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TenSpot: Readers' Choice Top Ten Rhythm Games

A few weeks ago, the GameSpot editors gave you their list of the top 10 rhythm games of all time and the ability for you to sound off about yours. The results are finally in, and nearly 4,000 votes have been tallied.

By GameSpot Community | Design by Collin Oguro- posted March 18, 2006

Readers' Choice Awards

A few weeks ago, the GameSpot editors gave you their list of the top 10 rhythm games of all time and the ability for you to sound off about yours. The results are finally in, and nearly 4,000 votes have been tallied.

A few games that didn't make the editors' list had strong followings; some were strong enough to earn them a place on the readers' top 10 list, and others were barely edged out. Rhythm games that are in their 10th iteration or higher received votes all over the spectrum. While some readers claimed the earliest versions were most important for innovation, others felt the later versions brought together all of the best aspects the series had to offer.

So without further ado, here are, in order of popularity, your favorite rhythm games of all time.

No Caption ProvidedGuitar Hero (PlayStation 2)
Greg Smith

In a word: accessibility. I'm pushing 50 and musically challenged, but I play it with my 9 year old, my own friends, and their teenage kids! You can learn "Smoke on the Water" in 15 minutes on the easy setting, but then you're HOOKED!

Matt Kessler

You know how people talk about those life-changing world-shattering games completely upending any preconceived notions about anything? I've played a few of those games; Ocarina of Time laid bare the possibilities of 3D gaming (and gaming in general) and World of Warcraft brought forth an unparalleled appreciation for online gaming. Guitar Hero? That game made me love rock. To think that once my ipod was the realm of Mozart and Bach: now those two rub shoulders with the likes of Judas Priest, Ozzy Osborne, and Boston. Guitar Hero made me bang my head all night. Unparalleled cover songs, epic streaks of notes ("Bark at the Moon"? Ozzy bows before no man!), and a surprisingly wonderful and hysterical charm: Ladies and gentlemen, get out your lighters and wave 'em in the air: the perfect rhythm game is here.

"Three words: Go Go Godzilla." -Mindcavity
Jeff Brown

Guitar Hero succeeds at simulating the excitement of playing the guitar! With a superb song selection and plenty of challenge, this game ROCKS!

Rami Selim

This game is just plain FUN! The songs are all known and the covers are great. The guitar controller is more authentic and fits the gameplay more than the standard PS2 controller. I played this game for 20 minutes at a store display and fell in love with it. You have to try this game and see how you'll be instantly hooked.

Jon Hawk

Guitar Hero is one of the most fun, addicting, and well-authored games in many years. From the archetypal guitar player characters to the witty remarks on the loading screen (and homage to This Is Spinal Tap), the game simultaneously pokes fun at and honors the rock music industry. Its popular song list provides for hours of metal ecstasy, and the gameplay is "rock" solid. As fun as Bust-A-Groove and vib-ribbon were to play, I never wanted to bang my head or throw up the metal horns in the midst of a round.

Have something to add? Submit your own Review of Guitar Hero!

No Caption ProvidedPaRappa the Rapper (PlayStation)
Regina Wu

Parappa the Rapper oozes with charm and a phenomenal soundtrack, but what really makes it stand out from the others is because its series is the ONLY rhythm game which rewards the player for being creative rather than just pressing buttons to a beat. The only way to achieve the highest ranking in the game is to break out of the mold and improvise. No rhythm game since has rewarded the player with being creative, which is what making music is all about.

"There's an onion doing karate." -Chris Westerman
Ian Fisher

I think PaRappa is the best because it was the first. When the game came out for the PS1 it was the first rhythm game of its nature. Its interesting art design and rap style music got the attention that it deserved. PaRappa paved the way for the other games on the list to be made. PaRappa also proved that games could involve other forms of gameplay other than shooting, driving, and platforming. PaRappa simply is the best.

Chris Lops

The soundtrack was perfect--I can still remember most of the tunes, and I haven't played it in years.

Do You Believe? Submit a Review of PaRappa the Rapper!

No Caption ProvidedDonkey Konga (GameCube)

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM CLAP CLAP BOOM BOOM!! This is what you're going to hear the whole time you play Donkey Konga because it doesn't use a Gamecube controller! It uses the DK Bongos, which you use to hit the beats. It is one of the most unique gameplay devices in a while. Donkey Konga also has a fantastic variety of songs to play to minigames and game modes. It also has some of the best multiplayer ever made. With 4 friends the game is a absolute blast. With all the great minigames, songs, extras (such as harder songs and bongo sounds), and single and multiplayer modes, Donkey Konga is the rhythm game to "beat".

"It brings out the gorilla in you." -Gary O'Neal
Mike Banning

Even though I have no rhythm it was still enjoyable. There is nothing like getting four konga drums together and slamming out the beats to "Rock Lobster."


