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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sympho-Neighbours - Computing Dissonance

Back in the day, we at Taiko Time were used to host an episodic family of features under the title of 'Taiko Goofs', where we took a look at several glitch-derived situations in different Taiko no Tatsujin games throughout the years. Even if most of these discoveries documented in the past have been removed from Youtube in video form, we managed to find enough content to keep the talk alive for quite a long time!

Of course, the other music-game competitors are not 100% immune to technical faults either; venture after the jump to have a taste of some of the most curious glitches that have affected other franchises throughout their run!

For a feature like this, it's imperative for us to start from one of the most infamous glitches that managed to live on throughout the beatmania IIDX series as a quite nefarious inside joke!

Coming from the very first IIDX arcade (as well as the last iteration of the original beatmania series), the song GAMBOL by Takehiko 'SLAKE' Fujii (藤井岳彦) has drawn a lot of attentions to it due to its poor note-timing accuracy programming for the very first arcade of the IIDX line, leading to players struggling to get spot-on hits (JUST GREAT/GREAT) due to multiple accuracy windows overlapping one on another, resulting into an inner criteria intersection that made easier to get bad accuracy on each note.

Later on, this error wasn't fixed when the song got revived in both the arcade and console fronts (from IIDX 9th Style), leading the programmers to just mess up with their players' minds! Thus, GAMBOL's bugged accuracy was never truly purged from all the modes in some of the subsequent versions and the song itself ended up having an even-more-bugged timing in the console version of the 11th entry in the series (IIDX 11 RED), as the fiendish ANOTHER mode that is spotlighted in the video above. To further extend the joke for the 15th and 16th games of the IIDX franchise, it was also given to the players the possibility to play any song of these games with the bugged timing windows through a cheat code that would activate the so-called 'GAMBOL ANOTHER Judgement' mode, bringing back the magic of "Near-100% Perfect or Miss" for all the masochists out there!

While not every unusual situation bears such a story-rich background like our first stop, it's still fun to see when something is messing up... even when the player's intended goal is to make the playing field harder to read through legit methods!

In the also long-running pop'n music series, players can dispose of special modifiers (referred to in-game as 'ojamas') that can cause all sorts of variations, from tilting/covering the playing field in selected parts of the song through many methods or just simply replace the note markers with other symbols like markers from other bemani games or the song rival character's face. If your good star doesn't assist you, however, the note aspect-changing ojama could not load properly and return glitched effects as a result, such as clearly-corrupted sprites and the playing field tilting outside of the designed obstacle-friendly passages of a song!

From a playable chaos that is hard to read, here's quite the opposite scenario that happened in bemani's REFLEC BEAT. Upon starting a song, one fellow player found himself in a situation where the game couldn't detect any hit while instead displaying the silhouettes of the notes' exact landing spots on the lower lane, something that should not occur in regular play...

Want some more un-playable scenarios? How about when the game just refuses to load/animate the approaching markers to hit with random (also bugged) visual cues to top it off? This has been the case of another unfortunate player, this time with a jubeat machine.

A similar situation was also documented in video form during one round of playing crossbeats REV., where only half of the arrow markers were able to appear and Hold notes went along being invisible most of the times. It's always frustrating to miss something because the game couldn't let it be seen, isn't it?

While the former cases were influencing one defecting run of a single unit, there have been cases where -much like with other Taiko-related episodes- the bug was affecting all arcades in a nation-wide scale! This has been the case of the first firmware versions of Sega's maimai arcades, where the accuracy records for several already-played songs would have received glitched astronomical values of 999,99% or even playing the wrong preview clip in selected occasions (again, something that also affected the Taiko scene as well in the past)

For another instance of bugs that were also chronicled in console Taiko gaming, here's a song selection menu accident from one of the PSP titles of the DJMAX series that just replaced most of the game's songlist with a single song, one kind of unique nightmare that also happened years later on Taiko no Tatsujin Wii U Version...

But enough of those oppressing situations with negative side effects... How about a bug that basically performs a perfect play in your place? This peculiar scenario happened to an arcade player of Sega's Chunithm, where the cabinet one day decided to score a player-free perfect performance of Cirno's Perfect Math Class.

I'd normally say that this is an out-of-the-ordinary situation, but with the song and the assist avatar chosen by the player I'm starting to question whether this is the doing of an actual ordinary magician or not...

Back on the console front again for our last stop, here's what happens when smartphone loading issues tie in with a music game! It's not uncommon for smartphone apps to have some asset loading errors of any sorts for a number of reasons; when this has happened to a player of the Groove Coaster app, the final outcome has seen most of the note markers and visual effects turning into simple quadrilateral figures of many colors and shapes, with the base background being unaffected by the change and the game's overall volume turned off as a result.

For a quick comparison, here's an arcade video play of the same song running in regular condition, which -incidentally- is a Touhou Project arrange track just like in the penultimate glitchy case.

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