A “shoot ’em up”, also known as a “shmup”,is a game in which the protagonist combats a large number of enemies by shooting at them while dodging their fire. The controlling player must rely primarily on reaction times to succeed. Beyond this, critics differ on exactly which design elements constitute a shoot ’em up. Some restrict the genre to games featuring some kind of craft, using fixed or scrolling movement. Others widen the scope to include games featuring such protagonists as robots or humans on foot, as well as including games featuring “on-rails” (or “into the screen”) and “run and gun” movement. Formerly, critics described any game where the primary design element was shooting as a “shoot ’em up”, but later shoot ’em ups became a specific, inward-looking genre based on design conventions established in those shooting games of the 1980s. -from the Wikipedia entry on “Shoot ’em up”

Welcome, friends, to Intergalatic Shmuppreciation Month 2010!

Once again, it’s going to be a great month of celebrating one of our favorite genres that rewards the skillful and revels in it’s unforgiving old school aesthetic! During the month of March, we’ll be celebrating the shmup (or shoot-em-up) along with a whole bunch of other podcasters and friends. Before we get too far into it, however, I suppose there are some of you wondering what this whole celebration is all about.

ISM is, at it’s most basic, a month set aside to devote at least a little of your precious gaming time to a shooter of your choice. The idea is to celebrate by playing. For some, this means a casual credit feed of a shmup that’s been sitting in your pile of games or XBLA/PSN list gather dust. For others, it’s a time to focus in on that goal of the illusive 1CC. However you choose to celebrate the genre is completely up to you. The main idea is to play shmups in March!

For may of you, this may be your first ISM or even your first attempt at playing a shmup at all. Well, March is a fantastic time to jump in! There are plenty of resources available for you to check out. First off, visit our own Shmuppreciation Category where you can find links to free shmups on the net, reviews of great shmups to play and even some tips on how to play shmups better.

Another great resource is the Shmups.com Forums where all kinds of great shmup players share their wisdom. It’s one of the best places to read up on the genre and learn how to play these games at a high level.

You should also visit the Intergalactic Shmuppreciation Month Website where information on past ISM’s can be found as well as any new information regarding events for this year.

As far as this site is concerned, keep checking back each week for Shmup Month articles from us as well as our contributors. In addition, tune into Drunken Gamers Radio to hear our Shmuppreciation Month episodes that include the latest edition of the Shmopera! What is the Shmopera, you might ask? You may want to go check out that Shmuppreciation Category I liked to earlier. More to come on that front later.

So go out and enjoy a shooter of your choice and have fun! And let us know how YOUR ISM celebrations are going by submitting your stories to us. Just click the Submit a Story link over there in the sidebar. We look forward to hearing from you!

Happy Intergalactic Shmuppreciation Month!


25 Responses to Intergalactic Shmuppreciation Month 2010!

  1. carrotpanic says:

    I’m going to double post from my twitter update yesterday just so I can be held to even further public ridicule when I fail:

    Shmuppreciation! Goals: 1. Stage 5 on Mushi-F/normal/1 cc 2. Play Castle Shik 1&2 on PS2; 3. New stick/buttons; 4. shmups every day

  2. Hennet says:

    My goals for this Shmuppreciation Month is 1. Beat Touhou 08 Imperishable Night on Hard 2. Beat Ikaruga on any 3. Get a stick at some point.

  3. MNGwinn says:

    I’m way out of the loop on shmups. I don’t think I’ve bought one since I picked up Einhander back in ’94. This seems like a good chance to get back into them. If I were to buy one shmup for the 360 (XBLA or disc, doesn’t matter), what should it be?

  4. MNGwinn says:

    bah! ’98. Not ’94. ’94 would have been Tyrion.

  5. John says:

    One? Man…I guess I’d go all out and get Mushi or Espgaluda 2. Aside from that, Raiden Fighters Aces.

  6. MNGwinn says:

    Well, there’s always a chance of more than one, right? But something has to be the first.

  7. carrotpanic says:

    Depends on your price tolerance.

    $10: Triggerheart Excelica
    $19: Raiden Fighters Aces
    $75: Mushihimesama Futari v 1.5 (you can find a region free version on play-asia)

  8. MNGwinn says:

    Looks like the first two you mentioned are import-only? Is there somewhere local I could pick up a copy? Otherwise, maybe I’ll go with Raiden. Is Aces or IV the better pickup?

    Post Watchmen, someone was talking up the XBLA 1942 game. Is that worth grabbing?

  9. John says:

    Yeah, those are import only and can be bought from Play-Asia or NCSX. Like I said, that would be going “all out”. 😉

    As far as Raiden goes, you can’t go wrong either way. Aces is technically three games in one, so you could consider that “more bang for your buck”. Both are great, though.

    I liked 1942 on XBLA quite a bit, though others on the interwebs gave it a lukewarm response. Definitely worth the $10, IMO.

