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Video Game: pop'n music

pop'n music is a game series in Konami's Bemani lineup of Rhythm Games, developed as a Lighter and Softer version of beatmania, another Bemani title.

Like beatmania, notes come down the screen and the object is to "hit" the notes by pressing their corresponding buttons. Hitting notes will play parts of the music, while missing notes will make the music sound not like what it's supposed to be. Instead of 5-7 rectangular keys and a turntable like beatmania, pop'n uses nine big colorful buttons, requiring you to use your whole hands instead of individual fingers.

pop'n uses a cute, colorful interface to appeal to younger players, but don't let that deceive you into thinking this is a kids' game; pop'n is just as hard as other Bemani series, with songs requiring you to hit as many as 1,000 notes in the span of two minutes.

Currently, the series is up to 22 main arcade installments, along with consoles releases and spin-off releases such as pop'n music Animelo, pop'n music Best Hits and Hello! Pop'n Music.

    Games in the pop'n music series: 
All entries are arcade releases unless otherwise noted.
  • pop'n music (1998)
  • pop'n music 2 (1999)
  • pop'n music 3 (1999)
    • First arcade version with Hyper charts, which made their debut in pop'n 1's home release.
  • pop'n music 4 (2000)
    • First version to run on Firebeat hardware.
    • Last pop'n music game to have a Sega Dreamcast port.
  • pop'n music 5 (2000)
    • First version with EX charts.
  • pop'n music 6 (2001)
    • Last pop'n music game to have a PlayStation port. Said port has the most songs of any PS1 pop'n game, at 104 songs.
  • pop'n music 7 (2001)
  • pop'n music 8 (2002)
    • Theme: Springtime.
  • pop'n music 9 (2002)
    • Theme: Cafe.
    • First version to run on Viper hardware.
  • pop'n music 10 (2003)
    • Theme: Halloween.
  • pop'n music 11 (2004)
    • Theme: World travel.
  • pop'n music 12 Iroha (2004)
    • Theme: Feudal Japan.
    • First version to have a subtitle.
  • pop'n music 13 Carnival (2005)
    • Theme: Circus.
  • pop'n music 14 FEVER! (2006)
    • Theme: Club.
    • Last pop'n music game to have a PlayStation 2 port.
  • pop'n music 15 ADVENTURE (2007)
    • Theme: Adventure.
    • First version to run on Bemani PC.
  • pop'n music 16 PARTY (2008)
    • Theme: Party.
  • pop'n music 17 THE MOVIE (2009)
    • Theme: Movies.
  • pop'n music 18 Sengoku Retsuden (2010)
    • Theme: Sengoku period.
  • pop'n music 19 TUNE STREET (2010)
    • Theme: Town.
  • pop'n music 20 fantasia (2011)
  • pop'n music Sunny Park (2012)
    • Theme: Park.
    • First version to not have a number in the title since the first.
    • First version to have the 1-50 difficulty rating system.
    • First version to feature the new Easy chart system: 5 Buttons mode is gone, and instead, Easy charts use a variable number of buttons (from 3 to 9).
  • pop'n music Lapistoria (2014)

Like most other Bemani series, pop'n music suffers from serious No Export for You-itis. The only games in the series that were released outside of Japan are an extremely rare US version of pop'n music 1, Beat'n Groovy, an XBLA release that many players regarded as being completely awful, and a Wii release that did not involve the series' iconic nine-button controller. A simplified four-button-per-player redemption version was location tested in America, but it was quietly shelved and repackaged for Japan as Hello! Pop'n Music.

As a result, the arcade version is very rare outside of Japan. If you want to play at home, you could buy the official controller for a more affordable experience, but the controller has much smaller buttons, so you might as well play Beatmania IIDX. The other way is to spend a few hundred bucks on an arcade-sized controller. New arcade-sized controllers sell for at least $200; one such controller is more expensive than an entire Rock Band set. And this is all without the game or means to play the game on a PS2.

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all difficulty levels on this page use the 1-50 scale. To convert from the old 1-43 scale to new scale, simply add 6.

Okay! Here we go! Are you ready?

