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 Post subject: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being made.
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:12 am 


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Seems to me there are a lot of shmups coming out all the time. And even a lot of good ones? What gives?? Everyone on these boards keeps acting like this genre is dead! I'm just so confused!!
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:18 am 



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I would think that what people are talking about is that it's not at the forefront of the industry like it once was. Gradius, Rtype etc would be a huge deal when a new game would come out. Now they're not mainstream. It's mainly people like us that pay attention to these games. Not the masses.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:20 am 


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Some people can't seem to understand the concept of a niche genre.

It's niche, niche by nature. The very simplicity and focus that makes it niche also makes it easy to produce, while the very fact that it has such a singular specific appeal is why it never goes out of style and always manages to find small numbers of new fans each year.

There'll always be one dude in a basement programming a shmup somewhere out there.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:55 pm 



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There are still text adventures being made. Shmups are also one of the simplest genres to make a game in.

As a commercially-viable genre, it's not doing so hot.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:05 pm 


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A shooter is a classic "my first game project" because programming-wise just making the fundamentals work is undeniably simple. This is also why so many shooters out there are made by people who never play shooters, and have no idea what makes a shooting game fun.

Squire Grooktook wrote:
Some people can't seem to understand the concept of a niche genre.

yeah
Quote:
It's niche

yeah
Quote:
niche by nature.

ok I'ma stop you there

I don't see anything inherently "niche" in the nature of shmups. It's a simple genre than anyone can pick up and understand, and that's always been central to its appeal. Sure, the arcade style of games aren't exactly mainstream anymore, but obviously that wasn't always the case.
Arcade games were huge in the 80s, and not just because they "didn't have anything better". Pop culture tells us arcades is a "nostalgic retro thing" nowadays, but as you describe yourself, the original appeal is easy to see.
And in the late 80s and early 90s, shoot'em ups were one of the most popular genres out there. It was nearly the default. Acquired a lucrative license that you want to turn into a game? Make a platformer or a shooter, those were the only choices 90% of the time, with the occasional beat'em up popping in.

I didn't personally get into shooters until around the turn of the millennium because until then I just had the naive misconception that shooters were the dumb lazy genre created only to capture the unintelligent masses who think blowing stuff up automatically equals fun. Kind of like the way you'd generalize about mainstream FPS games like Call of Duty etc. nowadays. I'm glad I wised up eventually.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:25 pm 


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While I like to think my view of the genre is optimistic (in the "shooting game never die" sense), it's not that optimistic.

I think they are inherently opposed to mass appeal. I think that their 80's popularity very much was a result of there being no real alternatives to the arcade style of play (note: not shmups per se but the overall style that they inhabit alongside other genres of the time like brawlers and arcadey action platformers), but the very moment serious challenges to that format popped up (IE "stuff longer than 30 minutes" games where having a save function would actually be useful let alone mandatory), the "30 minute game that's tough as nails and that you're expected to play over and over and over to master" was irrevocably set on a path of permanent downslide into pure niche territory. Forever.

Shooting games are inherently based around an arcadey, gauntlet format. 30 minutes of content, master the full run, do or die. I don't see that style of play coming into vogue with the masses again. Ever. In any form. At the most you can hope individual challenges like that will be hidden inside longer, safer games (IE no death running dmc missions, Resident Evil no-save speedruns, etc.)

Again, I don't think that the style dies either. I think it just remains niche, and I think that's a fairly common sense perspective. 30 minute games will never be massively popular again. 30 minute games that you're expected to play over and over and over (either to just survive them or to master them) will not be massively popular again. I see no convincing argument on how they ever could be.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:38 pm 


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It is a dead genre. We are the few that keep it alive but the majority of the world has moved on.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:43 pm 


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Love you Squire, and I do think you're correct. But my counterargument is: How do you account for the fact that 5-minute arcade fighting games came back into vogue. You can reply "they're multiplayer" but i think that's just a feature rather than a requirement. I don't *believe* shmups will ever become super popular again, but I don't see any sort of fixed reason they shouldn't be.

