How do I play Pop'n Music?

We are going to start with the basic mechanics.

Basic Mechanics


Example of gameplay.

Pop'n Music is a rhythm game where you press buttons in time with the rhythm of a song. When you select a song, you will see multi-colored circles, or Beat-kuns fall to the bottom of the screen. When a Beat-kun reaches the line just above the buttons at the bottom of the screen (shown left), you press the button corresponding to that Beat-kun's placement.

(e.g., when a right blue Beat-kun reaches the line, press the right blue button on the controller)

The more accurately you hit the beat in time, the higher your score will be.

Below the buttons under the line is the Groove Meter. Depending on how well you time your beats, the Groove Meter will either go up, or down. If the meter is too low by the time the song ends, you lose the game.

Characters and Songs

On the sides of the play area are the characters. On the left side is the character you're playing as, and on the right side is your rival character. Each song in the game has it's own character to defeat, ranging from a multitude of different styles and genres. Depending on how you play the game, different animations of the characters will play real-time. When first starting up the game, you will be given the option to choose how many buttons you wish to play with. The easiest to play with is 5-button mode, then 7-button mode, and the most challenging and common setting is 9-button mode. This is the most buttons you can play with.


Song select screen from Pop'n Music 10 CS version.

Once you select your button mode, you will be taken to the Song Select screen. There, you can choose from a wide variety of songs to play, with many genres, characters, and difficulty settings. The standard Arcade Mode will give you 3 stages with songs of your choosing.

Most installments of Pop'n Music will allow you to play some songs in Hyper Mode, which greatly increases the difficulty of the song, adding more Beat-kuns, and sometimes making the song faster.

Sometimes, playing certain levels well will unlock hidden, secret songs not usually available on the roster.

Each game also has their own extra game modes and different ways to play the game, so try them out if you can!

How do i find a copy of the game?

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Pop'n Music games were only released officially in Japan.

However, there are still multiple ways to actually play the game if you can't save up for a trip to Japan.

Console Version Imports

Every single installment of Pop'n Music all the way up to Pop'n Music 15 ADVENTURE was released on home console in Japan.


Pop'n Music 3 on the Dreamcast.

You could look online for people selling imports of these games on places like Amazon or eBay. Considering these games are imports, the prices may vary greatly in price.

A short guide to console releases: Pop'n Music games 1-4 were released on the Dreamcast, and games 1-6 were released on the PSX. All other games from 7-14 were released on the PS2.

There are also a number of spin-offs and alternative versions that were released on these consoles as well. There are also some handheld ports on the Game Boy and PSP as well.

Here's a full list of all Pop'n Music titles.


Region Locks:

If you live in North America and you have a Dreamcast, PS2 or PSX, they are most likely NTSC-type consoles and are thus, region locked. Japanese imported games won't work on these consoles. You can either buy a PAL version of these consoles, or do the following:


It is very easy to bypass the region lock system on a Dreamcast. You can create a boot disc and insert it into your Dreamcast to remove the region locks. More on how to do that here.


Bypassing the region locks on these consoles, however, is not as easy. You may have to have someone place a mod chip in your system to bypass the region locks. Or, alternatively, you can do it yourself if you know what you're doing.

PSP and Game Boy handheld consoles are region free.

Overseas Arcades

Though Pop'n Music cabinets are (legally) only made for use in Japan, there are a rare few cabinets being used in legitimate arcades globally.

There may even be a cabinet close to you!

Use this tool to find a Pop'n arcade cabinet closest to you.


NOTICE: We at Pop'n Music Wiki DO NOT condone the illegal usage of emulators.

One way to play the games on your computer or phone without using the actual hardware (such as consoles or cabinets), is to use an emulator.

You can get a home console emulator to play your console releases, and MAME to play arcade cabinets. But considering these are foreign games, finding working ROM's of these games can be a hit or miss.

Downloading and playing ROM's of games you do not own, however, is piracy, which is illegal. Please be careful when you consider emulation.

Any Questions?

I often saw videos that have speed options. Why do they do that?

A player is interested in changing the speed, so he or she can improve some focus on the falling Pop-kun.

Why is a player using a towel? I'm surprised...

Toweling could help with SUDDEN options.

It is okay to use one hand or a party of hands?

Neither. You only play with two hands. A party of hands would be a crowd; I just saw the very first Pop'n Music commercial where there are many hands on the Pop'n Controller. However, if you are in BATTLE MODE, you may play with another person. It only requires three buttons for each of the two players.

There's too many characters, and I don't have time to pick one!!

Well, it's tough luck if the game has a 30-second time limit, unless you know what you're doing.

I can't find a Pop'n Music arcade system in my state/country.

Pop'n Music arcade systems are without a doubt, rare outside of Japan (and probably South Korea). If you can find a Pop'n Music arcade cabinet that is close to your home, the only way to do that is to drive there with your own merits and free time. Cabinets that are free to play are only located in some conventions for a limited time. If you really want to play Pop'n Music, it would be the best time to sign up for a convention early before rushing in there.


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