Pop'N Import?

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Arka
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Pop'N Import?

Post by Arka » Fri Jul 21, 2006 3:24 pm

Okay, I've finally bitten the bullet and decided I need to be reunited with Pop'N Music. For those of you who are unacquainted with our tragic story, it goes something like this: someone showed me Pop'N a couple of years back, and I thought it looked kind of cool, but I had nowhere to play it again. A year later, I discovered the Illusionz! arcade in Issaquah, WA (near where I was staying at the time), which had a Pop'N machine! Joy of joys! Unfortunately, the entire thing was in Japanese, and I didn't have even my current limited comprehension of Japanese then, and it was hard as heck... but it was love at first fail, and soon Pop'N and I were nigh inseparable.

Then came disaster: I had to come back here and resume my normal ha ha yeah right life. (This is by no means an aspersion on the fine folk of IndyDDR... just the rest of the state. :wink:) Now I'm back home in Indiana, where there's nary a Pop'N machine in miles.

I also have more money kicking around, though, and now that I've gone all hog wild on home Bemani (if not Ho-g wild, which is a whole new level of enthusiasm), I figure I might as well finish the job and start importing stuff. I'm in the process of obtaining a relatively inexpensive Japanese PS2, I hope. This leaves me with a short series of related questions:

- Which Pop'N game should I start out with? I'm hoping for something that's newbie- and gaijin- friendly, and that has a wide song selection. The presence of Daikenkai is a plus.
- Is there any point whatsoever in getting and learning on one of the cheap controllerettes, or should I not even bother? Given that my project slate is full up through the end of the year, the alternative is springing for a Ransai (which I expect to be a good, but nontrivial, investment).

Edit: ACK! So much for being cutesy. Subject fixed. Isn't there any way to use non-english characters on these boards?

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Post by Ho » Fri Jul 21, 2006 3:56 pm

I've never actually played on a small controller, but my impression is that it's basically a completely different game. The mechanics are completely different because...well, it's small. You play it with your fingers and it's more like fatty Beatmania than it is the frenetic whole-handed button bashing of pop'n music.

As for what version to buy...pop'n 8 is a perennial favorite (and has Daikenkai). It was re-released as part of a "best" collection (akin to how games are re-released as "greatest hits" here) and can be had pretty cheaply at around $30. Alternatively, you could also go for the newest game in the (home) series, pop'n 12. It'll cost more, but you'll get the benefits of the newer, shiny interface and features. It also has Daikenkai.

I can't read any Japanese at all and I don't have too much trouble finding my way through the pop'n games. I don't know what the title of half the songs are, but my illiteracy generally does not detract from my enjoyment of the games.
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Post by Arka » Fri Jul 21, 2006 7:31 pm

Ho wrote:I've never actually played on a small controller, but my impression is that it's basically a completely different game. The mechanics are completely different because...well, it's small. You play it with your fingers and it's more like fatty Beatmania than it is the frenetic whole-handed button bashing of pop'n music.
Meh... was afraid of that. If it's not best described as "a game of musical whack-a-mole," it's really not Pop'N at all. :?
Ho wrote:...Alternatively, you could also go for the newest game in the (home) series, pop'n 12. It'll cost more, but you'll get the benefits of the newer, shiny interface and features.
Uh, so what ARE the benefits of the newer, shiny interface and features? That's sort of why I was asking my dumb questions in the first place. :wink:

(Well, a generalized version of that... <stops while ahead>)
Ho wrote:I can't read any Japanese at all and I don't have too much trouble finding my way through the pop'n games. I don't know what the title of half the songs are, but my illiteracy generally does not detract from my enjoyment of the games.
That's encouraging. Someone I spoke (well, typed) to this morning claimed that I should stay away from 9 and 10 because the unlock systems were "incomprehensible" to him as a non-Japanese speaker and took him several months to unravel. While I'm all for things that take months to unravel (as opposed to games that bore you to tears in a matter of weeks), that sounded a bit intimidating.