Donkey Konga rocks! I had never played a rhythm game until Breath of Fire 4 with the mini-game in the faerie village. I tried this one at my friend's house and found myself addicted to it almost immediately! The graphics were funny (I love D.K.), and while the music is not my style (I prefer metal), there are some excellent beats to feel. I especially love the little mariachi horns on some of the tracks. Dig it!

Take matters into your own hands. Write your own Review of Donkey Konga!

No Caption ProvidedAmplitude (PlayStation 2)
Josh Schwartzman

Better songs, a bigger list of bands, and a killer presentation is all that was needed to make Amplitude the best rhythm game ever. Never has a game been so engrossing and yet so simple to execute at the same time. That's the beauty of Amplitude. Anyone can simply jump in and play, and once you finally muster the strength to take on Rock Show on Insane, you will get that sense of satisfaction that no other rhythm game will give you once you finish it.

"Simply a great brain exercise." -typester

Easily the first one that I truly loved. I played rhythm games before, but none of them pulled me into the game like Amplitude did. Truly a game that I don't think anyone should go without.

Brad Paras

Though Frequency was Harmonix's breakthrough title, Amplitude is where they truly shined. Amplitude introduced a list of songs that anyone could recognized and was the first game of its type (that I know of) to offer an incredibly satisfying online multiplayer experience. By mixing interesting game-play elements such as rhythmic weapons multi-player, Amplitude required insane accuracy and a strategic mind.

Have an opinion? Write your own Review of Amplitude!

No Caption ProvidedDance Dance Revolution (Arcade/PlayStation)

I have met some of the GREATEST people in the world through my frequenting the arcade to play this game. Tournaments also...It is also a great way to get in shape or stay in shape...and for those who don't have any rhythm it's helpful (just a little bit) in teaching those to dance on beat.

"Started the whole craze." -Anton Smirnoff
John D.

Because the first time I went to the arcade the awesome music and flashing lights really made me want to try DDR. But I was really bad. So I bought the home version and practiced. Now I play everyday and it keeps me in shape. Plus it is cool to be able to show off our moves in an arcade while a crowd of people watches you.

Jeremy Geoffroy

The Dance Dance Revolution series has always been played by gamers and non-gamers alike. The first in the series was always the best in my opinion, and I still have loads of fun with it. Dance Dance Revolution defines the rhythm genre of gaming.

Do you love or hate DDR? Write your own Review!

Steven Collins

This is my first title to import from Japan, and I have to say if they are all as fresh as Ouendan! I might just move there. Just when I thought that the rhythm genre was kind of tapped out in game design and structure with DDR and this year's Guitar Hero (another neat innovation), along comes Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!, which takes the touch panel of the DS and transforms it into a tapping, tracking, and spinning playground through its quirky manga stories each accompanied with near-MP3 quality songs. The replay value on this game is immense--there are 15 stories/songs and four difficulty settings, each with a different squad (Insane mode, including an all-girl cheer squad). It's just all out crazy madness in the world of Ouendan! And best of all it has a 4-player competitive and cooperative multiplayer mode, which features songs and stories that are not even included in the single-player mode.

"Pure wacky brilliance." -Graeme Arnfield

This game has been championed by importers for some time now. It's got crazy Japanese characters, excellent sountrack (fan of Asian Kung Fu generation rejoice!), and a brilliant play mechanic that wouldn't work on any other format. What more could you ask for! Import this now and hope they release a second one!

John Crofts

Not only does this game have a wonderfully catchy soundtrack; it's deceptively simple gameplay is wildly addictive. Even those who don't understand Japanese like myself will be tickled and entertained by the bizarre storyline. Altogether this one is a can't miss, and I really hope it comes to the states.

Bring It On. Submit a Review of Ossu! Tatakae! Ouendan!

No Caption ProvidedBeatMania IIDX 10th Style (Arcade/Import PlayStation 2)
Dan Colardeau

Beatmania IIDX 10th style has impressive visual presentation and the most fun gameplay to ever hit a music game. Combined with a great tracklist and plenty of the best revival songs from the beatmania IIDX series, it forms a well balanced and great tracklist for any player, beginner to advanced. Plug it into a large widescreen TV. Turn up the sound and have an enjoy.

Yacin Nadji
"Its learning curve is amazing." -Sana

Out of all the Motion and Rythm games out there (and believe me I've played them all) Beatmania IIDX has the best songlists and gameplay bar none. Once you get over the initial learning curve it's endless fun ahoy.

Miles Ungar

The Beatmania IIDX series has always consistently had the most professional sounding soundtrack of any music game, especially the more recent versions. The incredible learning curve, difficulty of patterns and timing windows also make for arguably the most difficult rhythm action game ever. So as far as a straight challenge goes, look no further than the IIDX series.

Do you have the Beat? Submit a Review of Beatmania IIDX!

