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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Taiko no Tatsujin Plus - Introducing the Popular Songs Pack 11

Last Tuesday, a new song pack for the Taiko + smartphone game was released, but information on new song packs is scarce with only the in-game messages to alert us of any news. Thanks to MDSN for the heads-up!

Namco Taiko Blog (30 May 2013) - June's Donchare animals

After a whole month of -let's face it- NO new stuff from the Taiko Team whatsoever, we are two days from June 2013. Which means that another Don Challenge post is in the air!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Feature: Visit to NicoNico Conference 2

Want to know a bit more about what went on in the NicoNico Conference but couldn't because pictures, video and player testimonials were so scarce? One Taiko fan from Taiwan, named Woolala (烏拉拉), went to Japan to attend the conference. He is one of the main committee members of the petition campaign to bring Taiko no Tatsujin Sorairo Version outside of Japan, and aside from enjoying the events and obviously being able to play the new Taiko's event-exclusive songs, he was also there to look for Etou and ask him about exporting Sorairo.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Made by You: Can't Hug Every Cat and more

(this was supposed to be up for Sunday but circumstances prevented me from publishing it so I'm doing it now!)

What is this song? Is it even a song...? Read more about it after the jump, and a few other excellent creations too!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Song of the Week! 25 May 2013

This week is just brimming with adventure, with two songs from a single console Taiko game, one of the few that we have yet to talk about!

Friday, May 24, 2013

pikaby asks: Taiko speed limits

With the adjustment of the difficulty standard in Taiko no Tatsujin, many old songs with once-difficult patterns have been downgraded. The only ones left in the 10* Oni tier are songs with an extreme level of complexity, songs with extremely high tempo, or both.

Many newer Taiko songs place emphasis on extreme tempo to make their charts difficult; Venomous and Angel Halo from Ridge Racer 3D are both at BPM 224 with almost unmanageable streams, Hakuchou no Mizuumi ~still a duckling~ Ura takes the original BPM240 chart to a whole new level of tiring, S represents one of the fastest J-pop songs out there, Telecastic fake show reaches up to BPM 218 with tiring clusters, Suuhaa 2000 is a BPM320 song masquerading as a half-speed song, and the latest one, Juukinzou Fugitive, the new, yet unreleased Gumi song, is set to be the next gauntlet with crazy clusters at BPM 260.

With this increasing speed, there has to be some sort of physical limit to it; how fast the machine can detect an individual hit and how fast how hand/thumbs can hit all the notes. What do you think that limit is?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Namco Taiko Blog (23 May 2013): Etou on How to Make Music

Half a year ago Etou shared a talk with us on how he makes his crazy Taiko notecharts. Today he's sharing with us a lengthy lesson on how he composes his songs! It's a long wall of text so I'll just try to get to the gist of it. Let's see what Etou has to teach us this time!

Now to make a song, what would Etou do? Planning is the first step!

Figure out the genre, atmosphere and tempo of the song. Genres like rock, metal, pop, techno...all of them have distinct rhythm s to them and the resulting notechart that comes out of it are also distinctly different. The song atmosphere would be whether it sounds gloomy, bright, hopeful, cheerful, energetic..as well as making changes in the notecharts depending on the mood of the song, it also gives players a different energy when they play with a different song atmosphere each time. Tempo is BPM, or how fast the song plays.

Two examples are given: the first is Tokoyami no Mori, a slow-paced, gloomy song, not too hard, but gives off that sense of difficulty with its threatening mood. On the other end of the scale is a fast-paced, super difficult song like mint tears, which has an upbeat mood to it. The difficulty of the performance and the emotions that the song gives the player will ultimately decide what type of notechart you go for! Trust your instinct!

Secondly, song structure.

If you've ever been to a karaoke joint before, you know how song structure works without needing any explanation; the stanzas, chorus and bridge are parts that make up a full song, each differing in function.

The usual flow of a song would be intro > stanza A > stanza B > chorus > outro. Because Taiko songs are usually about 1 1/2 minutes long on average, it follows this structure without needing a bridge or a stanza C, much like the opening theme song of an anime. Structure is what makes each song special! The example given is Zero no Nocturne, one of the new Namco Originals from Sorairo. Think of the parts that make up the song. They're all different, right? Imagine if a song has no structure and has the same tune from beginning to the end! That wouldn't be very fun to play. There needs to be different levels of tension to different parts of the song, ending in a climax and resolution, like a good story.

Next is whether the song needs vocals or not.

If the song is meant to be an instrumental it's straightforward, but adding vocals is a much bigger challenge. Once again, the song's mood dictates the need for vocals and what words should be sung at which points. It's a whole lot of planning, and the right voice has to be chosen otherwise the whole composition is ruined. Taiko notes aren't laid down by percussions alone; sometimes vocals provide sense to the chart and help make highlight points for notes and stuff.

To some extent, vocals restrict difficulty, at least for Etou, who mentioned that songs with no vocals are easier to make tougher notecharts for, which is actually true in certain cases.

