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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:48 am 


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there's also this thread from a couple of years ago that asked the same question:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=48707

I've tried to answer it there, in short: not really.

OT regarding Run & Guns like Metal Slug: player-controlled scrolling and gravity-affected player sprite make for a different gameplay compared to STGs.

OT regarding "crosshair shooters" (Cabal-likes): the crosshair can be controlled independently from a still-standing player sprite compared to rail shooters. G.I. Joe is a rail shooter, but with gravity-affected player sprite. Sin & Punishment is a twin stick rail shooter, also with gravity-affected avatar.
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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:42 pm 


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The Coop wrote:
namcokid47 wrote:
I've never seen really any topics about rail shooters on here (besides this one), which I found pretty odd. This also ties in to the reason I even made this topic as I wanted to know if this community even counts rail shooters as shoot-em-ups, which would explain why I haven't found many topics about rail shooters.


I made a thread about 3D shooters/shmups years ago, arguing in favor of their inclusion into the world of shmups for the old Top 25 lists and whatnot. I'd only been on the site for three years at the time, so I was butting heads with what other more long-time members on this forum had decided on; that Galaxy Force II and its ilk weren't shmups because of their use of the Z-axis. The main argument that I saw a lot was that only the X and Y axis could be used in a "true" shmup. Anything beyond that bumped that game out of contention. I think rail shooters fall into the same area for some, as they too use the Z-axis. I'm sure other arguments would be made against them, but the Z-axis usage would be one of the main sticking points for some.

Edit: Found my old thread :D

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=25657

I have to be honest, some of those replies completely baffle me. Why would Zaxxon not be considered a shoot-em-up but Viewpoint is, despite them having practically identical viewpoints in the game?
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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:53 pm 


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namcokid47 wrote:
I have to be honest, some of those replies completely baffle me. Why would Zaxxon not be considered a shoot-em-up but Viewpoint is, despite them having practically identical viewpoints in the game?


No idea. I've always considered Zaxxon a shmup. Same with the other isometric shooters that Sega made early on. Viewpoint just takes that idea and makes it more modern. The biggest difference is that you have both X and Y axis movement, so maybe that's the thing that differentiates it - it's not strictly 2D in that sense.
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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:29 pm 


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I have recently stumbled upon a video that delves deep onto "Rail shooting" and it is a very distinct kind of sub-genre that heavily involves 2 axis of movement along with wider open space compared to horizontal and vertical with more compressed space.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5jI2HNDd20


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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 11:56 am 


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FRO wrote:
The biggest difference is that you have both X and Y axis movement, so maybe that's the thing that differentiates it - it's not strictly 2D in that sense.


That's how I see it. Zaxxon is basically Space Harrier presented from another point of view, while Viewpoint is a regular vertically scrolling shmup presented from another point of view. While the perspective is shared by both games, the actual gameplay is not.

(If you are less strict and consider Space Harrier type games shmups then, of course, Zaxxon is one, too.)


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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:42 pm 


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MrJBRPG wrote:
I have recently stumbled upon a video that delves deep onto "Rail shooting" and it is a very distinct kind of sub-genre that heavily involves 2 axis of movement along with wider open space compared to horizontal and vertical with more compressed space.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5jI2HNDd20

A shame that he seemed to just completely give up on that project, but nice to learn of Galactic Storm, Solar Assault, and Aces of the Galaxies' existence.


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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:18 am 



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As for rail shooters, I think that the one that gets closer to a Shoot-em-up is Sin and Punishment (both N64 and Wii versions). But even with this, I don't consider them shmups entirely (even though they're great games as well).


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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:19 pm 



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Tempest

This game is certainly a shooter/shmup with direct control over your "ship" rather than a cursor or aiming reticle. However, you ARE confined to movement along a "rail". In fact, the entire premise of the game is built around this constraint of free movement. The rails themselves have direct and meaningful gameplay ramifications. You dodge and maneuver past enemy bullets as well as the enemies themselves should they make it up to your "rail". At this point they become obstacles to avoid, but when powered-up(Tempest 2000/3000/4000) they become opportunities(for high-score) rather than merely obstacles to aviod.