Also, to respond to a previous comment, I see a solid selection of GOOD shmups being made. I'm not talking about basement programming by non-fans.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:45 pm 


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Squire Grooktook wrote:
I think they are inherently opposed to mass appeal. I think that their 80's popularity very much was a result of there being no real alternatives to the arcade style of play (note: not shmups per se but the overall style that they inhabit alongside other genres of the time like brawlers and arcadey action platformers), but the very moment serious challenges to that format popped up (IE "stuff longer than 30 minutes" games where having a save function would actually be useful let alone mandatory), the "30 minute game that's tough as nails and that you're expected to play over and over and over to master" was irrevocably set on a path of permanent downslide into pure niche territory. Forever.

Shooting games are inherently based around an arcadey, gauntlet format. 30 minutes of content, master the full run, do or die. I don't see that style of play coming into vogue with the masses again. Ever. In any form. At the most you can hope individual challenges like that will be hidden inside longer, safer games (IE no death running dmc missions, Resident Evil no-save speedruns, etc.)


This.

Shmups were made in an era where devs had to think about balancing fun and income from the arcade machine, which means making something deceitful simple at the start where you feel like you've accomplished something by clearing the first stage and then quickly ramp up the difficulty to munch quarters.
The basic idea is getting someone involved in a game to a point where he wants to get "further" and "learn" which means letting the quarters flow in.

Today it's completely the opposite: let the player have fun and keep it simple throughout the game to get that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment without putting (much) effort.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:51 pm 


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ATTRACTS wrote:
It is a dead genre. We are the few that keep it alive but the majority of the world has moved on.

There aren't a ton of puzzle games (puyo style, not portal style) being made, but people don't lament that as a "dead" genre. They just realize there's already a ton of good games that have been made. The classic franchises still come out with a good game every once in a while. People don't care about a new Cave port because they never cared about Cave in the first place. But i think games like Crimzon Clover have actually got a decent amount of traction. And when I see bullet hella posted on Nintendo Life et al, I see a bunch of slagging but also a bunch of fans. I think maybe the issue is that CLASSIC HORI shmups are dead--and that's what casual fans want.

But poor old me is over here, playing great games in this "dead" genre!
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:53 pm 


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How do you account for the massive popularity of online FPS and fighting fames then? Don't try to tell me they take no effort--i remember how damn hard it was to git gud at Halo 2 online. That was much more of a struggle than any of my 1CCs.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:08 pm 


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Special World wrote:
How do you account for the fact that 5-minute arcade fighting games came back into vogue. You can reply "they're multiplayer" but i think that's just a feature rather than a requirement.


Love you too Cat <3

But yes, being multiplayer I think is both a and the requirement. Not a mere feature in this case.

It must be understood that single player in fighting games might as well not exist. The genre is fundamentally designed around other people on its most core, deepest level. You don't react to attacks in fighting games (they're way too fast and not telegraphed at all), the way you would in a single player game: you predict them. If you're not playing against another human being where you can read and game them as part of an elaborate multilayered rock/paper/scissors contest, then it's literally a slot machine guessing game (or an ai pattern memorizer of the most banal and obscure variety).

From their core mechanics to the competitive character that gives them all their sense of reward, fighting games are entirely social games. Every bit of satisfaction the genre presents is derived from interacting and sharing moment to moment experience head to head with other people on both a core mechanical level as well as on a greater competitive community scale.
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Last edited by Squire Grooktook on Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:25 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:11 pm 



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Squire Grooktook wrote:
Again, I don't think that the style dies either. I think it just remains niche, and I think that's a fairly common sense perspective. 30 minute games will never be massively popular again. 30 minute games that you're expected to play over and over and over (either to just survive them or to master them) will not be massively popular again. I see no convincing argument on how they ever could be.

I think another problem is so many compelling shmups already exist, so the incentive to invest the requisite time into new ones will go down with time. Sure, Gradius and DDP will continue to be played by the niche fans, but what about the random doujin on Steam?

So even if the "30 minute gauntlet" returned to popularity -- which I think it will to a certain degree -- the new fans will pursue well-known shmups with a history and a community behind them. The high skill ceiling and dedication will naturally push people toward games with a community in order to stave off the all-too-familiar isolation of playing a shmup for 1cc or score.

That's the other thing: playing shmups at a high level is a pretty solitary experience. Most fans aren't going to willfully exacerbate that problem by going after obscure no-name shmups that no one cares about (sadly).


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:23 pm 


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Special World wrote:
ATTRACTS wrote:
It is a dead genre. We are the few that keep it alive but the majority of the world has moved on.

