Infinity Danger XBLI
Omega Five XBLA
Nope, not an Eddie Murphy movie about large flatulent people. The word "shmup" is dissected into the term "shoot'em up". The Wikipedia says a "shmup" is a "game where a player controls a lone character, often a spacecraft or aircraft, shooting large numbers of enemies while dodging their attacks." A good definition, but those attacks start out simple and head into the realm of "bullet hell".
Bullet Hell is the entire screen filled with enemy fire, sometimes at a high rate of speed. The enemy fire isn't always aimed, but when it's a wall headed in every single direction, it doesn't need to be. I call these games Bullet Heaven, because it's oddly beautiful, incredibly difficult, and fun to play.
Back in the days of arcades these would have been called "Quarter Eaters" due to the high rate of deaths, the high rate of continues, and the high rate of quarters (or tokens) required to play the game for any length of time. You could see some nutjob with 10, 12, 16 quarters lined up on the machine's marquee or screen for easy access to insert into the game to continue. Now the quarters aren't necessary, as many shmups are on digital download or on disc compilations on consoles or PC, even on iPads or cellular phones. There seems to be no end in sight for these titles.
The Styles of Games
Arena: Smash TV
Axis Hoppers (horizontal and vertical levels): Lifeforce
Horizontal Scrolling: Scramble, Gradius
Horizontal Static: Yars Revenge (on 2600 maybe?)
On-Rails: Starblade, Star Wars (Atari Arcade)
Tube Runners: Tempest, Space Giraffe, N2O
Vertical Scrolling: Raystorm
Vertical Static: Galaga, Galaxian
.. more Games
Raiden IV 360
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