This game might be the perfect example of a harmonious marriage between rail and non-rail shooter. This game has been around so long that when I started to think about it, while taking a shit, it felt like a mini discovery. Progress. Advancement of the intellectual discussion which was very much in-line with the thought exercise this thread initially provoked.

If not a perfect example, Tempest is definitely the earliest/best executed example.
Maybe Tempest should be considered the template from which one derives our collective lexicon when speaking upon such matters?

I'll submit a full report to the council for review.


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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:28 am 


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Rail Shooters are Rail Shooters
Shmups are Shmups
Run N' Gun is Run N' Gun
Light Gun Games are Light Gun Games

I really never understand why people want to bundle things into something they aren't for the sake of it...

What train would be considered a dog?
What cat would be considered a Concorde Jet?


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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:50 pm 


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words are words and while it is tempting to try to pin down scientifically precise and accurate definitions you can tend to get lot in semantics way too easily.


Last edited by Cata on Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:45 pm 


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djsheep wrote:
Rail Shooters are Rail Shooters
Shmups are Shmups
Run N' Gun is Run N' Gun
Light Gun Games are Light Gun Games

I really never understand why people want to bundle things into something they aren't for the sake of it...

What train would be considered a dog?
What cat would be considered a Concorde Jet?


If anything you could maybe argue that light gun games and rail shooters are 1st cousins. You (mostly) don't have control over where the camera takes you during the action. Obviously not the same though - you shoot at the screen in one and move a cross hair around in the other.

Shmups and run 'n guns could also be argued as above. You control an avatar and you shoot things, but in one the game scrolls automatically and in the other you control the scrolling. That is a huge difference. Not the same thing, but close.

Just my opinion though.
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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:59 pm 


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Lightgun and rail shooters are so close, I'd say they are the same thing - if you could see the crosshair of a lightgun shooter that would make it a rail shooter wouldn't it? Neither are shmups because the perspective is different.

To me shmups have forced scrolling, are played on a 2D plane and you control the ship/character to shoot stuff and dodge bullets. If a separate stick controls where you shoot it's a twin stick shooter.

So, Guwange. Is it a shmup?
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Last edited by dan76 on Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:18 am 


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dan76 wrote:
Lightgun and rail shooters are so close, I'd say they are the same thing - if you could see the crosshair of a lightgun shooter that would make it a rail shooter wouldn't it? Neither are shmups because the perspective is different.

Lightgun game: Zombie Panic in Wonderland - definitely not a rail shooter
Rail shooter: Rez - definitely not a lightgun game


While the method of control is important, I'd say the functional mechanics are more important to differentiating genres. A rail shooter, as its name implies, is a game in which you have no movement control, thus no control over avoiding projectiles, and thus are forced to shoot them down to survive. Examples include House of the Dead, Rez, etc. A mild exception is Time Crisis which gives you a button to duck for cover.

A Cabal shooter is a game where you control an on-screen avatar that can move freely horizontally but has the ability to jump around vertically, allowing you to dodge projectiles and hazards instead of always being forced to shoot them down. Examples include Cabal, Blood Bros., Sin and Punishment, etc.

A 3D "shmup" is a game where you have full control over your on-screen avatar in both vertical and horizontal axes as you scroll into the background, again allowing you to dodge projectiles and hazards instead of only being forced to shoot them down. It is functionally the same as 2D shmups; the only difference is an added dimension. Examples include Space Harrier, Star Fox, etc.

It is very obfuscatory to conflate games like Star Fox and House of the Dead in the same genre because their gameplay mechanics are different on a fundamental level.
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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:46 pm 



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MathU wrote:
dan76 wrote:
Lightgun and rail shooters are so close, I'd say they are the same thing - if you could see the crosshair of a lightgun shooter that would make it a rail shooter wouldn't it? Neither are shmups because the perspective is different.

Lightgun game: Zombie Panic in Wonderland - definitely not a rail shooter
Rail shooter: Rez - definitely not a lightgun game


While the method of control is important, I'd say the functional mechanics are more important to differentiating genres. A rail shooter, as its name implies, is a game in which you have no movement control, thus no control over avoiding projectiles, and thus are forced to shoot them down to survive. Examples include House of the Dead, Rez, etc. A mild exception is Time Crisis which gives you a button to duck for cover.

