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An arcade shooter, or “shoot ‘em up,” is an action video game in which the player controls an avatar of some kind, often a plane or spaceship, and shoots large numbers of enemies while at the same time avoiding being shot by them. Many such games exist, both in arcade-game format and on personal computers. Many games which were initially popular as arcade shooters have also been ported to PCs.
All of the games described above were ported to home gaming systems such as the PC, usually fairly quickly after their initial arcade release. Many also inspired clones which were released for the PC. As time passed and the technical abilities of personal computers began to match those of arcade games, the appeal of arcades faded. Nonetheless, arcade shooters continued to evolve even after the end of the “golden age” of arcade games of the late 1970s and 1980s. They have grown more complex and demanding on the player’s reaction time, and often require the player to dodge a great number of dangers in addition to shooting at enemies. Graphics, of course, have also continued to improve.
Many arcade shooters are now available on the PC. Those who enjoy fast-paced games requiring quick reactions, and who are not bothered by the somewhat repetitive gameplay they usually offer, are most likely to enjoy shooters. Fans of classic gaming will be happy to see that Space Invaders and other such games are now readily available online and as downloads.
Arcades: The Motherlode of Shmups! Since videogames infiltrated the electric delights of the smoky arcades there have always been shmups. From the earliest scrollers such as Scramble and Xevious, through the golden age of classics with R-Type and Nemesis, to the modern G-Darius and Raystorm, this list attempts to chronicle them all.
Many of the home consoles raided the arcade archives for shootemups, but a great many classics still languish unconverted today. We've all got our own favourites which in time may become emulated or ported, before they moulder away to be forgotten completely.
*thanks to everybody who contributed to this list, especially Sixtoe who spent aaaages recently sifting through all the arcade shmups I missed!