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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:15 pm 


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Radiohead, yeah, though i'd say it belongs to "that era" a bit (most notable RH albums happened before smartphones/modern web/streaming/influencers and bloggers/etc era in which Gen Z people are being raised now). But it surely nice example as artists like that had strong impact on listener's personality, style, worldview etc. etc.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:20 pm 


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Licorice wrote:
To this end, I think, whether subconsciously or consciously, the 20 minute gauntlet has already made a limited comeback (at least in Japanese gaming. How could it not? It is part of the DNA), and not only as something hidden or some kind of player opt in, but as an important inner pattern or structural element for games recognized for their good gameplay.

I, late to the party as always, played 4 Japanese AAA productions last year, made in the last decade. In order: Breath of the Wild, Dragon's Dogma, Dark Souls and Nier Automata. In all except for the first, the 20 minute gauntlet was an integral pattern of the experience. In Dragon's Dogma travel between points of interest and dungeon expeditions. In Dark Souls travel between bonfires. In Nier Automata every non optional segment was an explicit 20 minute gauntlet mimicking some arcade genre. Only Zelda, which has intentionally been trying to move away from gaming's arcade heritage since its inaugral entry, lacks the pattern in any obvious form.

From this we can see, that at least one formula for a successful AAA game, and one that certainly seems to be appreciated by many players, is to build an RPG like meta-game (really a glorified settings menu) over 20 minute arcadey gauntlets.

Although I have not played them, I believe other titles e.g. Nioh, follow this formula.

I hope in the future we see other elements from the arcade making their way into these structural elements. For example, Nier Automata has a scene select, but it doesn't record a score for that scene, or, as would be necessary for meaningful competition if it did, categorize the run (e.g. by character level or equipment used).

If any AAA devs are reading this (lol) please consider this idea.


love this section of this post. honestly, i have always seen this sense of the "20 minute gauntlet" in a lot of modern games, whether they be Japanese or Western; in fact i would probably argue that the 20 minute gauntlet is still the fundamental building block for most action games nowadays, although maybe a little more simplified and stripped-down compared to what you experience in an STG or arcade game. even in a game like Call of Duty, levels are comprised of a series of "stages" placed within chunks of the map; these basically serve as your gauntlet. hell, COD4 has a straight-up speedrunnable Arcade Mode that basically removes the cutscenes and just has you blast through stages aiming for score (they even add in an actual scoring system in this mode).

likewise, the idea of the 20-minute gauntlet primarily exists in multiplayer nowadays (such as the aforementioned COD example, where matches are literally 15 to 20 minutes long), which i think has effectively taken the place of the arcade culture many of us grew up with. instead of meeting up in the arcade to play together, we're playing together at home on our own respective couches/beds/chairs, matchmaking in a mostly endless glut of somewhat-randomized gameplay experiences.

a less COD-centered version of this: i think there is a reason that ranking-based hack-and-slash/beat-em-ups like the Platinum fare of game are often en vogue with people who are even passing/subconscious fans of STGs (at least, in my friend groups and personal experience). when you're playing Bayonetta for score/rank (such as Pure Platinum runs), you're utilizing a deeper understanding of the mechanics + a healthy amount of enemy layout memorization and knowledge of how all of these different parts of the game interact with each other to score big, in quite literally 20 minute gauntlets, broken up through several Verses (stages); in some cases, you literally ARE playing an STG with its own unique scoring system (like the View Point section of Wonderful 101, which is also, like, a fuckin' 10 minute mission by itself).

really, the only major difference to me IMO, is that something like Dai-Ou-Jou takes 25-45 minutes to complete the whole game, and you typically repeat the whole process several times -- in Bayo, each individual chapter is the length of a Dai-Ou-Jou 1-ALL, but there's 16 of them to play, so there's a greater sense of variety and content, even though you're basically playing the games in the same way (going for score).

thinking about it, Dariusburst Chronicles is actually a pretty good example of mixing an STG and the "chapter" flow of the gauntlet to create a game with that same sort of staying power in the genre, and if we had to play the AAA card, would probably be one of the better examples of what a AAA-styled STG would look like.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:31 pm 


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Well, you actually remind a thing that euroshmup players love. And one of things that non-shmuppers sometimes want from shmup.

What i mean, having big number of levels or missions to choose from, and not just 5-8.

DBCS kinda did a thing that you have a world map with points, each point triggers a set of missions. So each point is like your typical arcade playthrough of several missions. You play them for your 20-40 min, finally complete that set, then you get to next point where you have different set of levels, which you can play next time.

This is the way to "compete" with "nowodays games have 40 different levels", though it's preferrable to be more creative with levels and not random copypasta of resources (also dbcs lacked enemy and boss variety, never got new from dlcs) like in dbcs cs missions :) In such way, you dont have nonshmuppers saying "what, i have to play 5 same levels over and over? i ll better play rpg or fps where i have new levels each hour or two".

edit:
And cause difficulty of smth like DOJ is extreme, i suggested smth like:

- have 3 levels with difficulty like stage 1
- have have 5 levels with diff like stage 2
etc. etc.

If it's classic Darius/Outrun split in arcade

or, if we mimic what i described above with DBCS, in each set of missions difficulty rises up within this set, but later packs of missions in sets already start with more challenging start points.

edit 2:
But such approach also means more work for devs, more months and years to spend on making a game.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:50 pm 


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Special World wrote:
Can we posit that shmups neither need to be "fixed" nor to be "saved"? But that they have just run the course of their mass popularity and the world at large has moved on to new things?


Agreed, to a certain extent-

Quote:
A ton of people love 80s music. The Cure, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Kate Bush. But the music world has moved on. People still listen to, love, and enjoy 80s music. But they are not asking to go backward, and asking why 80s music isn't still being made in droves. That's not a fault of 80s music, or proof that its bad, or proof that a certain sound can't still resonate. It's just not the dominant art form.


Actually, lots of us are and we got genres like "retrowave" and "neo soul" going in full swing those days. Try straying a bit away from what the radio/MTV plays and just look at Spotify/Bandcamp/etc.: you'll find several tracks which were listened and downloaded a lot. There has been a resurgence of a certain kind of sound which people still want today.

Want a big, huge blockbuster? John Mayer. This amazingly talented guy brought back the Blues with a unique style and is unbelievably popular. And we're not talking about rock or classic metal, we're talking about a genre which has been completely and utterly dead for god only knows how much time.