  • Amusement Park: The theme for two games: 13 (Carnival) and Sunny Park.
  • Art Evolution: pop'n music Lapistoria demonstrates a shift in art style, with more anime-esque visuals than past titles.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": By default, the song wheel lists the song's unique genre instead of its title, and even the banners put more prominence to the genre. Hence, typically a song/difficulty pairing will be referred to by its genre by players (i.e. "Nadeshiko Rock EX" instead of its actual title, "Rin to shite saku hana no gotoku"; this can become especially useful to English players since many songs have titles written in Japanese), but there are exceptions. It was only on version 17 that the game finally lets you sort songs by name.
  • Crossover:
    • If a song is a remix of something from another Konami game, it'll most likely have one of the characters from that game as its song character. Examples include Vic Viper ("Gradius -Full Speed-" (Gradius) and "A Shooting Star" (Gradius II)), Afro (DDR Megamix), Simon Belmondo ("Akumajou Dracula Medley Hybrid" (Castlevania)), and Goemon ("Ganbare Goemon Medley"). Pop'n Music 15 ADVENTURE even has a song from Mitsumete Knight, "The Man From Far East".
    • In one version you can play "Break Through The Dream", Complete with the characters dressing up as Simon and Kamina.
    • Not to mention Nyami & The King were playables in Konami Krazy Racers.
    • One event in Sunny Park features GUMI.
  • Easier Than Easy: As of Sunny Park, some Easy charts use less than five buttons. Some of these charts are rated 6 or less, which on the old scale would put them at difficulty level 0 or less, turning them into this trope.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Charotte
  • Gratuitous English: Though less than most other Bemani; song names genres are written almost exclusively in Japanese characters. Each game in the series has an announcer who talks in English; some speak it flawlessly, while some will pronounce, say, "Challenge Mode", as "charenji moodo."
    • In Adventure, if you play well enough, the announcer will say "You were cool!" that sounds more like "You waku!". Waku is the katakana spelling of wac, who is the sound director of Pop'n Music itself.
    • Don't forget about "Nice Pray!"
  • Harder Than Hard:
    • Above the "Hyper" chart difficulty is the "EX(tra)" difficulty. In older versions where EX charts exist, you can only play them on Extra Stage. In newer versions that use the eAMUSEMENT network, you need only play the Hyper chart once to unlock the same song's EX chart.
    • Lapistoria's gauge options include HARD (double damage) followed by DANGER (one Bad depletes your entire gauge).
  • High Definition: As of pop'n music 19 TUNE STREET, the game is available in a new cabinet with a high-definition monitor, although the game can still be run in a cabinet with a 4:3 SDTV.
  • Hitbox Dissonance:
    • The "GOOD to BAD!!" (GOODがBADに!!) ojama will eliminate the "Good" judgement; hits that would have resulted in Goods will convert to Bads. If you play beatmania IIDX, this is basically the "Gambol Judgement Another" of pop'n.
      • "COOL or BAD!!" has a similar effect, but worse: Now ANY judgement other than a Cool wil convert to Bad.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Enjoy, 5-button, Normal, Hyper, EX(tra) up to Tune Street'. In fantasia'', "Enjoy" is renamed to the simpler-sounding "Easy".
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming:
    • Averted with pop'n music through pop'n music 11.
    • However, from 12 through 20, games have a subtitle after the number.
    • Played fully straight beginning with the 21st main installment, pop'n music Sunny Park, which drop numbers altogether.
  • Interface Screw: Many of the "ojama" modifiers will do this. Some examples:
    • "Dance" (ダンス), in which the song character (or something related to the character) appears in the middle of the screen, partially blocking your view of the notes.
    • "Dark" (ダーク) will hide all non-vital interface elements, rendering about 90% of the screen dark. Though the "screw" part is debatable as having less interface elements on screen can make the notes easier to see.
    • "Lost" (ロスト) will hide combo counter and note judgement, unless you get a Bad.
    • "Trick" (トリック) will cause the wrong lane to light up when you hit a button.
    • "Panic" (パニック) will cause incorrect note judgements and combo counters to show up. Amusingly, the counter will show up even if the judgement above it displays "BAD", and the fake counter will sometimes display a combo that is higher than the max combo for the current chart.
  • Licensed Game: There was a "Disney Tunes" edition for the PlayStation
    • And some of the songs are covers from TV shows and anime. Later releases give these songs their own category. Even later releases use the originals rather than covers, at the expense of keysounds.
  • Life Meter: Like in beatmania, the series uses the Groove Gauge system: You start at 22% life and need to get up to 80% or higher, although emptying the gauge in and of itself will not cause stage failure. In addition to this, the meter can change according to particular conditions and ojamas:
    • In Expert courses and stadnard extra stage prior to fantasia, you use a more traditional life meter. It starts out full, and you fail instantly if the meter runs out.
    • The "HELL" ojama will cause Bads to damage the Grooge Gauge twice as hard.
    • The "More HELL" (もっとHELL) ojama will cause Bads to damage the Groove Gauge four times as hard.
    • Finally, the "DEATH" ojama will cause a single Bad to wipe your entire life meter. Yes, you can combine this with the "COOL or BAD!!" ojama mentioned above if you really hate yourself.