There aren't a ton of puzzle games (puyo style, not portal style) being made, but people don't lament that as a "dead" genre. They just realize there's already a ton of good games that have been made. The classic franchises still come out with a good game every once in a while. People don't care about a new Cave port because they never cared about Cave in the first place. But i think games like Crimzon Clover have actually got a decent amount of traction. And when I see bullet hella posted on Nintendo Life et al, I see a bunch of slagging but also a bunch of fans. I think maybe the issue is that CLASSIC HORI shmups are dead--and that's what casual fans want.

But poor old me is over here, playing great games in this "dead" genre!

Not sure what the sarcasm is about. You seem to be defining "dead" differently than most people on here. Yes, there are a ton of shmups being released and it's great. That doesn't mean that the genre is thriving and back (or nearly) in the mainstream. By dead, I think the majority of us mean, a financially stable environment to create regularly and sell within. Shmup is a niche genre with a very tiny sales base, it has been this way for many years. The advent and ease of release on things like Steam and the ability to code games relatively easily from home automatically upped the amount of games you see across all genres. That doesn't make any of them particularly viable.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:40 pm 


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Sorry for being snarky. I think this is really a matter of false expectations. In today's economy, being in a small niche isn't bad. It's good. The big companies already have the clout. Readany modern business book--they will tell you DO NOT aim for mass appeal, aim to be the very best withon your niche. So don't be the best landscape artist, be the best artist of lighthouses along the Nova Scotia coastline. Seth Godin talks about this CONSTANTLY. There is no winning most popular, because those hearts and minds are won by massive corporations.

But, to further elaborate--black metal is an incredibly niche genre, but it is thriving now moreso than ever. More people are into it--more people who have cultivated taste.

But lets keep it on videogames. Let's look at some of my favorite genres.
- Block puzzle games. We got Tetris Effect and Puyo Tetris. Nary a Panel de Pon for years and years. The last original puzzle game i loved was Might and Magic Clash of Heroes on the 360.
- Survival horror. Dead as a fucking doornail. There's Resident Evil, but I can't even get a proper Mercenaries mode!
- Platformers. These are doing fine. They're not popular but the big name (Mario) comes out once or twice a generation.
- First person shooters. Yes, I like them! On consoles! But... what about the fans who DON't like Call of Duty and Battlefield? My favorite series was Halo, and it's trash now. Overwatch is okay. Doom is okay. I would like to play Dusk.

To me, there's only one genre that's doing well: action/adventure. Which is like, the all-inclusive pop/rock of videogames.

Shmups are doing just fine. They are just a niche genre because you have to have *taste* to enjoy them. Just like you have to acquire a taste for black metal. I posted about shmups in a metal Discord i'm part of, and a ton of people chimed in.

Lacking mass appeal doesn't mean it's dead. It means it's good. Listen to the radio. It's not good.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:25 pm 


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Shmups are dead very much in the same way that punk or hip hop is dead. People still listen to punk. There are punks all over the world. The golden era of hip-hop is the 90s is long gone, but there are still folks creating and preserving that boom-bap sound. In many ways, Cave was the last major shop standing so when they threw in the towel it marked the end of an era.

As previously stated in this thread, shmups are relatively simple to make so there are smaller shops willing to give it a try and since many don't understand the formulas for creating great shmups, they don't make good games. Creating a shmup is superficially simple; creating a great shmup is a serious challenge. Given that the major shops have quit, the majority of the shmups that have come out haven't been very good due to the fact that they have less experience making good shmups and less knowledge about what goes into making a good shmup (obviously there are exceptions).


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:37 pm 


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I really like the comparison to punk. It makes an awful lot of sense, and you can draw more than a few parallels.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:46 pm 


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I can go to a punk show every week if i want to. They're inexpensive and fun, and you can get drinks at normal bar prices--unlike a Taylor Swift or Kenny Chesney concert. With shmups, I have a list of releases i look forward to playing, and a dedicated community who is responsive to questions and deeply engaged with their fandom. Imo there's a lot of "if it's not top of mind it's irrelevant" in almost every sector of the world today. It's marketing, imo.