Yes, the world has moved on, but there's still a market for certain music/game genres, but you have to nail it.
With the shmups genre is really, really hard. You'd need to really reinvent the entire thing to get it to appeal the masses.

Neo Soul has its roots in Jazz but it's its own thing, it has evolved and has reached massive popularity on the internet.
The same needs to happen to shmups and we can stay here for days debating what needs to be updated, changed or completely removed.

IMHO, the Novice modes CAVE has introduced in their X360 ports were a great move to appeal to a less experienced audience.

Quote:
To go back to 80s music though, we have rose-tinted it. By and large, those good bands were not receiving as much radio play as we think. If you listen to a Top 100 for a given year, there's a LOT of really crappy dance music. Like, stuff you've never heard of because it's so tepid. That's what the radio is still like--a lot of really tepid modern music, a few breakouts that are actually good, and older stuff that's survived filtering.


Partly true.
While there are very important regional differences in what the radio played back then, you could bet that AC/DC, Queen, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Depeche Mode, Police, Eric Clapton/Cream/Derek and the Dominoes, etc. were regularly broadcasted on the radio.
You probably wouldn't have stumbled upon Larry Carlton, but that's how thing goes: poor guy, even if amazingly talented, got the rough edge due to having lived in a period where giants already got to the top of the mountain and there was no space left.

Quote:
I think if we went back we'd discover that shmups were never *that* popular, and they were never AAA. Because AAA didn't exist back then. It's a result of major modern forces. Games were programmed for much smaller teams with much smaller budgets and consumed by much smaller portions of the population. We have seen a decline in the genre in terms of major companies making these games, but i'd argue that not a lot has changed positionally or substantively. The "big companies" back then were little mid-tier developers compared to the big companies now. Shmups haven't lost a whole lot imo. Just an arcade ecosystem where slightly more graphically ambitious titles could be greenlit.


AAA just means a game made by big companies with big bucks. That's it. There are AAA games which sold very poorly and indie games which were blockbusters.
Let's just call it quits with the term "AAA" because I personally find it really misleading.

Onto your post: yes, SNK, Capcom and Konami all had their shmups, which were played left and right all over the world and munched an enormous amount of quarters.
Shmups like Aero Fighters were popular because you had so many bullets on screen, it was exhilarating. You felt really powerful and almighty and still it was a matter of getting hit by 1 bullet and it was (almost) over.
I'd go and say that while they didn't reach the popularity of "vs" titles such as Street Fighter due to the direct competition nature of the game, shmups back then were definitely the second most popular genre.

Again: bear in mind that this also heavily depends on your region. Maybe in Japan it was different than in US or in Europe, so YMMV.

Quote:
And I say this as like, a Cave megafan. But sometimes the old falls away and it takes some time for the new to catch up. Cave was used to the old system and I think they couldn't change in the way they had to. I'm hoping Qute can weather the early storms, because imo they have the talent and vision to carry that torch. Same with HEY, though i'm waiting to play Momoiro in some form.


CAVE, IMHO, along with Raizing/8ing, brought the shmups into their golden era: their games represented the apex of the genre, something we may not be witnessing again for a long time.

Gus made quite a show at AGDQ and I'm sure that the interest and popularity of shmups will have a nice spike.
Now we just need to make use of the situation and have M2 and other publishers getting their hands dirty doing proper ports and souping them up with arrange modes/novice modes/whatever to become appealing to a wider (and less skilled/experienced) audience.

Phew, that was quite a reply :D


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:08 pm 


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SHMUPS is a chance for beginners to release a game.
Professional game houses that normally maked 2D now all make 3D adventures or stopped.
So it is a dead genre, becase the glory days are over, thats how you call it.
The games making the most topics here are re-releases.

If there is 2D games they being released in japan, else they are mostly crap.
Over there it is more the culture or something with those arcade stuff we dont have here.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:59 pm 


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I don't think shmups will really ever be a "dead genre" per say. If anything I think that the the shmup formula is the most adaptable when it comes to putting it onto various other systems (switch, vr, etc.). Even if it's not a big name release like Raiden or something, there's still going to be some indie developer with their own take on the classic shmup formula.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:35 am 


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It's not dead. There are people actively playing, discussing, sharing strats & achievements and making shmups. All it takes is for one game to recapture people's attention and the genre will be in the mainstream again.

Definitely not a totally analogous example, but fighting games were considered a 'dead' genre (even though plenty of good games were being made), when Street Fighter IV dropped and reinvigorated the player base.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:11 pm 


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The nice thing is that you still can play 2D games.
If you take a PS3,PS2 or PS1/saturn 3D adventure you dont wanna play because you compare to the PS4 version and saying : what is this shit.
2D games wont die, i still play megaman from NES 8-bit.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:14 pm 


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Quote:
If you take a PS3,PS2 or PS1/saturn 3D adventure you dont wanna play because you compare to the PS4 version and saying : what is this shit.


Screw modern gfx whores.

I can and i do appreciate both old and new 3d! And can launch some 1998 game and be amazed "wow!".

2d elitists, also screw them.

:evil:
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:28 pm 


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Ok i mean games like call of duty.
You play part 1052 or a earlyer version ?
These games suck so much.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:22 pm 



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80’s music is not technically dead, there are still electronic artists such as Com Truise and Occams Lazer who produce 80’s inspired music. ( I highly suggest u all check out occamsl lazer new album return to the grid, an homage to tron music.)

Also I don’t think any Shmup since the sega genesis era was ever AAA title. And even back then you could argue that no shmup was AAA, maybe one or two made by a AAA company at the time but that’s it.

Also I just hope to god and cross my fingers that the next video game console has Ikaruga and Gradius on it. R-Type to! That would be insane! Especially Ikaruga the whore of shmup games, every console since the Nintendo GameCube has had it!


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 5:22 pm 


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That 80s synthwave music you talk about is also inspired on game-music.
It is my favourite genre, forget the radio they wont play it.
Good music is instrumental.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:24 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.


roguelites are successful because of the random element. the possiblity of getting a godly powerful run plays upon the gambler part of the brain and it also ensures that youtubers / twitch streamers can get tons of mileage out of the game

progression elements help but they are no longer enough. every popular game has an element of a slot machine to it now

however, this talk is to a degree immaterial. ppl passionate about shumps will make shumps. this is inevitable. they just won't get tons of money off it


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:33 pm 


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As I said before, I see it as completely the other way around:

If the random elements were all there was to it, then roguelikes themselves would be as popular and not-niche at all. But it's not, and they aren't.

