What is an STG?

In a sentence, an STG (short for ShooTing Game, also known as a “shoot-em-up” or “shmup”) is a type of game where the player pilots a ship or other type of flying craft, and shoots down enemies while dodging bullets.

However, this sentence alone does not capture what’s special about the genre. Because of their roots in the arcade, STGs tend to be games that are easy to pick up and learn, but hard to master. They are games where what you get out is proportional to what you put into it - on one hand, it’s very easy for anyone to throw in a few credits and have a blast shooting at everything that moves on the screen. However, if you decide to spend some more time with the genre, you will find that a lot of meticulous planning is required to overcome the hardest obstacles without dying. Games are designed to be cleared using no continues and achieving a 1 Credit Clear, or 1CC, is what most STG players want to achieve. Little by little you make it farther with each attempt, and while by the final stage most games can seem impossible, this only makes the victory sweeter once you finally manage to take down that final boss for the 1CC, or once you get that high score you’ve been aiming for.

It’s this quality - a simple design that has so much depth and room for personal improvement - that makes the genre so appealing to so many players, both casual and hardcore.

Northwest scene

We are a group of STG players located in the Pacific Northwest (primarily around the Seattle area). Although we are a fairly small group, we meet up regularly every week at our local arcade at Full Tilt Ice Cream in Ballard. In addition we host larger meets usually once every month or two where we all get together to hang out, try new games, share strategies and hold friendly competitions.

If you would like to learn more about the Northwest STG crew, reach out to us on Twitter. In addition, we also have a Twitch channel where we have started to do streaming of our meets. We’re all a friendly bunch of folks, so you’re at all interested in STGs then we encourage you to participate with us, either by saying hi in person or by checking out our streams!

More information

Shmups forum

STG Weekly

Japon: Histoire du Shooting Game

100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience