In 1999, {{Creator/Konami}}, who had cemented themselves as masters of the arcade RhythmGame with ''VideoGame/{{beatmania}}'' and the recently released ''VideoGame/PopnMusic'' and ''VideoGame/DanceDanceRevolution'', decided to expand their horizons into games that didn't just involve hip-hop and dance. It began with ''[=GuitarFreaks=]''; a game that involved playing a relatively simplified rendition of a guitar by holding down one or more of the three buttons on its neck (colored in red, green, and blue) and using a switch at the bottom to "strum" it. Konami knew what they were doing so much, that with the release of [=GuitarFreaks 2nd Mix=] later that summer, they also introduced a companion series known as ''[=DrumMania=]'' (which was ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin, having to use a five-piece set of drum pads attached to the cabinet as instructed). The two games could also be linked for multiplayer in an arrangement they called "session play".

Much like other VideoGame/{{Bemani}} franchises, the series uses a soundtrack with a mixture of original music by Konami's in-house artists, along with songs from J-rock acts and U.S. or European rock bands (the latter occurs infrequently in recent versions, but was more common in the early era). In 2010, Konami pulled a IIDX and introduced an upgraded version of the franchises known as XG; which brought revamped cabinets with a more powerful sound system, high definition screens, and redesigned instruments (specifically, the guitar now has five buttons, sustains and an effector pedal, and the drumset got two additional drum pads, double bass pedals, and a raised stage platform)

In its homeland of Japan (which is, as usual, the [[NoExportForYou only place you'll really find plenty of it]]), you'll rarely find matching versions of the two games separated from each other. In fact, when new versions come out, they now come out at the same time, the UsefulNotes/PlayStation versions always compiled the two games together, and the PortmanteauSeriesNickname ''Gitadora'' (ギタドラ) is used as shorthand to refer to both GF and DM at once, and became the official name of both games beginning on the 2013 version (which also introduced new cabinets best described as white, downsized versions of the XG cabinets. So much so that the guitar cabinet only supports ''one'' player now).

The series has been most prominently cited as the influence for Creator/{{Harmonix}}'s franchises ''VideoGame/GuitarHero'' (originally published by [=RedOctane=], a company whose other claims to fame include making third-party dance pads for DDR, and publishing the ''VideoGame/InTheGroove'' home version. Later turned into a CashCowFranchise by Creator/{{Activision}} before its untimely death in 2011), and ''VideoGame/RockBand'' (which took ''Guitar Hero'' and added drums, plus karaoke built off its work on fellow Konami franchise ''VideoGame/KaraokeRevolution'', and ''lots and lots'' of DownloadableContent). While the first [=GuitarFreaks=] got a U.S. release, it flopped. Konami hasn't officially released the series in America since: when faced with the aforementioned competition, it decided to play FollowTheLeader with itself and release the dismal ''VideoGame/RockRevolution'' instead, and then played a HeelFaceTurn as the publisher for an arcade version of ''Guitar Hero''.

