Video Game: Pump It Up

Pump It Up is a rhythm game series developed by Andamiro. The gameplay focuses on stepping on panels on the floor that correspond to the four basic diagonal directions and a center panel, all in time to music. If this sounds a lot like Dance Dance Revolution, it is a lot like DDR: in fact, the game's first installment was also released in 1999. Some have speculated that the two games may have been developed at around the same time.

However, while they may have similar mechanics, the slight differences between them make them both unique in their own right. First, there's the aforementioned pad layout of 4 diagonal arrows and a center panel. Then, there's the soundtrack. Unlike DDR's greater focus on J-pop and electronica, Pump primarily has Korean hip-hop and pop as its dominant genres. Just like DDR, there's also original music by a few in-house artists, often by Yahpp and his former in-house group Banya, who often perform classical and rock music. Yes, you heard that right. Additionally, the differing pad layout can create a much wider variety of routines, and on higher difficulties, they can get really hard really fast. It is obvious why the highest 5-panel and 10-panel difficulties are named "Crazy" and "Nightmare" respectively.

There are two separate series of Pump It Up. The primary series comes from Andamiro directly, with the latest version of the game being Pump It Up Prime. This series is popular in its home country of South Korea, as well as Mexico, Central and South America too. The secondary series was made due to competitor DDR being more popular in the United States and Japan at the time. It uses a different engine (StepMania to be precise), and thus can be considered a series of GaidenGames. They are as follows:

  • Pump It Up Pro, done by both Andamiro and forver developers of In the Groove. This was primary made as a response to Konami killing In The Groove through a lawsuit and then selling their own games with poor quality cabinets.
  • Pump It Up Pro 2, done by the same team as above. This brought a number of original songs to the series at the cost of most of the Korean licenses: it is perhaps due to that the game did not do as well as expected.
  • Pump It Up Infinity, done by Andamiro and a select group of individuals. This uses a later version of the StepMania engine to allow for combining the best of both the Korean Pump flavor and the innovations of the Pro series.

Has nothing to do with the Elvis Costello song, even though it could make a nice Title Drop.


These games provide examples of:

  • Already Done for You: Some of the mission mode charts are basically free attempts at seeing how you do.
  • Announcer Chatter: Averted in comparison to DDR, there is no in-game announcer, though there has always been announcers in the menu.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If you fail your first stage you'll still get a second one. On stages 2 and 3, by default, you won't get a Game Over if you run out of life, unless you get 50 misses in a row.
    • Changed with Arcade cabinets for Fiesta or later: If you are using a thumb drive (Pum Bi) to save your data it is possible to fail out of any stage. The song will always play until the end before giving a game over, however! Without the Pum Bi it's impossible to fail out of your first song, however the set will be shortened from three songs to two.
    • Pump Pro 2's routine mode doesn't seem to fail the players at all, even if the health bar goes to zero. Regardless, you get a Game Over if you get a grade of F even in the first stage - if you accumulate an excessively high number of total misses (Higher level nightmare charts can still be passed with over 100 total misses, depending on the song).
  • Art Shift: Multiple times throughout the BGA to "Rapper's Delight".
  • Attract Mode: Common in all of the arcade games.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Some songs don't have difficult patterns, but drain your stamina very quickly.
    • "Get This Party Started" from Premiere EX3 is a very good example of this trope. The Normal, Hard, and Free Style charts are standard for a pop song, but Crazy and Nightmare have not only a max combo of over 660 including long notes, but also patterns that to this day are still very difficult to play through! They're so bad, rumor has it Andamiro fired the guy who made them.
    • "We Are" from OBG is one of the songs you start the game with. Typically songs you start the game with are easy so newbies won't be so intimidated. Instead, "We Are" is chock full of strange body motions, relentless jump-step-jump combos, and reversing (occasionally randomized) running patterns. Many players dread this song anywhere, especially early in their song set due to how fast it can drain you. Oh, and that's on easy mode: it gets worse from there!
