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Taiko no Tatsujin |Series Discussion Thread| A Donderful World

Jan 29, 2011
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For all the people who are into the series and want to discuss it, and the people who are looking to get into the series, or couldn't keep up with it. I'm less interested in explaining the "what" and "how", as I think most people know that already, and more interested in helping curious people find a way to start playing.

Hopefully, this thread can serve as a good reference, and demonstrate that anyone can get into Taiko, regardless of where you live, or even what systems you own.






Most people probably get into Taiko at first because it has the popular anime music or J-pop or game music they like, and... that's a perfectly valid reason. One of Taiko's biggest strengths is its popularity, and how it can throw its budget around to get pretty much anything and everything that's popular into the game. You really can't find a tracklist like this (officially) in any other game. It's part of the reason why Taiko is still extremely successful to this day.

Once you get into it, you'll find that it's also a great, really unique rhythm game on its own merits. Having only 2 buttons on a single note path makes for a game that's very accessible, but also that allows it to take on some interesting characteristics at higher levels. Playing Taiko at any difficulty above medium quickly goes beyond "see note, push button" and requires the player learn the note patterns that show up frequently in songs, and how to handle them. For instance, say a series of notes, RRBRR, comes up on screen. How do you hit it? Hit the center with your right hand twice, then hit the rim with your left, then get the last two with your right hand again? Or do you alternate hands on each note? What if it's scrolling at you at a speed that's too fast to allow you to hit two sequential notes with the same hand? What if you just came off of another tricky set of notes? Being able to recognize and hit these patterns in the context of the song is a skill that that comes naturally, along with muscle memory, as you practice. When you play Taiko, you're always improving these skills and gaining confidence. For me, that feeling of constant progression is part of why I enjoy it so much.

Lastly, despite the cutesy appearances and family-oriented marketing and all the tie-ins, Taiko is more than just a commercial darling. More and more difficult songs are always being added, competitions are held, polls help determine which songs are created or return, the Taiko development team holds frequent livestreams, some of which involve making charts for songs live with fan-feedback, the people making the charts for songs are known by name... In summary, so much of Taiko and what makes up Taiko is done with the core community in mind. Beyond just making a commercially successful rhythm game, the development team is concerned with what makes the Taiko community happy, and interacts with them frequently to ensure their needs and desires are being met. Even if, in the Western part of the world, we may not get to be a part of these interactions to the extent that people in Japan are, we can at least know that the games we're playing are created in the interest of like-minded rhythm game fans.





For: People who have one nearby, people who happen to spot one on a day out
Years Active: 2001~
Latest Version: Kimidori キミドリ
Number of Songs: 415

Though the arcade experience has been emulated at home for years, after all this time, there's still nothing that can quite compare. If you're lucky enough to have a machine nearby, this is the best Taiko experience you can get. No longer will your rad Taiko play be restrained to your dinky Tatacon or a controller! This huge drum is the real deal!

At the same time, it's difficult to recommend ONLY playing on the arcade unit. Of course, plays will cost you money, and at 100 yen (or however much) a pop, you don't really get much of a chance improve or practice songs without pumping in tons of cash. The arcade machines are great for playing for fun on, or trying out songs you've practiced at home on the real thing. But with its huge number of songs, some of which brand-new or arcade-exclusive, having an arcade machine nearby is still a huge asset.



For: People with an import Wii U, people who want to play the latest releases with a Tatacon
Years Active: 2013~
Controls: Tatacon, Controller, Touch Screen
Number of Releases: 2
Estimated Tatacon Price: $30 (controller is same as Wii's)

With Taiko being one of the very few worthwhile Wii U Japan-exclusive titles, it's not surprising that import Wii Us aren't all that common. However, the Wii U is the console to get if you're looking to play the latest songs with a Tatacon, as it's where console Taiko games will be coming this generation. While it may be lacking some of the features later Wii Taiko games have, it's a pretty safe bet that they'll come in time with later versions.

Taiko no Tatsujin Wii U Version! 太鼓の達人 WiiUば~じょん!
Release: Nov. 21, 2013..................Number of Songs: 70 (+34DLC)...................Estimated Price: $40

First Taiko for the Wii U. While it includes fewer songs than the later Wii games, it also introduced DLC songs to console Taiko. From its release to September 2014, free DLC songs were released for the game monthly, in addition to paid costumes for Don-chan. However, since November, there are no new free songs being added. A small handful of songs remain free, while many of them were converted into paid DLC, and others are simply unobtainable. A shame, because there were some cool exclusive songs, like several Nintendo-collaboration tunes. The DLC issue makes it a bit harder to recommend over some of the older DLC-free games, though it still has a solid tracklist in its own right.

Taiko no Tatsujin Tokumori! 太鼓の達人 特盛り!
Release: Nov. 20, 2014.................Number of Songs: 103(+5DLC).....................Estimated Price: $40

Tokumori has a song count much more in line with what's to be expected from modern Taiko games. On top of that, Tokumori will also be getting DLC songs, though we still don't know to what extent (at the time of writing, we're only a month out of launch). Additionally, unlike previous games where new songs are unlocked via achieving certain coals, this game introduces a shop in which in-game currency is used to purchase new songs (including nearly 40 Namco Originals!) While it doesn't have much in the way of series standbys in some genres, if you like Namco Originals, this is probably the best you can get.



For: People with an import 3DS, or who has means to play import 3DS games, people who value Taiko's single player content, people who want to play the latest songs but lack a Wii U
Years Active: 2012~
Controls: Controller, Touch Screen
Number of Releases: 2

Playing Taiko games on a portable generally isn't anyone's first choice, but import 3DSs are widely considered much more worthwhile than import Wii Us, so more people have these games as an option than the Wii U games. Still, the 3DS games are hardly a bad option for people looking to keep up with the newest tracks. Their single player modes are what set them apart, though, as the Wii U games have nothing comparable.

Taiko no Tatsujin: Chibi Dragon to Fushigi na Orb 太鼓の達人 ちびドラゴンと不思議なオーブ
Release: Jul. 12, 2012....................Number of Songs: 55..................................Estimated Price: $40

In transitioning to the 3DS, this Taiko entry takes more inspiration from the console games than its DS handheld brethren. While it keeps a fleshed-out single player mode (similar to Taiko DS2, involving clearing challenges and boss battles), it ditches some of the more personal aspects like the Dojo and Mail, and Don-chan's customization has been cut back. Instead, some features missing from the DS games, like the alternate (Ura) tracks and being able to apply multiple modifiers, have been added. Additionally, Sound, Costume and Music unlocks are now tied to a new Stamp achievement system. Plus, it comes with cute Taiko styli!

Taiko no Tatsujin: Don to Katsu no Jikuu Daibouken 太鼓の達人 どんとかつの時空大冒険
Release: Jun. 26, 2014...................Number of Songs: 63(+46DLC).....................Estimated Price: $45

The second 3DS Taiko game introduces 2 main improvements over its predecessor: a full-fledged RPG Single Player mode, similar to that of Taiko DS3, in which Don-chan befriends and battles monsters while travelling through time, and a DLC shop, allowing owners of the game to get both paid and free additional songs, pumping the game's songlist to a count comparable to the consoles games (and only rivaled by Portable DX in the handheld space). As of the time of writing, new song packs are still being added, so this game is probably the best current pick if you're looking for a 3DS Taiko game. Other small features, like improved Don-chan customization, return from the DS games too. One very painful cut from previous portable Taiko games, though, is the exclusion of the cute Taiko styli. You'll have to shell out for those separately now!



For: People with a Wii (playing import games is easy), people who want lots of songs and modes
Years Active: 2008-2012
Controls: Tatacon, Controller
Number of Releases: 5
Estimated Tatacon Price: $30, though unlike PS2 drums, they can't be found quite as easily domestically, so expect to pay approx $30 shipping on top of that (PS2 ones not compatible, even with an adapter)

The Wii may very well still be the best console to play Taiko on. Beyond the fact that there's just flat-out a whole bunch of games, great features like Practice Mode and the Taiko Classroom still haven't made the jump to the Wii U. Even if they're less pretty and don't have the most recent songs, Kettei-Ban and Chougouka-Ban are still fantastic options with tons of songs between then, and the first three games are good supplements if you want even more tracks.

Taiko no Tatsujin Wii 太鼓の達人Wii
Release: Dec. 11, 2008..................Number of Songs: 70..................................Estimated Price: $30

The change of console manufacturer came along with a few additional features, like song lyrics display on screen, and Miis being used as dancers. Of course, the change also meant old PS2 Tatacons would no longer be supported, but fortunately, Wii Tatacons aren't too hard to come by nowadays. It also contains some light story elements tied to unlocking new tracks. The song list is most noteworthy for the inclusion of every single song in the super hard 2000 series (at the time).

Taiko no Tatsujin Wii: Dodon to Nidaime! 太鼓の達人Wii ドドーンと2代目!
Release: Nov. 19, 2009..................Number of Songs: 70..................................Estimated Price: $30

Taiko Wii2 is generally a very similar game to the first Wii game, even down to the same song count. The most noticeable difference is the addition of boss battles, similar to those of DS2, to the story elements. Additionally, Ura Oni tracks, which are alternate notecharts for songs, are included in console Taiko games for the first time. Other than that, the features are extremely similar.

Taiko no Tatsujin Wii: Minna de Party Sandaime 太鼓の達人Wii みんなでパーティ☆3代目
Release: Dec. 2, 2010....................Number of Songs: 71..................................Estimated Price: $40

That "Party" in the title is with good reason! New to the console games, multiplayer is expanded to allow 4 players at once. Additionally, returning from the PS2-era is the minigame mode. Once again, generally more of the same other than that.

Taiko no Tatsujin Wii: Kettei-Ban 太鼓の達人Wii 決定版
Release: Nov. 23, 2011..................Number of Songs: 105.................................Estimated Price: $50

The title means "definitive version," which is more than justified in its song and feature list. Its massive songlist contains some of Taiko's "greatest hits," in addition to the most recent tracks that one would expect from the newest console version. Additionally, two awesome features are introduced: a Practice Mode in which you can fast forward and rewind through any song to get to the parts you want to practice, and the Taiko Classroom, where the game picks out the most difficult parts of songs and has you play them over and over starting in slow-motion and building up to a speed faster than the actual song so you can get it right. With all this, it's hard to recommend any earlier game over this one.

Taiko no Tatsujin Wii: Chogouka-Ban 太鼓の達人Wii 超ごうか版
Release: Nov. 29, 2012..................Number of Songs: 105.................................Estimated Price: $45

Before bidding farewell to the Wii, Namco had to give it one more game to one-up the "definitive version." Well, I don't know if I'd necessarily say it beats it out, aside from adding minigame mode back in. I'd say that the fourth and fifth Wii games are great compliments to each other, rather. Another huge song list with little overlap with the fourth game, all the same features that were great in there, and some other smaller updates like using the scoring system from the latest arcade update... You really can't go wrong with this game.



For: People with a PSP from any region (unfortunately, they're not on PSN for Vita use), people who want lots of songs on the go
Years Active: 2005-2011 (DLC until 2013)
Controls: Controller
Number of Releases: 3

Though at one point PSP Taiko games may have been the only option for handheld Taiko, it may very well still be one of the best. Portable 1 and 2 are perfectly fine, but with DX's extensive tracklist both out the box (larger than any other handheld entry's) and with DLC (larger than any console Taiko period), it's the one to get.

Taiko no Tatsujin Portable 太鼓の達人 ぽ〜たぶる
Release: Aug. 4, 2005....................Number of Songs: 38(+22DLC).....................Estimated Price: $25

Taiko leaves its PS2 home for the very first time, and goes portable! Of course, portability comes at the cost of Tatacon use, but this game has somehing its PS2 brothers don't: downloadable songs! For the first time in Taiko history, you can download additional songs from online for free, and they're still available to this day. Additionally, it has two player multiplayer... on the same PSP! Nifty, huh?

Taiko no Tatsujin Portable 2 太鼓の達人 ぽ〜たぶる2
Release: Sep. 7, 2006....................Number of Songs: 62(+44DLC).....................Estimated Price: $25

While Taiko Portable 1 could be seen as testing the waters for portable Taiko, Taiko Portable 2 is where it really comes into its own. In addition to the features present in the first game (including DLC), this game sees the debut of Story Mode. Also, the super helpful Practice Mode, in which you can fast forward and rewind through any song to get to the parts you want to practice, makes its first appearance here too. The only downside is that some of this game's songs are songs that just appeared as DLC for the first game.

Taiko no Tatsujin Portable DX 太鼓の達人ぽ~たぶるDX
Release: Jul. 12, 2011....................Number of Songs: 72(+110DLC)...................Estimated Price: $35

5 years after the release of Portable 2, Taiko decided it wasn't happy with the way it left the PSP and returns to end its time on Sony systems with a bang. 5 year's-worth of Taiko improvements are here, including customizing Don-chan with outfits, boss battles, Ura Oni, and a brand new Medley Mode which throws several songs at you in a row. Additionally, this game has a ton of DLC songs, though they're a bit pricey at 150 yen a song. But when it comes to quantity, it's nearly unmatched, with 110 songs total added monthly through spring 2013. Still a fantastic choice for a portable Taiko game.



For: People with a DS from any region, people who value Taiko's single player content, people who don't have other handheld options available, people who like cute Taiko styli
Years Active: 2007-2010
Controls: Controller, Touch Screen
Number of Releases: 3

Sure, the DS games may not have the nicest graphics, or the best sound quality, or the biggest tracklists, but doggone it, they work! Just because it's not the best option doesn't mean it's bad by any means, though. In fact, any of the DS games are fine options! Their most defining characteristics are their unique single-player modes, the ability to drum on the touch screen, and the cute Taiko styli they're bundled with.

Taiko no Tatsujin DS: Touch de Dokodon! 太鼓の達人DS タッチでドコドン!
Release: Jul. 26, 2007....................Number of Songs: 35.................................Estimated Price: $35

Taiko makes the jump to Nintendo systems! What it lacks in song quantity and visuals, it seeks to make up for by taking a more personal approach. New features include Don-chan's room, where you can customize Don-chan's color and clothes, read e-mail from other characters, and improve your Taiko rank by clearing challenges in the Taiko Dojo. Additionally, for the first time, four players play at the same time via wireless play, even with a single cart. Plus, it comes with cute Taiko styli!

Meccha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS: Nanatsu no Shima no Daibouken めっちゃ!太鼓の達人DS 7つの島の大冒険
Release: Apr. 24, 2008....................Number of Songs: 50................................Estimated Price: $45

Taiko DS2 is likely best known for the strides it makes on Taiko's single player front. Don-chan travels from island to island clearing challenges (e.g. clear with at least a certain score or combo, defeat opponents) and battling bosses who will obstruct the play area to try to trip you up. Other than that, features from the first game, including Don-chan's room and the Dojo, all return. Plus, it comes with cute Taiko styli! AND stickers!!

Taiko no Tatsujin DS: Dororon! Youkai Dai Kessen!! 太鼓の達人DS ドロロン!ヨーカイ大決戦!!
Release: Jul. 2, 2010......................Number of Songs: 51................................Estimated Price: $35

Rather than sticking with what worked in the last game, Taiko DS3 shakes up its single player mode by making it into a rhythm-RPG. Don-chan travels across Japan battling monsters (dealing damage by successfully hitting notes), leveling up, and taking on bosses similar to those found in DS2. This RPG framework would later be followed up on in the second 3DS Taiko game. The DS Taiko features we've come to expect are all here, too. Plus, it comes with cute Taiko styli!
 
Jan 29, 2011
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For: People without a Wii, people looking to Taiko with a Tatacon on the cheap, people who don't like fussing with region free modding and love Rock the Dragon
Years Active: 2002-2006
Controls: Tatacon, Controller
Number of Releases: 10
Estimated Tatacon Price: $25

Here's where console Taiko started! And boy, did it go on and on. Ten releases is a pretty crazy number, with three games a year not being remotely out of the ordinary. Still, that quantity is part of why playing Taiko on PS2 is still worthwhile. That's a ton of songs when you combine them all, even if their individual song counts aren't so large and their mechanics are a bit outdated. Plus, there are a bunch of songs that never made the jump into the modern age and can only be found here. Oh, and the fact that thanks to Taiko Drum Master, PS2 Tatacons can be had pretty easily helps too. And the low prices of most of the games.

Taiko no Tatsujin: Tatacon de Dodon ga Don 太鼓の達人 タタコンでドドンがドン
Release: Oct. 24, 2002....................Number of Songs: 30...............................Estimated Price: $15

Maybe this game shouldn't be your first choice if you're looking for a PS2 Taiko, but it's a piece of history! The very first Taiko game on a console, the very first game to come bundled with a Tatacon... you're probably at least a bit curious to see how different it was back then, right? Songs weren't in the nice categories we know them to be in today, the game featured an "Arcade Mode" and a "Free Mode" rather than a single "Performance Mode", it looked like a PSX game... Granted, it does have some cool stuff that you don't even see in modern console Taiko games, like Survival Mode and Minigames. But there's definitely some modern Taiko conventions that will be missed.