What makes it viable is the progression. A game like a roguelike where all you gain with each death is knowledge is a hard sell. But actively unlocking content that progresses the game and makes you more powerful or even just feeds a collect-a-thon and new content addiction? Roguelites are a much easier sell.

The random element is important, don't get me wrong. But I feel the progression and content is more central while the randomness is a more secondary factor.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:05 pm 


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most actual roguelikes (turn based, grid-based, ideally ASCII graphics but there can be exceptions) aren't popular because they have controls a little more difficult than those of say a boeing 747 and because they're not action games (well these two points are the same thing basically but you get me)

i'm not really disagreeing with you though, ppl expect a degree of extrinsic progression from games as a baseline and i'm just saying that is no longer enough to make a game a "lifestyle game". if a game can't be a lifestyle game for a lot of people you're banking on critics/youtubers/etc taking the plunge on doing you a writeup/vid etc

also note the popularity of the battle royale format et al. same disease. there is no cure.

small-scale success is popular with a quality game however (still a gamble!) and i am always massively thankful to both the western and japanese communities for supporting bluerev. in any case, mid-tier companies like cave etc barely even exist for fps games any more, they certainly can't exist making shumps due to the nature of the games market / capitalism / witches making my milk sour etc


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:43 pm 


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Oh yes, do agree to all that. Standard roguelikes wouldn't be popular even with progression. ASCI controls and visuals are a hard sell!

Agreed with the rest too. The lay of the land has simply changed in many ways, for shmups but also for other genres.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:10 pm 



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Danbo wrote:

roguelites are successful because of the random element. the possiblity of getting a godly powerful run plays upon the gambler part of the brain and it also ensures that youtubers / twitch streamers can get tons of mileage out of the game

progression elements help but they are no longer enough. every popular game has an element of a slot machine to it now

however, this talk is to a degree immaterial. ppl passionate about shumps will make shumps. this is inevitable. they just won't get tons of money off it


I see the success of roguelite/rng type games in indie scene as cost cutting method. Level design is tedious process and investing couple of dozens of hours to an algorithm that produces acceptable results will ease the burden of content creation for small teams and individuals - also added replay value is plus.
of course for competitive games content must be authored and gracefully tailored to be deterministic


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:31 pm 


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pieslice wrote:
I see the success of roguelite/rng type games in indie scene as cost cutting method. Level design is tedious process and investing couple of dozens of hours to an algorithm that produces acceptable results will ease the burden of content creation for small teams and individuals - also added replay value is plus.
of course for competitive games content must be authored and gracefully tailored to be deterministic


yes! this is crucial. even in STGs, level design is a massive, massive timesink. the concern about competitive games can be addressed with seeds / seed options / curated seeds (daily challenges etc) - from a business standpoint, there's pretty much no point in designing levels

hell if i was happy with generating levels we'd have put out 5 games or something by now


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:48 am 



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So, I arrived here from the Roguelikes Discord. Haven't played a shmup in years, but given that so much of this thread is about speculating why people like me are not rushing back to the genre, I feel like my participation would be appropriate.

Basically, I don't think "dead" fully conveys the real status: it implies something that has been gone permanently, and that's far from the case. I would instead say it is like a bug that's been frozen in amber: it is still there, and it is still beautiful to the people who see the beauty in it, it just won't reproduce much anymore. In that sense, it is like most historical VG genres, really. (Go see the angst of the RTS people, or hell, the angst of the people who liked the FPS' of 2000s, of all things.) In all of these cases, the genre has basically achieved what it needed to do years or even decades ago, and now, the new games generally appear pointless to a typical player.

Simply put, why would a typical money-constrained player buy some new shmup when one can play all the arcade classics online, for instance? The people who want something new(er) will often just download one of the endless Touhou fangames or something: the things you claim make the best shmups worth paying for are simply not apparent to them, often because they inherently only show up in the later stages and can't really be put on the box (or on the Steam storefront page, as the case may be.)

I believe this explains well enough why shmups do not appeal much to the casuals anymore, but I believe they also lack the appeal to most self-described hardcore players as well. There are still a lot of players who want to grind and "git gud" at their games, it's just that most of them would rather do it against the other players directly, rather than against some leaderboard. Even the people who want a purely singleplayer challenge would rather get it from a more mechanically complex game: "I have beaten Gradius X!" will never sound as impressive as "I have beaten Dark Souls Y", because the latter includes way more systems and such to keep track of. The confluence of these factors also makes the (minor) revival of space sims into another threat: mastering a set of spawns & bosses in a shmup vs. mastering the controls & systems of a Star Citizen fighter is not a choice that's gonna go in your favor, I'm afraid.

Roguelites are doing better because they simply feel fresher. Fact is, it's much easier to tell apart The Binding of Isaac from Nuclear Throne from Enter The Gungeon from Dicey Dungeons from Slay the Spire than it is to tell various shmups apart. It's absolutely not just about the metaprogression: if it was, Nuclear Throne, where the only things you unlock are the additional characters who are nearly always "worse" than your starting ones, would never have gotten big. There are a lot of posts here about how 30-minute long games with fixed stages have just completely fallen out of favor and that's why shmups are doing badly, but I have just 3 names for you.

Devil Daggers

Jump King

Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy

All three of these are exactly around half an hour in length, and the last two are more rigid than any shmup. Yet they have outsold basically every shmup on Steam that came out for the last five years. Why? Because they did not feel like old hat.

TLDR; Shmups hit their glory days long ago because there are only so many spawn patterns & bullet patterns you can make in a 2D plane before a typical player's eyes glaze over when you try to explain to them why this game is really fresh and new and truly better than the last 5 they played, and they just go and play some other genre. To be fair, a lot of other genres have also hit comparable roadblocks: like I said, even the FPSs have contracted significantly compared to 10-15 years ago. It's just that shmups in particular are close to rail shooters in terms of how innovative they can be, and how much can any one new game excite the players in comparison to its classic peers.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:32 pm 


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YARD wrote:
It's absolutely not just about the metaprogression: if it was, Nuclear Throne, where the only things you unlock are the additional characters who are nearly always "worse" than your starting ones, would never have gotten big.


I didn't say it was just about the meta progression, just that it's the biggest overall factor. And "worse" unlocks are still unlocks.

Don't know much about sales numbers or gameplay of Devil Daggers, so can't judge that statement too thoroughly. Especially compared to some of the shmups on steam, some of them have done quite well financially.

Which brings me to main point of response. I agree with the spirit of some of what you say, but at the same time, it's not quite as grim as you make it out to be.

