It is notable for being one of the few Konami video game properties to remain active even during the Konami scandals of the mid-2010s, mainly due to being an arcade series, and the production of Konami's arcade games were not affected as badly as their console output.note There are currently seven active BEMANI games, four of which have been active for over 20 years and versions.
In 2021, Konami started up BEMANI Pro League, a Professional Gaming circuit for BEMANI players.
For information on music in the BEMANI franchise, see the corresponding music page.
Current Bemani series (series with new installments and updates still coming out):
- beatmania IIDX
A "DJ Simulation" game with 7 keys and a turntable.
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 game 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.
- 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.
- Sound Voltex
Best described as a six-button, two-knob version of beatmania, with elements of other music games. There are four standard buttons, two effector buttons whose lanes overlap with the four standard lanes (DJMAX), and two crossfader-like knobs who must be rotated to match the movements of their criss-crossing lanes on screen (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.
A game similar to Keyboardmania, but with a simplified keyboard, variable-width notes, and a touch screen.
- Dance Rush
A dance game with a large, touchpad-like platform, based largely on freestyle performances and shuffle dances.
- DANCE aROUND
Another motion-controlled dance game.
Bemani series that are now retired (no new installments):
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.
- beatmania III
- 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.
A piano keyboard simulation game. It's basically Beatmania WITH 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.
- Miraidagakki FutureTomTom
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. It was released in 2013, but service for it lasted for only two years, terminating in July 2015.
- Dance Masters (aka DanceEvolution in Japan)
A motion-controlled dance game that utilizies the Xbox 360's Kinect peripheral, released on the console, and given an enhanced arcade port in Japan known as DanceEvolution Arcade.
A touchscreen game featuring notes converging on a center point, six markers around the screen on which notes can appear, and slide notes that can appear anywhere on the screen. It was retired in 2017 with cabinets being repurposed for Nostalgia; service for the game was completely terminated in September 2017.
- Reflec Beat
A 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. Although Konami no longer makes new versions of this game, its online functionality is still supported.
A game consisting of five discs which must be pressed or spun in accordance with on-screen notes. The player can acquire special "Grafica" characters that offer a variety of helpful effects. The teaser website can be found here, and English-language information can be found here.
Canceled Bemani series:
A game with four touchscreen buttons and two vertical sliders that function as analogue input similar to Sound Voltex. Received one location test in early 2016, and was silently pulled from Konami's websites in February 2017.
Location tested in 2018 under the title Rizminance, and then tested again under the name 彩響DJアニクラゲ (Anikurage), it appeared to have Chunithm-esque gameplay, except using a touch-sensitive surface on a curved, LED matrix display for the notes (akin to the Dance Rush stage) and two sliders below it. It also had a specific focus on remixes of anime music. The fate of this game is currently in question; several of the songs on the location test build (specifically those remixed by Bemani artists) resurfaced on Jubeat and Nostalgia in 2019.
Note: beatmania/IIDX/III, DanceDanceRevolution, pop'n music, GITADORA, Reflec Beat, Jubeat, Dance Masters, SOUND VOLTEX, and MÚSECA have their own pages. Please put examples pertaining specifically to those games there. This page is for other Bemani games as well as tropes about multiple Bemani series.
The Bemani franchise contains examples of:
- Announcer Chatter: DDR and DMX. Other series have this too, but only during menus.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: Beginning in early 2014, Konami has started requiring players to pay more in order to enjoy most of the game's content. Due to various economical issues, the price of a standard credit on BEMANI games has increased from 100 yen to 120 yen. However, a problem remains: Japanese arcades typically use 100-yen coins, and the only way to pay in non-increments of 100 yen is through Konami's PASELI electronic currency system. Solution: You can still use coins to pay 100 yen to play, but you will receive only a limited subset of features. Some examples:
- jubeat saucer fulfill won't let you play Extreme-difficulty charts.
- Gitadora OverDrive and beatmania IIDX 21 SPADA won't let you get an Extra Stage.
- Compressed Adaptation: Tracks are cut to be about 2 minutes long if they aren't already that short, in order to allow the player to play 3-5 tracks per credit in a reasonable amount of time.
- Difficult, but Awesome:
- ''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.
- In jubeat, using fingers to individually tap the notes in all but the fastest "slide" patterns for maximum accuracy, quickly recognizing and responding to patterns which need both hands, and being able to hit 16th-note spam accurately.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Songs produced for the earliest version of the games are much shorter than modern rhythm game songs, with many of these early songs usually being 1:20-1:30 as opposed to the 2:00-2:30 lengths more commonly seen today. Some songs barely even touch the 1:10 mark.
