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 Post subject: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shmups?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:57 pm 


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I'm sure this is a topic with a long history of debate behind it, though I haven't been able to track it down. I've seen in a couple of places on this forum that things like Rez and Panzer Dragoon are not considered under the umbrella of shmups, but games like Ikari Warriors or Berzerk are. I don't quite get this.

Quite often the only functional difference is camera placement.

Flying plane shoots a bunch of stuff:

Side view (R-Type) = shmup
Top-down (Raiden) = shmup
Isometric angle (Zaxxon) = shmup
45° angle above (Axelay) = shmup
View from behind plane (Galaxy Force II) = NOT A SHMUP THIS IS THE FORBIDDEN ANGLE

Panzer Dragoon, if you were to move the camera above the character, would functionally be Layer Section/Rayforce. Rez is a forced scrolling score-based game with stages, bosses and a very limited narrative. Your flying character's lone forms of interaction with your environment are shooting things and flying around incoming fire, while picking up power ups, screen clearing bombs & score bonuses.

You could argue that rail shooters have more of an emphasis on the roller coaster ride aspect, but I'm not sure this is really much more present in Panzer Dragoon than it is in Ikaruga.

Moreover, games like Gyruss & Tempest are essentially rail shooters; their derivation from fixed shooters is more obvious, but they also reveal rail shooters like Star Fox to functionally be Galaga with a Y-axis - while the environment scrolls, your on screen avatar is typically moving neither forward nor backward through player input.

I think in forming a definition you're looking at a multitude of overlapping mechanics and influences, rather than a set of exclusions. And aimed toward a set of overlapping sensibilities; shmups are clearly doing something semiotically distinct from Gears of War, which is what I'd see Ikari as more of a forerunner to. But Rez? That's always felt like a shooter to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:16 pm 


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Star Fox has accelerating and braking. Its movements also have inertia, whereas 2D shmups do not have inertia. Inertia is a very bad property in a shmup, whereas a flight-style rail shooter often tries to feel a bit more flight-sim like.

Rail shooters that are in 3D and allow you to shoot at an angle also feel very different than 2D shmups. Dealing with enemies in a 3D space is very different than dealing with enemies on a 2D plane (Star Fox vs Galaga) as is dealing with enemies in a 3D space where you have full multidirectional shooting vs dealing with enemies on a 2D plane where you're always shooting forward, whether or not additional gimmicks are involved like Zaxxon's height.

They're related genres. Sister genres if you will. But they feel sufficiently different nevertheless. It's kind of like arcade style racers vs realistic racers. They're somewhat related as they're both racing, but really they're radically different in feel enough that they're considered very different mechanically.
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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:45 pm 


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It's just groupthink. Star Fox has more in common with Raiden mechanically than it does with House of the Dead or Rez. It's incredibly silly to call Star Fox a rail shooter.
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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:06 pm 


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Shooting Gameside covered both traditional shmups and rail shooter, so..
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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:17 pm 


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BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
Star Fox has accelerating and braking.


Gah, you're right, I may not have chosen the ideal example there (haven't played it in decades).

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Its movements also have inertia, whereas 2D shmups do not have inertia.


This isn't quite true. Classic pillars of the genre like Defender & Asteroids are built around inertia mechanics.

Quote:
Rail shooters that are in 3D and allow you to shoot at an angle also feel very different than 2D shmups. Dealing with enemies in a 3D space is very different than dealing with enemies on a 2D plane (Star Fox vs Galaga) as is dealing with enemies in a 3D space where you have full multidirectional shooting vs dealing with enemies on a 2D plane where you're always shooting forward, whether or not additional gimmicks are involved like Zaxxon's height.


Ultimately, you're manipulating a cursor to aim on a 2D plane. Is the shooting things at an angle element really so different from something like Zero Gunner?


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:42 am 



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Sengoku Strider wrote:

Ultimately, you're manipulating a cursor to aim on a 2D plane. Is the shooting things at an angle element really so different from something like Zero Gunner?


