There was a piece recently on WAG on whether arcade culture was dead in The Philippines which raised questions on social media on their long term viability. Regardless, it seems as if our arcade scene was viable enough for Konami to test two of their newest series in the Bemani franchise.
For those of you unfamiliar with the word, Bemani is the umbrella term to refer to Konami’s rhythm and music simulation games – which includes the foot stomping Dance Dance Revolution, the predating guitar and drum simulator GuitarFreaks & DrumMania, DJ simulator beatmania IIDX, Japanese arcade favourite pop’n music and now the immersive and kinetic Sound Voltex and Museca series. These machines are bright, colourful, and it’s all about being in a shower of lights and sound.
Both Museca and Sound Voltex feature Bemani mainstays such as DJ Yoshitaka, Ryu* and Sota Fujimori in addition to popular Vocaloid producers such as CosMo@BousouP, uno (IOSYS) and P*Light contributing original tracks. Licenses from Exit Tunes and Touhou Project arrangements adds Bad Apple, Night of Nights, Bad End Night, Setsuna Trip, MEGANE, Just Be Friends and many more.
It’s important to put this in the context of Asian arcade and Philippine arcade culture to understand why this is a big deal. Unlike other countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong, The Philippines has been a place that arcade game companies seem to avoid. This is seen in the large proliferation of second hand machines and general lack of internet/server support for a lot of them. A variety of reasons play into this – despite the large footfall and location of a lot of operators, the lacking internet infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. Piracy comes up as well, as well as concerns for machine maintenance.
Despite this, Konami took a risk and even sent some representatives from Tokyo to location test shiny new arcade machines on the 3rd floor branch of Quantum SM North EDSA, complete with posters, displays and links to Konami’s e-Amuse system which allows players to have personalised profiles, score records and unlocks.
A location test is where a company allows the general public to play a game for a limited time with the intent of getting feedback. It’s an open beta for all intents and purposes. They’re also gauging fan response, songs played, machine activity throughout the test period and how many people sign up for e-Amuse.
Quantum themselves have put a helpful video with the basics of how to play, to augment the guides that local players have translated from Japanese to English and have left at the machine.
Endeavours like this are always to be supported, as it opens the gates for other games and more companies to come bring top of the line arcade games to The Philippines. If you find yourself in SM North Edsa and find yourself at a loose end, wander over to Quantum for a brand new arcade experience.
Pictures courtesy of John Raymond Lim/Zeroblade. To show your support for this endeavour, use the hashtag #BemaniPH on social media. The location test will run until April 18. A standard game for either machine costs 5 credits, at 5 pesos per credit.
Quantum SM North EDSA is open during general mall hours. The SDVXPH group on Facebook is going strong with players posting scores, how-tos and general chatter regarding the machines.