What is pop'n music

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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 several home releases in Japan as well as many arcade versions.


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-kun" 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 COOL (hit the note perfectly on beat) to BAD (missed the note completely).

Like beatmania, there is a life bar with a long blue section on the left and a short red section on the right. Getting COOLs and GREATs raise the lifebar, while getting BADs lowers it. 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. Later entries guarantee three stages, regardless of whether the first two are cleared.

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. Since pop'n music うさぎと猫と少年の夢, pop'n music gives the player letter grades upon completion of a song.

Before pop'n music Sunny Park, players could choose from a 5-Buttons mode (disabling the leftmost and rightmost buttons), or a 9-Buttons mode. Older console versions also included 7-Buttons mode, which made it easy to fully use a beatmania IIDX controller.

To make the gameplay more interesting, obstacles known as "Ojamas" can be enabled by the player, which are 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 difficulties. The lifebar is different in this mode. The life bar starts full, and then lowers every time you get a BAD. The life bar raises a bit between songs. This mode was removed in pop'n music 18 せんごく列伝, although courses were brought back in pop'n music ラピストリア.

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. The life gauge required to clear a song in OSUSUME MODE is lowered to 50%. However, songs cleared with less than the normal GROOVE GAUGE requirement will not grant a clear medal.


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 DanceDanceRevolution versions, players may choose a character to play as.

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 いろは: Japanese festival (unlock system based on holidays)
  • pop'n music 13 カーニバル: carnival/circus
  • pop'n music 14 FEVER!: disco
  • pop'n music 15 ADVENTURE: jungle/adventure
  • pop'n music 16 PARTY♪: 10th anniversary
  • pop'n music 17 THE MOVIE: cinema
  • pop'n music 18 せんごく列伝: Japan's Sengoku (Warring States) period
  • pop'n music 19 TUNE STREET: city
  • pop'n music 20 fantasia: fantasy world
  • pop'n music Sunny Park: park
  • pop'n music ラピストリア: school
  • pop'n music うさぎと猫と少年の夢: steampunk
  • pop'n music peace: 20th anniversary / "back to the roots"
  • pop'n music 解明リドルズ: Japanesque / mystery novel
  • pop'n music UniLab: Research laboratory

The songs used to be sorted by genres up until pop'n music Sunny Park, and while genres for older songs were not removed, the default sorting was changed to song titles since ラピストリア.

Each song has a NORMAL difficulty, most songs have a HYPER difficulty (with harder notes), and some songs have an EX difficulty (with very hard notes). Since pop'n music 15 ADVENTURE, all brand-new songs introduced into each pop'n music title have all difficulties mentioned above.

Consumer Software

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 アニメーションメロディ 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 through 14 FEVER! 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, GB アニメーションメロディ, and GB DISNEY TUNES.

Continuing the arcade releases, PlayStation Portable had two releases: pop'n music portable and portable 2, which were based on pop'n music 15 ADVENTURE and 16 PARTY♪ respectively.

The currently supported CS game is pop'n music Lively for PC, which is based on pop'n music peace, although with a different theme and a few exclusive songs. It receives song packs with songs from the arcade titles.

pop'n stage

pop'n stage is a spin-off of the pop'n music series that mixes the pop'n music design and songs with DanceDanceRevolution-like gameplay. For more information, please see this page.

External links

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