Gaming History 101

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Posts Tagged ‘raiden

Podcast: What the Shmup

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One of the oldest and most popular genres in gaming is the “shoot-em-up” or “shmup” for short.  Whether you’re a space ship, a young girl, or even a winged pod the basic goal is to navigate the screen, rack up points, and don’t die.  Fred and Jam dive into the origins of the shmup, the sub-genres that exist, and some of their personal favorites.

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Raiden Series (Seibu Kaihatsu/Moss)

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Raiden (pronounced “rhy-den”, not “ray-den” like in Mortal Kombat) doesn’t really need an introduction, as an arcade game that came out worldwide in 1990 many people are probably familiar with it, but for what it is it’s perhaps best to take a second look.  You see, it’s probably the first game in the famed “bullet hell” genre (or danmaku), although since you’re more dodging bullets rather than weaving in and out of them it may be an archaic example.  This doesn’t make the game any less fun, though, it basically takes the conventions of the vertical shmup that started with titles like 1942 and integrates much more bullets.  This title also supports co-operative play and respawns instead of checkpoints.

The reason I like this particular series is that it rides the “just good enough” wave on so many levels.  It’s not particularly hard, although the gameplay footage below makes it seem far too easy compared to when I play it.  It doesn’t have much of a power-up system, so the concept of a single life playthrough is not necessary.  It also has a ton of non-shooting enemies, big blinky ships and massive bosses that don’t do much to feel like a true powerhouse, especially when compared to the short lifespan of most bullet hell titles.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Shmuppreciation 2012

Tagged with , ,