Finally, with the song done, the final step is to make a chart that matches the song perfectly! The three basics are:

-Understanding the song's genre, mood and tempo
-Understanding the song's structure and highlights
-Understanding the song and the instruments that play behind it

It's kind of like....um, how do I put it into an example...

-Approach a person you like
-Understanding this person and become friends with him/her
-Understanding him/her in a much deeper way, almost to the point of becoming lovers

And then! Make notes that suit the song. Give it the 'boom' factor!

There will be yet another notechart talk by Etou in the future, and continuing the analogy, this step is akin to :

-Becoming lovers, and setting up a plan for a date

See you next time!

Link to original page

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Taiko no Tatsujin 3DS, Taiko no Tatsujin Wii: Chogouka-ban reach sales milestone

Taiko no Tatsujin 3DS and Taiko no Tatsujin Wii: Chogouka-ban (henceforth referred to as Taiko Wii 5) has always been doing great at the weekly sales rankings ever since they were launched, consistently putting themselves into the top 20 every single week. Whenever they dipped below 20, some public holiday or event would always be there to push the two games back up. It was a surprise, more so for the Wii game; no other Taiko no Tatsujin on the flagging console has ever sold this well.

And so the inevitable has happened. On May 21, 2013, both Taiko no Tatsujin 3DS and Taiko Wii 5 sold their 500,000th copy. No, not the two of them added up, they have sold 500k each, with Wii 5 being 4 months faster than the 3DS version! Million sellers are a big thing, but for smaller franchises like this, having half a million sold is already an achievement. Plus, it's already a million if you combine both sales figures together.

Namco throws a grand shindig at the official blog whenever a Taiko game reaches a sales milestone (DS1 and DS2 break through 500k, Taiko+ getting a million downloads, PSP2 download songs being accessed a million times). Wonder if they're going to do anything this time?

Thanks to crystal for the heads-up!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Vocaloid Corner: KAITO

KAITO is a hipster Vocaloid, in that he was created and sold before Vocaloid became cool. Released after MEIKO, KAITO is the second Vocaloid created by Crypton Future Media, using the original Vocaloid 1 engine developed by Yamaha. Being quite old in Vocaloid years, KAITO's voice is a more antiquated robotic-sounding male, provided by Naoto Fuga (風雅なおと), a professional singer and music teacher.

Being released before the big tide of Vocaloid popularity, KAITO originally did not have a character or personality attached to him, and these were added to him and Meiko after Hatsune Miku popularized the concept of giving the voice synthesizers an associated character. In fact, KAITO owes much of his current fanbase to Miku as well, his original form being a commercial flop. The story surrounding his rise to fame is an interesting one, involving song 'replies' between him and Hatsune Miku. Later composers found KAITO to be incredibly versatile and easy to work with despite the dated software. It just showcases that a little personality goes a long, long way.

KAITO does not have any solo performances in Taiko no Tatsujin, but as part of fictional units, such as the three-piece male Vocaloid band, Vana N'Ice (consisting of him, Gackpo and Kagamine Len).


-Kaito songs-


*1 Together with Kagamine Len and Gakupo as a virtual band called "Vana n'Ice"
*2 Together with Hatsune Miku

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fanart: The Hope of Asia (for Taiko Sorairo)

A simple piece of artwork I cooked up for the campaign to ask Namco for the export of Taiko no Tatsujin Sorairo Version to Asia. The major countries involved in the campaign are all united in their cause, and we are still hopeful! Namco, please consider our sincere request; we're Taiko fans too!

I apologize if I didn't include your country flag; I intended for the main ones to be represented but of course we all wish that Taiko will have a reach to fans all around the world!

As for the petition, we've surpassed 400 signatures and closing in on our 3rd milestone of 500! Please sign it if you haven't!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Song of the Week! 18 May 2013

It's been quite a long time since we saw a Namco Original song in this corner or something from the 2012 CreoFUGA contests, so let's see something today which meets both these requirements...or something.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Namco Taiko Blog (16 May 2013): Taiko Tournament 2013 Score System

Only two months before the Taiko tournament! So what's in it? What are the songs? The CreoFuga songs? Wanna know who won? You do, right?

Well too bad, Taiko Team is still keeping it under wraps! Instead, it discusses the scoring system of the tournament. It's nothing new; all they mentioned is the use of Shin-uchi mode (what we previously called Shinta Mode; an error on our part) and they explained where it came from (Taiko 14) and what it does, we've covered it all before on a page here so I'll save the explaining to our information pages.

Not much else this week, really.

