Genre: Scrolling shoot 'em up
Group DescriptionThe genre commonly referred to as "shoot 'em up" (often abbreviated to shmup) has originated with the fixed-screen top-down shooter Space Invaders (1978). This group, however, includes only scrolling (horizontally, vertically, in an isometric or 3D fashion) shooters. In these games, the player controls a character (most commonly an aircraft) that must defend itself against large amounts of enemies by shooting at them. This style of game is generally agreed to have originated with Konami's Scramble (1981) and Namco's Xevious (1982). The player is able to control the character's movement in at least two (more commonly four) directions; however, the forward motion is also determined by the speed of the scrolling. Besides shooting at enemies, the player is also commonly engaged in collecting power-ups, which typically enhance the character's weapons or defense.
In order to be included in this group, the shooter should answer the two main conditions: scrolling environments and free movement in at least two directions: vertical in side-scrolling games, horizontal in top-down ones. Chase-view shooters and rail shooters should not be included in this group.
Fixed-screen shoot-'em-ups should not be included in this group either. In general, the distinction between scrolling shooters and fixed-screen shooters is this: in a classic scrolling shooter, barring unusual situations (such as boss battles) the player usually is allowed to avoid or bypass enemies instead of shooting them, and new enemies enter the screen consistently at specific moments regardless of the player's actions. In a fixed-screen shooter the player typically faces wave after wave of enemies, and the next wave will not show up until the previous one has been defeated. A fixed-screen shooter may have a background with a scrolling effect but this alone doesn't make it a scrolling shooter.
Side-scrolling shooters in which the playable character is restricted in his movements (i.e. is unable to sustain himself in the air for a prolonged period of time, having to jump over obstacles or platforms to proceed, etc.) should be excluded as well.
Front cover for Sinistron
Front cover for Last Hope Pink Bullets
Front cover for Vertical Force
Front cover for Hyper Dyne: Side Arms Special
Front cover for Gyrodine
Screenshot from Syd Mead's Terraforming
Screenshot from Sinistron
Screenshot from Last Hope Pink Bullets
Screenshot from Vertical Force
Screenshot from Hyper Dyne: Side Arms Special