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School of Shmups – Intro

posted on January 29th, 2008 by christian

A few blog posts ago, I asked people if they would like an article series devoted to the shoot ’em up genre. The response was solid, and so I begin the endeavor with this introductory article, in which we lay out the rules for our fun. I will also be making sure to link to these rules at the start of each new column, so those who actually try and read won’t accuse me of things I already stated.

Thankfully, the rules are simple. Each article will begin with some basic information about when and where the shmup came from, followed by the best ways to try to play it. After that, we take a look at how the game fits into the genre. As I learn more of the terminology and history regarding shmups, I hope to use this section to look at a game’s influences, its impact, and where it seems to stand in the eyes of the dedicated community. Keep in mind that this whole article series will be a learning experience. I will get things mixed up or may say something that might seem a little extreme, and I hope that readers will use the comments section to correct me in these cases. Again, please do not look at these as definitive statements on the genre, though I do hope to get better as time goes on.

The final section will assess the game. Since shmups are some of the oldest games in existence, and since there still new ones being made every year, it is tough to decide whether or not to factor historical perspective into the mix. Since this genre has so many games to choose from in it, my goal is to determine if, in 2008, it is still fun to play. I hope to account for any historical perspective in the previous section.

The first article will go live this week, with at least one new entry each week after until I am exhausted. I do not think I will do more than one a week, since playing a shmup through merely once and calling that an assessment is no way to go about it.

A giant enemy cruiser is approaching. Stay tuned for the first entry.


  1. SAGExSDX said on January 29, 2008:

    nice! i hope Mars Matrix (Dreamcast) is included!

  2. jay said on January 29, 2008:

    There’s a pretty sweet shmup in Game Center CX. Maybe I’ll get RSG so I can contribute to this series.

  3. christian said on January 29, 2008:

    Yes, anyone can contribute to this series. I have access to a good number of games thanks to Gametap, but a few crucial pieces will be missing.

  4. TrueTallus said on February 6, 2008:

    Sweet! Looking forward to it. You criteria and layout seem solid and I appreciate the idea of going for a contemporary appraisal when it comes time to say “should you play it”. Like you said, Schmups have been around a long time, and sometimes people tend to endorse a particular game for little else than its historical signifigance.

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