the assertion here in suggesting that ReRave might have influenced a developer/development from some tests. Trying to ignore the more personally insulting rants directed at the paragraph above, let me explain what I mean here. My mention of ReRave above is not not crap on any influence that DJMT or Konami’s Bemani line of games have exerted in the realm of touchscreen rhythm gaming. It was pointing out that sometimes a small game can have some influence there but apparently that is blasphemy to even suggest such a thing as the universe of rhythm gaming can only be influence by developers in Japan or Korea. I still don’t agree with that line of thinking and don’t think it hurts to point out where developments from other places in the world might have some influence. Every rhythm game has to give props to Konami’s work in the field but that is such an obvious idea that it really doesn’t need to be said. By my observations, which maybe are incorrect as I won’t claim to be perfect and all-knowing, how touchscreen rhythm gaming has gone since those days circa 2011/2012 has been closer in style to what ReRave offered and not so much DJMT. Let’s then compare direct play between Jubeat, Reflec Beat, DJMT, ReRave, Crossbeats, Synchronica and Cytus Omega(mobile version as I cannot find footage of the arcade version yet). The latter three look much more like ReRave style gameplay than DJMT style and they came after RR did. Then if you look at the Sunrise cabinet below, it’s like a Konami game and ReRave had a baby:
By that, I just don’t know how you can claim that ReRave had no or zero influence whatsoever. And if it did, I’m not sure what the big deal is. Games copy elements from each other all the time. It’s not the end of the world to admit that, in my view. We can all enjoy these games just the same. Now why there are some who get incredibly upset when you try and praise a game like ReRave, I really don’t know. I can say however that when personal insults are hurled at me over this as opposed to making a solid logical or historical case for your side, that makes me want to just ignore the genre entirely to avoid the headache. At the very least, now I know why my most disliked YT videos are all rhythm game ones.
For the record, I think all of these mentioned games have their merits and are fun. In a world where money and space were no objects, I’d be happy to put all of them into my arcade. Had PentaVision released their DJ Max Technika 2 Solo machine, I would have jumped on it but they didn’t so I went with ReRave. I appreciate the passion that rhythm gamers have for the art, I just think that giving zero props to American made rhythm games just because they don’t come out of a famous Japanese outfit does a dis-service to the work that those developers put into their title. And these are all superior to what I’ve played from China so far- if you want to talk about blatant rip-offs, then we could go there. Otherwise I guess next I should troll by discussing NEON FM vs. Konami’s new MUSECA. 😛
Excepting PIU Prime which is available everywhere, would you like to see either Crossbeats REV. Sunrise or Wonderland Wars make a Western appearance?