Keep­ing an eye on the coin-op gam­ing scene


Game Museca Man­u­fac­turer Kon­ami

Kon­ami’s latest cab­i­net, Museca, is cur­rently on test in Ja­pan, but its ap­par­ent sim­i­lar­ity to Neon FM is prov­ing con­tro­ver­sial. Like Unit-e’s ma­chine, Museca is an up­right rhythm-ac­tion game which sports five big but­tons be­low a por­traitra­tio screen. The for­ma­tion of those but­tons is re­versed, but the sim­i­lar­i­ties are un­de­ni­able. It’s a bold move from a com­pany that pre­vi­ously filed suits against Har­monix, MTV, Vi­a­com and Pen­tavi­sion over patent vi­o­la­tions, even once a closer in­spec­tion re­veals some key dif­fer­ences.

For a start, those but­tons are ac­tu­ally ‘spin­ners’, which can be ro­tated as well as mashed, and the game’s char­ac­ters all wield unique perks called “gifts” – such as the abil­ity to re­cover HP – which can be ac­ti­vated dur­ing play us­ing the cab­i­net’s foot pedal. Or lost if you can’t quite chan­nel your in­ner Glo­ria Estefan.

From an aes­thetic point of view, the cab­i­net is also con­sid­er­ably pret­tier, sport­ing a strik­ing an­gu­lar black-and-white de­sign with red back­light­ing. Those sleek vi­su­als ap­pear in-game, as well, with gold and blue di­a­monds mak­ing their way down red path­ways.

These dif­fer­ences haven’t stayed Twit­ter users’ wrath, but Unit-e doesn’t seem to mind, say­ing it’s flat­tered by Kon­ami’s ap­par­ent homage. To be fair to Kon­ami, Neon FM takes plenty of in­spi­ra­tion from its own Pop’n Mu­sic se­ries, which de­buted in 1998.

Museca doesn’t have a firm re­lease date yet, but ex­pect it to reach Ja­panese ar­cades this year.

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