What is Rhythm Game? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]

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What is a Rhythm Game? Hours of fun!

With so many of us gamers seeking refuge to our comfy sofas or relaxing beds, some of us are out there in the wild seeking out the right rhythm game to keep their brain and reaction time intact. Rhythm games come in a variety of packages ranging from the more group oriented Rock Band series, to the more single player experience that you’ll find in classics like Parappa the Rappa. Essentially a rhythm game promotes movement from the player whether it be with their fingers on a touch pad, to an all out sweat session with taiko drumsticks. Rhythm games offer up ways to get in some brain training along with some physical exercise depending on which rhythm game you actually play. Whatever your preference, rhythm games provide a very unique experience unlike any other genre out there because it teaches you a variety of things that can actually be a benefit not only to racking up high scores in the game, but also to your own personal life pertaining to patience, reaction timing and more. Let’s tap into our inner rhythm game soul and take a closer look at just what is a rhythm game, and which ones are worth playing.

Health Benefits

As we stated in the opening paragraph, rhythm games not only provide players with a very thrilling experience and test their reaction time, but it can be very benefitting for one's health if you take it seriously. So many of us get so accustomed to sitting down in our gaming chairs, and often neglect our health and well being when investing hours upon hours into our cherished games. Sadly, many people have succumbed to illness and even lost their lives due to poor health, and so many companies have decided that it’s time to get people off the chairs and back into shape. While typical games generally do come with their own benefits such as heightened awareness, improved problem solving skills among many others, they don’t get us out of the lazy position we’re often so comfortable with and that’s never a good thing. One great example of a rhythm game with enormous health benefits and could actually save you money from buying an overpriced gym membership is Konami’s celebrated Dance Dance Revolution series, also known by avid fans as DDR.

Dance Dance Revolution

  • System/Platform: Arcade, Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Date: November 28, 1998

Obesity is quite the issue in North America and is now becoming more prevalent even in some parts of East Asia and Europe. This is partly in due to the foods we consume, but it also has a lot to do with being sedentary and not moving around to burn off those double whoppers and bowls of ramen. Konami created a franchise that allows players to not only have fun and test their skills, but it’s become synonymous with cardio workouts and even ways to develop better coordination. DDR at first can be quite taxing even for the most experienced dancer who thinks they can keep up with the arrows on screen, but the more you step your rhythm game up and practice the more you begin to see improvement, especially in your health. Hours will race by as you tap your feet to the beat, trying to amass a high score then you hop on the weigh scale and realize you’ve dropped a few pounds. That’s just how remarkable DDR is because it’s a two way variable that allows you to feel good and look good, and have a blast along the way.

Here in Japan you’ll see high school students going nuts on the machine, their feet tapping away speedily trying to keep up with the pace of the game, and your eyes try to determine where their feet are. It’s rapid succession and very little room for error because as the tempo increases, so does the difficulty and often times you’ll hit the game over screen because your brain just can’t keep up with the madness. That’s another perk about DDR is that, while you’re cutting down all those extra pounds your brain is getting an incredible workout which tests your coordination, reaction time and more. DDR is evolving to the point where now it’s becoming more competitive and spreading around the globe faster than you can tap your feet, which is wonderful because the world needs more games that promote a healthy lifestyle but also a very fun and interactive one as well.

Dance Dance Revolution Trailer

Fun for Everyone

While DDR is tailored more to the individual, there are other rhythm games that promote a more group oriented environment and bring people together for the greater good. These games not only allow for a lot of laughs among those playing it, but it’s such a great way to break the ice in a cold room and get people to warm up to one another. One person could grab hold of the mic and channel their inner Michael Jackson, or drum to their heart's content like Travis Barker. Whatever your taste in music, these group based rhythm games remove all boundaries and invites you to take part in a party that’s fun for everyone. A great example of this type of rhythm game is Rock Band, which makes use of all the popular instruments and allows you to rock out like your favorite bands on stage without all the hassle. Just simply plug in your console along with the peripherals and within minutes you’re jamming away to some of the best songs out there, and feeling confident as you rock away on one of the most popular rhythm games.

