Arcade Rhythm Game Etiquette

Table of contents
  1. Introduction
  2. General etiquette
  3. Queueing up
  4. During play
  5. After you’re done
  6. Problems with cab


Here is a list of common etiquette for rhythm game players at arcades.

Important notes before we begin:

  • This is a general guideline, your local rules may differ.
  • Please don’t be too harsh on players who violate the etiquette, they probably didn’t know, or perhaps they just got too excited and forgot. If someone annoys you, perhaps you can quietly remind them.

General etiquette

  • Avoid commenting about skill level of other players. Don’t give unsolicited advice.
  • Avoid making loud noises.
  • Do not take pictures or videos of others without their consent. It doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not in your country, it’s simply not very nice.
  • Take care of basic personal hygiene.
  • Do not stand too close to people who are playing a song; don’t join the card queue while someone is playing, don’t touch or step on any part of the cabinet. etc.

Queueing up

You must join the queue before playing. Queue system works differently in different countries:

  • In Japan, in most places, form a line behind each cab. Some larger arcades will have a single-queue system for multiple cabs; look for signs. For some popular games, when things get busy, they might make you write down your name on a wait list, but this is uncommon.
  • In Korea, in most arcades, the card queue system is in use. Find a place where cards are placed in a line (sometimes on the cab, sometimes a dedicated board / desk), place your card in the last place, and wait your turn. It can be any card or token you like; it doesn’t have to be your eamuse card.
    • Depending on the arcade, it may or may not be OK to play other games while you’re in a card line. Usually, this is OK, but be sure you show up before it’s your turn.
  • In other countries, it depends on the arcade, but usually people form a line, and only use a card queue when it gets really busy.

During play

Some obvious ones:

  • Do not abuse the cab; for example, refrain from hitting the buttons too hard.
  • Do not place drinks on the cabinet, lid open or closed.
  • Do not place heavy objects on top of the control panel (buttons, turntable, etc.), as they can damage the parts.

To avoid annoying others:

  • Do not make the cabinet louder than it needs to be; it should be enough for you to hear but not any louder.
  • Do not intentionally take too long for each credit; e.g., don’t pause to look at your phone and consume all of the allocated song select time. It’s OK if you need to look up songs or options, but people might get impatient if you’re standing there scrolling through Twitter.

Some less obvious ones:

  • Do not move things without permission. For example, it’s not OK to pull out the IIDX bass platform; they’re supposed to be firmly attached to the base with screws, and they have cables going through which can be damaged when moved.
  • Avoid playing licensed songs if the cab is being live streamed, especially on YouTube. Doing so can get the video taken down (making it difficult for others to download a copy), or worse, get the channel banned from YouTube.
    • If you end up having to play license song anyway, for example if someone else picks it in multiplayer - see if you can distort the sound (like GARGLE filter in IIDX).

Some uncommon ones (most people don’t care, only some do - don’t worry too much about these):

  • Try not to pick the same song that someone just played before; it can be seen as “showing off”.
  • Try not to pick the same song that is being played nearby, as it can be really distracting.

After you’re done

Only step away from the cabinet once your game is completely done. Do not let it sit on an unlock event screen or your profile page and make the next person skip through the menu.

If you’re prone to sweating a lot, try to wipe down the buttons with a towel if possible. Some stores will have a towel near a cabinet, or perhaps you can carry your own.

Unless you’re the only person in the queue, only play one credit and let the next person play.

If you failed out super early (e.g., failed 1st stage), or if you’re just grinding for an event, you should ask the people in the queue for permission if it’s OK to play another credit. They’re allowed to say no, but perhaps they don’t mind.

Make it a habit to look around you after each credit to see if anyone wants to play. This is especially important because there may be people wanting to play who are not familiar with the queue system (visitors who do not regularly play rhythm games).

Problems with cab

If there are any issues with the game, such as software requiring a reboot for an update, or buttons misfiring - inform a staff member and let them handle it.

  • It’s good to report issues than to keep quiet, as workers may not be aware.
  • Do not touch the power switch or unplug the cabinet without permission.
  • If your credit was interrupted, do ask (nicely) if you can get your credit refunded or get a free credit.
  • Wait patiently for them to fix things. They might not be able to fix it immediately, or even on the same day.
  • Do not whine on social media later on that things were not fixed on the spot to your liking.

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