Taiko no Tatsujin: Doki! Shinkyoku Darake no Haru Matsuri 太鼓の達人 ドキッ!新曲だらけの春祭り
Release: Mar. 27, 2003....................Number of Songs: 34...............................Estimated Price: $25

Wondering how much improved the second game must be? Well... it has new songs! And.... uh... that's about it, really. Everything else is pretty much the same.

Taiko no Tatsujin: Appare Sandaime 太鼓の達人 あっぱれ三代目
Release: Oct. 30, 2003....................Number of Songs: 39...............................Estimated Price: $15

A year out from the first game's release, and we're already at the third game. And it's still pretty much the same thing with new songs. The super-hard 2000 series made its console debut with Saitama2000, though. And that's cool.

Taiko no Tatsujin: Waku Waku Anime Matsuri 太鼓の達人 わくわくアニメ祭り
Release: Dec. 18, 2003....................Number of Songs: 19...............................Estimated Price: $15

... wait, what? Just two months later? And... 19 songs? I mean, I get that this is a collection of only anime songs, but... why would I want to buy this over the game that came out two months earlier and has twice the number of songs? Guess people who bought it really like anime music. Also, fun fact: despite releasing on a Sony console, this game features music from the Pokemon anime! Crazy!

Taiko no Tatsujin: Atsumare! Matsuri da!! Yondaime 太鼓の達人 あつまれ!祭りだ!!四代目
Release: Jul. 22, 2004.....................Number of Songs: 40...............................Estimated Price: $10

Finally, we're out of the stone ages! A host of changes makes this version much more closely resemble the Taiko we're now used to: modern genre categorizations are implemented, Arcade Mode, Survival Mode, and Free Play are replaced with a single Performance Mode, and the Don Point system is introduced for unlocking songs (do stuff in game, earn points).

Taiko Drum Master
Release: Oct. 26, 2004....................Number of Songs: 31 (JP:33).....................Estimated Price: $5

... and here we are at the one and only localized release. I'm sure lots of people know all about this game already, but to give you a brief overview: In 2004, before Guitar Hero had come onto the scene, Namco decided to test their own peripheral rhythm game in Western waters. With an extremely Japanese concept, and thoroughly Western tracklist (modern pop, classic rock, and American anime favorites like Rock the Dragon), Namco brilliantly cornered the market of absolutely nobody at all. This flop can be seen as both a blessing and a curse, as to this day, brand new copies of Taiko Drum Master can be bought from Amazon for $30, netting you a cheap PS2 Tatacon, but at the same time, it was their first and last foray into our market. Would things have gone differently if they got international license for J-Pop and Japanese anime tunes? Or retooled Taiko into a Stomp tie-in game to better suit Western tastes? We may never know.

Interestingly, Taiko Drum Master was also released in Japan, in full English, and with a slightly different song list. While they miss out on getting to jam to the Jimmy Neutron theme, their version featured more classic rock, harder songs, and a +2 net song gain. And so ends the saga of Taiko in the West...

Taiko no Tatsujin: Go! Go! Godaime 太鼓の達人 ゴー!ゴー!五代目
Release: Dec. 9, 2004.....................Number of Songs: 45...............................Estimated Price: $20

Just five months after the previous game, and it brings a host of mechanical changes to the series. Puts the first three PS2 games to shame! As the name indicates "Go Go Time", in which Don-chan dances, lights flash, and points values are increased debuted here, along with the yam note and play modifiers (in particular, invisible mode). Plus, this game has Daddy Mulk by ZUNTATA. That rules.

Taiko no Tatsujin: Tobikkiri! Anime Special 太鼓の達人 とびっきり!アニメスペシャル
Release: Aug. 4, 2005.....................Number of Songs: 40...............................Estimated Price: $25

And here we have yet another anime themed edition! Wait, don't run away yet, this one is better! The number of songs here is much more comparable to that of a normal Taiko release (partially because the tracklist is padded out a bit with Namco Originals, but it's still mostly anime!) Additionally, expect all the improvements that have come to the series up until now.

Taiko no Tatsujin: Wai Wai Happy! Rokudaime 太鼓の達人 わいわいハッピー!六代目
Release: Dec. 8, 2005.....................Number of Songs: 48...............................Estimated Price: $20

Not really a whole lot new to show here, but it's hard to blame them after seeing how far we've come since the first PS2 game. More modifiers, like double speed, triple speed, and sudden death make their console debut in this game.

Taiko no Tatsujin: Doka! to Oomori Nanadaime 太鼓の達人 ドンカッ!と大盛り七代目
Release: Dec. 7, 2006.....................Number of Songs: 48...............................Estimated Price: $30

We've come an awfully long way, but at last we've reached the end of our PS2 Taiko journey. But things certainly don't just peter out at the end! This game introduces one more modifier, the Reverse modifier, as well as a brand new mode called the Taiko Towers, in which you play an increasingly difficult series of notes while Don-chan climbs a tower. Make five misses, and you're done!



For: People with an iOS device, people looking to take Taiko with them everywhere, people who are okay with paying a little more to get lots of songs
Years Active: 2010~
Controls: Touch Screen, Tatacon, believe it or not, sausage
Number of Releases: 4 (but only 1 that matters)
Estimated Tatacon Price: $60

Only going to touch on the first three very briefly, because they really don't matter (you can get all their songs in the game I'm going to talk about next). You've got Taiko Popular Song Pack 1 and Taiko Popular Song Pack 2, featuring 5 Taiko standbys each, and Taiko no Tatsujin RS, a 5-song collaboration game with hip-hop group Rip Slyme, all costing 600 yen.

