The Rhythm-Action Timeline
Following the news that music games have overtaken sports titles as the second-most-played type of game in videogames I took the time to create this timeline detailing the history of the genre. It’s basically definitive, save for those games neither I nor google could remember.
There are rules. Rhythm-action games, perhaps more than any other type, lay down their template in the first release and then treat sequels as little more than song expansions. There are tweaks to the systems but essentially the game stays the same while the soundtrack shifts around it. As such I’ve only listed the first release in a series (so no Rock Band 2 or Guitar Hero: World Tour, for example).
Also I’ve limited the list to rhythm-action games in the strictest sense, that is, games in which you time inputs to match prerecorded music. So there’s no Rez, ElectroPlankton or WiiMusic, titles in which a player’s inputs do create musical outputs, but not necessarily in a scored or timed framework.
This means that the list starts with Parappa the Rapper rather than, say, 1987′s Otocky for the Famicom Disc System, a musical shoot ‘em up designed by ElectroPlankto‘s Toshio Iwai, and a direct precursor to Rez.
I also left off some of the more obscure South Korean Bemani clones because, well, they’re difficult to find exact release dates for, they’re rather obscure and, as straightforward copies, also a little boring. Don’t fret though, dancing game nazis, Pump It Up is in there.
Click on almost any game in the timeline to watch a video of it being played (bar, for example, Nana On-Sha’s impossible-to-find Tunin’Glue). Also, if you notice anything obvious that’s missing then let me know in the comments.
One way or another I own or have owned almost all of that games in the timeline, a thought that’s only slightly less terrifying than the fact PaRarappa was released 12 years ago and Bust-a-Groove ten. Going by those figures it won’t be long till I’m so old and creaky I can no longer beat Tsugaru on heavy
Anyway, it was all worth it just to rediscover the following advertisment, the first six seconds of which are basically the best six seconds of anything ever.