April 4, 2010

Lazy Sunday – Shooting Gallery

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , — Jamie Love @ 8:45 am

Shooting Gallery
Seeing as the shmup is the genre I obsessed over the most during my childhood, I still waste a good amount of time thinking about it today. Most recently I’ve been obsessing over the simple diamond design of Star Fox’s Arwing, which while technically not a shmup, does deserve consideration in the halls of classic ship design.

I’m certain there’s something really clever to be said about the evolution of ships within these games, and how each of the truly great releases owes its success to the design of the ship over all other concerns. Within a really good shmup, the ship is the protagonist. And as such, each has something important to say about the games they inhabit, serving as a reflection of the worlds within those games.

Gradius’ Vic Viper for instance represents a typical anime design that is immediately recognizable, but also traditional enough to not distract from the power-ups collected within the game that merit the true power the player gains and fights to keep. And then there’s Squaresoft’s Einhander, a game busting into a new genre with one of the most unique designs to date – some say it resembles a wasp but I prefer to liken the design to a bird as it clutches stolen weapons in its talon.

There’s also the Treasure zone, which within a game like Ikaruga seems to attempt a merger between the organic and industrial, but also brings a design complex in full color but simplistic as a silhouette, echoing an idea about the nature of the tactics required to play it successfully.

For a long time now I’ve felt like I have something important to say about this, but it never seems to come and I’m left to simply appreciate the bullet ballet that might one day still be proven the most artful the medium has to offer.

I could probably run around in circles trying to build an argument here – but this is Lazy Sunday – so let’s just look at some pictures for now.

Shooting Gallery
Shooting Gallery
Shooting Gallery
Shooting Gallery
Shooting Gallery
I’ve logged more hours in this plane than I can count…
Shooting Gallery


  1. Ah, good old U.N. Squadron. I’ve got to track down a copy of that game. SO many great memories from a time when consoles were only for games.

    Comment by EdEN — April 5, 2010 @ 11:35 am

  2. I’ve written about the battleship stage before, but nothing beats taking the A-10 over the forest and blasting the trees apart along with everything else :D

    Comment by Jamie Love — April 5, 2010 @ 11:55 am

  3. The Gradius/Lifeforce artwork has always been my favorite. Which reminds me that I need to import the Lifeforce & Parodius Collections for PSP to go along with my Gradius Collection. Also that picture from R-Type Final made me think about the X/O button switch/difference in Japan/U.S. and how lots of people returned R-Type Final because they thought it was broken… haha.

    Comment by Ujn Hunter — April 7, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

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