Dance Dance Revolution Fami Mat by Konami

Console Name: Dance Dance Revolution Fami
Original Name: ダンスダンスレボリューション ふぁみマット
Release Date: August 9, 2001
Original Price: ¥7,800
Country of Origin: Japan
Manufacturer: Takara / SSD COMPANY LIMITED
Publisher: Konami
Number of Games Cartridges: 4
Related to:
- Popira
- Jumpin Popira

Takara was a toy company founded in 1953. Operating out of Tokyo, Takara first started with traditional toys and board game. Their first major commercial success was the Licca Kayama doll (also called Licca-Chan). Released in 1967, the doll has sold more than 60 million units to date.  This was only the first major success for Takara which continues releasing genre-defining toys such as a series of miniature cars called Choro Q in the 70s, the B-Daman and the Beyblade in the 90s, etc.

In the 90s, the Karaoke was an extremely popular activity in Japan and a lot of company were looking at the home market. But home karaoke systems were expensive and complex. You needed a screen for the lyrics, good quality audio system, especially encoded song, etc. Music distribution was probably the biggest problem. In an age where the Internet was not as fast and popular than today, you had to rely on specialized compilations that was expensive, or uses a machine that could connect to an online catalogue. In 1994, Sega released the Sega Music Network to be used with their commercial Karaoke system, the Prologue-21. In 1995, Taito offered a similar service for their home Karaoke system called the X-55. All these services were aimed at adults, leaving the door wide open for Takara to provide an offering to a younger audience.

Takara understood that to enter this market segment they had to have a product that would be affordable and easy to use. Takara licensed the Xavix technology from SSD  (which would later release the XaviXPORT using the same technologies) and released their take on the home Karaoke system with the e-Kara. But while releasing a home Karaoke system for the whole family was the primary goal, Takara couldn’t dismiss another opportunity brought forward by the e-Kara : the rhythm games. Since the late 80s, Japan had been dancing to the rhythm of the Dance Dance Revolution series. The latest in the series of rhythm games was GuitarFreaks who had just been released. Since the e-Kara would use cartridges to hold the songs, it was not difficult to create a system to make use of these cartridges as a base for a rhythm game.Takara named their rhythm game Popira.

Released on October 20, 2000, alongside the e-Kara, the Popira did well for itself. While the e-Kara was an instant success with over a millions units and over 2.5 million cartridges sold in 18 months, the Popira did relatively well with 200,000 units sold over the same period of time.

While the sales numbers for Popira were not exceptional, they did show that there was a market for Plug & Play rhythm games. And if a newcomer like Popira could be successful, imagine what an established license like Dance Dance Revolution could accomplish. This is with that state of mind that Takara would partner with Konami to release a Plug & Play version of their hit game. Takara would be responsible for the manufacturing of both the consoles and the cartridges, while Konami would provide the license and the branding.

Released on August 9, 2001, the Dance Dance Revolution Fami Mat was released everywhere in Japan. The Fami Mat came with 12 built-in songs, but the newly produced e-Kara Platinum Cartridges would expand this capacity by 40 songs.  The device had 4 modes:

  • Family Mode: No matter how much your life gauge goes up or down, there’s no game over, so you can play until the end. (Beginners).
  • Big Brother and Big Sister Mode: When your life gauge runs out, the game is over. (Normal).
  • Mom and Dad Mode : This mode lets you create a curriculum with your favorite songs and play through them all. This mode is primarily designed for exercise. It even shows the number of calories lost during the play through.
  • Rival Mode: A two-player battle mode where you compete against an opponent to see who is the best. This mode required a additional mat sold separately for ¥3,800.

While the concept was interesting, there was already many (better) version of Dance Dance Revolution available for all the popular home console of the times. The Fami Mat was never able to gain any traction whatsoever and was quickly dropped by both Konami and Takara.

The Dance Dance Revolution Fami Mat was compatible with the following cartridges type:

  • Platinum Cartridge (P-) : For e-Kara, Popira and the Dance Dance Revolution Fami Mat

Sadly, only 4 cartridges were released and the Fami Mat was never made compatible with any other cartridges type for the e-Kara line-up.

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