What would you guys LIKE the face of shmups to look like? I get the feeling that if you got what you wanted, you might not like it. Pewdiepie streaming R-Type Final 2, "the hardest game ever," and a lot more Sine Moras as opposed to Crimzon Clovers and Mecha Ritzes. Which shmup has the best graphics and cost the most to make? Have you played Activision's new shmup? And the forums would be all top 10 lists and spam. Kinda like Modest Mouse regretting their fame. Just my opinion, though.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:03 am 


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Squire Grooktook wrote:
"30 minute game that's tough as nails and that you're expected to play over and over and over to master" was irrevocably set on a path of permanent downslide into pure niche territory. Forever.

[...]

Shooting games are inherently based around an arcadey, gauntlet format. 30 minutes of content, master the full run, do or die. I don't see that style of play coming into vogue with the masses again. Ever. In any form.

[...]

Again, I don't think that the style dies either. I think it just remains niche, and I think that's a fairly common sense perspective. 30 minute games will never be massively popular again. 30 minute games that you're expected to play over and over and over (either to just survive them or to master them) will not be massively popular again. I see no convincing argument on how they ever could be.


What is your take on the somewhat recent influx of roguelites?
To me, they seem to be fairly thriving financially and in popularity. They also fit under the umbrella you repeatedly say will never ever be popular again.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:07 am 


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Squire Grooktook wrote:
[...]then it's literally a slot machine guessing game


*Vega/Claw wakeup 50/50 in super street fighter II turbo intensifies*

sorry


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:46 pm 


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eebrozgi wrote:
What is your take on the somewhat recent influx of roguelites?
To me, they seem to be fairly thriving financially and in popularity. They also fit under the umbrella you repeatedly say will never ever be popular again.


I think it comes down to two things:

1) The "lite" in roguelite. The games aren't comparable to arcade-style games in that you are actively unlocking new content (ranging from weapons and mechanics to whole new courses and stages and even gameplay modes) with each play session and bit of progress. That's the key: content and tangible progress. It might be doled out as part of a 30 minute experience, but there's ultimately more than 30 minutes of content no matter how you slice it.

2) Even with that in mind, I don't think roguelites themselves are particularly more popular than the most popular shmups...they're doing well, but I'm not sure I'd say Monolith or Gungeon or whatever are household names that Nintendo or Capcom would invest one of their larger studios towards copying, etc. their doing well for niche indie games, which is I think what shmups can expect too if they play their cards right.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:47 pm 


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Special World wrote:
I can go to a punk show every week if i want to. They're inexpensive and fun, and you can get drinks at normal bar prices--unlike a Taylor Swift or Kenny Chesney concert. With shmups, I have a list of releases i look forward to playing, and a dedicated community who is responsive to questions and deeply engaged with their fandom. Imo there's a lot of "if it's not top of mind it's irrelevant" in almost every sector of the world today. It's marketing, imo.


hard agree. i'm also in agreement that the "punk" comparison is very apt. self-publishing via websites like itch.io is also becoming more and more popular in STGs (just like punk and bandcamp), and i think the relative nicheness of the community sometimes helps games spread further than they would if they were trying to be some sort of huge, thriving genre, stripping its personality and abrasiveness away for something sterile and easily digestible, and making games that appeal to nobody.

i've noticed, in my short time participating in the community, that once a new STG or news on an STG drops, the word + discussion seems to spread pretty quickly, even if there'll always be those dedicated Black Flag fans who only listen to Black Flag and think all other punk bands are shit or fake punk. (pretend i inserted some sort of god tier Black Label pun here.) maybe it's not spreading to 350,000 people, sure, but i think trying to chase the big numbers is a losing game.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:17 pm 


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Exactly. There are ton of punks, but there's not a constant deluge of punks on the street, because that dude who saw Dead Kennedys live whenever they came to town is 56 and raises his three kids. And when you see somebody with blue hair, that's just normal.

But I do wonder what people ACTUALLY want. If they're just like "look I just want a new Gradius every once in a while," that's reasonable except... Konami is dead, and there are very few franchises that old still around. Things change and times change. Instead of Irem and Konami you might have to settle for Qute, HEY, and Mebius.

"But those are just small time developers!"

Look, don't bullshit me. I know the story. I know those shmup devs programmed parts of their games on THE FUCKING TRAIN because they couldn't afford office costs. And i KNOW you would've been pleased as punch to have a Mecha Ritz machine next to Garegga back in the day.

If you want big name companies like Capcom and Activision to fund a "AAA shmup," let me know so I can rip that idea to hell. Because it's a dumb idea.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:29 pm 


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Special World wrote:
But I do wonder what people ACTUALLY want.


