This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting up with some friends at the notorious Casino Arcade on Londons Tottenham Court Road. Recently some new shmups had been installed that we all wanted to play.
Now shmups (or shoot-em-ups) is a genre that has had it's day. At one time names like Raiden, R-Type and Gradius were as well known as the 2D fighting games Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and King of Fighters. How times have changed.
During the 16-bit era, shmups were as common as first person shooters are today and it was these very games that truly pushed the capabilities of home systems but the advent of 3D saw the trusty shmup fall out of favour with all but a hardcore following in the west. However all was not lost as in Japan a number of companies continued to produce shooters as each new generation of consoles came and went. It was games by one of these companies; Cave, that I had gone to Casino Arcade to play. The legendary Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu and Death Smiles. Myself and my friends had a great few hours playing these games and we even met a few new fans of the genre so a successful day was had by all. Near the end of the day the few of us that were left wandered into the Trocadero to watch one of our number complete the lightgun game Ghost Squad on its highest difficulty (just because he can!). I also managed a couple of sneaky credits of Ferrari F355 Challenge and an old irem shmup i can never remember the name of.
I love arcades, the few true arcades that are left should be treasured by all, for it was in this environment that the hobby we love was born. To truly experience the social aspect of gaming never mind Xbox Live or the PSN it is in the few remaining arcades that have weekly fighter competitions or where the few shmup fans left gather to play the latest Cave games or where can be found men in their forties still attempting to beat high scores that have eluded them for 25 years.
Here is a Link to the videos made of SMRAEDIS's Almost perfect run of Ghost Squad filmed by Chi.