- High School A.U.: 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.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Idiosyncratic Installment Naming: Most games put "nth Mix" at the ends of their names for their sequels. Exceptions being:
- DanceDanceRevolution: DDR MAX / 6th Mix, DDR MAX 2 / 7th Mix, Extreme, SuperNOVA, SuperNOVA 2, X, X 2 X 3 vs 2nd Mix
- IIDX: nth Style up until 10th Style, at which point the series just stuck to numbers followed by subtitles.
- pop'n: Averted. Sequels just use numbers, at least until 12 when they start appending subtitles.
- GF&DM: At one point in the series, due to Drummania always being numbered 1 mix behind Guitar Freaks, the two series dropped the "mix" format and started using "Vn".
- jubeat and REFLEC BEAT don't bother with installment numbers.
- SOUND VOLTEX appears to avert this with SOUND VOLTEX II...but then subverts it with the "-infinite infection-" subtitle.
- Catchphrase: The phrase "Without you tonight" pops up regularly in VENUS's songs.
- The Private BEMANI Academy went ape with these, with its unlocks being playable on no less than six different BEMANI series. Later events, such as Nettou! BEMANI Stadium, would follow the trend of massive crossover events.
- Tenkaichi otoge sai Zenkoku issei nintei taikai was a crossover event between jubeat, Groove Coaster, Taiko no Tatsujin, and maimai.
- BEMANI x Touhou Project Project.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Many of the series have this in some form:
- IIDX: Light7, 7Keys, Another7note up to IIDX RED, then Normal, Hyper, Another from HAPPY SKY onwards.
- DDR: variously Basic/Another, Basic/Another/S.S.R., Basic/Trick/Maniac, Light/Standard/Heavy and Basic/Difficult/Expert. Insert Beginner and/or Challenge/Oni depending on which one you're playing.
- pop'n: 5-Buttons/Easy, Normal, Hyper, EX.
- GITADORA and jubeat: Basic/Advanced/Extreme, with GITADORA adding Master difficulty.
- SDVX: Novice, Advanced, Exhaust, plus Infinite/Gravity/Heavenly
- MUSECA: It uses color-coded difficulties (Green for Beginner, Orange for Advanced and Red for Expert) associated with a level number from 1-15.
- Life Meter: Two typical variants.
- 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 and MÚSECA 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
- No Export for You: The vast majority of Bemani games are not released outside east Asia, as getting the licenses for the songs for other markets are a pain in the butt, not to mention arcades outside of that area are not near as popular as they used to be. DanceDanceRevolution is a notable exception.
- Portmanteau Series Nickname: What the term "Bemani" originally was..
- 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.
- Required Spinoff Crossover:
- Expect any current series to have the songs "Rin to shite saku hana no gotoku".
- "FLOWER" is notorious for not only being crossed over to every active game in the series, but even to games from other companies, including Bandai Namco's Taiko no Tatsujin, Sega's maimai and Taito's Groove Coaster.
- "I'm so happy" is shaping up to be this. Notably, unlike the above two it's the original song being crossed over into SOUND VOLTEX II -infinite infection- instead of a remix.
- As of late there are events that involve one game crossing over some of its songs to other games (Lincle Link, the APPEND events and FLOOR INFECTION) and there are events that distribute brand new songs over some or most of the games (Tsukidoka, the Private BEMANI Academy and to a lesser extent The aforementioned APPEND events) GITADORA/GuitarFreaks and drummania usually get rock rearrangements of songs lacking guitars or drums instead of the normal songs out of nessisity, given the instruments they simulate.
- 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.
- Running Gag: "FLOWER"'s inclusion in nearly every active BEMANI series. It's even gotten to the point where it's getting crossed over to non-BEMANI games as well; as part of the Tenkaichi otoge sai Zenkoku issei nintei taikai event, it's getting crossed over to maimai ORANGE, Taiko no Tatsujin Kimidori Ver., and Groove Coaster EX.
- Shout-Out: Keyboardmania 2nd Mix and Nostalgia 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!
- Spiritual Successor: Nostalgia is this to Keyboardmania, borrowing the same piano/keyboard simulation concept. It even has several tracks from the latter game that not only are explicitly stated as KBM tracks, but have not appeared in any other rhythm game in over 15 years.