Astro’s Rhythm Game Q1 Meet, and the end of Programmed World

Just remembered I haven’t done a post about Q1 yet, Astro City were conducting their quarterly community meetup, I turned up on the saturday and stayed overnight.

RIP corin
RIP corin

Lots of antics as usual, we also had a larger selection of home setups available than last time, with people bringing along Sound Voltex, Reflec Beat, and Jubeat – making the arcade very busy indeed, and making sure there was more or less something for everyone to play at all times.

I previously remember Reflec beat not being a whole lot of fun when I played it in Japan, but I actually rather enjoyed it this time round, though the green notes at the top still threw me off. I still don’t think i’d properly spend too much money on it, but it was definitely pretty fun. (oh, and it has ‘Watching you’ by LIL and a bunch of other neato songs, KPP anyone?)
Jubeat actually ended up being the opposite, I remembered it being fun in the arcade but playing it again properly and having a longer go with it, I don’t really like that game much at all as it feels too hard to properly read. Maybe i’m just getting old.

Q1 also coincided with my birthday, so there was lots of birthday love given out, which was honestly a really nice change compared ot the usual treatment I get when I basically just go to work, or sit at home and do nothing at all (I’ve never been big on birthday celebrations if i’m honest.)

Alex previously bet me a free curry if I was able to pass IIDX’s 7th Dan before/on Q1, and I actually somehow managed to pull it off! I guess a good sign that i’m slowly improving, my gauge dropped down to 12% or so at one point. Lua was manning the stream computer so I even got a video copy of it as a souvineer!

Woo! So basically, I passed a major milestone AND got a free dinner on my birthday.

 

It was a really fun night, and fantastic to see everyone again…. It’s sad then, that as of last night, the community start to fizzle again.

Without going into too much detail, basically we in the UK don’t have proper access to the latest versions of the arcade games, and we don’t have proper access to the online features as they all go through Konami – who don’t operate outside of Japan (and recently, some patches of NA).
We were kind of able to circumvent this through what was basically server emulation, however over the last weekend Konami have decided to take the banhammer to the service (Programmed World), which basically means we are going to lose access to the latest versions of the games we’ve been playing, along with all of the online features – Paseli (digital currency), Score saving, Rivals (data comparison), Clear Lamps… Basically everything which gives the games proper longevity and replayability. Imagine having a version of guitar hero with 4000 songs that you can go through and clear, and it’ll save your hi-score etc… then suddenly that is replaced with a version that only has 3000 songs and wont save your scores or info in any way.

The main worry right now, is that the arcades that supported the games, and in turn relied on the game’s income and playerbase, are now in a position where they will lose much of their custom. Considering there are other ways of playing the games that do have the aforementioned features, it puts people in a position where there isn’t a massive advantage of going to the arcade rather than just playing at home or similar.

It’s really kind of sad because for us, there isn’t even the option of joining konami’s E-amuse service, so we’re just shit out of luck. I’d hate to see the community kind of stop going to the arcade because of this, but honestly, even for me i’m probably less likely to go as a result.

 

One Response

  • Don’t give up hope! If the rhythm game revival in the west actually happens with the help of Rockband, Amplitude, and all the other games that are seeing a re-release right now, we might actually be able to sway Konami into at least allowing us access to the network and the newest game versions!

    All we need is a bit of willingness on the side of Konami to offer us a connection plan. There’s enough active players in the west to make it happen, given reasonable contract conditions.

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