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Friday, April 1, 2016

Sympho-Neighbours - Prankfully Yours

Be it for harmless announcements of things that will never come to reality or to just pull nasty pranks at the expenses of unwarranted victims, the yearly April Fools celebration has always been a day for both people and big brands on the Internet to make fun of itself and their following. That, of course, doesn't exclude the gaming grounds with its truckloads of deceiving shenanigans!

While this year you won't be having an AF prank from us, have a selection from other rhythm game franchises' pranks instead!

Starting at bemani's, it's quite impossible to tackle the subject matter without talking about a pop'n music song that's about this very day! Sung by the nick-named OCEAN, April Fools no Uta was one of the first songs made for the series by Akira Yamaoka (山岡晃), a former Konami composer notorious for his work on the Silent Hill series who is currently affiliated to Grasshopper Manufacture.

While the song isn't actually part of any April Fools prank, the pop'n music franchise already had several occasions to joke about in the past years, teasing the release of an arcade featuring elements from all bemani franchises called pop'n music IIDXG (2010), the unveiling of a dating sim spin-off called Doki Doki pop'n music in 2012 and the launch of a line of pop'n music dakimakura pillows the year after! In both occasions, April Fool no Uta's characters -Hipopo & Tamaya- were subtly displayed to hint to these reveals' jokey nature.

And now here's a not AF-related song that was actually part of early April's pranks!

DJ YOSHITAKA and Sota Fujimori's fictional unit VENUS already was part of a network of bemani inside jokes with their Wow Wow VENUS song, due to its album jacket and some of its Engrish lyrics easily mistakable for... private genitalia references. However, its launch on April '13 was at first barred under an insanely-impossible goal to reach for the RUNRUN Marathon cross-over event between the REFLEC BEAT and jubeat, injvolving RB mascot Pastel-kun running across the event's stadium track 573 million times!

This obviously-troll unlock was also pestered by its album art randomly popping up in both franchises' website and preparing years later a whole set of fictional remixes of the song years later, each of these having a letter from the 'APRIL FOOLS' sentence followed by a "remix/version/redux" subfix.

Wow Wow VENUS also appeared in a number of other series afterwards, of which you can check out with the links provided here:

pop'n music

Coming to more fresh AF pranks, last year there has been quite a pesky one for console players of the jubeat family of apps (international jukebeat included), forcing players to play the 'Random' mode on all songs for one day instead of the regular Play mode.

The result of this is that every note kept its original timing but spawns in random places on the grid every single time. It's basically what we Taiko players usually get while playing on Kimagure/Detarame mode... times 16!


Regular beatmania/IIDX pranks have taken only the factual side of pranks with no song/gameplay-related stunts to date, so we'll stick on those for the time being.

In 2009, the 17th IIDX installment for the series was dubbed as 17 CASINO, only to reveal days later that it was an AF prank, with the real title/theme being 17 SIRIUS. Another of the IIDX-related pranks reguard the announcement of an European Bemani division in 2007, which actually never came to fruition.

Surely the most cruel of pranks occured in the year between those, where it was announced a huge Taiko no Tatsujin and Bemani collaboration event on April 1st, teased by Etou from the Taiko Team of all people. Bemani's retort on that was to add a fictional 'Cyber Wadaiko 2000' on the current pop'n music title of the time... but again, nothing true in this situation. One can still dream... *sigh*

*BREAKING* - The IIDX Casino joke was actually one prank pulled by forum mebers of the zenius-i-vanisher, rather than actually being made by bemani. It looks like I've been doubly tricked...

Away from bemani fields, Sega's recently-ascending maimai series has intrigued its players last year with the joke song known as "Worldwide Rhythm Sense Test" (全世界共通リズム感テスト), a song made only by simple 1/4 beats whose notecharts only consist of hitting notes from one spot -also at 1/4 beat each- while doodles of maimai characters appear on screen.

The challenge lies on the higher levels, where the Expert mode puts 1/4 markers to hit even on the silent parts and the Master mode being the same as Expert... without the note markers being displayed at all!

On the AF spectrum for maimai, there's also the Sega Saturn Startup Sound (セガサターン起動音) from 2014, of which we already talked about in our first Game Music-related Sympho-Neighbours feature.

For our last stop, Taito's Groove Coaster series is another recent contender for the yearly laugh-inducing event, by hosting songs that are only playable in their AF release day for that day only. Mobile users could join the fun as well, but only for one play on any mode.

