What Is Pop'n Music
This entry is copied (minus a few additions) from the Wikipedia entry on Pop'n Music, which may be more up to date than this one.
Pop'n Music (ポップンミュージック), commonly shortened to Pop'n or PoMu), is a music video game in Konami's Bemani series. The game is notable for its bright colors, upbeat songs, and cute character graphics. Although Pop'n Music appears to be targeted for younger children, its difficulty at higher levels has attracted many players of beatmania and other Bemani games. Originally released in 1998, the game has had 13 home releases in Japan as well as many arcade versions.
The following games have only been released in Japan and Asia.
Pop'n Music and Pop'n Music 2 were released on the PlayStation and the Dreamcast, and for both consoles two further append discs were released: Pop'n Music 3 and Pop'n Music 4. These latter two versions required a "key disc", i.e. one had to already possess Pop'n Music 2. A special controller featuring the nine colored buttons of the arcade version of the game was released for both consoles.
Pop'n Music 5, Pop'n Music 6, Pop'n Music Animation Melody and Pop'n Music Disney Tunes were then released for the PlayStation, but there were no further releases on the Dreamcast. Pop'n Music 5 and 6 could be used as "key discs" to play the append discs mentioned above.
Pop'n Music 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 were released on the PlayStation 2, as well as an anthology version, Pop'n Music Best Hits.
The Game Boy Color also had three Pop'n Music games: Pop'n Music GB, Pop'n Music GB Animation Melody, and "Pop'n Music GB Disney Tunes".
Unlike most of the Bemani series, the Pop'n Music controller is not designed to represent any real musical instrument. Instead it is a pattern of nine buttons in two rows; four on top and five on the bottom. On the screen colored notes called "pop-kuns" fall from the top to the bottom in nine rows corresponding to the buttons. When the notes reach the bottom the player presses the button and the game emits a note of the song, along with a judgement ranging from Great (hit the note perfectly on beat) to Poor (missed the note completely).
Like beatmania, there is a life bar with a long green section on the left and a short red section on the right. Getting Greats raises the lifebar, while getting Poors lowers it. When it is completely full, a higher rating called 'Fever' replaces 'Great' until the lifebar drops again. A song is passed if the life bar is in the red section at the end, which lets the player play another song. Your overall score in a song is based on a possible 100,000 points. If the song is failed, the game ends. A player may play a maximum of 3 songs before the game is over.
Pop'n Music is differentiated from beatmania by its lack of a turntable and by its hand-size buttons. Where beatmania is played by pressing buttons with your fingers, Pop'n Music is played by hitting buttons with your palms, fingers, and in some situations, your arms and elbows. Also, unlike in beatmania, Pop'n Music does not give you letter grades upon completion of a song.
Players can choose from a 5-key mode (disabling the leftmost and rightmost buttons), or a 9-key mode. Older console versions also included 7-key mode, which made it easy to fully use a beatmania IIDX controller.
To make the gameplay more interesting, higher difficulty levels feature obstacles known as "Ojamas", large sprites which obscure the player's view of the descending pop-kuns.
A mode that was featured in later versions of Pop'n Music is Expert mode, where the player chooses from different song lists and plays through them in either Normal or Hyper mode. The lifebar is different in this mode. The life bar starts full, and then lowers every time you get a Poor. The life bar seldom raises.
Another later mode is Battle mode, where each player uses only three buttons and also has an action button. Pressing the action button starts a minigame along the bottom of the screen, requiring the players to alternate pressing the action button at appropriate times until one misses. The player that missed has some disadvantage inflicted upon them, such as reversed or double speed notes.
Pop'n Music 9 through Pop'n Music 11 featured Osusume mode, where the player was asked questions (In Japanese), and the game made a song list based on the answers. Gameplay was otherwise normal.
Compared to the rest of the bemani series, Pop'n Music has a very happy and upbeat feel to it. The graphics are brightly colored and primarily solid shapes, rather than the metallic and textured interfaces of other Bemani. As in earlier DDR versions, players may choose a character to play as. The songs are separated by genres like Reggae, Disco Queen, Spy, or Anime Hero, in addition to the usual bemani genres of eurobeat and forms of electronica. In addition to the genres, there are also series of songs with similar elements, like the Classic series (which are medleys of classical music) and the Powerfolk series. Each song has a Normal mode, most songs have a Hyper mode (with harder notes), and some songs have an EX mode (with very hard notes). Unlike other Bemani games, Pop'n Music has no other visuals except the character you chose, the character for the song you are playing, and the notes coming down to the bar at the bottom. Where Beatmania and Beatmania IIDX have videos of some kind, Pop'n Music has no video at all.\
Starting in Pop'n Music 8, each game has had a seperate theme that ties to into the whole game's interface (as well as its official website). The themes are listed below as follows;
- Pop'n Music 8: spring time.
- Pop'n Music 9: cafe.
- Pop'n Music 10: Halloween (Japan has their own somewhat Halloween holiday in Japan, which is celebrated in August instead of October. Pop'n Music 10 came out in the summer of 2003, so one can see why Konami chose this theme for a game coming out in the summer) / Magical City.
- Pop'n Music 11: Airport / Travel around (and out of) the world.
- Pop'n Music 12 Iroha: Japanese festival.
- Pop'n Music 13 Carnival: Carnival/Circus.
- Pop'n Music 14 Fever: Super Sentai (Japanese superheroes groups usually consist of 5 heroes and robot).
Pop'n Stage is a dancing game based around the Pop'n Music design and songs, with ten "switches" (four diagonals and a center on each side, just like Pump It Up's panel placement). It is a combination of Pop'n Music and Dance Dance Revolution, using Pop'n-style graphics with DDR-style gameplay. The game has a bright, colorful interface and machine design, and is easy compared to most other Bemani games.
Pop'n Stage only supports one player at a time; six-switch and ten-switch modes are available (corresponding to Pump It Up's half double and full double; in other words, 6-switch mode doesn't use the four outer corners).