My main points thus far is that the genre does not have mass appeal, but it still has appeal. Every gaming community I go to, people like shmups. Even new shmups (Blue Revolver, Mecha Ritz, etc.) get frequently brought up in places that aren't dedicated to the genre.

Like let me put it into perspective: I've seen more hype, interest, and support for new shmups (including my own!) from a server dedicated to playing table top rpg's and translating japanese trpg's than this forum. That either speaks to the good taste of people who play such games, or says something disturbing about the leanings of this one (indeed, I think "just play the old games" might very well be more true of the people here than actual casual fans).

Anyway, the genre isn't dead, nor is it even "fossilized". It's just niche. In fact, it is a thriving niche, perhaps more alive than any comparable time honored niche genre. But people need to accept it's niche and stop dreaming that it'll be anything more, because that's what it was always destined to be by its very nature.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:54 pm 



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Squire Grooktook wrote:
YARD wrote:
It's absolutely not just about the metaprogression: if it was, Nuclear Throne, where the only things you unlock are the additional characters who are nearly always "worse" than your starting ones, would never have gotten big.


I didn't say it was just about the meta progression, just that it's the biggest overall factor. And "worse" unlocks are still unlocks.


Well, at least one of the earlier posts in this thread did say that they consider unlocking new ships in shmups to be OK, and that's basically completely equivalent to NT's character unlocks, which is why I brought up. (By the way, I do not even like NT much, because I think its enemy & boss variety in particular is way too low as far as roguelites go.)

Squire Grooktook wrote:
Don't know much about sales numbers or gameplay of Devil Daggers, so can't judge that statement too thoroughly. Especially compared to some of the shmups on steam, some of them have done quite well financially.

Which brings me to main point of response. I agree with the spirit of some of what you say, but at the same time, it's not quite as grim as you make it out to be.

My main points thus far is that the genre does not have mass appeal, but it still has appeal. Every gaming community I go to, people like shmups. Even new shmups (Blue Revolver, Mecha Ritz, etc.) get frequently brought up in places that aren't dedicated to the genre.

Like let me put it into perspective: I've seen more hype, interest, and support for new shmups (including my own!) from a server dedicated to playing table top rpg's and translating japanese trpg's than this forum. That either speaks to the good taste of people who play such games, or says something disturbing about the leanings of this one (indeed, I think "just play the old games" might very well be more true of the people here than actual casual fans).

Anyway, the genre isn't dead, nor is it even "fossilized". It's just niche. In fact, it is a thriving niche, perhaps more alive than any comparable time honored niche genre. But people need to accept it's niche and stop dreaming that it'll be anything more, because that's what it was always destined to be by its very nature.


Well, luckily there was a leak of Steam achievements data in July 2018, and so we basically know the accurate sales of every Steam game with achievements that was out at the time. Since you asked specifically about Devil Daggers, I'll do a comparison with it alone.

Devil Daggers: 102,656

Blue Revolver: 8,797

Eschatos: 4,448

Yar's Revenge (just for reference): 3,338

Mecha Ritz is not on the list, likely because it does not (did not?) have achievements, but given its low number of Steam reviews (40, going up to 69 if you include reviews from those who bought keys), I can't imagine it that it has done better than, say, Eschatos (81 "headline" reviews, 92 total.) If you want to look at these games' relative positions in the list (where the top three are TF2, CSGO and PUBG), than Devil Daggers is #1822, while Blue Revolver is #5270, and Eschatos is #6521. I think the only shmups in that list that came close to Devil Daggers in terms of sales are Astebreed (99k) and yes, Sine Mora (137k for normal; 34k for EX), and both of these had years of headstart on it.

Now, Devil Daggers is still, ultimately, one of a kind (so far, at least), and not really that relevant except as a fun data point that proves modern audiences will in fact buy hard-as-nails games even if they are short. However, "perhaps more alive than any comparable time honored niche genre" is ultimately way too optimistic. Platformers (both pure and Metroidvanias) are nearly as old as shmups, and yet, they fare almost unimaginably better. Celeste, the big breakout of 2018, came out in February that year; by July, when the leak happened, it had nearly matched Astebreed's total sales over 4 years. Iconoclasts came out a month before Celeste and likely had some of its sales cannibalized by it; nevertheless that Metroidvania is still at 28,954. I probably don't need to bring up Hollow Knight, but in case you were wondering, it was 500 copies away from a million back then, on Steam alone. Even some really mediocre platformers can outsell the best shmups, or at least perform on par with them.

Another genre that might make for a useful comparison are the point-and-clicks. While they are newer than the shmups by a decade or two, they are still a genre that's been in a protracted decline, and a casual observer might consider them just as "dead" as shmups. Nevertheless, Thimbleweed Park scored nearly 100k in a year. Wadjet Eye's games are rarely breakout hits, but they still easily outsell shmups; 2015's Technobabylon is at 41k, while something way more forgettable, like 2016's Shardlight, is still at 11k. Hell, even something as mediocre as Demetrios - The BIG Cynical Adventure (yes, that's a real game), has slightly outsold Eschatos, in spite of coming out nearly a year later.

Lastly, even the roguelikes (pure, simultaneous turn-based and often ASCII ones, and not the "lites"), can also fare better, as surprising as it might sound. Cogmind entered EA in autumn 2017 and was at 12k in that leak. Caves of Qud has been in EA since 2015 and was at 57k; the lighter 2014 game by the same developer, Sproggiwood, was at 51k. (Though, according to the Qud & Sproggiwood developer, it costs so much to code all of the systems in those games, that their expenses pretty much eat up all that revenue.) The recent Stoneshard has reportedly broken through 100k in 3 days, in a surge apparently powered mainly by its graphics; an event that caused much consternation on the roguelikes Discord.

I hope all these numbers clarify my point. I do not deny that there will always be people who can appreciate a good modern shmup, and pay money for it. It's just that these people are several times fewer in number than the people who are willing to pay for a point-and-click or a true roguelike, let alone for something more popular like a platformer. Likewise, there will always be the passionate shmup developers like yourself who simply love the genre, and cannot imagine themselves doing any other games. There will also always be the amateur devs who started on a shmup because the basics of it are easy, and who add very little to the genre overall. However, for the crucial layer of prospective developers who are skilled, and who may like shmups, but not overwhelmingly so, actually making one will almost certainly be a worse bet than creating a game in just about any other genre. Likewise, any publisher is far more likely to get a return on their investment by backing a platformer or a top-down shooter than a shmup.

