CORRECTION! I had a quick correction from yesterday’s episode on Baldur’s Gate. I had said that every Infinity Engine game was being ported to consoles but this is not quite true, unfortunately. Icewind Dale 2’s source code has been lost and thus, it is not being worked on by Beamdog for enhanced editions or console ports.

2/15 – Taiko no Tatsujin: Taiko Drum Master

Hello and welcome. My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s video game of the day.

Today’s game is an arcade staple and while it may not sound familiar to most North American players, many have likely seen it. Today’s game is Taiko no Tatsujin: Taiko Drum Master

The Taiko no Tatsujin franchise has existed since 2001 but the localized Taiko: Drum Master is the first in the series to make it to North America in 2004. The game never received a European release.

Released on the Playstation 2 and in arcades, Taiko: Drum Master has players play a Taiko drum, a large Japanese drum. Unlike Guitar Hero or Rock Band, players only have two different inputs: a hit to the center of the drum or a hit on the rim. Despite the limited inputs, Taiko: Drum Master is known for being a difficult game, especially for westerners who may not have experience with Taiko drumming.

Taiko: Drum Master on the Playstation 2 came with a drum peripheral so that players could simulate these hits with their hands, although sticks can be used, while arcades often use large, free-standing drums that require the use of large drumsticks to play. As the first western release of the Taiko no Tatsujin series, Taiko: Drum Master’s track list consists of many western pop songs such as Toxic by Britney Spears or Girls and Boys by Good Charlotte. The game also contains several classical pieces by Beethoven or Mozart and finally, there are also covers of the theme songs for Jimmy Neutron and Dragon Ball Z. Overall, the game contains 31 tracks, all of them covers of the original songs.

Critical reception was lukewarm for Taiko: Drum Master. The cover versions of the songs were often regarded poorly and while some may enjoy the cutesy Japanese animations during songs, western fans not familiar with Japan may find them strange or even off-putting. Still, the game was regarded as a fun entry in the rhythm game genre and the series has a niche western following to this day.

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