    • The Full version of Canon D doesn't seem scary at first glance. Canon D is not a very hard song in it's regular format and the full version starts out fairly easy. However, all difficulties listed for the full song version of Canon D are actually averaged difficulties. The "level 9" version, for example, starts out around level 5 difficulty goes up a little at a time to around level 12. The song is also twice the length of normal which can and does leave players drained to start with and then the Difficulty Spike at the end hits to wipe them out!
    • "Hot Issue D26 From Fiesta EX. Hot girls in the background with a god-awful chart. The difficulty seesaws all over the place from having easier parts in the early run to having ridiculously hard parts like the 4-arrow bracket jumps in the middle of the song to the 32nd note steams at the last third of the song that is impossible to full combo. This chart was originally a scrapped joke chart that later on became official at the end of the machine's last patches, as well as a returning unlock for Fiesta 2.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Final Audition Episode's 1, 2-1, and 2-2.
  • Cat Concerto: "Turkey March Minimal Tunes", "Hungarian Dance V", "Higgledy Piggledy"
  • Classic Cheat Code: Up Left, Up Right, Up Left, Up Right, Center to change your speed mod. It's considered a requirement for playing at higher skill levels.
    • Starting with Fiesta (and including Infinity), hit Down left, Down Right, Down Left, Down Right, Down Left, Down Right to access the Command Window instead.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Both World Max two-player missions and Pro 2's routine mode use these. World Max doesn't limit it to just two, though...witness Three Attack. The Double Perfomance Charts from Fiesta onwards do this too.
  • Combos: Keep hitting arrows in a row to increase. Also inverted: you can get combos for missing steps in a row. Missing 51 (30 in Pro and Pro 2) in a row causes a Game Over.
  • Continuing Is Painful: Fail a mission on Zero or NX 1, and you have to pay full price for one more shot at the song. Hope you've recharged your energy within 30 seconds...
  • Cover Version: An uncredited cover of a-Ha's "Take On Me."
  • Critical Annoyance: Some mission charts require you to finish with dangerously low health.
  • Curse Cut Short: Bust Back
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: Immediately going from this to Dance Dance Revolution / In the Groove or vice versa can have this effect.
  • Dark World: Dark Shantomia in NX 2 (renamed Phantomia in Absolute).
  • Difficulty Spike: In Fiesta 2, there's the T-Rain, a double mode Train. It starts with a really cool and very cheerful song, Shanghai Romance, which isn't at all hard, only a little tiring, but that song alone is enough to cheer you up, then comes Two Guys, another very cool and slightly easier song, way to boost your mood with cool songs and fun routines. This Train will only get better and more fun, right? Good luck. Next is Ignis Fatuus, Fiesta 2's That One Boss. Are you ready to get hurt REALLY hard? I don't think you expect this one to be easy. Level 24, baby. Last is Heartbreaker which isn't really hard, either.
    • Inverted in Fiesta EX, there's the Nintendo Hard Windforce Train, where it begins cruelly beating you with What Happened. A chart which you must actually KNOW how to step correctly to pass it properly, followed by Fiesta's assasin Vacuum, with it's worst chart, a horrifically difficult Single 23 routine. And guess what comes next? La La La. One of NXA's easiest K-Pops with its very same Crazy chart, gotta be easier after this right? At last, we can breath. In fact, it's just a breath of fresh air before the Train's true killer: Cleaner.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: Some World Max goals require this.
  • Double Unlock: The games with World Max use this. Once you get the songs, you have to pay mileage in order to play them.
  • Downloadable Content: Some of the songs for NXA are like this. Additionally, the upgrade patches on all three Fiestas.
  • Double Play: Freestyle and Nightmare modes in the older games, Double and Double Performance in the newer ones. A partial example exists in the form of Half Double, in which the player uses the center six panels (1P's center, up-right, down-right, and 2P's center, up-left, and down-left). Unlike many Rhythm Games that charge a second credit to play their respective double modes, Pump's doubles modes have historically been playable on a single credit, and modern versions allow you to switch between single and double charts between stages. Double charts are a major staple of high-level Pump play; unlike in DDR or ITG where double charts are considered optional challenges, the game and official tournaments expect players to be able to play double charts in addition to single charts.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Some charts change depending on if you have missed notes or not. This is usually noticed in the old Division mode or select mission charts.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Playing on the Easy Station on NX 1 allows you to play 3 songs, but you can't qualify for a 4th.
