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Beatmania is a music game series that was released in Japan by Konami in the late 90's. This DJ simulation game became the talk of the video game world in Japan. It's popularity eventually leaked over to the US, UK and in Korea.

Beatmania is the game that started the entire bemani craze in Japan and leaked over to here in the US, across the pond in the UK, (where rave and euro-style music are pretty big there) and even in Korea (where the series is known as beatstage, strangely enough.) The bad news is Konami recently announced the last game in the series, beatmania: THE FINAL, being the 8th game in the main series (not counting the other bm's, like GOTTA, DCT, SoT, or others). Click Here for an image.

Beatmania IIDX is probably the most popular out of the three main games. This may be due in part to the large flashy cabinet the game comes in (which features both a HDTV (with a wide screen) and a stand-on subwoofer to drive the audio-visual experience even further.) IIDX also features a DVD player built-in for videos that play during the game. Ranging from the good, to the bad, and the "interesting" (it's Japanese, what do you expect? ;) videos, each player is sure to find at least one favorite video. As far as gameplay goes, it features two sets of 7 keys (4 white 3 black) and a turntable on the outer edges...(In other words 2P's side is opposite of 1P's side.) Click Here for an image.

Beatmania III, on the other hand, is possibly the least known of the three games. It features 5 keys, a turntable, and an effector footpedal. There is also a mode that incorporates the footpedal as an additional key during the game, which sounds like an interesting experience.Other additions include a headphone jack for each player, and a 3.5" disk drive to save your high scores and effector settings to disk. Click Here for an image.

HipHopMania Is the US version of Beatmania. This is Konami of America's attempt to bring the beatmania series stateside. However the HHM machines seem to be more scarce over here. The game itself is in English, but the cabinets still retain some of the Japanese instructions/warnings (though they do have english too)! Unfortunately since the 5-key original series is coming to a close in Japan with the release of beatmania: THE FINAL, it doesn't look like beatmania will ever get the chance to hit big in the US... not with any new machines, anyway.