The time has come, folks! Now that we are finally aware of Yellow Version's release day, I have now the opportunity to set up a family of features I've been recently planning to post.
It's nothing that grandiose, mind you, bus as we're finally closing the color spectrum of modern arcade firmware builds for the Taiko no Tatsujin with each song genre having its color-inspired arcade version, we're building up to Yellow Version's launch with weekly song features of all genres, all aligning to the HD arcades' firmware succession.
Today we're starting with the representatives of the base firmware version and its first follow-up, Codename Katsu-Don. However, as the base set doesn't actually have a color-oriented theme just like its version successors (plus we're having the Red one still up and running to this date!), our first pick is about something a little bit different...
Taiko PS2 7, Taiko Wii 1 to 5
Every self-respecting Taiko player knows that a steady training process over the years is the key to gradually improve at the game; thus, chances are that the tune being played on the video above does ring some bells to seasoned console Taiko players! While a lot of details about the trial-recurrent track are still a mystery to this day such as its composer and actual name ('Dojo Training' is the temporary one we're going to adopt), that won't stop us for shedding some lights on the console beginnings of a feature that has found new life with the current generation of Taiko arcades in recent memory.
The first seeds of 'notechart-improv' trials without a defined background track were planted on the very last PS2 Taiko game, as the Taiko Towers -Nanadaime's signature mode- have spotlighted a track whose notechart and tempo are regulated according to the tier of challenge this nameless stock song was found it. The first (and most recurrent) version of the song is the one that appears in some of the mode's Taiko Towers (the video above spotlights the 10th and final one), starting slow but ascending fast in pace due to speed enhancements on both its tempo and the chart's scrolling speed. For the subsequent console games on the Nintendo Wii's Dojo-related modes, this track made its comeback together with a plethora of similar variations, each of them feeling distinguished for having a fixed BPM speed (again, either all-slow or all-fast according to their dedicated challenges).
Following the Taiko Towers trail, an aforementioned series of training-focused modes have started appearing in later games, with the Wii and DS titles of the series more closely following the training progression; however, while the DS games just offered a Dojo feature that made players rank up once daily by completing a randomly-picked song of the difficulty tier that the player is currently in, the Wii titles went on their way to have separated dojo-looking modes which featured an assortment of challenges concerning both the 'official' tracks available on those given games and the Dojo Training track with its many variations of pace and patterns.
The big Dojo console distinction for this period has been between the first 3 Wii games and the latter two. The first trilogy of titles had the Everyday Challenge mode (毎日チャレンジ道場, renamed in 'More Everyday Challenge' on Taiko Wii 2 only), where harder and harder trials become available once that enough Silver/Gold medals are earned by clearing the previous ones. Together with the regular kind of challenges with the games' songs (score/combo/accuracy, ...), the Dojo Training song trials were original notecharts made in order to test the skills on selected notechart formations or stamina/visual-based gimmicks. Other times, the DR notecharts were homages to formerly-released hard trials, such as Taiko Wii 2 inheriting most of the Taiko Towers trials (eg. Aim! Master of Taiko Arrives! (めざせ！太鼓の達人到達！) being the same as the 10th Taiko Tower from before) and Taiko Wii 3 holding notechart fragments of other songs. The Master Gang Leader (達人組手 大将) trial, for example, has been notorious for providing an early look at what patterns would be later released as part of Namco Original Taiko Time's Ura Oni! For some reason, all of these dojo trials (including the ones that use real songs) have all their own SongID, pack**, with the asterisks being replaced by two digits in increasing order from 00 onward.
Taiko Wii Kettai-Ban and Chogouka-Ban, on the other hand, had a revamped version of the Dojo that went under the name of Fuuga and Mirai's Taiko Classroom (フウガとミライの太鼓教室), where instead of having multiple disjointed trials there are a set of songs on different difficulties whose individual portions could be practised individually, with increasing speeds and the Dojo Training BGM in place of the actual track. From these games onward, the dojo-feeling modes have left their place to the occasional inclusion of the Training mode (PSP DX/Wii U/PS Vita games), the feature that lets players interact with the songs by manually selecting the notechart portions to practice on any difficulty, with additional setting changes being applicable as time went on. Even if the former dojo modes' time has already come, they sure have left quite the legacy on the modern framing for both console/arcade fronts, haven't they?
database / database feat.TAKUMA (10-feet) Log Horizon
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Here's our first genre-labeled candidate to represent the ongoing arcade firmware line's color palette! Despite not having an actual name attributed to the first major 3rd-gen arcade update, the June 2012 upgrade kit which brought up both new physical (HD camera) and software features to the table (Don Challenges) has later on gained some unofficial labeling from the Team post-mortem, such as its codename becoming part of the actual firmware name (as also reported in the 'History of Taiko' section of the official Taiko website) and orange being its main color. With that said, here's a feature for yet another console-exclusive track!
The lower-case database is the opening theme for the 1st season of the Satelight-produced Anime transposition of writer Mamare Touno (橙乃ままれ)'s Log Horizon (ログ・ホライズン) series. After other science fiction-related media such as the .hack series and Sword Art Online, Log Horizon's framing is set around the in-universe huge popularity of a fictional MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), which for this story is the one titled Elder Tales. Eleven upgrade packs in, the story begins with the game receiving a 12th expansion pack titled 'Homesteading the Noosphere'; however, when the new version kicks in, 13.000 players are suddendly transported into the world's game. Donning their in-game avatars for a drastically-different gaming experience, the journey of the socially-awkward Shiroe and his party friends Naotsugu and Akatsuki is the main story focus of Log Horizon, following their quest to get out of the game.
On top of Log Horizon's four manga publications and a 2-season Anime series which got hold into some English-speaking countries, the aforementioned animated series can bolster a few songs dedicated to the show, with today's spotlighted track also being the Taiko debut of a large amount of musicians! Originally published on October 9, 2013, database is the third single of the once-independent hard rock/dance pop unit known as Man With a Mission, with the song also being their first single to be released since their partnership with Sony. The band often performs live while wearing wolf maskes, as they claim themselves to be a wolfmen species created by Jimi Hendrix in his quest for the 'Ultimate Life Form' that got frozen in Antartica, only to resurface in the early 2010s. For the creation of database, bassist/composer Kamikaze Boy and guitarist Jean-Ken Johnny joined their forces with singer Takuma Mitamura (三田村 卓真) from the Kyoto rock band 10-feet and keyboard player artist Kohsuke Oshima (大島康祐) for the final product's arrangement. Takuma's involvement in the song is credited in Taiko games as part of the song itself's title for every appearance subsequent its debut on the third Wii U game's default tracklist.
If the oh-so-Japanese Engrish lyrics aren't enough to throw rookie Taiko players off, Arihotto's muscle-oriented challenge might just do the trick by combining both repeating patterns with frequent small variations and increasing note density as the song goes on. Watch out for those end-leading x2.0 and x1.5 scrolling speed enhancements, too!