This may not be fun to the people here, but I do not think the available data can honestly allow one to reach any other conclusion.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:27 am 


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Jaysus, that's a depressing (albeit well written) read. I hope someone can rebut some of its points.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 6:02 am 


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YARD wrote:
I hope all these numbers clarify my point.


I am surprised that Roguelikes have done that well, though I am still dubious of the "numbers" given the lack of context on them. However that plays into my main point as far as "numbers go": sales numbers and small, dedicated fanbases are relative to the nature of the games themselves. A genre that's easy to make and requires small investment can easily stay profitable for developers off small but consistent numbers. What exactly does it prove about the sustainability of the genre if point and click game with unknown budget X outsold shmup with unknown budget Y?

Here's the thing:

Every single year, new games are made. Every single year, I see 6 new shmups in comiteks lineup, several new indies, and even get surprised by larger developers like M2 making new arcade shmups (an arcade game in the year of our lord 2020? If you'd asked me 5 years ago if this was possible, I'd have said you're insane). And talking to the developers, I've found that they were happy with how much money they made and how much they sold and enthusiastically plan to make more games in the same vein.

Every single year, I see new players joining the fanbase. New people getting interested, new people talking about shmups, new people getting 1cc's, etc. A lot of new people? Hell no. But enough to keep discussion going.

Every single year, I see old players and people who don't follow the new stuff in the genre claiming its dead.

Perhaps I'm naive and Armageddon really is scheduled for tomorrow, but after seeing the same thing for 10 years you'll probably forgive me for taking the common sense impression that this is just the way the genre is: small but active.

This is why I don't agree with your "fossilized" analogy, because that implies stillness which the genre hasn't had since its inception. A better analogy is one of those deep sea bacterium's that survive off of thermal vents. Tiny, rare, but hardy and filling their niche well.

YARD wrote:
Platformers, point and clicks, other old genres...


Just want to clarify a few things here.

First, Hollow Knight is a souls influenced metroidvania with platformer elements...it's as much a platformer as Enter the Gungeon is a shmup. That's no shade on Hollow Knight, it seems like a great game, but it's not fair to call that a "time honored ancient genre". Metroidvania's are definitely modern in sensibility, as is anything influenced by Souls.

A better comparison would be arcade platformers. Stuff like Ninja Gaiden (classic), Ghouls and Ghosts, etc. 6-8 stages in a one sitting gauntlet. No exploration, no artsy gimmicks, just hardcore platforming. Sounds like a hard sell doesn't it? That's because it is, and outside of a small number of indies and doujins (smaller than shmups!) I don't see anyone making games like that.

Now, you've also compared them to point and clicks, rail shooters, etc. and I think that comparison only proves my point: how many rail shooters shooters are being made every year? How many point and click adventure games are being made every year? How many turn based strategy rpg's are being made every year? As I said, every year I'm seeing 6 or so new shmups announced (and not low quality or of a "asci II graphics" calibur, either), but I'm not seeing similar activity in these old genres.

Personally, as a fan of strategy rpg's, I'd kill to have a similar level of productivity for them as shmups where you see 6 high quality new games at comitek every fucking year. The genre seems literally carried by Fire Emblem, and even Sakura Taisen (another landmark japanese srpg series) switched from SRPG to third person action in its recent reboot, which is a damn shame.

Maybe these genres are like shmups in that they secretly have a really productive doujin/indie scene that a relative outsider wouldn't know about. Maybe there's fucktons of small but profitable point and clicks, railshooters, or turn based strategy rpg's made every year. If so, kindly point me to that last one because I want more.

YARD wrote:
do not deny that there will always be people who can appreciate a good modern shmup, and pay money for it. It's just that these people are several times fewer in number than the people who are willing to pay for a point-and-click or a true roguelike, let alone for something more popular like a platformer. Likewise, there will always be the passionate shmup developers like yourself who simply love the genre, and cannot imagine themselves doing any other games. There will also always be the amateur devs who started on a shmup because the basics of it are easy, and who add very little to the genre overall. However, for the crucial layer of prospective developers who are skilled, and who may like shmups, but not overwhelmingly so, actually making one will almost certainly be a worse bet than creating a game in just about any other genre. Likewise, any publisher is far more likely to get a return on their investment by backing a platformer or a top-down shooter than a shmup.


Honestly...I completely agree with all this (except maybe the point in click parts or true roguelikes...personally, I'll attribute the success of the games you site as due to "freshness" and that whatever profitability they may have will quickly fall back into the same nicheness as shmups). It's more or less what I've been saying this whole time: Almost no publisher is gonna take a bet on a genre like this.

The difference is, I suppose, I just don't see it as a bad thing. My point is we have and will continue to see new shmups every year, and we have and will continue to see new players every year. That is a sustainable niche, which is more than many other genres can say.

Honestly I think there's a beauty in that. As perhaps the most "pure" action genre there is, I think it's fitting that it maintains such a small but lasting appeal even as time marches on.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 6:08 am 


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YARD wrote:
Jump King

Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy

All three of these are exactly around half an hour in length, and the last two are more rigid than any shmup. Yet they have outsold basically every shmup on Steam that came out for the last five years. Why? Because they did not feel like old hat.


Comparing trending meme games to this genre is a huge waste of time.

Getting Over It and Jump King are selling well because they're trending in Twitch culture. Twitch streamers like XQC and Sodapoppin have played them a bunch of times in front of 20,000+ viewers each, Overwatch streamers are playing Jump King while in queue for a competitive match (this can take anywhere from a minute to an hour), streamers are being clipped, it's being seen during Youtube clip compilations for those streamers, etc. I've seen them many times. They're extremely basic, easy to understand masochistic games with no real depth, but people are buying it because their favourite streamer is playing it. The people buying these aren't primarily fans of the genres the games are in.

Not really much point comparing games like this to shmups. Even if some shmup had some fluke sales spike, it doesn't guarantee anything. There's a reason why a lot of players back when Ikaruga was popular only played Ikaruga, and why Touhou players only play Touhou, and that one Deathsmiles sales spike in 2009. These people aren't interested in shmups, they're interested in one specific thing, they're interested in what their friends are playing, etc. Likewise, just because Jump King is popular doesn't mean people are going to seek out other platformers as a result. All it really means is that the game was marketed properly.