Now, this is what we want to talk about:

Taiko no Tatsujin Plus 太鼓の達人 プラス
Release: May 28, 2010....................Number of Songs: 6(+291DLC)...................Estimated Price: $0

Yes, you read the number of songs right. iOS may very well do Taiko better than any console can.

So, Taiko Plus works like this: you download the game for free (you'll need to switch the region of iTunes account you'll be buying songs with to Japan, as IAPs can only be made with the account you downloaded it with. You don't need a Japanese credit card, but you will need to make sure the Japanese address you provide has a postal code matching the prefecture) and you get to play a couple of free songs as much as you want, along with a couple of timed ones occasionally. If you want more than that, you'll need to access the song shop, where you'll find an enormous number of downloadable songs in packs of 5 sold for 600 yen each (which you can buy with your non-Japanese credit card on your non-Japanese iTunes account, after switching it back to your home region). This is seriously a crazy song list, with tons of exclusive songs, revived songs from older versions, and tracks newly added to the arcade version. The closest thing to owning your own arcade unit is in your pocket (and buying all the songs probably costs nearly as much as an arcade unit too). Still, if you pick and choose a couple of your favorite packs, you'll get yourself a nice tracklist without paying too much.

Taiko Plus is a really great option that's absolutely worth considering, and was the primary way I played Taiko for a couple of years. Check it out, if you have a device!



So, all else has failed, you don't have the necessary hardware, you don't want to spend so much cash, you want more songs... this is where simulators come in. I'm going to touch on the two most popular Taiko simulators for PC and Mobile.


osu! Taiko Mode

First things first: osu! is not primarily a Taiko sim. osu! will always be, first and foremost, an Ouendan sim. Because of this, Taiko mode will not be 100% accurate. The scoring is way different, many note types are missing, and many other features one's come to expect from Taiko games won't be found here. If it's accuracy you're looking for, look elsewhere (perhaps below!).

However, osu! will always be the most simple, organized, and popular Taiko sim among the English-speaking community. Submitted tracks go through an approval process to get up on the site, so there's some sense of quality assurance. It's extremely easy to add songs to the game, too; just download them from the site, open the file, and the game will handle all the importing automatically and you're ready to play. You can even play online with friends and compete on online leaderboards. What you have to keep in mind, though, is that most maps are made with Ouendan mode in mind, and the Taiko tracks are autogenerated from that. Obviously, this won't necessarily make for the best Taiko maps. Still, chart creators have the option to create Taiko-specific difficulties too. You can even narrow down your searches to show only songs that have those Taiko-specific difficulties.

So, all in all, it's a darn good option. If you want stress-free Taiko on your PC, check it out. You can even play with your Wii Tatacon! Oh, but before I move on from osu!, I want to give a quick shoutout to...


T-Aiko

T-Aiko is osu!'s Taiko mode on your Android phone, and it controls the same way as the iOS Taiko games. Just copy your osu! tracks from the game's directory on the PC to your phone SD card, and go at it. Super convenient.


Taiko Sanjiro 2 太鼓さん次郎2

Looks like the real deal, huh? If you want accurate Taiko on your PC, with lots of recreations of official tracks and brand new ones made specifically for Taiko, and you don't mind a little hassle to get them, then Taiko Sanjiro 2 is what you want. Every track in Sanjiro is composed of two parts: a file containing the music itself, and a plain text ".tja" file, that contains the config for the track, and the placement of all the notes for each difficulty. It's a bit of a hassle to create by hand (though there are some fan-made track editors that provide a proper UI for it, at least), but they're really easy to tweak and distribute.

The primary issue, with Sanjiro, though, is that there isn't much organization for its tracks, and not much in the way of an English community. That doesn't mean it's all that hard to find good tracks, mind you, you'll just need to be willing to do some searching in Japanese. One other problem you may encounter is encoding issues involving downloading files with Japanese characters in their names. Don't fret when this happens, just rename the file names, and go into the .tja file and fix the song title and filename for the music.

If you're willing to go through this to get the songs you want, what awaits you is an extremely solid Taiko experience on PC, with tons and tons of songs to play.



Here's just a small taste of what to expect...







Taiko briefly had a claymation series, with a total of 26 episodes between 2005 and 2006. I've only seen a bit of it myself, but it was rather bizarre! Check it out if you want to see what wacky hijinks Don-chan and Kat-chan get into.



A number of Taiko soundtracks have been released over the years, containing both Namco original compositions in the Namco Original and Classical genre, and some licensed J-Pop and Anime music. They even have full versions of some Namco compositions that you can't hear anywhere else!



With something as popular as Taiko, it's no surprise that there's been a ton of merch inspired by the series over the years. In particular, a number of Taiko-themed toys have just recently released this past year, including this Taiko-fied take on Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots shown above. Nifty!

FAQ

Q: I wanna buy a Taiko game. Which one should I get?

A: Generally, the most recent release on any platform is the safest bet. You'll get the largest number of tracks, the most features, and the most updated mechanics. Other than that, check out each game's tracklist and see which one has the most songs that you like. It's important that you enjoy the songs you're playing, after all.

Q: I can't do hard songs at all! How do I get better?

A: The first thing I can do is tell you to keep looking. Find a song that's just out of your skill level, maybe it has one part that's really tricky, and try it. Maybe find a slower paced song that has tricky note patterns that you can practice on. Maybe even try a super hard song and see if you can clear it at all. Taiko doesn't really have much in the way of huge difficulty jumps that will just cause you to hit a wall. You just need to keep looking for the next step.