Link to original post

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Random: DIY Tatacon

I'm sure you've heard of players modifying their home console Tatacon controllers to make them more sensitive/quieter, but this is unlike anything I've ever seen before. Someone either made sensors or stripped them off a Tatacon and attached them to a paper/plastic plate-like thing. And it works awesome.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Feature: Know your Taiko Simulators

Taiko no Tatsujin is a great rhythm game, great enough to have lasted eleven years (and counting!) with no signs of slowing down. However, not everyone has access to all the console versions and in most cases, unable to access the arcades. That's where the Taiko sims come in! They're fanmade pieces of software that allow for the emulation of Taiko no Tatsujin on a computer or other convenient platforms, so players will be able to play their favorite charts even if they can't play on the real thing.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Song of the Week! 11 May 2013

It's time to close another trilogy of Taiko songs this week. Remember the three SEGA game songs which were released on Taiko PSP DX? Two of them have been featured, leaving just one more.

Site announcement: DMCA action against song series

I woke up this morning to find this in my inbox, sent from Blogger.

A copyright notice sent against our blog, for the very first time. And no, it has nothing to do with us being a Taiko no Tatsujin fansite, but rather the contents of a single page. The page affected is the Naruto Shippuden song series page. Nothing is lost; it has just been reverted to draft and we can republish it as long as we "remove any infringing content" from the page. What in the world in that page contains infringing content in any way? Anyway, further investigation is at hand. I went to Chilling Effects to check out the claim.

Here is the claim

Wow. Some company decided to go on a killing spree of three or four different websites containing downloads to Naruto anime episodes and movies, and during their search, our blog was affected as collateral damage.

Well ain't that just dandy. We don't even offer any downloads or talk about Naruto extensively.

Right now though, we're left with a dead link over at Song Series and we have no idea how to republish the page without being hit again with a lawsuit notice. Thankfully no other page was affected, though I'm still pretty worked up over it. What if this happens to some other anime song series pages? To be completely honest, no one at the Japanese communities consider genres outside Classic, Game Music and Namco Original as 'song series' per se; that is just our idea.

In terms of Taiko no Tatsujin, we will still be as active as ever, but seeing this event, perhaps a toning down of licensed content taking the spotlight is in order. Anime charts will still be featured in Song of the Week, no one will have to worry about that at least.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Namco Taiko Blog (9 May 2013) - Dojo Ranking mode's new clothes

First highscores and DonChare come back, then online tourneys, and the final networking feature from Katsu-Don makes a return in Sorairo, the Dojo Challenge (段位道場) mode, and today the Taiko Team shares what's new this time.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Made by You: Oodain and more

And here we go, for our usual round of custom Taikojiro and osu!Taiko charts made by you (and maybe me), to help us tide the drought of Taiko-related news before the summer comes (high expectations for a console Taiko announcement there, but it's just my guess).

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013

pikaby asks: Your dream song?

If the NicoNico Conference 2 taught us anything, it's that the new arcade has way more flexibility than an official Taiko game has ever had, with the ability to add and subtract songs from its list for the purpose of specific events, and the best part is the three special songs in the conference were voted by players on Twitter! And Namco made their dreams come true in perfect style (though we still won't be able to play them even if we had access to a Sorairo, it's still official).

What three songs would you have chosen to be shown in an event like this? It can be anything; Vocaloid songs, videogame BGM, or whatever.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Song of the Week! 4 May 2013

While this is a notably quiet period for the Taiko franchise, the Golden Week is about to wrap up in Japan tomorrow. The Golden Week is a week-long celebration in which a large number of national holidays occur in Japan, starting from April 29th and ending on May 5th (technically a little longer than one week, but still).

In conjunction with this peculiar Japanese period, today I'll feature two songs whose titles are related to gold, one from the very past and another one from the very present. Here we go!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Namco Taiko Blog (2 May 2013) - Sorairo's first online tournament

Another arcade feature from the older firmwares is coming back, as next week will mark the start of the first Donder Hiroba tournament for Sorairo.

Taiko no Tatsujin Plus - Announcing the Pazudora pack

Last Monday we missed a side update for the iOS version of Taiko, so we're covering it today!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Vocaloid Corner: Kagamine Rin/Len

Following hot on the heels of Hatsune Miku's revolution of digital vocals, the double Vocaloids, Kagamine Rin and Len (鏡音リン ・レン) came into play. They utilize the same Vocaloid 2 engine as Hatsune Miku, and are also produced by Crypton Future Media together with a handful of other Vocaloids.

Marketed under the concept of 'two Vocaloids for the price of one', Kagamine (literally 'mirror voices') Rin/Len is described as being the splitting of one soul into two, of opposite genders, so there is one male voice and female voice in the package, and with the obvious exception of pitch, the other qualities of Rin and Len's voices are the same, hence 'mirror images' of each other. Their voices are provided by one person, Asami Shimoda (下田 麻美) who has experience in providing vocals for The IdolM@ster and even lent her voice to Taiko before (Taiko DS3 theme song Dororon Girl)!

Rin/Len never flourished the way Miku did, but are still very popular in their own right. Taiko no Tatsujin's representations of the twin Vocaloids didn't start as strong as Miku, but eventually flourished in equal parts for both twins, starring both solo songs and two Vocaloid tracks mainly made by Namco Musicians and starring both Rin and Len.


-Kagamine Rin/Len songs-

Rin only
Len only
Rin and Len


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