DanceDanceRevolution A dance simulation game with four foot panels, each corresponding to a cardinal direction.
Gitadora (Guitar Freaks and Drummania) A guitar simulation game with a strum bar and three fret buttons. And a drum simulation game with five drums (hi-hat, snare, hi-tom, low-tom, cymbal) and a bass pedal. Often linked up with a Guitar Freaks machine to allow for linked "Session" play for up to three players. Known as Percussion Freaks in Korea.
jubeat (aka jukebeat in North America) A relatively new Bemani series in which you hit light-up panels arranged in a 4x4 grid with your hands. Known as jukebeat (also uBeat as a Working Title in early beta tests) outside of Japan, possibly because "jubeat", while pronounced with a silent J, could be mispronounced as "jew-beat". It's gotten an iPad and iPhone port, jubeat Plus, which was localized outside of Japan under the jukebeat name.
Dance Masters (aka DanceEvolution in Japan) A dance game that utilizies the Xbox 360's Kinect peripheral, although in Japan the game is also available for arcades.
Pop N Music A music game where you hit 9 big colorful buttons. The premise is like Beatmania, only this series does not attempt to simulate an instrument. Infamous for being deceptively Nintendo Hard, despite the fact that the cabinet and controllers seemed to be designed with children and casual players in mind.
Reflec Beat A new Bemani series involving competitive based gameplay. Circles bounce around the screen towards your colored line, and some of them may be reflected to the other player's.
Sound Voltex Booth Best described as a four-buttons beatmania that has elements of other music games, such as an additional two effector buttons (DJMAX) and two crossfader-like knobs, one on each side (DJ Hero). Unlike other Bemani games, much of the music is contributed by indie/doujin musicians, with the side effect of the songlist being remix-heavy; notably, some remixes use Vocaloids.
Miraidagakki Future Tom Tom Another drum game, featuring colorful graphics and a motion-tracking system. Players not only hit the four drums, but also have to make arm gestures.
Bemani series that are now retired (no new installments):
beatmania The very first Bemani series; it consists of five keys and a turntable. It had a few installments in the US as hiphopmania.
beatmania III beatmania with extra features such as a foot pedal, extra effectors, and a 3.5" floppy drive for saving scores. This is contrast to beatmania IIDX, which is its own series rather than an upgraded version of beatmania.
Dance ManiaX A dance simulation game with four sensors per player: two high and two bottom. The game is played by waving your arms (and sometimes, feet) across the sensors. Known as Dance Freaks in Korea.
Para Para Paradise A simulation of Para Para dancing. Similar to Dance ManiaX, but with five sensors laid out in a half-circle. Most of the music is Eurobeat (as is most music used in Para Para), and the game offers a "Para Para" mode (where you mimic the on-screen dancer to replicate the routines) and "Freestyle" mode (with more DDR-like charts where you essentially make your own routines). Known as Para Para Dancing in Korea.
Keyboardmania A pianko keyboard simulation game. It's basically BeatmaniaWITH A KEYBOARD!Keyboardmania arcade cabinets come in two-player setups, with each player getting two octaves. Alternatively, one player can play a doubles mode involving using all four octaves and both screens! The last version, Keyboardmania 3rd Mix, can be linked with Drummania 4th Mix and Guitar Freaks 5th Mix for "Super Session" play with a total of FIVE players; two on Keyboardmania, one on Drummania, and two on Guitar Freaks.
Mambo A Go Go A game where you hit mambo drums. Possibly the least known Bemani game; it didn't even last more than one version.
''DanceDanceRevolution in the higher difficulty levels requires pattern recognition for two deceptively easy moves: the crossover and spinning. A crossover is a pattern of left, up/down, right, up/down, left (or vice versa). A spin is a clockwise/counter-clockwise pattern of the arrows.
In IIDX, one needs to learn how to do scratching without using a whole hand.
In pop'n music, it's not uncommon to use individual fingers to hit buttons.
High School AU: The Private BEMANI Academy event, which puts BEMANI musicians in the role of high school students in pairs. Players play BEMANI games to help each particular pair become friends; when a pair's Relationship Values reach 100%, the player can unlock a song for all participating BEMANI games by going to the e-Amusement website and claiming the unlock.
One is a standard life meter; it starts out either half-full or completely full. Hitting notes correctly will raise the meter, while missing or poorly hitting notes will decrease it. If your life hits zero, you die.
The other, seen in the standard modes of Beatmania/III, IIDX, Pop'n, and PPP, starts you off with a low amount of life. You don't fail if your meter hits rock bottom, but you must finish the song with at least 80% of the gauge filled (or 70% in PPP) to clear it.
Keyboardmania, on the other hand, is a mix of the two. You need 70%~ to pass, AND your game ends if your life meter depletes.
jubeat eschews the life meter in favor of a score-based pass/fail system.
The first REFLEC BEAT game does not have a life meter; instead, you get a Game Over if you lose to your opponent, unless you get an A or higher. Later versions have a "Clear Rating" system; as long as you have 70% or higher when you finish the song, you'll be allowed to go to your next stage (if any) regardless of whether you won or lost.
Mission Pack Sequel: Most games' sequels basically sum up to "add new songs, throw in some new modes and features." Kinda justified, as an installment that forces a change of hardware would be quite costly.
Nintendo Hard: Most games take a lot of time to learn, even moreso to master
Regional Bonus: Para Para Dancing (the Korean version of PPP) has three extra sensors. No, there is no 8-way mode; rather, it allows the player to play facing sideways or completely away from the screen.
Rule of Fun: Many of the the games that allegedly simulate musical activities don't do them accurately. This hasn't stopped them from being very fun to play. Of course, then came jubeat and REFLEC BEAT, which don't bother to simulate actual musical activities at all.
Shout-Out: Keyboardmania 2nd Mix added "Morning Music", a song which was played by Konami's "Bubble System" arcade hardware during its startup process (the unique "bubble memory" it utilized required time to warm-up before it could be used). It even plays it on startup!