Rock Band

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Harmonix Music Systems | EA Games
  • Developer: Harmonix Music Systems
  • Release Date: November 20, 2007

We truly need more games like Rock Band because, without them this world would only slowly evolve into this deprived anti social environment and that’s certainly not cool in our books. Indeed the game industry does try to promote titles that gives players the ability to socialize, but come on let’s face it, who wants to chat over a mic in an online game for 8 hours straight when you could be together in a room throwing a awesome party. Rock Band is a rhythm game that promotes a very healthy social atmosphere where just about anyone can take part in the festivities, whether you’re just a beginner on the drums or an expert with the guitar. With a large library of amazing songs to choose from such as The Strokes’ Reptilia or Motorhead’s rockin’ classic Ace of Spades, Rock Band is an exceptionally entertaining title that begs for a return to the spotlight in our current gaming landscape.

The control scheme isn’t even that difficult either, unless you’re really going for the high scores on highest difficulty, but if you’re just looking for a nice way to chill out with friends on a Friday night this would be the way to do it. Order up a pizza with some drinks on the side, blast your TV volume up to high and turn your living room into a concert hall. It’s crazy how time has passed since Rock Band’s debut back in 2007, but it’s great to see that it’s still very much alive in 2017 with Rock Band 4 leading the way. You know what system would somehow benefit from this? Nintendo’s latest Switch console. Perhaps creating some unique peripherals that make use of the latest 3D rumble feature would truly grab the attention of fans out there. In any case, if you haven’t tried your hands at Rock Band then we certainly encourage you to do so!

Rock Band Trailer

Break a Sweat

A lot of rhythm games often test not only your patience but your hand-eye coordination as well, which is very healthy for the brain. All of this however can result in you walking away from the arcade cabinet with sweaty palms or even just sweaty in general. That’s the reward you get for investing hours into these rhythm games, a nice sweaty smile that reminds you just how addicting these games can be after some time. That’s perhaps the major selling point of rhythm games is that, there’s so much replay value that you often times find yourself returning minutes later to beat your last score or to create a new high one. All of that investment is such a brilliant thing to admire and take with you, because it promotes self motivation and willingness to self improve. Many would probably overlook these benefits and simply just focus on the notes on screen, but for those that do pay close attention to these added results, they’re truly impressive and we tip our hats off to the developers for implementing these perks into games. On that note, let’s take a look at another impressive rhythm game that has everybody hooked and that’s Taiko no Tatsujin.

Taiko no Tatsujin

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform, Arcade
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
  • Developer: Bandai Namco Games
  • Release Date: November 21, 2013

Japan has always been credited for being very innovative with their game creations, allowing players to experience things that they never thought were possible in any video game. Not only that, but they love to throw in cultural themes to not only cater to their domestic audience, but add this element of exoticism for those in the western world. Not many people are aware of the Taiko drums’ cultural significance outside of Japan, but Taiko no Tatsujin allows people from all over the world to take part in a cultural activity that’s typically exclusive to much of Japan. Taiko no Tatsujin takes the very historical aesthetic of the Taiko drum and throws a modern twist on it by allowing players to bang the drums to their favorite anime and game soundtracks. Every arcade you enter in Japan there’s at least one Taiko no Tatsujin machine just sitting there inviting you to try it out, and the minute you do there’s no stopping as you become hooked immediately.

Perhaps it's the sensation of being able to slam all of your energy onto this large drum and see your actions play out on screen, or maybe it’s just that sentimental value that people want to treasure while playing. Whatever your reasoning behind playing Taiko no Tatsujin the result remains the same, and you’ll often break a sweat trying to outplay your friends in this fast paced rhythm game. There are various modes to choose from, all of which come with their own level of difficulty, but to truly experience Taiko no Tatsujin you certainly need to play it on high difficulty with someone next to you. Not only do you get to experience a part of Japanese culture, but you’ll look like a total beast as people will start crowding around to see your exceptional skills on the drums.

Taiko no Tatsujin Trailer

Final Thoughts

Oh man there are just so many rhythm games out there on the market that it’s hard to name all of them. As we mentioned in the earlier segments of our article, we wish that more companies would take initiative and create more of these wonderful titles so that people can feel more engaged and stay in shape. Some other great examples of rhythm games are Elite Beat Agents, Osu!, DJ Hero, Beatmania, Bust a Groove, Guitar Hero, Patapon among many more! Do you have a rhythm game that gets you pumped? Let us know in the comments section down below and be sure to share your experiences with everyone as well. Don’t forget to also share our articles on social media to keep the Honey’s community growing strong!

As always for all things sweet, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

Rock-Band-game-Wallpaper-700x389 What is Rhythm Game? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]


Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!

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