Links

Taiko Time blog - A fantastic English resource for all things Taiko. I absolutely could not have completed this OT without the information compiled here. Check it out, for sure.
Taiko no Tatsujin Homepage
Official Taiko Team Blog


Alright, that's it. This is my first time making anything of this scale, so hopefully it's okay and was helpful. I can't claim to have played every single Taiko game, but hopefully my research got me accurate info. Let me know if you have any corrections to make, and I'll get to it right away.
 

dakkumauji

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Great OT.

And I'm just sad Bamco isn't making these games anymore on import friendly systems.

Maybe I'll try the Android method. Kinda would rather play it on a handheld though.
 

micster

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I love Taiko no Tatsujin so much. Was great finally getting to play the arcade version. I completely forgot about Taiko no Tatsujin Plus. Is there any way for me to get it on my iPhone without changing my Apple account to a Japanese one? It's jailbroken, if that helps.
 

JPS Kai

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I love Taiko no Tatsujin so much. Was great finally getting to play the arcade version. I completely forgot about Taiko no Tatsujin Plus. Is there any way for me to get it on my iPhone without changing my Apple account to a Japanese one? It's jailbroken, if that helps.
I believe you can download it through itunes without needing to change your region then sync it up to your phone? I did it once before but don't recall what I had to do.
 

Kid Ying

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Its probably my favorito series. Played every single one ever since the ps2 days with the exception of the PSP ones, which i never had.

Tokumori is a great addition also. The inclusion of introdon was a nice touch. Doesnt have a big replay valeu, but its a change for the people that always say that the game is always the same.

But nothing comes close to play on arcades. Its a different world. The tatacon is good, but it doesnt come close to the big drum. I wish i could play more on it, but for the time Being the wiiu versions are enough
 

Yes Boss!

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Fantastic job on the OT!

I've dabbled in these games since the original 3DS imports. I just LOVE the series though tend to play only on the easiest modes. Looking forward to grabbing the Wii U version early next year!
 
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Loved it on PS2, never played the Wii versions. But man, the drums came a long way. Just bought the Bluetooth drums for iOS and they are sooo good :D
God, in a way I'm kinda glad I fell off of the Taiko iOS boat years back due to having nothing but a 1st gen iPod Touch. I'd be awfully tempted to spend a ton of money on songs and the Tatacon, lol.

Having a version you can both play with the drum and play on the go seems super handy, though.

I recently found the Wai Wai Happy PS2 game at a thrift store for $3. Now I just need to track down some drums for it.
Amazon still offers the Taiko Drum Master bundle new for $30 or so, which is a pretty hassle free way to get the drum, even if it may not be the absolute cheapest. It's how I got mine, at least.

Great OT.

And I'm just sad Bamco isn't making these games anymore on import friendly systems.

Maybe I'll try the Android method. Kinda would rather play it on a handheld though.
Yeah, it's a shame, but console Taiko will probably be region locked for as long as Nintendo is. I guess we can hope that the next Nintendo handheld won't be region locked, and the games will release for that.

Until then, the DS and PSP games (Portable DX in particular) are still great options, at least.

Tokumori is a great addition also. The inclusion of introdon was a nice touch. Doesnt have a big replay valeu, but its a change for the people that always say that the game is always the same.
That's, like... a quiz game or something, right? God, I really wish I could keep up with the Wii U games. I'm pretty easy to break on getting import consoles, but I'm pretty sure the Taiko games are literally the only thing I'd get at this point, so I can't justify it quite yet. I'm already bummed even if I decide to import down the line, a bunch of Wii U Version songs will forever be inaccessible!

Too bad, Wii, Wii U and 3DS are region locked :( The DS games are here and they are awesome.
It's definitely worth looking into ways to boot import games on the Wii, the Wii games are great. I'd probably say that a year or two ago, when you could get Wii4 and Wii5 bundles for a decent price, were the best time to get into the Wii games, but now it's the Wii U games that have decent priced bundles. Still, getting a copy of the game and a Wii drum independently shouldn't add up to all that much.

Or you could just play with buttons, which are plenty fun too!
 

Kouriozan

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Used to play every ones of them until region locked consoles released :(
But, I shall be able to play the 3DS ones soon.

I liked the first Wii one where Don evolved, then the 3rd I think with the bosses.
For the DS, I liked the RPG one the most.
 

GuitarAtomik

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REALLY wish the WiiU wasn't region locked. After that crazy $200 tatacon was released, I've been tempted to buy it just for that. Great OP btw.
 

Impotaku

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Taiko probably my most loved music game series, joined in on the fun around the time Namco moved the series to Wii&DS have the first one on PSP but mainly i played them on Nintendo consoles.

I do like the RPG games that they introduced into some of them as it gives you a fun way to unlock the songs and something different to do in the game, don't think there has been any taiko game that i didn't like in some way there are always some of my favourite songs on each version.

My eternal favourite is Hyakka Ryouran and it's variants, i love songs that are like matsuri music. I get immense joy playing them on oni level.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGNhm_bDpJQ

The song i really despise is Linda Linda i hate that song so much, i die a little inside each time it reappears in every single new taiko game it's like taiko herpes it never goes away lol.

