Bandai Namco’s Taiko No Tatsujin Goes On Test In The USA

arcadehero February 22, 2023 1
Bandai Namco’s Taiko No Tatsujin Goes On Test In The USA

NOTE: This post is discussing a game going on “location test,” the arcade industry equivalent of a beta test. This is not a guarantee that it will see mass production/shipment within North America.

Ask any Round1USA employee about the most requested games they get and chances are there are two consistent answers: Sega’s MaiMai and Bandai Namco’s Taiko No Tatsujin. The latter first hit the arcade scene back in 1999, although as far as I know, the American arm of Bandai Namco has never officially supported or shipped it, so finding one is generally up to the random import encounter or seeing one at an event like CAX. That all might change soon though as the latest Taiko No Tatsujin is beginning a location test today at the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, IL.

In the event that you don’t have a clue what Taiko No Tatsujin is, it’s a rhythm game where players drum to the onscreen notes – kind of like DDR with drums. The game stars a number of characters, particularly the stylized taiko drum Don-Chan, although I’m not the one to ask when it comes to what kind of songs it has (check the fan wiki for that). The series also has appeared on game consoles before, with a few different iterations popping up recently on the Nintendo Switch. The game is a lot of fun, the only issue for operators is that some people can get too rough with the drums. That aside though, you get videos like this:

I first saw the news on the AH Discord that came via Twitter, but I then reached out to Bandai Namco Amusement America (BNAA) and they did confirm that this is their test and not something that Round1USA is doing by themselves. Because this is an official test, the software has been translated into English, labelled as the “USA Test” version. This means it is based upon the latest “Nijiro” version found in Japan with certain adjustments made to fit with what the Western market needs, or that licensing allows (such as a smaller song list).

Assuming it does well enough to pass testing, the production version will likely feature an expanded song set but we can only guess for now what that might entail. Note that initially I read that it was supposed to have online support but it turns out that this test does NOT use Bandai Namco’s Banapassport network; It will also be on test for two weeks from today. Here’s a link to the initial tweet reporting this in case you can’t see the embed below.

Here’s a nicer shot of the game having been setup and going from this tweet:

To those who have expressed doubt about this being an “official” test, here’s a tweet straight from the horse’s mouth; Below is an image that Bandai Namco put together further confirming the test. It is very unusual for a Western dev to acknowledge the existence of such an event as they generally like to see how games perform without any hype – however, in Japan they tend to do both secretive and very public tests. That said, some games just attract tons of attention regardless and Taiko is one of them.

We’ll keep an eye on this as it develops – what may be telling is if the game shows up at Amusement Expo in Las Vegas at the end of March, or even IAAPA later this year in November. Now there’s every chance it doesn’t appear at either, but don’t be quick to assume this means it has failed testing as well – there will be lots of manufacturing and licencing deals to work out for BNAA if it is successful.

What are your thoughts – are you excited at the prospect of Taiko No Tatsujin getting official support in North America? Would you like to see it get the same treatment in Europe as well? Comment below!

One Comment »

  1. translate December 20, 2023 at 10:48 am - Reply

    This looks like an exciting new addition to the arcade scene! Can’t wait to try it out and see how well it performs in the US market.

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