It is - you have to perceive the depth which is different challenge than anticipating movement and trajectories on a fixed 2d plane.

I personally can't play Space Harrier since the perspective is somewhat off, it does not work as in real 3d projection. Axelay's "tilted 3d" is even worse in this case.

After Burner does the illusion of depth way better.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:40 am 


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I think it goes without saying that a game like Starfox is massively different from a game like Gradius no matter how you look at it. That doesn't mean you're not allowed to like Starfox, or call it whatever you wish to call it.

What's considered a "shmup" on the forum is just an attempt to categorize the discussions, so the "shmups chat" is dedicated to "pure shmups", and everything else goes in the off-topic one. I don't know why you'd really care which game goes where to be honest.

Genre labels are just there to help identify similar games, not to block games from getting attention or whatever it is people are afraid of.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:42 am 


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Ladies and gentlemen: This thread again...


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:50 am 



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When I want to play a rail-shooter, I would never say "Let's play a shmup." When I want to play a shmup, I would never say "Let's play a rail-shooter." Therefore different genres. If your friend says, "Hey lets play something like Starfox, "would you put on R-type? Cause that would make you a shitty friend.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:30 pm 


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pieslice wrote:
It is - you have to perceive the depth which is different challenge than anticipating movement and trajectories on a fixed 2d plane.

I personally can't play Space Harrier since the perspective is somewhat off, it does not work as in real 3d projection. Axelay's "tilted 3d" is even worse in this case.

After Burner does the illusion of depth way better.


My thing with Space Harrier has always been that Mr. Harrier blocks your view. Suzuki later figured out how to solve this by offsetting a targeting reticle from your jet in After Burner.

I certainly considered the point about depth when typing that comment, but I went ahead because I could think of a lot of polygon era games like Layer Section, Z-Gundam Zenpen on the Saturn or Border down that contain elements of calculating trajectories on separate depths or enemies moving into your field of fire out of the background. But it's fair to say that the core action of the game continuously involving that 3rd axis in back-view games makes for a meaningful differentiating factor.

Sumez wrote:
I think it goes without saying that a game like Starfox is massively different from a game like Gradius no matter how you look at it. That doesn't mean you're not allowed to like Starfox, or call it whatever you wish to call it.

What's considered a "shmup" on the forum is just an attempt to categorize the discussions, so the "shmups chat" is dedicated to "pure shmups", and everything else goes in the off-topic one. I don't know why you'd really care which game goes where to be honest.

Genre labels are just there to help identify similar games, not to block games from getting attention or whatever it is people are afraid of.


My motivation here was specifically because in looking at the rules for the top 25 voting on this forum, Panzer Dragoon is excluded but maze shooters like Wizard of Wor are not. That feels weird to me, as I'd think of the general design of Panzer Dragoon as fewer semantic leaps away from something like Star Soldier than Berzerk is. Growing up I would never have put the latter two in the same bucket, but when Panzer Dragoon hit it was easy to see it as a cinematic evolution of the shmup.

m.sniffles.esq wrote:
Ladies and gentlemen: This thread again...


Searching thread titles on this site for 'rail shooter' 'rail shooters' or 'rail shooters shmups' turns up only a tiny handful of results that aren't related to this discussion. If you can point me to where this was all hashed out here in the past, I'd be genuinely interested to see it.

SuperDeadite wrote:
When I want to play a rail-shooter, I would never say "Let's play a shmup." When I want to play a shmup, I would never say "Let's play a rail-shooter." Therefore different genres. If your friend says, "Hey lets play something like Starfox, "would you put on R-type? Cause that would make you a shitty friend.


I would put on something like R-Type well before I pulled out an Atari 2600 and plugged in Berzerk. Said friend would likely have me committed. By the same token, if they wanted to play something like Ikari Warriors I wouldn't put in Keio Flying Squadron, I'd offer up Metal Slug - the series that literally absorbed the Ikari Warriors. But I'd be wrong to do so the way the genre boundaries have been set for the sake of this discussion.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:43 pm 


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Keeping in mind that genre definitions are not black and white, and they're just inventions that we use for the sake of labeling and discussion, I think games like Star Fox or Rez are different enough from standard 2D shmups to be considered another genre. Just like Metal Slug is not in the same genre as Gears of War even though both involve running around shooting things with a machine gun/shot gun and doing melee attacks.

