Konami’s ongoing Bemani series (short for the company’s first interactive music game, Beatmania) has proven that rhythm-based games are more than the flavor of the month. Yet their overall appeal caters more to Japanese tastes than the American palate, especially when peripherals are added into the mix. Only
Dance Dance Revolution, with its Power Pad-like floor mat, has created a buzz-worthy following here in the States, as other companies are left trying to woo fans with quirky variants like Samba de Amigo, the upcoming Donkey Konga, and the oddly compelling Amplitude. It is a genre on the brink of busting out of
its niche and bursting into the mainstream. Konami, along with U.S. developer Harmonix, may have done just that with Karaoke Revolution.

Even before a single copy hits the shelf, Karaoke Revolution has the advantage of instant recognition: you have, willingly or not, experienced karaoke in one form or another at some point in your life. And a little show called American Idol is scorching up the ratings charts, teaching ordinary folks the dangerous lesson that if William Hung can find success at murdering songs, maybe you can too. Also in the game’s favor is the cruel reality that plastic guitars, turntables, maracas, and drum kits required in other titles are too much of an added expense to reel in the casual gamer—the demographic most likely to embrace music titles to begin with. By bundling an accessory that can be used for multiple games, Konami has cleared one giant hurdle that has stigmatized the genre.

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