Anyway, the most popular games right now are probably M2's releases of CAVE's games, but ESP Rade Psi didn't even rank in (for either platform). According to the sales between 26/12 to 14/1, it sold less than 2,622 copies physically first week (50th place being the Japanese release of Fortnite Deep Freeze Bundle), their release of Garegga on PS4 sold 3,189 copies first week and PS4 Ketsui sold 4,183 copies first week (domestic Japanese physical sales ONLY - digital and international sales excluded). This is moreso what the current sales in the genre are like, if Kadokawa Media's to be believed.

Honestly I think comparing other genres to shmups is completely pointless. The genre is small and sells small amounts, that's about all you can really take away from this conversation.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:42 am 


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YARD wrote:
Even the people who want a purely singleplayer challenge would rather get it from a more mechanically complex game: "I have beaten Gradius X!" will never sound as impressive as "I have beaten Dark Souls Y", because the latter includes way more systems and such to keep track of.

This is a misunderstanding of the density of mechanics between these games. I adore Souls, but only the nastiest portions of Scholar Of The First Sin even approach the difficulty of the average arcade Gradius game. Gradius III is so much more difficult than Scholar they're not even comparable. Souls games aren't rocket science, most of these extra systems don't come into play in a single run, and most that do you have an infinite amount of time to analyze. The majority of these games are about running up to an enemy and mashing R1 at the right time. Sure, there's some wild spikes like Fume Knight/frozen reindeer hell/Sir Alonne/etc, but none of these will demand anywhere near the precision and understanding of something like the second loop of Parodius Da!

Implying Dark Souls is more challenging than Gradius is like implying the moon is the same size as the sun.
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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:41 am 



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Square_Air wrote:
I adore Souls, but only the nastiest portions of Scholar Of The First Sin even approach the difficulty of the average arcade Gradius game. Gradius III is so much more difficult than Scholar they're not even comparable. Souls games aren't rocket science, most of these extra systems don't come into play in a single run, and most that do you have an infinite amount of time to analyze. The majority of these games are about running up to an enemy and mashing R1 at the right time. Sure, there's some wild spikes like Fume Knight/frozen reindeer hell/Sir Alonne/etc, but none of these will demand anywhere near the precision and understanding of something like the second loop of Parodius Da!

Implying Dark Souls is more challenging than Gradius is like implying the moon is the same size as the sun.


I think the point is more that outsiders might perceive that to be the case. It might be part of the mindset that equates complexity with difficulty as well as only looking at the surface of things. For someone with little or no knowledge of either genre, the base-level simplicity upon which most shmups are built (dodge and aim at things in a 2d space) probably won't look as "difficult" as an action rpg where you move around in a 3d world and have to keep track of different numbers and such. With Dark Souls in particular, there's also the reputation to account for: the game is known for being a "h4rd ga3m", while Gradius will probably just be seen as an "old game" if it is recognized at all.

In that sense, what Elixir says above is important, I think. Self-described "hardcore" gamers will probably gravitate to a game with a reputation of being difficult rather than a game with no reputation at all. Most will probably play some I Wanna Be The Guy fangame, maybe even one with Touhou-inspired bullet hell elements, before they dig around and find, say, a DDP game, precisely because they'll have to dig around for it. And they'll probably perceive more difficulty in the game with lotsa spikes and lotsa dots than in the game that just has lotsa dots. So for outsiders, one of the core appeals of the genre is already met by more popular, more familiar genres.

But I do mostly agree with Squire's point that shmups not being popular is not necessarily a bad thing. It's probably not as healthy as some other niche genres, it certainly hasn't seen any recent breakout hits that Elixir might describe as a "meme game," and it doesn't have a single game or series with which the mainstream can equate it (I'm thinking here of Disgaea and how most casual fans will probably equate srpgs with that particular series). But I do think it is healthier than some other genres and that it's chugging along at a pace that's good enough to attract and keep newcomers like me. Which is an obvious and boring observation, but there you go.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:09 pm 



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floralcateyes wrote:
Square_Air wrote:
I adore Souls, but only the nastiest portions of Scholar Of The First Sin even approach the difficulty of the average arcade Gradius game. Gradius III is so much more difficult than Scholar they're not even comparable. Souls games aren't rocket science, most of these extra systems don't come into play in a single run, and most that do you have an infinite amount of time to analyze. The majority of these games are about running up to an enemy and mashing R1 at the right time. Sure, there's some wild spikes like Fume Knight/frozen reindeer hell/Sir Alonne/etc, but none of these will demand anywhere near the precision and understanding of something like the second loop of Parodius Da!

Implying Dark Souls is more challenging than Gradius is like implying the moon is the same size as the sun.


I think the point is more that outsiders might perceive that to be the case. It might be part of the mindset that equates complexity with difficulty as well as only looking at the surface of things. For someone with little or no knowledge of either genre, the base-level simplicity upon which most shmups are built (dodge and aim at things in a 2d space) probably won't look as "difficult" as an action rpg where you move around in a 3d world and have to keep track of different numbers and such. With Dark Souls in particular, there's also the reputation to account for: the game is known for being a "h4rd ga3m", while Gradius will probably just be seen as an "old game" if it is recognized at all.

In that sense, what Elixir says above is important, I think. Self-described "hardcore" gamers will probably gravitate to a game with a reputation of being difficult rather than a game with no reputation at all. Most will probably play some I Wanna Be The Guy fangame, maybe even one with Touhou-inspired bullet hell elements, before they dig around and find, say, a DDP game, precisely because they'll have to dig around for it. And they'll probably perceive more difficulty in the game with lotsa spikes and lotsa dots than in the game that just has lotsa dots. So for outsiders, one of the core appeals of the genre is already met by more popular, more familiar genres.


All of this.

Squire Grooktook wrote:
Here's the thing:

Every single year, new games are made. Every single year, I see 6 new shmups in comiteks lineup, several new indies, and even get surprised by larger developers like M2 making new arcade shmups (an arcade game in the year of our lord 2020? If you'd asked me 5 years ago if this was possible, I'd have said you're insane). And talking to the developers, I've found that they were happy with how much money they made and how much they sold and enthusiastically plan to make more games in the same vein.

Every single year, I see new players joining the fanbase. New people getting interested, new people talking about shmups, new people getting 1cc's, etc. A lot of new people? Hell no. But enough to keep discussion going.

Every single year, I see old players and people who don't follow the new stuff in the genre claiming its dead.

Perhaps I'm naive and Armageddon really is scheduled for tomorrow, but after seeing the same thing for 10 years you'll probably forgive me for taking the common sense impression that this is just the way the genre is: small but active.