  • Everything's Better With Motorcycles: She Likes Pizza, Enter the Dragon. Pop the Track.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: The Solitary songs.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Beethoven Virus's hard chart is the best example.
    • Starian, Sorceress Elise and Com'back, in the same difficulty level, are examples too.
  • Exergaming: The crazy/nightmare charts can easily give a good workout. As with In The Groove, a "multiplayer" version of Pro with wireless pads was produced as well, which is primarily aimed at fitness centers.
    • NX 2 even has a calorie and oxygen intake counter for each song, tallying them up when your game ends.
  • Fake Difficulty: Two sources here (at least).
    • Most of the charts are designed to be able to use your feet for the whole song. Some have forced hands, where you have to use your hand (or something else) to hit the panels. Prominent examples include Ignition Starts Crazy, Bee Nightmare, Miss's Story Crazy, and Chimera Crazy & Nightmare.
    • A good number of the mission charts don't always use the same constant BPM as the arcade charts of the same song. Part of playing the chart means to be ready for any gimmick, for you generally aren't told of them before you first play the chart.
    • "Uprock" has a pretty sick rhythm. The only problem is, on Crazy, the arrows also move to this same rhythm. Literally. And "Nobody" in Fiesta 2 as well.
    • Will-o-The-Wisp has a flashing squiggly blue and red background in parts of the song. This actually is a Magic Eye trick that can cause phantom arrows to appear in those areas! The timing and whether the arrows appear seems to be randomized.
  • Falling Blocks: Block Game
  • Female Gaze: Most K-Pop songs with their music videos, but "Fantastic Baby" is a notable example.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: There are both Fire and Ice noteskins available.
  • Flying Saucer: Alien Attack in World Max 2.
    • Also makes appearances in the BGVs for Com'back and Love Is a Danger Zone.
  • Gaiden Game: Pump It Up Pro, which is a Spiritual Successor to In the Groove
    • At Amusement Expo 2012 in Las Vegas, a another Gaiden surfaced in the form of "Pump It Up Infinity"; it shares characteristics with Pro (i.e. StepMania engine, etc.), but is more like the "classic" series, and has involvement from Korean staff as well.
  • Gimmick Level: Blame the step artist for these:
    • A couple of the ols HD charts, like Beethoven Virus and Winter, where parts of the song want you to spin.
    • Join The Party CZ. Hold one arrow in the center the entire time or break your combo.
    • Bee FS may count too.
    • And at least half the "Another"s, inlcuding Pumptris Quattro CZ Another.
    • Fiesta 2's Passacaglia S20 or D22. Enjoy the seesaw scrolling on the chorus parts.
    • Yeo Rae A S13 on Fiesta 2. Don't even think about doing speed mods, you are forced to play it on 1x speed, regardless of setting. Good luck having magnifying glasses playing it or try to memorize the chart.
    • Super Fantasy S19 and D21. Get ready for flash photography oh the chorus where sections of the song may seem to have no arrows, but once that camera clicks, it isn't the photo finish you expect. Oh, and enjoy the wub scrolling as well.
    • Before Routine charts were officially introduced, a few songs in Zero had Another Nightmare charts that required two players to play, such as Love Is A Danger Zone 2.
  • Global Currency: Even IN SPACE!, Mileage is the one currency used all over.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: U Inside My Dim Memory
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Le Code De Bonne Conduite. When translated into English, the lyrics describe a man willing to cheat on his girlfriend with three other women, one of which having a "big ass," only to get drunk and arrested, culminating with the man calling his girlfriend from jail to bail him out!
    • Fever by Cho PD, just right at the beginning: "You motherfuckers need to know what time it is right now, right here. It's Cho PD time right here."