No Caption ProvidedGitaroo-Man (PlayStation 2)
Joel Jordon

Addictive and imaginative gameplay aside for a moment, Gitaroo-Man has a very simple good vs. evil plot, but the game is very clever. Indeed it does just about the coolest a rhythm game with a good storyline could do: it uses the music to tell the story. Hearing "The Legendary Song" played on U-1's gitaroo in the ninth stage could be instantly dubbed as the most memorable moment in a rhythm game. As simple as the storyline and characterizations were, the game's creative atmosphere style and gameplay made it the best rhythm game of all time.

"The main character is awesome." -Blake

Clocked over 100 hours into it, and I still can't beat that stupid Sanbone Trio on Master Mode... IT'S BEEN THREE YEARS!! Any other game and I would have given up. This game is just too great to do that.

Jonathan Leard

Gitaroo-Man mixed great original music from multiple genres with an interface that felt like what a video game approximation of guitar playing could be like. Holding notes, swinging the analog stick around, and hitting buttons in time was surprisingly deep and vastly entertaining. The cute characters, aw-shucks love story, and overall unique artistic design added to make Gitaroo-Man the best rhythm game of all time.

He gave me this Gitaroo. Give Us Your Review of Gitaroo-Man!

No Caption ProvidedPump It Up: Exceed (Arcade/PlayStation 2/Xbox)
Eric Gzz.

Definitely the best. Tons of options, lots of unlockables, and the best feet positioned arrows. Besides, there are a lot of awesome songs. PIU! Exceed is an excellent option for parties or simply to lose some weight.

"Pump up the volume." -Justen

Pump it Up puts the dance back in Dance Dance Revolution. It's got a diverse soundtrack, plus step fluidity and complexity to boot. Songs have character, if that makes any sense.


This game is a lot more complex, which is great for experts at rhythm games. Plus, the five buttons makes it more fluid, and it actually feels like you're dancing rather than stepping.

Pump it Up. Write your own Review of Pump it Up: Exceed!

No Caption ProvidedDance Dance Revolution Extreme (Arcade/PlayStation 2)
JJ Mayers

Just to be clear, I mean the arcade not the home version. This is the definitive rhythm game. It is the reason why hordes of sweaty youths flock to the arcades and plop in their quarters. It's helped people lose weight, stay healthy, and has built up a community of like-minded gamers worldwide. Quite simply it is the best rhythm game ever.

Jesse Bonk

This is the best rhythm game because it has a list of great songs from previous DDR games and new ones to freshen it up. It also has the best look to it and the best responsiveness (depending on how well the machine is taken care of). DDR FREAK FOR LIFE!

"In my opinion the best songs ever." -Tyler Bienlein
Kuno Woudt

I've selected DDR Extreme from the list -- I am referring to the Japanese arcade version of this game. As music-rhythm games go, DDR is based on the basic principles which anyone who likes music-rhythm games can understand and enjoy. It has none of the fuss of story modes and such. In that sense it is very pure -- it gives players instant access to the songs they want to play on the difficulty level they want to play. And because of the sheer number of songs means the game stays fresh the longest. Even though a game like Ouendan! is more innovative, it is not as refined, and I expect I will stop playing after I finish the game. I will still be playing games from the DDR series years from now, including DDR Extreme, as long as I can find the machine in an arcade. All that considered, I think the DDR series of games are the best music-rhythm games of all time, and extreme is the best implementation on the list.

Talking about a Revolution? Write your own DDR Extreme!

Not Winners, but Loved Just the Same

Christopher Valencia

DDR MAX2: Dance Dance Revolution 7th Mix possessed an element balance of new music and old favorites, making it easy for newcomers and veterans alike to find something they like and, of course, kept all the gameplay features that have made the DDR series great.

Jamie Pritchard

ParaPara Paradise is one of the best rhythm games of all time because it is the only game that has ever placed the player into a performance of an actual dance. Since Parapara dancing can be performed on its own without playing the game, I believe that it is the most cohesive and practical rhythm game available (especially dancing). It is not simply a simulation but a reality.

David Stone

Pop'n Music used one of the most complex systems ever created (10 color-coded "bubble" buttons), but it never became too complex. The game offered many different modes of competitive and solo play and unlockables to keep you busy for hours. While there are a few dogs in the extremely quirky songlist, some of the original tunes are really witty and clever, and the game has lots of personality. The options make it easy to pick up, hard to master, and hilarious to share with friends. One for the hardcore rhythm fan, but the mechanics make it one of the best.

Oscar Regalado

This game had the look and feel of Parappa, but the songs were better, the humor was crazier, and it just plain rocked. This is the first time I have ever found myself singing a videogame song because it has been stuck in my head.


There are many good rhythm games, but EyeToy: Groove is the best rhythm game that I know for a party. It's fun to play it together to watch the replays with your strange freestyle moves and to see the pictures that were shot while you had to freeze in a certain position.

Guillem Linares

Not only the music is absolutely original and outstanding, but the art direction is great too, mixing perfectly the 60's groove and the futuristic look. Space Channel 5 has a leading role, Ulala, that really deserves a mention: Impressive moves, glamour, and style. A Great Personality. This game deserves a REAL sequel and now.

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