Shmups: They’re Just Fun

Hi, my name is Nick Palmer, I’m the community manager for Degica Games. And I have a confession to make: I don’t really play a lot of shmup games.

Luckily, we have people at the company who do, but my personal experience with them up until we started picking them up was playing Raiden II in a bowling alley arcade when I was a kid.

My impression of shmups was that it was a niche, hardcore gamers game. They have complex scoring systems, require tons of memorization, and quick reactions.

There is so much going on right now.

There is so much going on right now.

But, being that I have to talk about these games pretty often, I obviously needed to play these. It’s an interesting thing to face, most people don’t have to play games that are outside of their normal comfort zone. And in the end, I learned one thing:

Shmups are an excellent genre of game for every skill level. They can be enjoyed by casual players, hardcores, or anyone in between.

My journey with our shmup games started soon after I was put on our Degica Games social media (before that, I was handling only the RPG Maker social media). We had several shmups coming up with the Triangle Service Collection. I played each of them for about 30 minutes, and one hooked me in. Shmups Skill Test. I also enjoyed the others, and played TRIZEAL quite a lot as well, but Skill Test triggered something special.

Empty. Cans. Go. In. The. Trash.

Empty. Cans. Go. In. The. Trash.

This game shows the perfect reason that you don’t have to be a hardcore player to enjoy shmups: You can pick it up, play for about 10 minutes, and put it down. It is just a collection of shmup minigames one after another, and then it gives you an age score. After a while, I found that I’d started using it to clear my head between different tasks at work.

In fact, I just played a quick round of another shmup between this sentence and the last.

… And again.


I really should actually do my work…

I don’t know all the scoring systems (well I’ve learned a bit about some just to help with the social media), I don’t know all the inner workings of how to maximize points in every part of the game. What I do know, is that it is a lot of fun to run and gun and see how far I can get.

It is the quintessential arcade experience, something that has been somewhat abandoned in video games as time has gone on. It is the type of game that you can learn in a couple of minutes, and it challenges you, you enjoy yourself, and in 10-30 minutes (depending on how good you get) you are ready to try again.

I always feel like I can get just a little bit farther. Just a little bit higher score. I know my scores don’t compare to the people who play these games all the time, but just beating my last score is exciting.

Just a week ago, I was only hitting 3mil.

Just a week ago, I was only hitting 3mil.

And the high skill ceiling means it will be a long time before I run out of room to improve. So I can continue to enjoy the games from time to time, and I will probably never feel like it is a breeze.

Shmups are just fun. They are a fun challenge. Don’t think you have to be competitive on online leaderboards, or even be able to do a 1 credit clear to enjoy the genre. You don’t even have to understand the nuances of scoring. All you need is to have fun trying to do better than you did the last time.

Pick up a Shmup. Have fun. Shmups are a niche genre that can still be enjoyed by anyone.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Luffy III October 7, 2016, 4:37 am

    Well said! I agree with your thoughts! My first shmup that started me in this is Deathsmiles on the 360. I didn’t played it seriously as I wanted to enjoy the game and understand the scoring system until I can get an arcade stick for better handling and control. Its all about having fun and enjoying this unique arcade genre. Shmups are not easy to master as you will have to learn the basics, the different mechanics, then you play to see how far you can go, find the errors you have made and try to neutralise or find options in reducing making the same error again.

    Watching other player’s replays are a must so you can understand how they play it well, and see how you can fair on what you can improve! Besides, if you manage a 1CC, that is a massive achievement! At first, I can only 1 loop clear Dodonpachi Resurrection 1.5 with B-Strong and now I managed to get to 2-5 after months of practice, then with Arrange A, I can only get to 1 loop at first, and now I managed to pull a 2-ALL Omote run with no lives lost and a 1 trillion score!

    And of course, shmups has a massive replay value as it makes the player wanting to try to beat their personal best score! Its all about practice, patience and of course having fun! Besides, it pays off later on in your runs!

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