And thanks for your input - every little bit helps. Yeah, I should have something more intelligent to say there, but I don't. So thank you. 8)

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Post by Ho » Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:32 pm

The unlock system for 9 was tedious, but I don't remember it being incomprehensible. I agree with the assessment of 10 though. For a non-Japanese speaker(reader), it seemed positively random. Of course you could just pester someone you know that already has them unlocked for a copy of his/her save. Hmm...I may just be one of those people.

As for features in the newer games...the big one is the availability of speed higher than x4 in pop'n 9 and higher. I don't know how much of a speed whore you are, but I found x4 to be frequently limiting when playing through pop'n 8 and below.
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Post by Arka » Sat Jul 22, 2006 9:06 am

Ho wrote:The unlock system for 9 was tedious, but I don't remember it being incomprehensible. I agree with the assessment of 10 though. For a non-Japanese speaker(reader), it seemed positively random. Of course you could just pester someone you know that already has them unlocked for a copy of his/her save. Hmm...I may just be one of those people.
Ouch... good to know, as my first step in playing these games is usually to unlock everything. I'll probably steer away from the ones with painful unlock systems for starters, though I may go back and pick them up when my free cash allotment has regenerated.
Ho wrote:As for features in the newer games...the big one is the availability of speed higher than x4 in pop'n 9 and higher. I don't know how much of a speed whore you are, but I found x4 to be frequently limiting when playing through pop'n 8 and below.
I am this much of a speed whore: in IIDX, I can sometimes use Hi-Speed 1 without failing. Anything more than that would seriously cut into my already-dubious fingering ability. :wink:

I think I'm leaning towards Pop'N 8 at this point, since 12 will be around for a while and I can easily pick it up later. (I guess I'm also still hoping to salvage some of the work I spent learning the interface way back in the way-back-when.) Anyone with opinions is still encouraged to post them, because this process is going to take me a while...

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Post by danc1005 » Sat Jul 22, 2006 11:36 am

Just as a reminder, although I'm sure you know this and have thought of it (better safe than sorry, right?), for that Japanese PS2, you're gonna need a special TV (Japanese) to view it, right? At least that's the way it is in Europe with PAL.
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Post by Arka » Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:29 pm

Ummm... I don't believe so. I'm confident that I've seen Japanese PS2s hooked up to ordinary American TVs. Both Japan and America use the NTSC standard. (We're too good for the PAL standard over here. Unfortunately, we're also too good to switch to 240V power like Tesla intended. At least we use 60Hz, unlike some of the Asian standards.*)

All PS2s that I know of support at least composite & SVideo output, and so does my TV. Beyond that I'm not very picky about my display quality, being the Not a Visual Person that I am.

So I think/hope I've caught all the issues I need to cover... but thanks for making sure, anyway. (I'm good at forgetting those kinds of things. :wink:)

I use the term "standard" in only the loosest sense of the word. Those of you who have done any electrical design work probably know what I'm talking about... :P

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Post by danc1005 » Sat Jul 22, 2006 2:49 pm

Oh, okay, I didn't know Japan and America both used NTSC (although it did sound familiar when you mentioned it...). So, you only need a Japanese/modded PS2 because of region codes?
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Post by Arka » Sat Jul 22, 2006 3:02 pm

Yep. It's ridiculous to shell out $100-200 for a console which is identical save for one little code, but I can't come up with a satisfying alternative.

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Post by Green Tea » Sun Jul 23, 2006 3:28 pm

greenland has pal... Random fact thought you might like to know.
dance1005 wrote:Fucking retarded bots, bumping threads with dildos.

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Post by Arka » Sun Jul 23, 2006 5:25 pm

Green Tea wrote:greenland has pal... Random fact thought you might like to know.
Uh, thanks... I'll bear that in mind when I move to Greenland. :P

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Post by Ho » Mon Jul 24, 2006 9:42 am

Just to answer the question at hand with real world experience...