One thing i did love was when McDonalds and taiko colaborated together for the 3rd DS game, it was pretty clever how they unlocked content in the game. If you bought a happy meal it came with a pretty cool taiko figure that played a sound when you pushed the button if you held it upto your DS mic it would unlock that figures outfit in the game along with a unique McDonalds song, the song is pretty fun. Durm along as they sing about the food and dining experience lol.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQGzOI1Tl-k

The figures are pretty nice as stand alone items, the kind of stuff you would never see in a western McDonalds lol, when i saw them i knew one day i must own them. Wish i could have gotten hold of the amazing promotional card display stand that they used to display them. Sadly nowdays the batteries have run down and they are non replaceable as they are sealed into the toys, however the toys have a tiny password etched onto their bodies that can be used to unlock the costumes in case of battery failiure which is pretty neat. My Don chan always has the McDonalds employee costume on in that game.

I'm lovin' it


The newest Taiko on 3DS has unlockable elements in a similar way by scanning in QR codes from various promotional items to unlock exclusive costumes.
 

Kouriozan

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Oh and I have to say that I absolutely love the crazy 2000 songs, I can only complete one of them in Oni mode though.
 

magnetic

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I always wanted to check out this series more! I´m definitely going for a handheld version, the PSP DX one seems like my best option (and yet another reason to postpone the retirement of my PSP!).

I mean, I still have Theatrythm Curtain Call to really dig into, but recently I´ve been wanting something simpler.

I really love the visual style, very clear and cute!
 
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I do like the RPG games that they introduced into some of them as it gives you a fun way to unlock the songs and something different to do in the game, don't think there has been any taiko game that i didn't like in some way there are always some of my favourite songs on each version.

The song i really despise is Linda Linda i hate that song so much, i die a little inside each time it reappears in every single new taiko game it's like taiko herpes it never goes away lol.

My Don chan always has the McDonalds employee costume on in that game.

The newest Taiko on 3DS has unlockable elements in a similar way by scanning in QR codes from various promotional items to unlock exclusive costumes.
Thanks for the pics! I should look into getting some neat Taiko doodads one of these days.

I have to admit, Taiko single player modes don't really do a whole lot for me. I just realized the other day that I never did the DLC quests for 3DS2, so I was just doing them, and... man, I just don't find it very fun. Maybe it's just because the DLC song pool is kinda small, but it was, like, the same songs over and over and over, and generally not at a particularly interesting difficulty. Then I got to the boss and got absolutely destroyed, lol. I kinda prefer the challenge-based single player in Taiko DS2 and 3DS1. The RPGs are a neat idea, but I think they could use some refinement.

whaaaat noooooo Linda Linda is my jam, lol. I wouldn't mind if it, along with several other songs that show up nearly every other game, were given a bit of a rest though, lol

I've noticed a bit of a trend with my Don-chans:

Really glad they brought back two-part outfits in 3DS2, lol. Don't even remember what I used in the first 3DS game. I think I typically use the Miku outfit in console games.

Also huh, I remember putting all the passwords into 3DS1 and the DS games, but I don't think I did anything with 3DS2 and QR codes. Guess I should look into that...

Oh and I have to say that I absolutely love the crazy 2000 songs, I can only complete one of them in Oni mode though.
Yeah, I'm kinda junk so I just sorta enjoy Saitama and occasionally try to scrape by at the others, lol.

There's a part in Taiko 3DS2 where, near the end of the game, the creator of the 2000 series songs appears as an NPC and asks you to get 300 hits or something on Donkama2000 on Muzukashii (not even Oni because that's just fucking stupid) to unlock the song for free play and that was a real pain in the ass to do, lol.
 

Kid Ying

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Introdon is like song pop. You play against there other people and guess which song is playing. Its fun and i think its a welcome addition.Much more than baton pass which is laughable in easier difficulties but impossible in oni.

Tokumori, at least to me, is a little harder than the last taikos. Its been a long time since tive played the Wii ones, but taiko wiiu was much easier in general. Most of the songs on it are namco originals which i like, but i also like game songs and theres not much in here (even though klonoa is a nice addition and ridge racer, taiko match and go my way never get old).

Also, Donkama 2000 is too vicious to exist. The best of the 2000 series is x-day 2000
 

Impotaku

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CANLI

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Bought the drum during my trip in japan.
I own the 4th and 5th wii version, 1st 3ds version and the 2 on wii u in 1080p lol
The wii u games are very beautiful. You can play with the gamepad too.
 

Impotaku

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Time for a bit more on the merchandise, there's been quite a few bits of merchandise over the years. Still trying to track down the drumming figure that repeats whatever rhythm you tap out but that thing is pretty old now.

There is one other option for people without a console, a stand alone toy version.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I75__t54wP8&spfreload=10


Drum battling toy
There is a range of adorable plush pencil cases
Electronic air bachi so you can drum when there is no drum about, wonder if there are any songs built into them. I'm intrigued
A balancing game
Sound mascot keyrings
Electronic play along picture book
This is the drumming repeating toy i'm still after but now hard to find, you press the button and tap out a rhythm, Don will then repeat back what you tapped.
 

xzeldax3

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I wanted an English localization of the RPG-lite versions of this game so badly (DS/3DS) because any game with a campaign makes it a lot more fun for me to play. Even if its just a list of missions like DDR or DJMAX. I enjoy structure.
 

Malajax

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Glad this thread got made. I was gonna make a sort of thread like this if no one got to it. But now it's here!

Taiko is awesome. That's about all I have to say about that.
 
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Introdon is like song pop. You play against there other people and guess which song is playing. Its fun and i think its a welcome addition.Much more than baton pass which is laughable in easier difficulties but impossible in oni.

Tokumori, at least to me, is a little harder than the last taikos. Its been a long time since tive played the Wii ones, but taiko wiiu was much easier in general. Most of the songs on it are namco originals which i like, but i also like game songs and theres not much in here (even though klonoa is a nice addition and ridge racer, taiko match and go my way never get old).

Also, Donkama 2000 is too vicious to exist. The best of the 2000 series is x-day 2000
Ah, gotcha. I don't think I have any local friends who'd be able to recognize any songs so I don't think I'd get a whole lot of use out of that, lol. Sounds fun, though.