You bring up an important, relevant point.

The big issue here is twofold: there are people who are not sure themselves about what they actually want and the rest which are divided into several sub-groups wanting different things.
There are those who just want old games running on modern machines *exactly* as the original, those who'd like a facelift, those who want new (arrange) modes, people wanting sequels of relevant old shmups and, finally, people who want something completely new.

As you can see, we are a niche which is even divided among itself into several smaller niches, so if you make, say, a Futari PC port keeping everything as it were, there'll be people who won't be interested because they can play that on MAME or X360, or because someone wanted "added value" or a "physical edition" or whatever.

Whoever try their hands porting/making a shmup founds himself in a lose-lose situation where you won't be able to make even a small niche 100% happy.

And remember that shmups player aren't the only one who post here and are VERY happy about what M2 has been doing, but there is an entire shmups community which is not even aware of this forum and have different opinions.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:18 pm 


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Right. And in some cases it's just unrealistic, no matter how popular shmups are. Like, if you want a new Gradius--that series is from 1985. It's older than I am. It's a great series but maybe it can just... die? Like, i'm not over here pining for a new Yar's Revenge.

Maybe put your money into something new, so we can have Rolling Gunner 5 or Eschatos 2 someday.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:49 pm 


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I like your spirit. Would read some new articles in your blog happily!
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:52 pm 


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qmish wrote:
I like your spirit. Would read some new articles in your blog happily!

;_; <3 u qmish!
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:08 pm 



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A thing that people miss when they compare shmups with other genres where you can simply sit down and play for 10-30 minutes is the constant sense of progress with unlockables, experience bars and rankings. Other than your local leaderboard progress you got nothing to remind you of how far you've improved outside of your own performance and the score which is again local. Compare that to league of legends and dota 2 where you can demonstrate your level, ELO or whatever the game is using and on top of that add the competitive environment that is synchronous, not async in the case of shmups or OSU!


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:54 pm 


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Joined: 11 Nov 2019
Posts: 53
Location: Olympia, WA, USA
i'm not really sure how you would tailor the STG experience to something like a MOBA without it feeling like you're just arbitrarily limiting access to core mechanics and features of the game. STGs are specifically tailored towards scoring as the main competitive aspect, so having unlockable content tied to progression and an experience system in the same vein would have to be in the form of something that doesn't limit access of the game's mechanics to people who put in more time, because this would also simultaneously devalue the content that's included in the game from the beginning. why would you use a puny level 1 ship that can't break 100million pts when you could just use your level 10 ship with auto-refilling homing lasers that can full chain a stage effortlessly?

on the topic of competitive environments, i do think that it would be very interesting though to see some sort of synchronous multiplayer mode where people could both run stages/full runs at the same time, with both players' gameplay being broadcasted to each other. i think this would be a very cool way to highlight different player playstyles and emphasize just how one player's routing and strategies can contribute to one score over another.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:38 pm 


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Joined: 25 Jan 2005
Posts: 1967
Location: Nebraska, USA
Special World wrote:
If you want big name companies like Capcom and Activision to fund a "AAA shmup," let me know so I can rip that idea to hell. Because it's a dumb idea.


I'm not so sure it's a dumb idea, so much as it's just unrealistic. The response to the Kickstarter for R-Type Final2 was so overwhelming, they ran a 2nd one, because people were upset they didn't know about it soon enough, or have a chance to contribute. Obviously, R-Type is a tent pole franchise that has much greater reach than a niche title, but the recent resurgence in the genre's visibility, due to social media, has certainly helped it escape the forum community, and there are many more pockets of people talking about these games than there were a decade ago. I remain optimistic, if cautiously so, about the future of the genre. I think R-Type Final2's success (or failure) as a game, both commercially AND technically, will set the tenor for the genre's perception, going forward, if only for the more casual audience that hasn't spent $100+ on a 360 Cave port, or missed a few meals to afford a new PCB. I don't see Capcom, Activision, or any other AAA developer dropping a shmup anytime soon, nor do I think they have any plans to. But if a seasoned, well-respected dev at one of those studios wanted to take on a STG as a passion project, or get behind an indie to help them publish something, for wider exposure, I don't think that's outside the realm of possibility. I think it's a numbers game, and as long as the studio or publisher understands the market, and keeps expectations in check, those kinds of things could happen again.
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