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Space Shooting Games: What You Should Know About This Classic

History of Space Shooters

Space shooters have been around for quite some time. The game has existed for well over half a century. History has it that space shooters became a thing in the days of classic arcade games where it gradually replaced Pinball machines in the 60s. Spacewar debuted in 1962, thereby marking the beginning of a period. Space shooters are some of the earliest video games ever developed. Steve Russell designed the code, which enabled the game to run on DEC PDP-1 minicomputers. The game failed to rank up in terms of reputation with other subsequent titles due to the limited availability of these compatible machines that facilitates its running.

In the 70s, Space Invaders took over the global market, raking in over $600 million in Japan alone in its early days. It was available on arcade machines, which directly translates to it being open to a larger pool of players. Space shooting games left a mark on the young people of the 70s era, and to this day, Space Invaders is regarded as one of the best games ever developed.

The 80s was a significant era for space shooting games because this period saw many innovations brought to the genre. The popular game, Contra, from 1987, widened the array of weapons available to the player and the enemies encountered during gameplay. In that decade, space shooters invariably ranked among the top deliveries in the industry market.

Standard Features of Space Shooting Games

The 2D perspective is a popular aspect of the space shooter design element. The layout of the space shooting game is almost always simple. Peculiar to this subgenre of the arcade game is the movement of the player across a sci-fi map. A significant part of the game is playable in an outer space setting. 

However, some actions and stages are playable in strange-looking planets/environments. While we can regard these features as the standard features of space shooting games, some experts argue what makes up space shooters. 

Some experts maintain that only games staged in a sci-fi environment are worthy of being categorized as space shooting games. Other experts, on the other hand, take a much broader stance clamoring that other Japanese exploratory games be a part of the same category.

Sub-Divisions of Space Shooters

The existence of a continually moving market orchestrates the need for different game genres to change with time. No single game genre stays the same forever. Space shooters don't work differently from the vast majority of games in the industry. As time passes, space shooters evolve with the market in different ways. Development of subdivisions within the arcade game genre,  taking various appearances, and merging styles of play peculiar to other games are some of the aspects where these changes are evident.

Space shooters have been different over the years. The earliest model had static players where the movement was highly limited. Rail shooters are ones where the player stays on a static path. Others put the player in a fictitious canal. Some make use of the 3D engine to allow for movement in multiple directions.

Space shooters are somewhat easy to merge with other genres due to their comparative simplicity. Blending space shooters with another style inadvertently births a fascinating mix that appeals to a broader audience.

How Is It Played?

Space shooters are somewhat different from a typical action game. Its conventional setting is often one in a sci-fi environment. The player usually appears like a spacecraft or something close to it. Players need no skillset or strategy to advance in the game. The levels surpassed or points amassed are the basis for judgment of players' progress. 

The player has to shoot up enemies as much as possible before being crowded out. The game provides a perspective view where the player can see approaching enemies clearly and on time. Having this kind of outlook is crucial for the survival of the player as the enemies very much likely attack at a fast pace. Recently, newer versions of space shooters make use of the 3D, but the vast majority still sticks to their 2D engine.

Current Reality of Space Shooters in the Gaming Industry

Space shooters started getting relegated to the sidelines in the gaming industry in the late 90s. The making of other games with more elaborate details and storylines was the reason for the relegation. However, various innovations have helped the space shooter games stay afloat on multiple platforms in the market in terms of recent development. The rise of mobile phones proved pivotal to the genre as it helped introduce the style to younger people. Traditional space shooters were some of the earliest games to get on mobile phones due to their low technical demands. Space shooters remain one of the most popular apps on smartphones across the globe despite being around for more than half a century.

Many people find it intriguing to enjoy this simple and fast-paced action game, which doesn't involve any form of brain strain, despite its popular features. If you're looking to explore some of these space shooter games, consider checking out our list of the Best Space Shooting Games

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