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  • This might seem weird to folks today, but watch closely and no one will get hurt. In

  • order to get Pop'n Music 4 to work, you actually have to start up Pop'n 2, hit this Disc Change

  • option, and physically switch the disc to the next version. Konami was notorious for

  • doing this back in the early days of CD media, from DDR to Beatmania to, yes, even the candy-coated,

  • macaron-shaped Pop'n Music. Makes DLC seem a bit easier to deal with, doesn't it? Anyway.

  • There've been 21 proper arcade releases of Pop'n Music since 1998, with each bringing

  • a couple mechanical tweaks and a whole bunch of new music to the scene. Pop'n 4 is still

  • a distance away from bringing a comfortable level of features, though this is where it

  • starts to look like what we'd expect today. You can even increase the scroll speed. That

  • alone is a pretty big step.

  • Fourth verse, same as the second, hit the buttons on the moderately-frustrating Dreamcast

  • Pop'n Controller thing when they hit the baseline, then realize that there's A/V lag you can't

  • configure away and adjust your internal sense of timing accordingly. Once you do, though,

  • you get the sense that the musical selections are coming into their own a little more comfortably,

  • as Pop'n starts to distance itself from its Bemani cousins with its super-eclectic mix

  • of tracks... that you have to identify by just their genre again. But we can deal with

  • that. The lineup's a bit more diverse this time, including a couple Beatles-style rock

  • tunes, and... um... Analog Techno. And Nudy. The less said about it the better - there's

  • already a hell of a lot of Engrish in this thing as it is - but at least the gameplay

  • digs it out of its hole. Its Nudy hole.

  • So ultimately you need two different games to get to the contents of this disc, which

  • seems like kind of a stretch today. All of these early Pop'n releases, adapted from their

  • massive arcade versions, saw simultaneous play on the Dreamcast and PS1... which is

  • kinda frustrating when you consider that the 'Cast was ostensibly a 6th-generation system.

  • In fact, the PS1 got two more versions - Pop'ns 5 and 6 - that the Dreamcast never saw, before

  • the series became more-or-less PS2 exclusive... barring Wii and XBLA spinoffs that, in a just

  • world, would've never happened. While those versions got rid of the need for a specialized

  • controller... what they came up with sucked even worse than just getting a button stuck

  • every once in a while.

  • So if you're looking for a quality Pop'n Music experience... pony up a couple grand for an

  • Arcade machine, because that's really the only way to roll. But if you MUST have it

  • on your home consoles... pony up a couple hundred for one of those awesome full-size

  • PS2 rigs and play that one. But if you MUST have it on your Dreamcast... I have to wonder

  • what the hell is wrong with you. As much as I can appreciate the nature of nostalgia for

  • an old tracklist - Nudy though it may be - the fact of the matter is that these old versions

  • are just too feature-poor to stand up against what's available today. Look, Nelson. Move

  • on. I am.

This might seem weird to folks today, but watch closely and no one will get hurt. In

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