!!Okay, let's start! Are you ready?
* AnnouncerChatter: Early GF mixes had an announcer say things like "Good!" and "Cool!" when reaching certain combo counts (like DDR). Later mixes only have the announcer talking during song selection, and not at all during actual gameplay (like Beatmania).
* BonusBoss: Early mixes of [=GuitarFreaks=] had Extra stages that are played if you do well enough. Starting with GF 4th, Encore stages are also playable if you do well enough on the Extra stage. Early [=DrumMania=] mixes actually had no Extra and Encore stages until DM 3rd.
** Starting with GF/DM 10th/9th, any song can be selected as the Extra stage but only the actual Extra stage songs (usually colored red) will let you play the Encore afterwards. And from GF/DM V3 onwards, throughout the "life" of a mix, new bosses are cycled in as the extra and encore.
* ContinuityReboot: First in 2005 with the shift to the "V series" (beginning with GF/DM V, then V2, etc. This also fixed the long-standing issue of [=DrumMania=] always being one number behind its brother series).
** Then we have XG, which ran in parallel with the V series as a SpinOff (kinda like ''VideoGame/{{beatmania}} IIDX'') for two versions until it was phased out (GF/DM V7 and V8 just used the content and portions of the UI from their XG counterpart grafted onto the legacy engine/gameplay). Now we have the shift to "GITADORA" as the name of the series for the newest release in 2013 (which, for all intents and purposes, is [=XG4=]). The title screens brand them as [="GITADORA: GuitarFreaks" and "GITADORA: DrumMania"=] respectively.
* CopyProtection: Much like DDR 2013 and beatmania tricoro, GITADORA requires a connection to Konami's e-Amusement network in order to run.
* CoverVersion: A frequent sight throughout the series, mostly of Japanese songs ("Tentai Kansoku", "Luvly Merry-Go-Round") with the occasional English song every now and then ("Born To Be Wild", "Paranoia").
* DownloadableContent: The 2014 release, ''GITADORA Overdrive'', is essentially a patch (similarly to other Bemani games as of late) rather than a complete upgrade kit, as was the case for previous installments.
* GratuitousEnglish: Being Bemani, some songs have their fair share of these. "Departure", however, is this series' most prominent example; it even comes with karaoke lyrics for anyone to sing along with.
* HarderThanHard: Master difficulty, introduced in XG, which is available on select songs.
* IdiosyncraticDifficultyLevels:
** For most games in the classic series, the difficulties are Basic, Advanced, and [[HarderThanHard Extreme]].
** The XG series renames them to Novice, Regular, and Expert, but also introduces the [[SerialEscalation Master]] difficulty.
** GITADORA reverts back to Basic, Advanced, and Extreme, while keeping the Master difficulty.
* KonamiCode: A variation back in the very first [=DrumMania=]. While selecting the difficulty, inputting "hi-hat, hi-hat, snare, snare, high tom, low tom, high tom, low tom, bass, bass" would enable the selection of Expert Real (what Extreme was called back then).
* {{Mascot}}: Prior to the 2013 release, they were a drummer with a BucketHelmet, and a guitarist with a BrownBagMask. GITADORA replaces them with Otobear, this odd MixAndMatchCreature with a speaker for a face.
* {{Medley}}: The series has a number of these as playable songs:
** The "Classic Party" series by Hideyuki Ono, which are medleys of rock rearrangements of classical music.
** "Riff Riff Paradise" and "Riff Riff Orbit" by Mutsuhiko Izumi, medleys of Izumi's various songs in the series.
** "Pot-pourri d'orange" and "Pot-pourri d'marmalade" by Orange Lounge.
** "Jake in the Box", a medley of classic GF/DM songs.
** BossRush: "ENCORE CONQUEST" is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin, a medley of five boss songs [[note]]specifically "DAY DREAM", "under control", "鬼姫", "Timepiece phase II", and "over there".[[/note]] compressed into 2:26 of pain.
** ''Overdrive'' added two more, "The ULTIMATES -Brightness-" (the unlocked Encore songs from Gitadora), and "The ULTIMATES -Darkness-" (a medley of unlocks from Extra Rush cycles).
* MercyMode: Starting with V6, failing the first stage will still allow you to continue playing.
* MinisculeRocking: Most BEMANI songs are already short enough by most people's standards at only 90-130 seconds, but "Thank You For Playing" from the console version of ''V3'' holds the honor of the shortest playable in any BEMANI game ever at ''five seconds long.''
* NoFairCheating: In more recent mixes, playing Extra stages with "Auto" on will not allow you to play the Encore even if you reach the requirements.
* OneHitPointWonder: Early V mixes had Hazard mode, where making only two mistakes (anything below a Good) ends the current song in failure but allows you to continue playing if you have stages left to play. Later V mixes replaced this with Risky mode, where you can select the number of mistakes to failure (4, 2, and yes, even 1) but is identical to Hazard otherwise.
* SequelDifficultySpike: Its not as bad as Beatmania's difficulty curve, but songs have been getting harder as time goes by, ''especially'' on drums (and ''especially'' drums on XG).
* SequelEscalation: GF/DM 5th/4th changed the difficulty system to use Basic, Advanced, and Extreme difficulties out of 1 to 99 for ratings. In GF/DM 7th/6th, the songs were re-rated on a 1-99 scale, pushing many songs' ratings down significantly to account for harder charts. XG changes this to use 1.00-9.99 ratings (and used different level names entirely until GITADORA). An unlockable "[[HarderThanHard Master]]" difficulty also became available on certain songs beginning on XG.
* SpinOff: Keyboard Mania. ''3rd Mix'' could also link with GF/DM on a limited number of songs in a mode known as [[ Super Session]]: with guitar, drum, and keyboard playing at once. You thought GF/DM alone was ''VideoGame/RockBand'' before its time? This is ''Rock Band 3'' before its time.
* ReadingsAreOffTheScale: When "[[TitleDrop Rock to Infinity]]" is played as an Extra Stage on V5, all of its Extreme charts have a rating of '''infinity.''' [[spoiler:When the song is selected outside of this circumstance, its charts are rated 99 instead. Not exactly infinite, but it's still the highest possible difficulty rating.]]
* RequiredSpinoffCrossover: Yes you, [[VideoGame/PopnMusic Nadeshiko Rock.]] (V5)
** "FLOWER", which has appeared on every other Bemani series. Since it's a trance song and not a rock song, it was retooled into a remix for this series.
** "[=CaptivAte=] ~裁き~" is an interesting case; it is part of a series of songs that originated from IIDX (which are typically remixed vocal versions of IIDX ending themes), but made its first appearance on GF/DM V2 as the Extra Stage song.
** V5 introduced a re-arrangement of "VANESSA" from IIDX 14; even better, the video also features the same painting from the original version, but with a [[ fitting twist]] in the end.
* UpdatedRerelease: GITADORA Tri-Boost Re:Evolve

''Well, we're done practicing. Alright then, let's enjoy [=GuitarFreaks=]/[=DrumMania=]!''