A Cabal shooter is a game where you control an on-screen avatar that can move freely horizontally but has the ability to jump around vertically, allowing you to dodge projectiles and hazards instead of always being forced to shoot them down. Examples include Cabal, Blood Bros., Sin and Punishment, etc.

A 3D "shmup" is a game where you have full control over your on-screen avatar in both vertical and horizontal axes as you scroll into the background, again allowing you to dodge projectiles and hazards instead of only being forced to shoot them down. It is functionally the same as 2D shmups; the only difference is an added dimension. Examples include Space Harrier, Star Fox, etc.

It is very obfuscatory to conflate games like Star Fox and House of the Dead in the same genre because their gameplay mechanics are different on a fundamental level.


Real "Light Gun" games are a dead genre. They died with the decline of CRT monitors that used pixel scanning of electron beams.
The modern incarnation are called "Light Gun" games because that was the input method when referring to games of this type, similar to how modern phone games might be called "Touch" games. Neither of these types of "Light Gun" games speak to the actual gameplay of the game directly, but rather its chief means of player interaction - i.e., a physical replica of a gun.

Therefore, I here by declare, that "Light Gun" games, when used to describe anything other than input method, should be stricken from our vernacular.

In that same haughty breath...

1) I'd also like to say that there is absolutely no reason Rez couldn't have been a "Light Gun" game if the correct input device was provided. You wouldn't even have to change any of the games mechanics(perhaps difficulty tuning).

2) Star Fox is a game that I never considered to be a "shmup", 3D or otherwise. I do not feel it should be included into casual conversation, unless we are to also include games like Wing Commander and Off World Interceptor into the "Shmup" family.

3) Would/should one consider After Burner a "shmup"? Why/Why not? As currently it would fit into your "3D Shmup" categorization.


I feel like the "shmup" categorization should be based upon more than just rigid qualifiers. For example, I personally would not include Star Fox as a shmup solely based on its feel. It is a very slow and plodding game, comparatively speaking. And if there is one word I use to define most all shmups it's "frenetic". Star Fox is also doing a lot more with story, and environmental maneuvering/interaction than most "shmups" I've played. Sure you have bombs, and you pilot a space craft, and that space craft shoots, but when I want to play a "shmup" I don't reach for Star Fox. Star Fox serves a different purpose for me, more akin to a space combat sim or the like. There is no doubt it may have been influenced by some "shmup" motifs, but I personally don't think it makes the cut. I do agree however that it is indeed a "rail shooter" when speaking directly to the gameplay mechanics.


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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:05 pm 



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dan76 wrote:
Lightgun and rail shooters are so close, I'd say they are the same thing - if you could see the crosshair of a lightgun shooter that would make it a rail shooter wouldn't it? Neither are shmups because the perspective is different.

To me shmups have forced scrolling, are played on a 2D plane and you control the ship/character to shoot stuff and dodge bullets. If a separate stick controls where you shoot it's a twin stick shooter.

So, Guwange. Is it a shmup?


Much like "Light Gun" and "Touch" game categorizations, "Twin Stick" only speaks to the input method. Every other aspect of games like these existed long before we had modern "Twin Stick" controllers.
Robotron would be a good example.

Guwange is a shmup, even if the Xbox 360 mode utilized analog sticks.


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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:17 pm 


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Score Rush and Under Defeat's twin stick mode are other examples of true shmups that are twin stick. Both are totally standard verts with the only unusual element being that they have twin stick controls for aiming and shooting, otherwise they are unmistakably shmups.

I would argue to some extent that being a twin-stick arena type shmup is no less a shmup and still involves similar dodging and whatnot (Monolith in particular comes to mind) but arena shmups I would say are perhaps a distinct genre from the traditional autoscrolling shmup.
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 Post subject: Re: Would rail shooters be considered shoot-em-ups?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:16 pm 


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imo the shmup type should be defined by the way shots are fired, not the scrolling direction
in that sense Score Rush would be an arena/multidirectional shmup, and twin stick Under Defeat a very special case of a true vert shooter turned into an arena shooter if it does allow 360º firing (which puts it into the very same category of Zero Gunner 2)

it's complicated :lol:
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