Taito's first foray in 2014 was with the Spooky Story "Car GPS" (怪談「カーナビ」), in which Hirokazu 'COSIO' Koshio tells his early-Halloween scary story about his search for a ramen dinner one fateful Friday, with the players playing behind his narration and scratching their heads on why the Hard mode is the easiest one of the pack, or even why the Normal chart has so many notes to hit in order to cover COSIO's voice!

Above is the Easy mode on, featuring Taito's official English translation.

GC players were so happy with the first AF stunt that COSIO went back the year later to remix his very own April Fools song to make a boss song of it!

Going under the number-based title of 2112410403927243233368, this is actually read as Japanese letters written with an old cellphone (much like with Mata Saitama 2000's hidden messages), giving out the title of Kaitan Remix! (かいた゛んりみっくす!). The remix's popularity led the song to be a permanent addition to the arcade Groove Coaster's song list, instead of leaving it gated behind the prank-fueled day as an exclusive. It even gained an even-harder Extra chart later on!

And this is why this mish-mash of numbers is my favorite 2000 song


This has been some sorts of an 'historical archive' for some of the most notorious music-related pranks of the past, but 2016 begins anew with a new slew of joke-enducing situations! We've already seen what the Taiko no Tatsujin franchise has cooked up for this year, so let's see what the other contenders are offering.

Pop'n music jokes are back, and they're getting more... saucier! As the water-blurred image above also hints, pop'n music recurrent character Nyami has spotted two of the most recurrent in-house composers of the series having a bath together at the hot springs. If you head today to the website of eclale, the latest pop'n music game (link), you can also hear an allegedly-leaked conversation between Jun 'wac' Wakita and Daichi 'PON' Watanabe...

Always from Bemani gaming, today the SOUND VOLTEX franchise has been greeted with the presence of its latest installment (SDVX III GRAVITY WARS)'s tutorial song being made longer and waaaaay trickier to play!

Coming under the name of GRACE-Chan no Chou~Zetsu!! Gravity Kouza W (グレイスちゃんの超~絶!!グラビティ講座w, lit. 'Great Teacher GRACE's Ultimate Devastate!! GRAVITY Tutorial w'), this song mocks the game's tutorial by having navigator GRACE replacing RASIS and teaching how to play in the most eye-disturbing ways she can pull off! Being to date the only song playable in the series with its GRV mode (the hardest one) at the lowest-rated difficulty possible (rated 1), mnemonic skills will be easily useful when the scrolling mat is flipped upside down or zoomed out!

Another prank notechart for this year comes from sega's Maimai series, when someone decided it might be a great idea to feature a song with note formations which are normally impossible to hit/find in any other regular song, such as 6 slider notes at the same time! The background song used comes from the reveal trailer of Wonderland Wars, an arcade MOBA by Sega.

Always from Sega, there's a freshly-baked prank song for CHUNITHM that delves in a little bit of Touhou Project lore as well! Sung by Irodorimidori (イロドリミドリ), Help me, A-rin! (Help me,あーりん!) is a parody of Beat Mario's arrange song Help me, ERINNNNNN!!, available for about a week only in the WORLD'S END mode (normally featuring the Taiko equal of Ura Oni charts to pre-existing songs in the main songlist).

While the beginning and ending portion don't shy away from the usual difficulty range expected by WORLD'S END charts, the worry-some middle segment is almost guaranteed to void the players' clear progress bar as actual Japanese Kanji letters constitute part of the song's chart, making really easy for players to miss notes and putting quite the pressure not to miss anything in the end in order to clear the song!


Having made its debut on the Groove Coaster series with the recently-released Link Fever arcade, independent composer Cranky is feeling so involved with the series to become part of the team as their new illustrator for the totally-legit Groove Coaster 4/1 update, featuring his stunning recreation of GC3 navigator Linka in both game menu screens and eMoney card limited-edition designs! Let battle commence, indeed.

As a side-note, the aforementioned Spooky Story "Car GPS" is available for today only in both the mobile and arcade versions. Play it in both ways to earn exclusive unlocks!


With that, we're finally done with this laugh-inducing feature! Feel free to warn us if we missed any rhythm game-related pranks of this year (or past ones) you wish we'll make aware on this blog 365 days from now.

Now if you excuse me, I have to go punch some rhinos in the guts- these rental boxing gloves I have won't knock out anything until I'm done typing these lines.

For that matter how have I typed all of this with those on

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