Geekscream: TECHNIKA! (and Guitar Hero Arcade)

They finally have a DJ Max Technika machine at my local arcade! I am going to be so goddamn broke.

A rather good way to lure in first-time players, this~

A rather good way to lure in first-time players, this~

If you aren’t yet aware of the DJMAX line of music/rhythm games from Pentavision, you’ll still be very familiar with its gameplay – most of the games share much of its basic style and scoring system from rival game series Beatmania, owned by Konami. A line of notes travel down the screen towards an indicator line, with each note corresponding with a button on the PSP. The pattern’s based off a background track, and scoring is based on how accurately you peg the notes down when they reach the indicator. Simplistic in concept – in execution, devilishly complex and addicting.

BEHOLD! THE SHRINE TO ARCADES REBORN!

BEHOLD! THE SHRINE TO ARCADES REBORN!

Technika takes this formula and tosses the keys right out. Instead, you get a gorgeously high-definition touchscreen, with various icons floating up, and a moving bar to indicate when you’re supposed to touch them. It isn’t, however, enough to simply press the icon when the bar flies over – the best scores are dependent on further lining it up with what is usually a pink line indicator to get the best score.

Meanwhile, everybody behind you, desperately lining up for their own shot at it, are enjoying your performance on the monitor above you, also in high-definition, and rocking out to the assorted techno remixes blasting out of the arcade machine at high volume – higher if the player’s set background music and key sounds on “boost.” The machine itself rumbles in time, keeping beat with the stellar soundtrack, and the entire machine flashes and winks like a distilled, condensed laser rave.

I like it. I like it very, very much, and have been addicted to it since I first heard of it. While calling it “DDR for your hands” would be rather inaccurate, the mix of intuitive yet challenging controls, tight response time, great music and absolutely gorgeous presentation is proof, at last, that it is still possible to make great games for the arcade – and given the inherent expense of a high-quality touchscreen, only for the arcade. This is, in fact, how the hell you’re supposed to do things!

Guitar Hero Cabinet

It's just like the home system! Except... ...lamer? Really? C'mon...

Conversely, there is also now a Guitar Hero Arcade machine at the same arcade… and it is less than impressive. Though its screen is also high-definition – it seems to quickly becoming industry standard in even the outdated arcade format – all its visual magic can’t cover up the fact that it is, in fact, a watered down version of the home console games. Its tracklist isn’t even a third of what is offered by the older and time-tested Guitar Freaks series by Konami, or even half of what’s available in the console games. Not to mention the guitar selection – while zany and even impossible guitars are par of course for Guitar Hero, part of its charm was also the respect it showed to the true classics, and the trivia it presented for each of them. Not to mention that while the guitar controller better emulates the weight of a real one, versus the flimsy-feeling home sets, it’s actually got less control options! I know – the whammy bar isn’t exactly a vital part of the game, but its absence is noted. And is perplexing. Especially since at least part of the fun was going Hendrix on the poor stick.

The worst offense, however, was that it was two quarters for a single song. What the hell, Activision? A single, bloody song? Why bother making an arcade version of the game if you aren’t going to make the effort to pry us out of our living rooms? Or is the whole point to worsen the reputation of arcades even further, bilking gullible arcade owners with ten-thousand-dollar machines equipped with crap games, driving the last remnants of the arcade crowd into the eager arms of their home consoles and soft, comfy couches?

Well, screw you – Pentavision’s at least trying. And Pentavision is apparently where all of my spare change’s going to end up with.

Konami: Doing Band Games Right Since 1998

Konami: Doing Band Games Right Since 1998

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~ by Gonzo Mehum on August 8, 2009.

6 Responses to “Geekscream: TECHNIKA! (and Guitar Hero Arcade)”

  1. wat kind of songs does technika have are they only japanese

  2. @garturo

    Technika’s produced by a Korean company, actually, though its songs are a mix of various international audiences. You’ll get both English, Korean and Japanese songs amongst the mix, along with instrumentals only.

  3. @Gonzo Mehum

    Oh okay are you located in the states or another country so i can now where to play that. XD

  4. The Technika US locations list can be found at bemanistyle.com, at the following link: http://www.bemanistyle.com/forum/f140/dj-max-technika-locations-thread-40438/

  5. oh okay thanks i guess i have to travel to play one.

  6. Great info …

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