Maybe it's better to think of them as different subgenres under the umbrella of shooting games. Like how games in the mold of Virtua Fighter and Street Fighter are in different subgenres (3D and 2D) within fighting games. Of course most 2D fighters now use polygonal graphics, so its really the game mechanics that differentiate the two.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:52 pm 


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Sengoku Strider wrote:
By the same token, if they wanted to play something like Ikari Warriors I wouldn't put in Keio Flying Squadron, I'd offer up Metal Slug - the series that literally absorbed the Ikari Warriors. But I'd be wrong to do so the way the genre boundaries have been set for the sake of this discussion.


Incidentally, Ikari and the similar topdown run/guns inspired by Front Line - Commando, Kiki Kaikai, Shock Troopers, etc - are considered on-topic here.

I was thinking of starting an Obada Trilogy HS thread, but I gotta finish Guevara and I'm waiting on the ACA version. I'm not bothering with that Digital Eclipse jank if I can help it. Image

Anyhoo, if a buddy was hankering for Ikari, I'd put those on before a Slug or indeed Midnight Resistance. :wink: Not that I don't consider Slug heavily Obada-informed, with its grenades, vehicles, slashing and POWs. "SNK's Contra" my ass. If anything it's Obada x Saigo no Nindou. Commence sub/genre sperging. Image
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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:36 am 


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Sengoku Strider wrote:
My motivation here was specifically because in looking at the rules for the top 25 voting on this forum, Panzer Dragoon is excluded but maze shooters like Wizard of Wor are not. That feels weird to me, as I'd think of the general design of Panzer Dragoon as fewer semantic leaps away from something like Star Soldier than Berzerk is. Growing up I would never have put the latter two in the same bucket, but when Panzer Dragoon hit it was easy to see it as a cinematic evolution of the shmup.


The top 25 is its own thing, so it's pretty confusing that you left that out of your initial post.

Either way, the idea of the annual top 25, is to compile a user voted top list of this particular style of games. So asking "why isn't this different type of game allowed in the list?" is kind of besides the point entirely. If you want to make a top 25 of rail shooters, you can do that. And if you want to you can even use these forums to do so.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:50 pm 


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And to add to that, one of the single most popular threads on the forum is the Run 'n Gun thread in the off-topic section. It's certainly not that rail guns or run 'n guns aren't enjoyed or respected. They're just sufficiently different from shmups that they're not quite the same genre.

Another major difference is bullet visibility. The only time bullets are obscured in a 2D shmup is if A) the bullet colours overlap with other colours such as the background, or B) the bullets themselves happen to overlap with each other. A) is avoided with good design, and B) is less serious as you can see the bullet trajectory before and after bullets pass through each other.

In a behind-the-player view rail shooter, as bullets approach the player they often get bigger, to the point where the bullets actually obscure details pretty frequently because their mere presence at the front of the screen obscures everything behind them. This is a significant difference that affects how the game can be played (and is also why many rail shooters are made to be more forgiving, with lifebars and far more health items than would be found in a 2D shmup).

Look at something like 3D Touhou where the game uses Touhou-like patterns, but the gameplay is in a 3D environment instead of a 2D one, with bullets modified accordingly. It's much harder to see how close your hitbox is to actually touching a bullet because of the change in viewpoint. Aiming is different too, as instead of constantly firing forward in a fixed direction (forcing you to always try to line up with a boss) you're not able to aim directly at the enemy regardless of position. Just because it's a spinoff of a 2D shmup doesn't mean it itself is a shmup. It's a rail shooter now because those differences in movement, in how bullets are perceived, and in how aiming is done make all the difference. At best you could call it a rail shooter with shmup sensibilities, or a 3D shmup, but is there really a difference between a rail shooter and a 3D shmup? They're still very distinct in playstyle from the 2D games we call shmups regardless of the name you use to describe them. And there's even stuff like Suwapyon, where it's got jumping as a means of dealing with patterns. Again, the 3D perspective adds visibility issues as a unique challenge. It certainly shares a lot with how it plays with a 2D shmup, but the formula's distinct enough that it's generally categorized separately as "3D danmaku".

