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

arcadehero February 22, 2023 0
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.

UPDATE: I suppose this doesn’t speak well to my credibility but several people have expressed doubt on my reporting here that this is an official test. Well, here’s a tweet straight from the horse’s mouth, confirming the test and also stating that it’s testing at Dave & Busters in Addison. It is very unusual for a Western dev to acknowledge the existence of a loctest as they 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.

I first saw the news on the AH Discord that came via Twitter; But I reached out to Bandai Namco Amusements 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, it is translated into English. The software is also a “USA Test” version, meaning it’s based upon the latest “Nijiro” version found in Japan with  certain changes and adjustments made to fit with what the 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 list but who knows how that will end up. Note that initially I read that it was supposed to have online support but it turns out that this test does NOT use the Banapassport; It will also be on test for two weeks. Here’s a link to the initial tweet reporting this in case you can’t see the embed below.

UPDATE: Nicer shot of the game setup and going from this tweet:

If you’ve been reading up to this point and 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 really 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:

We’ll keep an eye on this as it develops – what will really be telling is if it shows up at Amusement Expo in Las Vegas at the end of March. What are your thoughts on this?

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