What Is GFDM
GuitarFreaks (formerly capitalized as GUITARFREAKS, abbreviated GF) and DrumMania (formerly capitalized as drummania, abbreviated DM) are rock-oriented music video games produced by KONAMI. Together, the series is formerly abbreviated as "ギタドラ" (GITADORA). In GuitarFreaks, the player uses a controller to simulate the playing of an electric guitar, while in DrumMania, the player must hit the drum parts when the notes reach the bottom of the screen in order to fill in missing drum parts from a song. The game consists of music predominantly from rock, metal, and J-Pop genres, and is now in its 25th and 24th versions, GITADORA: GuitarFreaks Tri-Boost Re:EVOLVE and GITADORA: DrumMania Tri-Boost Re:EVOLVE respectively, which were released in December 2016.
In 2010, KONAMI released GuitarFreaksXG and DrumManiaXG, which introduced several changes to the cabinet and controllers for both games. Since the release of the XG series, the original cabinets had two new versions before being discontinued. The XG series had three games before being renamed as simply GITADORA GuitarFreaks and GITADORA DrumMania, with another new, smaller cabinet (although the controller, and therefore gameplay, was not changed). The GITADORA series is currently being supported with online updates.
Earlier versions of DrumMania, which include those released before drummania 10thMIX, have been released in Asian countries under the title Percussion Freaks.
KONAMI has not mass produced an American version of DrumMania, primarily since John Devecka holds the US patent for "drum simulation games", which Activision had purchased and utilized in the Guitar Hero series. Even with this possible obstacle in mind, KONAMI has tested English builds of DrumMania and GuitarFreaks V4 at the ATEI exhibition in London and at a Brunswick Zone bowling alley in Naperville, Illinois - though official releases have not been announced. Nonetheless, imported versions of DrumMania can be found in various locations across the United States and Canada.
- 1 Controllers
- 2 Gameplay
- 3 Session Linking
- 4 Hardware
- 5 eAMUSEMENT
- 6 Simulators
- 7 External Links
Note: Games from GUITARFREAKS/drummania to GuitarFreaks V8 & DrumMania V8 are known as the "original series", while games using the GuitarFreaksXG & DrumManiaXG and GITADORA cabinets are known as the "XG/GITADORA series".
GuitarFreaks is played using a controller designed to imitate the shape of an electric guitar, most like the Fender Jazzmaster or Fender Mustang. The original series neck houses three buttons, colored red, green, and blue. On the main face of the guitar, a pick lever is used to simulate the picking and strumming of an actual guitar. A small metal knob near the pick is used to alter the sound produced by the game, such as adding Chorus/Delay effects.
The XG/GITADORA series feature five buttons, in order from left to right on the game screen: red, green, blue, yellow, purple. A foot effector was added, which allows the guitar to be played with Chorus, Delay, or Reverb effects. The guitar effect knob alters the effect strength instead.
DrumMania is played using a controller designed to imitate a drum set. The original series features five pads are arrayed from left to right for the hi-hat, snare drum, high tom, low tom and cymbal. There is also a foot pedal for the bass drum near the snare and the high tom. During play, the player presses the pads and steps on the pedal.
The pads are actually a modified version of the DTXPRESS electronic drum kit made by Yamaha Corporation which is available in almost any musical chain store.
The XG/GITADORA series feature a left cymbal, floor tom, and left pedal in addition to the the five pads from the original series.
To the right of these pads, there are three buttons, Left, Start and Right, which are used to select and decide in the selection screens. In those cases, the Left button is assigned to the snare drum pad, Right to the low tom, and Start to the cymbal.
The interface is similar to other games in the BEMANI series. Two note scrolls - one for each player - are displayed at the left and right sides of the screen. Videos for each song are displayed in the center of the screen. Each note scroll consists of columns: one each for the red, green, and blue buttons (the XG/GITADORA series also has two extra columns for yellow and pruple buttons), and another column, known as the Wailing Bonus column. Individual notes and chords are represented by small colored bars that scroll upward in the columns. To play the correct note, the player must hold down the buttons corresponding to the colored bars, and move the fret lever when the bars reach the yellow fretting line. When a guitar icon is displayed in the Wailing Bonus column along with an associated note, the player can tilt the guitar upright while playing the note to receive bonus points.
The player's accuracy is judged for each note played. The current system uses the names Perfect, Great, Good, Poor, and Miss to indicate a player's accuracy. Ratings of Poor or Miss will deplete the player's Groove Gauge, while Perfect and Great ratings will replenish it. If the Groove Gauge is emptied completely, the player fails, and the game ends. Players are allowed to play anywhere from one to five songs depending on the game cabinet's configuration, with the ability to earn additional songs in certain versions of the game.
Upon successful completion of a song, players are graded on their performance. When the game ends, the player's total score across all songs played is tabulated.
The screen setup is simple. On the left side, notes scroll vertically downwards and a short video clip for each song is displayed in the right side of the screen. Individual notes are represented by small colored bars that scroll downward in the columns.
To play the correct note, the player must hit one or two of these pads and/or step the pedal(s) when the note bars reach the yellow line. The note scroll in DrumMania is in essence a drum tablature timed with the music and placed vertically.
The player's accuracy is judged for each note played, and while the individual note judgments have changed throughout the series, the current system uses Perfect, Great, Good, Poor, and Miss to evaluate performance of each note. Ratings of Poor or Miss will deplete the player's "Excite Gauge", while accurate play will replenish it.
If the Excite Gauge is emptied completely, the game ends. Players will be able to play anywhere from three to five songs depending on the game's configuration, with the potential to earn one or two additional stages in certain versions of the game if performance is good enough.