Even if you want to argue that rail shooters should be called 3D shmups, this forum wouldn't necessarily change. It would probably still focus on 2D shmups, change its url to 2Dshmups.system11.org, and so on. They're not the same game genre, regardless of what name you use to describe them, even though they're in a related genre.

This exact thread's actually been done before in various forms ("is X rail shooter a shmup?", "why aren't run 'n guns considered on-topic in the score forum"), but the reality is that we care about and enjoy rail shooters. It's not that the forum doesn't, it's just that the forum's wanting to focus specifically on 2D shmups, and if that's the case it's not necessarily wrong per se. It's not like Rolling-Start.com has to focus on all racing games if it wants to focus purely on arcade-style racers, just because realistic racing is a subgenre.

You could argue that Rail Shooters and Run 'n Guns share enough with 2D shmups that they could merit their own subforum on the front page and I'd be onboard with that.
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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:29 pm 


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Well things get even weirder when they said my regular vert-scrolling shmup is a rail-shooter. The commenters are confused too:
https://www.gonintendo.com/stories/370814-shoot-1up-dx-an-arcade-inspired-rail-shooter-is-out-now-on-nint
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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:26 pm 


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BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
A) is avoided with good design


Lit Yagawa burn :P

BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
You could argue that Rail Shooters and Run 'n Guns share enough with 2D shmups that they could merit their own subforum on the front page and I'd be onboard with that.

Then again, I find it hard to argue that any subforum category is warranted when there's no way to filter out any of them on the new posts pages anyway XD


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:30 pm 


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MommysBestGames wrote:
Well things get even weirder when they said my regular vert-scrolling shmup is a rail-shooter.


Wouldn't be the first time reviewers got something wrong. :P

Sumez wrote:
Lit Yagawa burn :P

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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:42 am 



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They feel different to me. Bullet visibility is a key part of rail shooters, as is aiming. They focus on different skills. Categorization like this is always going to be messy to an extent, but games like Afterburner feel way different to me than something like DoDonPachi even though you control military aircraft in both and dodge bullets and shoot down enemies.
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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:54 am 


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I would say that even combat flight games are shmup too, it's just played in 3D.
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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:03 pm 



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Descent is just a 3D shmup with 6-way manual scrolling.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:09 pm 


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Sumez wrote:
The top 25 is its own thing, so it's pretty confusing that you left that out of your initial post.


I didn't intend to launch into an interrogation of the 25 specifically; it was just that I'd read this line in the Board FAQ thread:

------------------------------
Shmups?

Shmups: shoot 'em ups, shooters, STGs, or scrolling shooters like Raiden, Gradius, R-Type, Flying Shark, or Dodonpachi.
On this forum Metal Slug, Rolling Thunder, Virtua Cop, and Rez are not considered shmups, though you are free to discuss these games and others in the Off-Topic section.

-------------------------------

That all made sense to me, except for Rez, but the shmup examples given are solidly traditional, so ok. Then when I read the Top 25 rules and saw that things like Berzerk and Ikari fit the definition, I figured I must have missed some sort of serious debate somewhere.

Because to me, those traditional examples all feature visible flying avatars in a fixed scrolling playfield with the core interaction being shooting stuff. I get why confining the definition to that causes problems - you end up excluding games foundational to the genre like Defender & its descendants (Fantasy Zone, etc.) in which you have control over the scrolling. That definition is also vague enough to include series like Ace Combat which feel distinct in design and intention from like something like Star Soldier or Thunder Force.