    • Uprock's video has "Oh Shit!" as Unreadably Fast Text in a few scenes.
    • Down Low's Lovething was on Prex 3. The lyrics describe the act of having sex.
    • Dawgs in Da House's routine on Pro 2 is literally designed for people to go Doggy Style.
    • Go ahead, translate to English any of the Pxndx songs' lyrics.
    • On Prime, there is Epik High's One, which came with it's music video like most other K-Pop songs. The video shows us the pretty image of a girl attempting suicide by swallowing an obscene amount of pills.
      • Notably, the main Pump it Up games allow operators to block certain songs.
    • On Prime, the background to Nemesis. You got a girl glomping another girl's boob for 10 seconds and enjoying it? Both of the girls are underage? And that specific bear is upset?
    • On Prime, the background for Gentle Stick's Hestia. Combined with the artist's name, a woman looking like she's moaning in an aroused way? Yeps.
  • Guide Dang It: Many things in World Max and Quest World can do this to you.
  • Harder Than Hard:
    • "Crazy" difficulty for single-pad charts.
    • "Another" songs have new sets of charts that sometimes surpass the difficulty of even the Crazy and Nightmare charts.
    • Generally averted in Fiesta onwards due to the charts being referred to by their difficulty levels.
  • Have a Nice Death: "Hey! Why don't you just get up and dance man?"
  • 100% Completion: A possible goal with NX2 and NXA. NXA ups the ante by having the Arcade mode songs count: you have to get an S rank on all of them (A rank if the chart is above 4 skulls).
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Normal, Hard, and Crazy for single-pad charts, Freestyle and the aptly-named Nightmare for double-pad charts. Averted in World Max (listed in 1-5 bars) and in Fiesta, which uses level numbers only.
  • Inspired By: Mr. Larpus, inspired by song Wipe Out.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha: Xenesis.
  • Interface Screw: Common when playing mission or course modes. Some missions allow you to avert this trope by paying mileage to make the effects go away.
    • Pump Pro 2 introduces Fake Notes to the mix. These are notes that look like the normal arrows, but are...well, fake. They were first noticed in this gauntlet course. Fake notes are available in StepMania 5 as well.
  • Level Editor: Different ones are available for the differing series.
    • The Pump It Up Pro series has two methods for creating stepcharts. One is StepMania itself, assuming one can find the music. The other is Pump Pro Edits' fan-built online editor (provided Internet Explorer isn't used).
    • Fiesta EX recently released StepEdit Lite for creating custom charts for 141 of the songs.
  • Level Grinding: Mileage for World Max.
  • Loading Screen: NXA gained one in places that never had one before.
  • Lost Forever: Some missions on World Max 2 can be this if one is not careful.
    • A song in Fiesta EX was added in the 1.50 patch. It was very quickly removed in the 1.51 patch.
  • Love Hurts: The Love is a Danger Zone songs have very difficult charts on the higher difficulties, especially after Exceed 2.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Hidden Parts is arguably one of the most well known, but there are others.
  • Male Gaze: The BGA of "Mistake". The girl from "Hello William", "Magic", and "Native" has the same dance routine in all of those three songs.
    • To a lesser extent, the K-Pop songs have their original music videos as the background animation.
  • Mercy Mode: On many arcade versions if you are not using a thumb drive (Pum Bi) to save data and fail out of a song, the final song of your set will be either cut short or removed entirely. This is because the game is assuming you are tired and is making sure you do no injure yourself.
    • There is also a "Short Cut" Channel on some machines that shortens all songs to about half length. This is for beginner players who do not have the stamina for full songs. Short Cut sets often have two songs instead of three to further assure the player does not harm themself.
  • Multi-Platform: A home version of Exceed was released for the PS2 and the Xbox, but didn't sell very well.
    • There was also a PC port complete with expansion packs.
  • Mythology Gag: Pump Pro 2 has a song called "In the Groove"; its artwork uses a recolor of the In the Groove logo.
