Shmup is a genre of game where you shoot many enemies while dodging bullets. These are the usual features of a shmup (with all of them there are exceptions of course):
-You are controlling a ship or vehicle of some kind. -The screen automaticaly scrolls, and you must take on enemies as they come--however there are many shmups where the screen does not move, especially older ones where the games couldn't scroll. -You can get powerups which will protect your ship or allow you to destroy enemy ships more easily--this one also has many exceptions, especially with older shmups. -One hit will kill you. -The game has a third-person perspective, either from the side or from above. -Many enemies and bullets come at you at a fast pace. -Enemies come at you in a predetermined pattern. -Winning the game depends on fast reflexes, and shooting lots of enemies.
Some famous shmups: -Space Invaders -Galaga -Xevious -Gradius -1942 -Zaxxon -Ikaruga -Star Wars (original arcade game)
Some games that could be considered shmups, but often are considered to not quite fit the genre for one reason or another:
-Asteroid. It has you piloting a ship and shooting, but instead of enemies you're hitting rocks that split into smaller pieces. -Defender. It had you piloting a ship and shooting enemies, but gave you a lot of free movement allowing you take the enemies on your own terms. -"Rail shooters" like Starfox. These really could be considered shmups, but they tend to focus more on piloting/movement, and less on shooting. -Star Wars (arcade game). Similar in many ways, but some parts play more like a space simulator or rail shooter than a traditional shmup. Also the game is a first-person perspective. -"Run and Gun" games like Contra. These are usually not considered shmups because they allow you freedom to move and scroll the screen as you wish, and many of them (especially Contra) play like platformers in some ways.
Hey mods, this might be a good topic to sticky (*nudge nudge*)
Sticky Requested. --- When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up. - C. S. Lewis Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. - Albert Einstein
You know, I bet that even though this sticky is here, someone will still make a topic before too long asking what a shmup is. Some people are just that lazy that they can't even glance at the name of a sticky topic for two seconds.
Won't change this line until revisionist history is abolished. Started: 7/13/85 S&R Social: http://boards.gamefaqs.com/gfaqs/gentopic.php?board=571806
Maybe the gameplay of a run and gun is closer to that of a platformer, but you get more shmuppers playing them than your average platform player. I think the ethos behind a run and gun is more shmup like in the way they are very unforgiving, intense and take a lot of concentration.