Masculinity can be defined by two aspects: the cocktail adrenalin+ testosterone added to the liking for shooters.
Shooters, generally on a coin-op platform, were a dominant genre in the realm of early videogames. It’s easy to recall Galaxian, or Tempest, one of the first games to bring deepness to game mechanics. I would like to highlight one among them: Robotron 2084, the first game I ever knew that needed two joysticks to be used simultaneously, one for movement and the other for shooting.
And here comes the doubt: what happens to these new generations, full of adrenalin and testosterone, which have the opportunity to show their virility through X-Box Live, full of players from accross the world? Well, it seems that we’re resurrecting dead ones, and the Xbox community can play Robotron. Obviously, if you don’t know the old version, perhaps because you are not into retro-gaming, you can now play the new version, vitamined with lots of shaders and polygons in the new 360. We talk of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. What makes this game so different to RB-2084? I don´t really know but, in all its apparent simplicity, it’s quite a success…
Maybe the secret lies in a beer-proof dynamic?
1.If it moves, shoot it down.
2.If it shines with a colourful halo, it’s a power-up.
3.If it takes up more than half the screen, it’s a level Boss.
Maybe the key is a defy/reward mechanism, linked to the score?
Maybe in a control scheme which rarely involves more than two directions and two buttons for shooting?
I don’t want to sound pretentious with comments on the cyclic nature of fashion and the dishearting (im)maturity of the user. I would simply like to remark that there’s a new wave of shooter games, that the genre is far away from exhaustion and that there’s room for it in the current über-platforms. And also, that this may be perhaps the best genre to play some quick games when you just returned home and you’re worn out from working.
A professional game designer once told us: if you want to enter the business, make a spaceships’ game and send it as your demo. That was an interesting comment. Not only you can try to find a job within a professional company, maybe people will play you too.
Related Article: a-shmup-is-a-shmup-is-a-shmup
-This article has been translated from the original in spanish, which you can find here.