  • Nintendo Hard: Rivals In the Groove for the most challenging game involving stepping on panels. While the arcade style charts do not have mines in them (except on Pro, where the charts are done in a more In The Groove-like style, and thus can contain mines and rolls), some mission mode charts have them, and can actually require the player to hit the mines in order to pass the mission.
    • Takes this to a whole new level if the arcade machine's owner has enabled stage break, where the player gets an instant Game Over if the lifebar depletes, and it drains much more quickly than ITG does. In this case anything you pass will have a grade of A or higher. Fortunately stage break does not affect the first song of the credit.
    • The most difficult charts in the game are ball-bustingly hard by DDR standards. In fact, there are doubles charts that require two people to play (even though you're in a 1-player mode), and there are charts that are not intended to be cleared!
    • NX itself. You like Bemera, right?
    • Pump Pro 2 actually brings a genuine "2P Doubles" mode, known as Routine Mode, that has both players using all 10 panels, and the charts are specifically designed (and the notes color-coded) for two players. Fiesta and others since then have borrowed the concept for some of their Double Performance charts.
    • The speed of NXA's boss song Final Audition 2-X
    • All three Fiestas.
  • No Damage Run: Sudden Death Mode on the Exceed home versions. Missing even one arrow means failure.
  • Nostalgia Level: Some of the World Max missions are this.
  • Old Save Bonus: Put in a USB stick with NX2 World Max data in NXA to unlock most of the first World Max 2 World.
  • Old-School Dogfight: Final Audition 3, Naissance and Requiem.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Final Audition Ep. 2-X in NXA. Meteorize and Requiem in Prime.
  • One-Hit Kill: The mines in the Item War mission. As a variant, Pump It Up Exceed for the home consoles also have a mode where getting a miss kills you, but bads do not. Superman D23 may qualify for this as missing a stretch jump can cause 51 misses, which is exactly enough to cause instant game over on specific machine settings with stage break.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Brain Shower on NXA and based missions on Fiesta.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: A staple of rhythm games, really, but Pump takes it to a whole new level. Beethoven Virus, Turkey March, Dr. M, Pump Me Amadeus, Csiko's Post, Winter, Bee, Canon-D, Ugly Dee, Xenesis, Red Swan... nearly every version introduces a new classical remix.
  • Rank Inflation: From worst to best: F, D, C, B, A, S. Getting an S requires not missing. PIU Fiesta added an SS ranking for getting nothing but Perfects, while the Pro series uses SS for Greats and Perfects.
  • Rated M for Manly: PIU is mostly manly hip-hop, classical, and remixes of video game music. Background animations typically feature cute/sexy women, manly men, cats or robots. It has five pads instead of four and features special modes just for showing off. It's almost like they took one look at DDR, proclaimed it "girly", then decided to go the other way!
  • Recycled In SPACE: Brain Shower is Pump It Up WITH BASIC ELEMENTARY QUESTIONS.
    • This is one of the goals in NXA's World Max: to get to space.
  • Remixed Level: Both Love is a Danger Zone 2 and Beat of the War 2 have instrumental versions.
  • Rhythm Game
  • Scoring Points: Most official tournaments use the score you get at the end of the round. Scoring is primarily combo based: once you hit 50 combo, each step is worth more points. Any time you have to hit three or more arrows at once also offers bonuses. Note that unlike DDR, hold notes give multiple Perfect judgments instead of a single one at the end, so holding down those long notes is imperative.
  • Secret Level: Quite a few in World Max. Some can only be found after defeating a Boss Song in a world: Jump on both red arrows while on the Dragon in the volcano world to access one such song. Pro 2 has some secret levels in their courses: one of them has a title of all ?????s until playing far enough reveals that it is Boulafacet.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Playing charts without the arrows appearing at all. The Eraser mission in NX2's World Max acts like said example.
    • A common challenge for experienced players is doing Don't Bother Me Freestyle with their own moves and game mods.
  • Sequel Escalation: The hardest charts of each mix keep on getting topped by newer versions. Exceed started the trend, and it has continued up until NXA for many players.
