Launcher Quote: “JUNE 9, 605032
REALM COMMIT 9492-2948
FROM THE BLOODSPACE NOW A BETRAYER COMES
REALM COMMIT 9438-2842
IN OUR ABSOLUTION WILL WE MEET HER
REALM COMMIT 9483-1945
THE HOLES WE TAKE GIVE NEEDED SPACE
REALM COMMIT 9482-1294
LOCK PURGE – REPEAT – COMPLETE”
Unifying and consistent themes when it comes to certain old school game genres are always interesting to see to me, even if people find them just a little bit repetitive on some level. When it comes to the shmup genre, I’ve always taken solace in the fact that inevitably, many of them focus in on science-fiction-y or technology elements. These either focus on aliens or artificial intelligence gone wrong, resulting in an overwhelming army of targets following the same flight patterns punctuated by the occasional floating enemy and of course, the boss that takes multiple shots and an exact accurate weak spot to fire on. And of course, a lot of dodging of bullets, missiles, and other projectiles.
Playing this one from the Meditation Games series reminded me of the AI element of that genre, from the launcher quote used to the enemies to the presentation of you the player – all of it contributed to an idea that I was fighting a bunch of automatons in a post-apocalyptic mechanical empire and I was humanity’s only hope. I did have a bit of trouble running the game (and thus, taking a screenshot, which I remedied by hitting up the developer’s Twitter), as my antivirus freaked out over it executing, but even though it was likely to be unintentional I found that to be a slightly amusing meta side effect, as if the game itself was an insidious AI looking to overtake my desktop machine.
All that aside, shmups have always been satisfying to me because of the fact that achieving the stage goals by defeating bosses, learning the mechanics as you elegantly dodge and dive while shooting, and challenging myself by re-running stages to get greater rewards means it’s one of those types of games you can play without really having to think too much. Many of us play games as a form of light escapism, or a way to try to get your brain a break from what are no doubt important things going on in life and in work, so it’s nice to be able to just concentrate on shooting fictional evil AI targets and saving the world from their robot-based domination.