    • Starting in Lapistoria, the gauge ojamas are removed, replaced by gauge modifiers: EASY halves the amount of life lost on a Bad, NORMAL is standard gauge behavior, HARD uses the same behavior as the HELL ojama, and DANGER uses the same behavior as the DEATH ojama.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: About 10-20 new characters with every release. Check out the character page!
    • The Character page doesn't even begin to convey just how many characters there are. One of the Official Character Illustration books for the series has over 300 pages just devoted to Character bios alone. Granted, the book covers 10 games, but for a rhythm gave to even have characters, let alone 300+, well... you can see why this trope applies.
    • To think this poster is pretty much outdated.
  • Meaningful Name: The title "" does not represent your reaction to how much trouble you're having with it, its actually a piano dynamic meaning, essentially "very very very very loud."
  • Nintendo Hard: You really think something this cute and fluffy would be that hard? Preposterous! Any 49 or 50 on EX mode deserves such a title.
    • The old difficulty scale goes from 1-43, but as of Sunny Park, difficulties go from 1-50. Preexisting songs have their chart ratings increased by 6, with some exceptions, which means the maximum difficulty should be 49...but a few songs, including "Schrodinger's Cat" (Toy Contemporary), "Ongaku" (Silent), and "Shounen wa Sora o Tadoru" (Murakamo), were raised by seven levels instead, to 50, to reflect how much they stand out compared to other top-tier boss songs. While there are a lot of songs rated 48 or 49, very, very few songs are rated 50.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • "Brand New World" is the third song produced in the "Without You Tonight" series, but "Survival Games" and "Far Away" are labeled as "Without You Tonight -II-" and "Without You Tonight -III-" because they debuted on pop'n music later.
    • Likewise, "Elemental Creation" is the most recent song in DJ YOSHITAKA's "Hard Renaissance" series, but is the first song in that series to appear in pop'n so it's simply classified as "Hard Renaissance". Earlier songs "Evans" and "JOMANDA", part of that same series, are labeled "Hard Renaissance 2" and "Hard Renaissance 3" because they were not added to pop'n until later.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: Some announcers will give you a unique comment for failing a song with just one tick short of enough Groove Gauge to clear.
  • Required Spinoff Crossover:
    • "Rin to shite saku hana no gotoku" (Nadeshiko Rock) ended up being so popular that Konami ended up milking it for all its worth ... by putting it on pretty much every other Bemani series.
    • "FLOWER" (Trance Core) does the same, going as far as to also appear on DanceEvolution Arcade and Future Tomtom as well.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: The DEATH ojama (up to Sunny Park) and DANGER gauge (Lapistoria) deplete your entire gauge upon getting a single Bad. Subverted, in that a wipeout of the gauge doesn't result in a Game Over, though you still must reach the end of the song with at least 80% of your gauge intact.
  • Scoring Points: There are two scoring systems at work:
    • The first is the song score system. On each song, you can earn a maximum of 100,000 points, and each note has a fixed number of points that is inversely proportional to the number of notes in the chart. A "COOL" will get you 100% of the note's value, a "GREAT" will get you 70%note , a "GOOD" will get you 40%note , and no points are awarded for a "BAD". In games and modes where the "COOL" judgement does not appear, "GREAT" is worth 100% and "GOOD" 20%.
    • The other is the Challenge Point system. Clearing a song will award you points equal to the song's difficulty level. In addition, you can set up to two Normas (Self Imposed Challenges) or Ojamas (modifiers that usually take the form of an Interface Screw of some sort, or otherwise make the game more difficult) that add bonus points. Getting at least 125 points by your last stagenote  will reward you with an Extra Stage.
      • In fantasia, however, the Challenge Point system has been replaced with the new "Extra Point" system. All point values are now multiplied by 10, you now automatically get Normas for score and combo (though BAD-based Normas don't exist anymore), and you need at least 2000 points for an Extra Stage. Fortunately, if you are logged into the e-Amusement network, a fraction of your points will carry over to the next playthrough, unless you got an Extra Stage.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Challenge Mode's many normas. Before a song, you can select up to two normas, each with their own requirements (such as getting x points or getting less than y bads). Fulfilling a norma's requirement will earn you "Challenge Points". Though not necessary to pass songs, getting enough Challenge Points will yield an extra stage.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: fantasia forces the COOL judgement in all non-Easy modes. forcing players to use the more difficult scoring system.
  • Spin-Off: The pop'n stage game was essentially Pop'n meets Dance Dance Revolution (or, if the pad layout is indication, Pump It Up)
  • Sugar Bowl: Uhh, yeah.
  • Variable Mix: Similarly to IIDX's "Scripted Connection", "neu" (Niente) has three versions based on the chosen difficulty level; the Hyper and EX versions are, fittingly, a severe case of Mood Whiplash in comparison to Normal (which is a slower, more minimal and waltz-like version). The album versions string together each difficulty's variation as one song.

Nice play!
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alternative title(s): Popn Music
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