This is why I don't agree with your "fossilized" analogy, because that implies stillness which the genre hasn't had since its inception. A better analogy is one of those deep sea bacterium's that survive off of thermal vents. Tiny, rare, but hardy and filling their niche well.


Agreed, and I particularly like the thermal vent analogy.

Squire Grooktook wrote:
A better comparison would be arcade platformers. Stuff like Ninja Gaiden (classic), Ghouls and Ghosts, etc. 6-8 stages in a one sitting gauntlet. No exploration, no artsy gimmicks, just hardcore platforming. Sounds like a hard sell doesn't it? That's because it is, and outside of a small number of indies and doujins (smaller than shmups!) I don't see anyone making games like that.


Well, there was The Messenger, which was strongly inspired by Ninja Gaiden. It came out after that leak, but has sold extremely well by all indications. It does have a bunch of gimmicks later on, but honestly, if it was good enough for the original creators of Ninja Gaiden, then further hair-splitting is kinda silly. (Almost like the original Doom fans attacking HL2 even though Romero called it the best FPS he didn't make.)


Squire Grooktook wrote:
Now, you've also compared them to point and clicks, rail shooters, etc. and I think that comparison only proves my point: how many rail shooters shooters are being made every year? How many point and click adventure games are being made every year? How many turn based strategy rpg's are being made every year? As I said, every year I'm seeing 6 or so new shmups announced (and not low quality or of a "asci II graphics" calibur, either), but I'm not seeing similar activity in these old genres.

Personally, as a fan of strategy rpg's, I'd kill to have a similar level of productivity for them as shmups where you see 6 high quality new games at comitek every fucking year. The genre seems literally carried by Fire Emblem, and even Sakura Taisen (another landmark japanese srpg series) switched from SRPG to third person action in its recent reboot, which is a damn shame.

Maybe these genres are like shmups in that they secretly have a really productive doujin/indie scene that a relative outsider wouldn't know about. Maybe there's fucktons of small but profitable point and clicks, railshooters, or turn based strategy rpg's made every year. If so, kindly point me to that last one because I want more.


Well, the rail shooters have seen a revival on VR, since the platform specifically plays to their strengths (whereas it usually feels pretty stupid that you can't move around, in VR it prevents motion sickness.) There may still not be that many of them, but given the size of VR as a platform and that shooters are still inherently expensive to make, it's no surprise.

Point-and-clicks can easily match the "6 or so new shmups a year" you mention. Here are just some from my memory alone:

2015: Fran Bow, Dropsy, Dead Synchronicity, Technobabylon, Void and Meddler, Tormentum - Dark Sorrow

2016: Anna's Quest, Shardlight, Yesterday Origins, Downfall remake, Kathy Rain, that Demetrios game

2019: Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure, Rainswept, Jenny LeClue, Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders, Lorelai, Little Misfortune

Like I said, that is from my memory alone; I can name all of these games because practically all of them had been reviewed by established gaming media, often making the front page of Metacritic (way more than what can be said for nearly all the shmups). If I actually went to a dedicated adventure gaming website, I would have almost certainly had at least a dozen for each year.

Lastly, what you call "turn based strategy rpgs" is almost explicitly the Japanese, and frequently console-oriented understanding of the concept. There actually have been a couple of European games that tried to be like that, too: last year's Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark and Polish Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs (2017, 12,647 copies on that list) come to mind. If you consider Chroma Squad to be close enough, than it's been really successful (215k from 2015 to 2018). And while more trivia than anything else, last year also had a JRPG-style game with grid combat called Grimshade, though that apparently wasn't great.

Otherwise, however, most of the non-Japanese developers would rather make games that are like the 1990s CRPGs, and with good reason imo. These have had a huge revival in the middle of the decade thanks to Kickstarter (no other genre has benefited as much as they did), and while that high tide has receded away by now with mixed results (i.e. Larian had only built upon the success of their Divinity: OS, but Obsidian misjudged the market hard with Pillars of Eternity sequel and had to sell itself to Microsoft) , there are still plenty of such games being made: RPGCodex has lists of upcoming games that run into dozens of entries. Even if you discount Disco Elysium (by far the biggest success of that genre that easily overshadowed Obsidian's Outer Worlds) for lacking proper combat, last year had The Banner Saga 3 (borderline SRPG to many of the CRPG fans), Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones, ATOM RPG being released from Early Access, Encased entering Early Access, Underrail getting an expansion that's ~20 hours long, and more. There were also highly successful Kickstarters for Realms Beyond and Solasta: Crown of the Magister, earlier Kickstarters like Copper Dreams or Colony Ship had continued development, and a couple other CRPGs like Australia's Broken Roads were also announced that year.


Squire Grooktook wrote:
It's more or less what I've been saying this whole time: Almost no publisher is gonna take a bet on a genre like this.

The difference is, I suppose, I just don't see it as a bad thing. My point is we have and will continue to see new shmups every year, and we have and will continue to see new players every year. That is a sustainable niche, which is more than many other genres can say.

Honestly I think there's a beauty in that. As perhaps the most "pure" action genre there is, I think it's fitting that it maintains such a small but lasting appeal even as time marches on.


Well, we agree on most of this, really. In a way, my earlier post was really directed more at the people earlier in the thread who still wish for an "AAA shmup": unless it's something with Sine Mora's sensibilities that can come off as art, it's not going to happen. (Fact: Sine Mora was almost certainly the best-selling shmup of the decade, unless you broaden the definition enough to include Cuphead. If you do that, though, then the best-selling game with shmup elements of this decade is almost certainly going to be Subverse, largely because it's porn.) Shmups are a "thermal vent" genre, which can and probably will exist indefinitely on the kind of sales Elixir mentioned, but whose capacity for breakout is probably one of the lowest. Once again, probably the only kind of shmup that may break out is either something you are all going to hate for being insufficiently pure, too cutscene-filled, etc., or a shmup that manages to become "a meme game", as Elixir had put it. (And which you'll then probably hate for that alone as well.)


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:15 am 


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I think the thing that fundamentally differentiates STGs from other niche genres like point & clicks, rogue likes and SRPGs is that it's intrinsically a genre situated around arcades. This is not only limited to their structure, mechanics, length and so on, but to the very geographical and hodological minutiae that being developed for and played in an arcade environment entails. These are games developed to play for a short burst, not at home but in a communal and freely accessible setting, usually when moving from one location to another, for example school to home or home to the pub. Everything, from attract screens, the conservatism of button layouts, and the business mandated structure of the level-boss-harder level design is ingrained in to this. More well received (by the community) games have been constructed for this ultra conservative environment. Others games developed specifically for home consoles lack this fundamental rigidity and are generically 'squishy', and are at best more cooly received, and at worst derided as a 'euroshmup'.

