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The Rhythm Game World of Japanese Arcades

What are rhythm games?

Arcades in Japan are called Game Center (ゲームセンター), or simply known as ゲセン (GaCen). There are many types of games in a Japanese arcade. For example, UFO catchers, video games and rhythm games etc. Today, let Sugoi Mart introduces you to the fascinating world of Japanese rhythm arcade games!

Rhythm game refers to a type of video game which requires players to interact through physical actions on the gaming device such as swiping and pressing on certain parts of the gaming console in order to match the rhythm of the music. Usually, a player can play three songs with 100JPY, which is about $1.

Taiko No Tatsujin (太鼓の達人)

Taiko No Tatsujin (太鼓の達人)


Taiko (太鼓) is a traditional Japanese instrument. Taiko No Tatsujin is an arcade game created by Namco that is based on Taiko, and players need to play the Taiko to match the rhythm of the song. There are two Taikos locating on the left and right sides of the console, so it can allow two players to play together. In the middle, there’s a screen to display the notes that the players need to hit. 

Taiko No Tatsujin has tons of songs for you to play on. For example, J-POP, Anime, Variety and Classical music etc. There are three levels for all songs, which are distinguished using different flowers. For some songs, there are even an extreme level called 鬼, which means demon in Japanese! 

As seen from the screen, there are two kinds of notes. Red notes require the player to hit the middle part of the Taiko while the blue notes require the player to hit the rim of the Taiko. There are three levels for all songs, which are distinguished using different flowers. 

Here is my gameplay for Taiko No Tatsujin, playing the song 前前前世 from the movie ‘Your Name’. If you are coming to Japan, definitely try this game out!




Chunithm is another popular arcade rhythm games in Japan, created by Sega. The game console contains a touch bar in the middle and two motion sensors on both sides. To play this game, users need to engage with the touch bar through different motions. Including tap, hold, slide and wave etc. The game requires the player to interact with the console according to the notes scrolling down the screen, and the color of the notes corresponds to different motions. It seems difficult, but the controls are relatively intuitive! 

There are four levels, including basic, advanced, expert and master. Here is my short gameplay of the song 回レ!雪月花 in master level. Enjoy!



Wacca is the newest rhythm game existing in Japan at the moment. This game is being developed by MARVELOUS and Hardcore Tano*C. The console consists of a huge round touchpad and a screen in the middle. Along with the music, notes will emerge from the center of the screen. Players are required to interact with different motions on different position of the touch pad such as touch, slide and hold etc. 

For each song, Wacca provides three levels, namely normal, hard and expert. Here is my gameplay of the song 回レ!雪月花  in expert level. If you are coming to Japan, definitely try out this futuristic rhythm game!

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