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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Feature: Mark of the first year

And now it's time for me to write on my impressions of how the last year turned out to be. I'm willing to bet a lot of you are also curious to know how Taiko Time came to be too, so read on; although it's nothing too sensational, making this blog what it has become today after such a short time was lots of hard work for both me and the rest of the team. And of course, I have all you readers and supporters to thank as well! Before this, I'd never imagined there was such a large Taiko fanbase that doesn't live in Japan, you guys are great!

The contributor team (Zekira, Lokamp, crystalsuicune and Rokodo) and I had been friends for a long time already and most of us thought there was not much place for Taiko outside of the few countries which have the arcade machines in them. It was from the small spike in interest in the import community towards Taiko (then on the DS versions) that I found out that there were actually non-Japanese fans of the game, albeit a very small number. I blame it on the lack of access to the arcade games...and the home versions were almost never in English. The only English Taiko sucked, and that's an understatement.

I remember trying to help people a bit by translating the song lists a little later on whenever I could, and sometimes with tough bits in the story modes (having to wear specific costumes to progress in Meccha! Taiko no Tatsujin frustrates more people than you think) but I never thought of having a site of my own. I always thought someone out there would have already got it covered with a fansite of their own that would always be better than what I would come up with.

Then Taiko DS 3 happened. Our little group was all abuzz over the tracklist and story mode as usual, and also with the secret password thing. There was no way for us to get the word out enough as this seemed like a pretty little detail most people would miss out on without even noticing the password screen. And as usual there were always the few points in story mode where not knowing any Japanese destroys you. July 2010 was a month where I literally just sat back and did nothing (graduated high school, waiting on university entrace) so I kept on thinking and thinking about the Taiko fansite thing. How to disseminate the information on songlists and unlockables, how to get the fans into a single group, how to help them navigate the Japanese and find songs they want, and keep up with the latest news by translating it from Japanese to English as soon as they came. I decided I wanted to start a blog on it regardless of whether anyone has done it or not.

Before I laid out any plans though, I did a simple Google search for any fansites. Guess what? There was nothing significant on Taiko no Tatsujin when I tried! That settles it then. I was already full of ideas and drafted the basic layout, which included most of the buttons on the sidebar and the songlists, and the song series pages. At this point no one knew what I was up to yet until I opened the blog on July 31st, 2010, with nothing on it but an introductory post and some work-in-progress pages, the first ones being arcade and console Taiko.

The name was chosen because 1) It has 'Taiko' in the name, which eases searching for it and 2) Taiko Time was my favorite song on Taiko 14 arcade (before the unlocks, of course). The first thing I did when I broke the news was to get Rokodo to help with site designing, and the banner/background you see now are made by him. Everyone else pitched in soon after (thanks guys!) and Lokamp became the most active contributor, opening up the Song of the Week column and helping me gather what I miss out.

I didn't want too much attention here until at least, all the tracklist pages were finished. Boy the tracklists were hell to create. Especially with the really old ones; I didn't even know most songs had only one difficulty until crystalsuicune tipped me on that one a month later. Typing names, adding difficulties, searching for videos...of course it got easier as me and Lokamp progressed from old to new, where repeating songs could just be copypasted. The songlist pages evolved from being just a simple title listing to being a whole information page on the specific version. This change makes the earlier short descriptions I wrote seem really half-hearted now! (I'm looking at Taiko DS3's songlist again.)

Taiko Wii 3 helped us gain attention. Taiko 14 did too. And most recently Taiko PSP DX. Each new release has always been a rollercoaster ride for us; looking for news and adding them here, adding new songs to all the pages and updating every single page of the site, new gameplay and videos, the live updates we had from Glaroid Room (not for PSP DX though; he's somewhat pissed at Taiko fanatics...I'll explain later in a separate post) and others...even now there are a few pages we've put on the backburner waiting to be created! I really couldn't have done all this alone. I'm sure everyone else on the team had fun making what is now the first real Taiko fansite in English.

As for other improvements to the site, besides the sidebar tweak I was planning on adding a poll widget and Facebook group, as well as find out if we can make the songlists more organized and take up less space (put them in a table like everyone else does) but was too busy to do so, hence these will be saved for a later date. Watch out for them! And be sure to join us in the Taiko quiz! You have more than a few days to answer the questions and I assure you I will account for every last one in my inbox even if I don't immediately reply.

And of course, thanks for all your support, well-wishes and comments and here's to another year of Taiko greatness!



    AKHFASHFLAJSF what is wrong with PH and their overly rapid education oaskjdfbalskdh (I was a 2nd year COLLEGE student last year!)

  2. And I was just 17 last year... orz

  3. Oh sorry I meant to say I graduated in December 2009 and stayed that way cause I didn't enrol in university for another eight months :P

    I'm a 2nd year medical student now.

  4. Still that means you graduated when you were 20... I graduated when I was 16! o_o

  5. Obviously the graduation age changes depending to the students's country. For example, I'm graduating this year and I'm 19, despite of you and aquabluu..

  6. I know what Zekira means. I'm only going into 2nd year, yet most of the people I used to be classmates with in the PH have graduated now.

    I feel so left behind...

  7. Yea, and I'm a 13 year old J Highschool :B (ignore me)

  8. Lucky guys..

    Off topic:
    I noticed that there are a lot of song of the week pages now, so maybe its a good idea link their page instead of link directly the Oni video on the song lists? At least, if the video break there will be no more need to update 20 game song lists.. =X

  9. As many as we have it's still a small fraction of the entire song list. I could consider this in the future though when we have enough info articles on more songs.

    I'm thinking of streamlining a few other pages too, just that I need some free time.