At the completion of a song, players are given a letter rank for their performance which can range anywhere from E to A, as well as S and SS depending on how well the song was played, and how the particular release of the game being played computes ranks.
One of the major selling points of GuitarFreaks and DrumMania are the games' ability to be linked to the other game. This allows up to three players to join together to play simultaneously in Session Mode. During a session, the music will play simultaneously from both games, and the players' guitar and drum sounds are relayed between the two games.
Because the second version of GuitarFreaks was released prior to the first version of DrumMania, GuitarFreaks is one "mix" number higher than the DrumMania version it links up to. For example, GUITARFREAKS 6thMIX is designed to be linked with drummania 5thMIX. The mix versions were synchronized with the release of GuitarFreaks V & DrumMania V eschewing the long-standing number system, and replacing what would have been the 12th and 11th mix, respectively.
Seen only in two releases each of GuitarFreaks and DrumMania, MultiSession GDK allowed the games to be linked up with KEYBOARDMANIA 3rdMIX as well. In addition to having three players control the guitars and drums, two more could be added playing along on keyboards. However, when linked with KEYBOARDMANIA, only about a dozen songs are available to play. KEYBOARDMANIA 3rdMIX can be linked with GUITARFREAKS 5thMIX & drummania 4thMIX, or GUITARFREAKS 6thMIX & drummania 5thMIX.
Until V, DrumMania used KONAMI's System 573 Digital hardware, which was also implemented on GuitarFreaks on its 3rdMIX, allowing the implementation of link functionality between the two games. On V, both games were switched to a PlayStation 2 based system, now using a hard drive instead of CD-ROM discs to store game data. As of V4, both GuitarFreaks and DrumMania now run on Windows XP Embedded based hardware known as BEMANI PC (which has also been adopted by other KONAMI arcade games).
Since GUITARFREAKS 9thMIX & drummania 8thMIX, the series has taken advantage of KONAMI's eAMUSEMENT (formerly e-AMUSEMENT) system, which adds several online capabilities to the game:
With the usage of the eAMUSEMENT Pass, players are allowed to select an avatar to represent themselves.
As of V3 with the usage of the eAMUSEMENT Pass, players are allowed to select an additional mode: Battle (Worldwide). With Battle mode, players can compete and pit their skills with another player available on the eAMUSEMENT server; otherwise not available without the usage of the eAMUSEMENT Pass.
Players can select NORMAL, PERFECT, or COMBO modes upon selection of the song to determine the final calculation. Upon winning or losing, they will be entitled to promote or demote to another higher BATTLE CLASS rated from D3 to SS, where players are sorted according how well they have successfully defeated opponents.
However, without the use of the eAMUSEMENT Pass, if there are additional GuitarFreaks or DrumMania machines in the arcade, an additional Battle Mode (Local) option is created, just like in a LAN. They have the same functionaility as the Battle Mode (Worldwide); otherwise do not have Battle Classes to sort the players.
Other than Battle Mode (Local), alternatively players can select the Battle Mode (CPU) which is also available only for GuitarFreaks or DrumMania machines without eAMUSEMENT access. This mode allows players to complete with the CPU, rather than a player.
With the usage of the eAMUSEMENT Pass, players are allowed access to hidden songs not playable or unlockable without an e-AMUSEMENT Pass.
With the usage of the eAMUSEMENT Pass, players are allowed to have their results posted via the Internet. These results include their own personal ranking and have results of their songs stored into the eAMUSEMENT Pass.
Songs played are then converted to Skill Points, which is determined by the percentage of Perfects, Greats and the number of notes hit correctly in succession, known as "Combo." The higher the combo count and percentage of Perfects, Greats, the higher the percentage of skill obtained for that particular song, up to 100% or simply MAX.
As of V4, Skill Points are dependent on the first 14 songs released for the particular mix, next 36 songs from previous mixes and last 3 long songs from any mix played throughout the song list.
The previous mixes uses a different calculation of Skill Points since NONSTOP MODE was abolished in V4. The old skill point calculation is dependent on the first 13 songs released for the particular mix, next 35 songs from previous mixes, 2 long songs from any mix and the last 3 non-stop courses played throughout the song list.
Skill Points are awarded upon successful completion of a song, and depending on how well the Skill Percentage earned for the particular song, the player earns the amount of Skill Points reflected at the end of the game.
Players are allowed to select titles earned from the games to represent them. These titles require special condition(s) to be met before earning the particular title.
Since GITADORA, both GuitarFreaks and DrumMania require to be connected to eAMUSEMENT in order to receive software update, which can include new songs, unlocking events, bug fixes, among other various additions or removals. New games are also released through online updates as well.
A handful of GuitarFreaks and DrumMania simulators have been created for use on PCs, the most popular of which is called DTXMania. It can be controlled using the computer keyboard, any USB device that can act as a joystick, or any MIDI instrument such as a MIDI keyboard or professional quality electronic drum kit. While DTXMania is compatible with Rock Band and Guitar Hero series drum sets, they do not have enough drum pads to play many of the DrumMania songs correctly unless more sets are added. DTXMania supports up to 8 drum pads and makes a distinction between open and closed Hi-Hat. Using DTXCreator from the web page it is possible to create playable songs from any mp3/ogg files if the guitar/drum tablature is available.
- GITADORA Tri-Boost Re:EVOLVE official site, the latest game on the series.
- GITADORA staff Twitter.
- GuitarFreaks & DrumMania GATEWAY, KONAMI's official arcade website for GuitarFreaks and DrumMania for games up to GuitarFreaksXG3 & DrumManiaXG3.
- DTXMania, a popular simulator for GuitarFreaks & DrumMania.
- DigiBand, another simulator for GuitarFreaks & DrumMania, currently the only one available for Linux.
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