I have a JP PS2. It is spec'ed for 100 V, but it works just fine on US 120 V sockets with no adapters of any kind. It's been running that way for at least a couple years now with no apparent ill-effects, so I guess it's 'close enough.'

As for television standards...yes, Japan shares the same NTSC system that we use here. I have connected my JP PS2 to a regular US television with composite, s-video, and component connections using the same cables as a US PS2.

In conclusion, obtaining a JP PS2 is probably the simplest (though usually not the cheapest) way to play imported JP games.
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Post by Arka » Mon Jul 24, 2006 2:32 pm

Yeah, the U.S. 120V power is usually "close enough" for 100V devices, especially given that the 120V on the mains power line is usually 100-110 V by the time it gets to your innocent little PS2-J's adapter. The fireworks displays we're accustomed to hearing about when someone plugs some country's appliances into another country's wall current tend to occur in Europe, where the standard* is 240V.

Conveniently, Japanese plugs are essentially the old American plugs that we no longer build into new appliances but our outlets still support. (They don't have the forced polarity that modern American plugs do. I firmly maintain that this is because your average nihonjin is expected to be smarter than your average American. No offense to present company [who aren't average].)

Depending on which version of the adapter you get, it's usually rated for either 110V or 100-240V. The one I'm planning on getting is 100-240V. If it were to blow when I plugged it in to 120V, I'd march down to the nearest Sony distribution center and hit someone upside the head with it. :wink:

All that said, it never hurts to hear from people who have done it themselves, because of that aforementioned tendency I have to overlook things. I have these visions of getting my shiny new PS2-J, plugging it in, and *foom!* "Oops! The voltage requirement was written in... binary?!"

*As always when talking about power, I use the term "standard" VERY loosely.

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Post by Ho » Mon Jul 24, 2006 2:39 pm

You should note that my PS2 is the last or second to last model of the original style, NOT one of the newer slim consoles. As such, there is no transformer brick. I haven't looked at the label on the console itself to see if it lists an acceptable voltage range.

As for additional "tried that, worked ok" experience, 4-out-of-5 of my arcade cabinets are also spec'ed for 100 V Japanese power. None of them seem to be any worse for wear either. I'd suspect that the vast majority of DDR cabinets in the US are likely in the same boat.

As for hitting someone at Sony in the head with a brick (power or otherwise)...I think this is a worthwhile activity. It's another discussion entirely, but I am reasonably displeased with them as a company at the present time. However, don't expect them to take any pity on you as far as a warranty replacement or something of the sort. They'll look at your out-of-region console and you'll be lucky if they don't try to confiscate it or something.
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Post by Arka » Mon Jul 24, 2006 3:09 pm

Oh. Yes, I'm looking at getting one of the slim PS2-Js - not only are they easier to track down nowadays, but I'm stubbornly resisting the console harddrive trend. And hey, if I'm going to start a PS2 zoo, I might as well minimize the amount of space it requires. :)

The slims have an external adapter, as you picked up on, which IMO is preferable for heat dissipation reasons and ease of replacement. This is more significant with an imported PS2, because the adapter itself is the same across all regions... so if I do something stupid and destroy it (or it wears out because Sony picked a PITA manufacturer), I can obtain a new one in the U.S. without pain. Heck, I could probably swap the adapter back and forth between the PS2-J and the PS2-U - they certainly have the same DC requirement.

How many circuits are your arcade cabinets on? The voltages on most, if not all, are probably below 100V anyway. Though I'll admit I'm curious now. If I shipped you a multimeter, would you measure? :D

And as to Sony, yes, I'm well aware there would be no replacement on a broken adapter. If I wanted to circumvent their replacement policy, I would just swap it to my PS2-U and take it in. If a 100-240V adapter blew under 120V, however, I would be MUCH more interested in hitting someone in the head. And no jury of electrical engineers would convict me, either. :P

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