Something like Gunsmoke fits the definition fine - turn the cowboy into a jet and you have a traditional core vertical scrolling shmup with a directional firing gimmick a la Hellfire or something. But the user-directed ratchet scrolling + ground bound avatar + slow, strategic gameplay in Ikari feels like it's gone far enough away from Scramble or Xevious to be its own thing entirely. Rez makes fewer deviations to my mind. Those traditional shmups listed are all rail shooters, just from any perspective except behind the ship.

BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
Another major difference is bullet visibility. The only time bullets are obscured in a 2D shmup is if A) the bullet colours overlap with other colours such as the background, or B) the bullets themselves happen to overlap with each other. A) is avoided with good design, and B) is less serious as you can see the bullet trajectory before and after bullets pass through each other.


Sure, but all the problems with behind-the-ship shooters accounting for a Z-axis rear their heads in isometric ones as well though.

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In fact the entire reason I can't play Viewpoint...is the viewpoint. Adjusting to something like Novastorm is a breeze by comparison.

Quote:
In a behind-the-player view rail shooter, as bullets approach the player they often get bigger, to the point where the bullets actually obscure details pretty frequently because their mere presence at the front of the screen obscures everything behind them. This is a significant difference that affects how the game can be played (and is also why many rail shooters are made to be more forgiving, with lifebars and far more health items than would be found in a 2D shmup).


This is a particular design choice though, not anything endemic to the viewpoint. There are certainly many successful examples which don't take this approach.

Quote:
Even if you want to argue that rail shooters should be called 3D shmups, this forum wouldn't necessarily change. It would probably still focus on 2D shmups, change its url to 2Dshmups.system11.org, and so on. They're not the same game genre, regardless of what name you use to describe them, even though they're in a related genre.

This exact thread's actually been done before in various forms ("is X rail shooter a shmup?", "why aren't run 'n guns considered on-topic in the score forum"), but the reality is that we care about and enjoy rail shooters. It's not that the forum doesn't, it's just that the forum's wanting to focus specifically on 2D shmups, and if that's the case it's not necessarily wrong per se. It's not like Rolling-Start.com has to focus on all racing games if it wants to focus purely on arcade-style racers, just because realistic racing is a subgenre.


Sure, but I'd think that the venn diagram overlap between people into are into Panorama Cotton and people who are into MUSHA or whatever is basically the same circle, accounting for taste. I wouldn't say the sim racer analogy quite fits here, as Panorama Cotton is still very much an arcade shooter in spirit, function, and design. The sim analogy would be to things like Wing Commander or Aerowings.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:39 pm 


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Sengoku Strider wrote:
Rez makes fewer deviations to my mind.

I actually think Rez has the most deviations of all and rightfully earns the descriptive term of "rail shooter": you literally have no control whatsoever over your on-screen avatar in Rez. It's like a train or a rollercoaster: all you can do is aim. In fact, some rail shooters like Pokemon Snap and the Gold Saucer minigame in Final Fantasy VII take this very literally.

Panorama Cotton, Star Fox, After Burner, etc., on the other hand, feature just as much avatar control as 2D shoot 'em ups and this fundamentally changes the gameplay by allowed you to dodge hazards. It's completely ridiculous to lump these fundamentally different games in with actual rail shooters like Rez and House of the Dead and the only reason anyone does it is because of slavish groupthink. You don't have to dumb your own discourse and thought process down to try and fit in though; you can lead by example. Call them 3D shoot 'em ups.
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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:07 pm 


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MathU wrote:
Sengoku Strider wrote:
Rez makes fewer deviations to my mind.

I actually think Rez has the most deviations of all and rightfully earns the descriptive term of "rail shooter": you literally have no control whatsoever over your on-screen avatar in Rez. It's like a train or a rollercoaster: all you can do is aim. In fact, some rail shooters like Pokemon Snap and the Gold Saucer minigame in Final Fantasy VII take this very literally.

Panorama Cotton, Star Fox, After Burner, etc., on the other hand, feature just as much avatar control as 2D shoot 'em ups and this fundamentally changes the gameplay by allowed you to dodge hazards. It's completely ridiculous to lump these fundamentally different games in with actual rail shooters like Rez and House of the Dead and the only reason anyone does it is because of slavish groupthink.


You're totally right, I had Area X from Rez Infinite in my head when I typed that, which does give you control over your avatar.

I actually don't think Rez & House of the Dead should be in the same category either though. I think 'light gun shooter' is a far more useful descriptor as to what things like HotD & Time Crisis are about than putting them in the same category as Planet Harriers or Silpheed. They don't just rely on a different viewpoint, but an entirely unique interface which in itself comprises the haptic element of the gameplay.

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You don't have to dumb your own discourse and thought process down to try and fit in though; you can lead by example. Call them 3D shoot 'em ups.


See this I like. It says exactly what they are, without lumping them in with Batsugun.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 11:20 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 5:50 am 


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MathU wrote:
Panorama Cotton, Star Fox, After Burner, etc., on the other hand, feature just as much avatar control as 2D shoot 'em ups

Although they certainly give you a lot more opportunities to dodge, saying you have the same amount of control as a traditional 2D shooter (outside of, say, stuff like Space Invaders or Galaga anyway) is just plain wrong. The simulated control of the ship itself is a big part of a game like Star Fox or After Burner, something that's commonly denounced in the classic 2D shooter where most people would never even accept the existance of inertia.

Though they involve shooting and dodging, they are a different genre on nearly every other level. They are probably a lot closer to "shooting gallery" games like Cabal, Blood Bros., Nam-1975 or Wild Guns.
To me they are rail shooters, but I can see why you obviously wouldn't group them together with a game like House of the Dead. On the other hand, this is also the first time I've heard people talking about lightgun games as rail shooters.

For the record, I do think it's weird that a game like Berzerk is accepted into the top 25 voting.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 6:22 am 


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Sumez wrote:
Though they involve shooting and dodging, they are a different genre on nearly every other level. They are probably a lot closer to "shooting gallery" games like Cabal, Blood Bros., Nam-1975 or Wild Guns.


I guess you could make an analogy that those games are the Space Invaders fixed shooter to Panorama Cotton's screen-roaming Zanac. But for my part I feel like they're trying to represent something different on screen, aiming at a slightly different audience (though with a ton of overlap, surely). They often involve dodge rolls, avoiding shooting innocent targets, etc.

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To me they are rail shooters, but I can see why you obviously wouldn't group them together with a game like House of the Dead. On the other hand, this is also the first time I've heard people talking about lightgun games as rail shooters.


It makes no sense to me, but it's a thing:

https://www.ranker.com/list/all-rail-shooters-list/reference

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Rail_shooters


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 8:11 am 


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For a long time now, I've been counting rail shooters as "close enough." The way I see it, a rail shooter in the shmup sense is just an STG that has players shoot exclusively into the Z axis.

Slightly off-topic, I also count run-n-gunners like Contra as close enough as well. As far as I'm concerned, they're basically just shmups with gravity, platforms and a genral lack of forced scrolling.
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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:25 pm 


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StudioMudprints wrote:
they're basically just shmups with gravity


Gravity and platforming elements are an enormously significant gameplay mechanic compared to being able to move freely anywhere on the screen, which is why run 'n guns are considered a separate category. Even run 'n guns that feature slow, dense, danmaku style attacks such as REDPULSE are very firmly in the not-a-shmup category for this reason.
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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:36 pm 


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Yeah I think the statement reads kind of like "These games are basically shmups, with mechanics that are inherently non-shmup", which is a massive contradiction. But I think it still has a lot of merit that run'n'guns like Contra absolutely do strike a lot of the same nerves as a traditional shmup, and will usually share a lot of the same fanbase.

Of course that doesn't change the fact that they are inherently different types of games, and on some occasions that difference is relevant, while on other occasions you want to be as "inclusive" as possible. It's really all a question of context.


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 Post subject: Re: Help Me Out Here-Why're Rail Shooters Not Considered Shm
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 2:22 pm 


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There is no reasonable context anywhere on this planet where a run'n'gun is a shoot'em-up.


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