Yeah, Tokumori looks like a really solid entry. There are probably more songs not available on other versions that interest me in Wii U, but Tokumori seems better standalone.

I'd probably say my personal favorite 2000 song is Soroban2000. My first time playing it, all I could glean was that it was some folks playing an arcade machine that kept increasing in difficulty and shocked players when they lose, but after I read the transcribed dialog and realized how it integrated it into the song itself (with the difficulty level shifting as it does in the dialog), I thought it was super clever. I just think it's fun from both a storytelling standpoint and fun to play (on muzukashii tho because i'm no good)

Anyone with the 2nd 3DS version might like the complete set of QR codes in this fantastic FAQ, all the extra monsters as well as exclusive cosumes & items.
http://www.gamefaqs.com/3ds/784669-taiko-no-tatsujin-don-to-katsu-no-jikuu-daibouken/faqs/69590?page=2#QR Codes

I guess some of the codes were hacked as the 7-11 items were only available via been near a instore wifi 7spot download station and getting the data direct, not that i'm complaining as i love my 7-11 costume.
Man, this is waaaay more convenient than the passwords from the previous handheld games, lol. Didn't realize that there were costumes locked behind the codes so I snagged those. Thanks!

Time for a bit more on the merchandise, there's been quite a few bits of merchandise over the years. Still trying to track down the drumming figure that repeats whatever rhythm you tap out but that thing is pretty old now.

There is one other option for people without a console, a stand alone toy version.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I75__t54wP8&spfreload=10
ahahaha, oh man, that cheap midi version of natsu matsuri is awesome. I kinda want to hear the rest of them, lol
 

hamchan

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Great timing, I started replaying the games on PSP lately. Love this series because it really is only two inputs making it very easy to get into for anyone new to rhythm games, but they do a heck of a lot with those two inputs.
 

Brazil

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Now this is what I call great timing.

Just picked up both Taiko 3DS games to go with my Japanese New 3DS! Really looking forward to playing them (after I'm done with Project mirai).
 
Jan 29, 2011
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Oh man, Tokumori gets the ORAS Champion Medley? Gaaaaah I'm jealous. Really need some of the Pokemon game music to hit the handheld games instead of always being stuck with the anime OPs.

Hopefully it'll still be available down the line. I don't think Wii U version's Pokemon DLC track is still available...
 

daydream

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As a fellow rhythm game community thread maker, I just wanted to drop by and say amazing job on the OP, Bankslammer!

My desire to get into the series has only grown recently, I will probably import one of the DS games next month.
 

djSyndrome

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Awesome OP :D

Have been playing the series on and off for years, but the last ports I spent money for were the PSP ones. Never got the Wii versions and when I tried the iOS version with a Japanese account it kept giving strange errors in the shop.

There's a Taiko 9 machine here in downtown Seattle. It's in decent shape (heads were recently replaced). They're opening a Round1 arcade here next summer. Aside from the obligatory IIDX/Jubeat/Pop'N, really hoping they spring for the new Taiko there.
 

Aizo

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Does anyone own that big, sexy, expensive controller for Wii U? I think I want it, but I might just wait until I move back to Japan--that will take up too much space in my bag.

Is it worth it?

Also, recommend playing Taiko arcade at the Warehouse Kawasaki gamecenter (the best gamecenter), because it's three songs per 100 yen. I miss the current arcade version.. haven't played in about two months. It's so good..
 

Impotaku

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Does anyone own that big, sexy, expensive controller for Wii U? I think I want it, but I might just wait until I move back to Japan--that will take up too much space in my bag.

Is it worth it?

Also, recommend playing Taiko arcade at the Warehouse Kawasaki gamecenter (the best gamecenter), because it's three songs per 100 yen. I miss the current arcade version.. haven't played in about two months. It's so good..
Have the pro controller and yup it's totally worth it if you love taiko it's a vast improvement over the regular tattacon, i did an impressions thread here
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=952453
 

Aizo

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Is the drum that comes bundled with the Wii U games better than the ps2 ones? I didn't find them satisfying when playing at my friend's place. The drumsticks were crap, too... like little baby toys.
 
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I consider the Wii drums (which I'm pretty sure are the same as the Wii U ones) pretty damn sturdy and do a good job, but I wouldn't call them worlds better than the PS2 one. It's been a while since I've used the PS2 one, though, and I'm out of town so I won't be able to give a better comparison right now. Drumsticks are still the same hollow plastic, but they've got some weight to them.

I know a lot of high level players make their own drumsticks. You could probably fashion yourself something more in line with the arcade ones, or find some. Granted, I'm not entirely sure how well the console Tatacon would take it, as I only really see custom sticks used with the arcade unit, but I'd imagine they'd be fine. They can take a beating.
 

Impotaku

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Taiko related but a little off topic, few weeks back i bought a taiko no tatsujin model kit, it's a super high detail kit of the very first taiko arcade machine.

Spent today putting it together and painting all the extra details like the silver coin slots on the front and the feet as well as the bachi as i didn't want to use stickers, i also got out the soldering iron & hot glue gun and modded my kit to add lights just like the arcade would have had. My very own teeny tiny taiko arcade, works pretty good with my figures, you can slot in extra screenshot by taking off the lid, also have access to the battery box in there to turn on the lights.

 
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Reminder for owners of the second 3DS game: the December songs+quest pack featuring Konayuki, Monkey Magic, DESERT STORM, Desert de Yakiniku, Warera Muteki no Dokon Dan, Jingle Bells No. 765, and LovexLove Whistle is now out.

Been a damn long time since Monkey Magic was last seen, so that's neat.