This viewpoint is of course utterly essentialist, but STGs are more than perhaps any other genre stymied by the very structure that bought them in to being. Roguelikes can deviate and evolve while at the same time still demonstrating fundamental similarities with their PLATO forefathers. But a STG developed for a home platform is fundamentally a different proposition from a STG developed for an arcade, with such a radically different business model and geographically discreet model of consumption.

So STGs can 'evolve' (Nex Machina is a home version of Robotron tweaked for modern sensibilities) but given that their form and structure is so reliant on their MODE of consumption in an arcade context as opposed to their constituent paradigmatic features, they were arguably always an evolutionary dead-end. They are as much a casuality changing attitudes to town planning than of changing tastes and advances in digitally convergent technology. A close analogy would be something like certain subgenres of rock and metal like crust punk, which of course can be appreciated and recontexulised and subsumed by other more commercially paletable successors, but ultimately is defined by its performance context in filthy DIY shows and squat parties.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:41 pm 



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Dunno if I completely agree with that, MX7. It's obvious that shmups and trad shmup design has been heavily influenced by the particular characteristics and constraints of arcade settings, but I wouldn't call it intrinsic.

MX7 wrote:
I think the thing that fundamentally differentiates STGs from other niche genres like point & clicks, rogue likes and SRPGs is that it's intrinsically a genre situated around arcades. This is not only limited to their structure, mechanics, length and so on, but to the very geographical and hodological minutiae that being developed for and played in an arcade environment entails. These are games developed to play for a short burst, not at home but in a communal and freely accessible setting, usually when moving from one location to another, for example school to home or home to the pub. Everything, from attract screens, the conservatism of button layouts, and the business mandated structure of the level-boss-harder level design is ingrained in to this. More well received (by the community) games have been constructed for this ultra conservative environment. Others games developed specifically for home consoles lack this fundamental rigidity and are generically 'squishy', and are at best more cooly received, and at worst derided as a 'euroshmup'.


Why wouldn't the button layouts and progression structure feel at home in a home context though? Older consoles had a limited number of buttons as well (I've seen Pink Sweets criticized for sticking too closely to the limited button layout of Recca), and the level -> boss -> harder level structure isn't exactly exclusive to shmups. Touhou is probably the most popular shmup out there, and I don't think it's ever seen an arcade release (though I guess certain parts of this community don't like it much, but that's a different discussion altogether).

MX7 wrote:
This viewpoint is of course utterly essentialist, but STGs are more than perhaps any other genre stymied by the very structure that bought them in to being. Roguelikes can deviate and evolve while at the same time still demonstrating fundamental similarities with their PLATO forefathers. But a STG developed for a home platform is fundamentally a different proposition from a STG developed for an arcade, with such a radically different business model and geographically discreet model of consumption.


Yet a few STGs developed for home platforms have become popular and have even found success in arcade settings. Crimzon Clover is an obvious example, though I guess that's more the exception rather than the rule. Still though, I have no statistics, but I get the impression that most shmup playing happens at home nowadays anyway, with many of us only experiencing arcade shmups via emulation, and I'm pretty sure more shmups are being developed for home platforms than for arcades (EXA seems to get the lion's share of new arcade releases, and most of their stuff seem to be updated rereleases of games originally made for PC or consoles). Though this does beg the question of why the genre hews so close to the characteristics that arose from its original arcade setting. And I doubt the answer is simply and solely "nostalgia."

MX7 wrote:
So STGs can 'evolve' (Nex Machina is a home version of Robotron tweaked for modern sensibilities) but given that their form and structure is so reliant on their MODE of consumption in an arcade context as opposed to their constituent paradigmatic features, they were arguably always an evolutionary dead-end. They are as much a casuality changing attitudes to town planning than of changing tastes and advances in digitally convergent technology. A close analogy would be something like certain subgenres of rock and metal like crust punk, which of course can be appreciated and recontexulised and subsumed by other more commercially paletable successors, but ultimately is defined by its performance context in filthy DIY shows and squat parties.


But this again ignores the lively if niche doujin scene. Which gets ignored by parts of the community in favor of the arcade classics, yes, but I think my point still stands. If we're gonna go the whole mode of consumption/production/distribution route (which would be productive but kinda weird in an informal forum), I think it would be better to look at the current modes of the aforementioned. I reckon the idea of doing level select practice and savestate grinding by your lonesome in a dark bedroom is one of the things that might put an outsider off the genre, and those aren't parts of the arcade setting per se. Azur Lane proves that an STG can be popular on mobile, enough to get a glossy 3d action game on Steam, but it's gone through the vagaries of that platform and its prevailing business models, so I guess that falls under your "squishy" point, though in a different way. Distribution-wise, the existence of something like Comiket in Japan means even high profile Japanese devs might not see the point of using distribution platforms that would give their games and the genre more international visibility (see the Touhou games only recently coming to Steam or other relatively high-profile doujin games like the original PC version Rolling Gunner not getting a wide or accessible digital release). And those are just some, off the cuff examples. The analogy to subgenres of rock that are closely tied to their original contexts might work for certain subgenres or eras of shmups, but I don't think it works with the genre as it is today in its entirety, as the context for shmups has changed. Let me be vulgar and say that culture is determined in the last instance by its material realities, but material realities are never completely static.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that arcade shmups in arcade settings might be sorta-kinda dead, but indie/doujin shmups are still being made and played. Which we could've gleaned from just reading the thread title, but oh well.


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 Post subject: Re: For a dead genre, there sure are a lot of shmups being m
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:29 pm 


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i will say one thing about shmups and other genres; coming from fighting games, it isn't that long ago that we were in the same position that shmups are in right now (active players, new people coming into the genre, but lack of sales and general widestream appeal), and through community building, they've become the giant they are today. i personally think that what we actually need is more community involvement to grow the genre overall, rather than waiting for "that big game that gets everyone to play shmups". Mark's videos have been a great starting point for this as he's actually giving solid general advice in video format that is fairly entertaining to watch, and Prometheus's guide is also a great place to start as well -- but we need more. more guides, more videos, more shmupmeets, just more of all of it.

people need to be brought into the genre, they need to be shown why it's so cool and why so many people like them; not just us hoping that they stumble in on their own (and then leave just as quickly as they entered).
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