top of page

Round1 Rhythm Game Sampler

Round1 has made quite a splash in the arcade scene. The out-of-home amusements chain began its business in Japan and has since brought its unique flavor of entertainment to the American market. What exactly is this flavor, you ask? Only the most exciting and exclusive Japanese arcade games, of course.

Yes, Round1 is a very special breed of entertainment center, and in recent years, they’ve become a hub for many rhythm game players. Being fan of Japanese coin-op myself, I was super duper excited to finally go to the Louisville, Kentucky location. And because I like to cater to the rhythm game community, I’ve written a brief overview of what I saw.

Whether you’re a fellow sweaty weeaboo, or you’re just curious to see what Round1 is all about, I think this list should suit your fancy. Let’s get into it.


Dance Dance Revolution A

Developer: Konami, BEMANI

Publisher: Konami Release Date: 2016

Controls: Four cardinally-aligned arrow foot panels

A title that needs no introduction, this entry in Konami’s 20-year-old, arrow-stomping music game series was just as legendary as ever. Since I’ve already got a “local" cabinet at the Nashville Dave and Buster’s, I only played a couple sets at Round1, but it was still good fun. Here’s hoping the A20 update drops in the U.S. soon.

Pump It Up Prime 2

Developer: Andamiro (with another studio, I believe)

Publisher: Andamiro

Release Date: 2017

Controls: Five arrow foot panels

Prior to visiting Round1, my only exposure to Andamiro’s PIU had been playing a Pump It Up Jump cab at Chuck-E-Cheese’s last summer. Prime 2, though, was an entirely different animal. While I’ve still got so much to learn, I had an absolute blast with tracks like “Beethoven Virus: and “Me Gustas Tu”. I definitely can’t wait to “pump” again.

Dance Rush Stardom

Developer: Konami, BEMANI

Publisher: Konami

Release Date: 2018

Controls: One long pad with six touch-sensitive columns

Listen to me now: I was HYPED to play me some Dance Rush. Konami’s new pad-based dance simulation experience lacked the raw technicality of DDR but more than made up for it in freestyling flair. Although I’ve, once again, got plenty of room to grow, I totally adored what I played. This, people, is the dance game future. I want to do more downs!

Groove Coaster 3: Link Fever

Developer: Matrix Software

Publisher: Taito

Release Date: 2016

Controls: Two special controllers called "BOOSTERs" with one button on each. The controllers can be manipulated like joysticks.

This Taito title was new to me when I found it on the game floor, but I quickly fell in love. The unique two-button control scheme instantly gelled with me, like tapping my fingers on a desk. I’ve since downloaded the mobile version and continued the fun, but the arcade version will always be my preferred experience. (“And Then There Were None” is still one of my favorite songs, too!)


Developer: Konami, BEMANI

Publisher: Konami

Release Date: 2015

Controls: Five circular buttons that can be tapped and spun; one foot pedal

Like Groove Coaster above, I hadn’t seen Museca prior to my trip but was immediately sucked into the gameplay. With five spinners/buttons and a foot pedal, Museca felt somewhat like Neon FM but even more engaging. I quickly picked up the gist of gameplay and dove headfirst into the rhythm. As a music game with unique emphasis on “illustration”, it really was a neat concept.

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Arcade

Developer: Sega

Publisher: Sega

Release Date: 2010

Controls: Four horizontally-aligned, PlayStation-themed buttons

First off, I’m gonna be real: I’ve always found vocaloids a bit...strange. Like, I’m a weeb, but I’m not THAT much of a weeb, ya know? Regardless, I wanted to play me some Project DIVA and left pleasantly surprised. While I didn’t like getting only one song per credit, the core four-button gameplay was really solid. (And the music isn’t too bad, either.)

Sound Voltex

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Release Date: 2012

Controls: Four square buttons, two rectangular buttons, and two spinning knobs

Believe it or not, I actually had some trouble getting into SDVX. I liked the four square buttons, but I didn’t care much for the left and right knobs. On top of that, I had one heckuva time navigating the Japanese menus. (A problem with most of these titles, heh-heh.) Even so, I want to get into it, and I’ll surely practice more during my next visit.

Crossbeats REV. Sunrise

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Release Date: 2015

Controls: Touchscreen

Capcom’s Crossbeats, though much less “tactile” than the button- and foot-based entries on this list, was still pretty fun. I definitely wasn’t against touchscreen rhythm games, especially cool ones, and Sunrise delivered very effectively. I’ll definitely give it a few more tries during my next visit for more comprehensive analysis.

Beatmania IIDX

Developer: Konami, BEMANI

Publisher: Konami

Release Date: 2010s (not sure which version it was)

Controls: Seven buttons and turntable-esque spinner

Don’t hate me for this—because I know it was a mistake—but I didn’t end up trying Beatmania at all! Even though I know it’s a totally revered (and super duper technical) music game, I just did not get around to it. However, it was at Round1 and looked pretty slick, so I decided it deserved mention. I promise I’ll try it next time.


Developer: Konami, BEMANI

Publisher: Konami

Release Date: 2010s

Controls: Full drum set and guitar controller

Oh. Also, I didn’t play GITADORA. It was there, too, existing as a combination of GuitarFreaks and DrumMania. It looked fancy as heck.


As you can see, there’s a lot of fun to be had at Round1 USA. It’s one of the few major arcade chains (at least in the U.S.) still catering to the music game community, and I really appreciate that. We’re an uber-niche bunche, yes, but we deserve a space in the coin-op arena. Round1 seems to get this.

While Round1 is a big Japanese company with the capital to make their model work, I hope other U.S. arcades take a look at what R1 is doing and use it as a guideline. It felt like a real arcade with a real community behind it. A lot of these generic “fun centers” aren’t even half the experience Round1 is.

Either way, I’m glad Round1 is here to stay. It’s a fantastic establishment that I plan to support as much as I can. Plus, I’d really like to emulate their approach with my own operations.

What’s your favorite rhythm game? Leave a comment below or discuss it in the new Wilcox Arcade forums!


bottom of page