  • Serial Escalation: Regular "You're supposed to beat this" songs once you get past level 10 regularly demand hitting three or even four arrows at once. The game tops out around level 25-30 without difficulty mods.
  • Socialization Bonus: Present in both the mainline and Pro series.
    • In the mainline Pump series, there are World Max/Quest missions that require 2 or more players to complete properly. Until those are beaten, other charts inside the mode may be hidden for quite some time.
    • The Pro series has Routine mode, which offers charts designed for two players not counting Pink Fuzzy Bunnies anyway to enjoy.
  • Speedy Techno Remake: Again, BanYa's materials are all (slightly) sped up techno (hard rock actually) remixes of Classical pieces.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Cordiality vs. Another Truth
    • May also be a case of I Have Many Names, like Caution, which became Don't Bother Me in later versions.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Pro series is considered a spiritual sequel to In the Groove, as it has many of the same developers (including Kyle Ward), uses StepMania as its engine, has a course mode with visual distractions, mines, edit mode, etc. It even shares quite a bit of its soundtrack with ITG (some of which allegedly destined for the cancelled ITG 3; including "VVV" by ZiGZaG, the third song in ITG's recurring Vertex series, and "Take Me Back", a vocal version of the name entry music from ITG 2). Since the development team worked with Andamiro, it is quite unlikely the Pro series will fall victim to the same legal action that In The Groove did.
  • Sports Game: Some countries consider this game as a sport.
  • Stealth Pun: A Progressive course on Pro only consists of "Turkey March" and "Slam". Turkeyslam is a prominent U.S. player
  • Take That: Let's see:
  • The Stinger: Get two S grades in the Remix mode on Exceed 2 to be able to "play" RAW.
  • Title Drop: "Pump it up" was prominently pronounced in the chorus of BanYa's Free Style (the song, not the mode). "Was", because the song has been excised from versions posterior to Extra.
  • Tournament Play: Every year, Andamiro hosts a National Pump Festival, a major international tournament. The World Pump Festival happened in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2011, with 2015 officially announced.
  • Translation Train Wreck: The international versions of NXA suffered from this in World Max 2. Seriously, portions? More than 300,000 points ''and achieve?'' Do not miss the items more than 5? Engergizer? Select the biggest Velocity at last and Do Not step the Misses more than 10? Reports even suggest the other translations didn't come out as good either.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Many of the World Max/Quest World missions.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: NXA's Brain Shower.
  • Unlockable Content: The mainline Pump games with mission charts can have songs unlocked by beating more and more charts. The Pro series has pad codes that are entered on a specific screen.
  • Unwinnable: A bug in older versions of NXA can prevent players from completing World Max.
    • Unwinnable by Design: The progressive course "Make Haste!", from Pro 2. For starters, the entire course uses a modifier called Accelerando (the song goes faster when you do well, and slows down when you do poorly). Each song in the course also has a mod that slowly activates throughout the entire song, and if it fully activates, the song is impossible to finish (i.e. Stealth). Therefore, it is more directly up to how well the player is doing that determines if the song will finish in time.
    • Unwinnable Joke Game:
      • RAW is not really meant to be played however, since its a sort of credits roll.
      • Bee (Another-Nightmare)'s chart is also impossible to play and also spells out names.,
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: The original version of Pro's "Up and Down" course was supposed to have a modifier gimmick on the last song, "Heel and Toe" that was supposed to make it look like the arrows were coming from both the top and bottom at once. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work right (blame refresh rates mainly). The first patch replaced said song with "Monkey Fingers", with a new modifier script that actually worked.
  • Use Your Head: One such way of hitting quintuple arrows. Or, if you're fast enough, you may fall butt-first on the center pad, while your hands hit the rear arrows and your feet hit the ones at the front. Or if you're small or otherwise have short legs, hit the front arrows with your hands, the back arrows with your feet, and the middle arrow with one knee. Great way to get bruised knees, though.
  • Video Game Lives: Pump Pro 2's new Gauntlet Mode.
  • Video Game Settings: Mostly found on World Max:

Hey! Why don't you just get up and dance, man?!?