  10. carrotpanic says:

    Indie game pack mid week sale on Steam for $10 includes shmups Bulletcandy, and Gridrunner Revolution + Space Giraffe from Jeff Minter (as well as the pretty neat Galcon Fusion). Link

  11. Tondog says:

    Carrotpanic: I saw you got the indie game pack on Steam. How is it? It seems like a stellar deal, but how are the games in it?

  12. carrotpanic says:

    I like Galcon Fusion quite a bit, that is definitely worth the 2 bucks, would maybe be worth 5 or 10 alone. Space Giraffe is confusing and hard to play with a keyboard, so I’ll retry that with a controller. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Altitude, but that it’s kind of dominated by people who have been playing it for a while. I’ve played Bullet Candy before, it’s a pretty middling Geometry Wars 1 rip off. Definitely excited to try Gridrunner and Super Laser Racer. No interest in the adventure game. In retrospect I probably should have just cherry picked 2-3 games.

  13. Sean says:

    I had about three paragraphs here, but I’ve decided to just send it to DGR as an email. Long story short, Mushihimesama Futari is unbelievably good and you should purchase it immediately if you have even the slightest inclination to do so.

    ISM 2000 Goals:
    1. 1CC Mushihimesama Futari: Regular mode, normal difficulty. Later, I’ll try the harder difficulties.
    2. Wait for my import copy of Espgaluda II to arrive (the regular edition is region-free!!)
    3. Actually play the influx of PS2 games I’ve bought but ignored until now: Mobile Light Force 2, Castle Shikigami 2, R-Type Final, Gradius V
    4. Peruse the huge list of classic shooters on the Virtual Console and contemplate buying a second stick, this time for the Wii.

  14. Sean says:

    Speaking of which, does anybody know if the Wii Hori stick works well with Turbo games? I seem to recall John at least having doubts as to how well any controller could work for Virtual Console Turbo games, as they lack turbo buttons. Forgive me if this was cleared up long ago.

  15. carrotpanic says:

    Super Laser Racer is a pretty fun top down racer. If you like Kirby’s Air Ride, Super Offroad Racing, Galaxy 5000 or other top down racers you should definitely check it out.

    Gridrunner is incredibly strange, yet I couldn’t put it down til I beat it on normal difficulty. It seems like it might be a fun score chase.

  16. deadward says:

    Espgaluda 2 should be here any day, so I’m amped for that.
    I thinking about maybe going back to Omega 5 to 1cc it and maybe beat it more characters… and since it seems to be a theme, Mushi on normal mode is looking like a thing to try.

  17. John says:

    Moe’s got the Hori stick for Wii and says it works great. If it’s like the Classic Controller, two of the buttons should work as turbo buttons.

  18. Ryker XL says:

    Hi my name is Ryker…sigh…and I suck and shmups… If you ever wanna feel like DJI, just challenge me to a shooter and watch me die in 30 seconds. :) That being said, I love that you guys do this and so I will be looking for Raiden Fighters Aces and purchasing Ikaruga on XBL. If anyone knows any esteem-enhancing shmups for guys on the 12 step program like myself, please let me know.

  19. carrotpanic says:

    Mushi F has a pretty easy, yet fun Novice mode (easier bullet patterns, auto bomb when you get hit). In fact, any game with auto bomb is a little friendlier.

  20. MNGwinn says:

    Ryker, I also suck at shmups, and my experience with Ikaruga is that it’s not really a good game for people like us. Brilliant, but way too hard.

  21. carrotpanic says:

    Ikaruga has the dodging requirements of a bullet hell shmup combined with the memorization requirements of an old school shmup like R-Type–resulting in a very difficult game. It’s not my favorite, but at 10 bucks it’s hard to recommend against it. Plus, it’s beautiful.

  22. Ryker XL says:

    MNGwinn, yeah I thought the demo for Ikaruga was pretty hard, but the price and accesability were excellent. Mushi F sounds great, but that’s a lot of coin for a hack like myself. Willing to trade perhaps…

  23. deadward says:

    I love Ikaruga, but I am not wired correctly to ever actually finish that game. If I fuck up the tiniest bit on the pattern I have in my head my fingers hit the restart of their own accord. Needless to say, I rarely even make it to the second level… I’d actually say that Ikaruga is worth the $10 just to download and watch the replays from the top of the leaderboard.
    For XBLA stuff, Triggerheart Excelica might be a little more approachable. It also has a neat mechanic besides just shooting at things… Not nearly as pretty, but not quite so overwhelming either.

  24. Arvandor says:

    Oh hell, I almost forgot it was March already! Badass! I actually haven’t played any shmups since Mushi Futari came out. Time for that to change. I think I might even call in with my intentions for the month, and update from there.

  25. Ian (DJI) says:

    @Ryker XL
    Platypus. Indie games.
    I made a game with zombies. Indie games.
    Mushi Futari Arrange mode
    Triggerheart on Easy. Destroyable bullets. Just throw everything forward.
    Omega Five . Mash teleport as Tempest

Leave a Reply