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Shooting games have a long and storied history, with many innovations in mechanics along the way. This page aims to chronicle the evolution of shooting games and their mechanics.

History of Mechanics


Grazing is a mechanic in which some effect is produced by getting extremely close to, but not touching, enemy bullets. Grazing may be used in games to increase score, provide items, or even slow down bullets, among other effects.

To this author's knowledge, the first appearance of grazing in the traditional sense was in NMK's unreleased 1995 game Uchuu Sensou. In this game, being close to enemies or bullets awards a score bonus, and has a short cool down period. Every 8 graze bonuses, the score bonus increases in value, from 1000 to 8000, in steps of 1000. The bonus would reset on death.[1]

The author believes the first instance of grazing in a commercially released game was in Seibu Kaihatsu's 1996 game Raiden Fighters, in which points are awarded every frame while the player is sufficiently close to bullets. It's possible that their earlier game Raiden DX (1994) served as the prototype for the grazing mechanic with its GUTS system, which rates the player (and awards a related bonus) for playing dangerously, which factors in bullet proximity.

Grazing is a large part of the overall game system in Success's Psyvariar series, as well as many of the games in the Touhou series.

Hyper System

Hyper system is a mechanic in which the player can spend a gauge or power-up that grants them increased power, invulnerability, or various other enhancements for a limited time.

To this author's knowledge, the first appearance of a hyper system was in the location test version of NMK's 1995 game P-47 Aces. This version of the game did not have bombs, but instead had a hyper system that would build when collecting excess power ups. Engaging the hyper system made the player invulnerable, have stronger attacks, and allow dealing damage by bumping enemies.[2] In the final version of the game, hypers were removed for a more orthodox bomb system.

The author believes that the first appearance in a commercial version of a game was CAVE's 2002 game DoDonPachi DaiOuJou. The hyper system in DaiOuJou was based on a prototype of sorts in CAVE's 1997 game DoDonPachi Campaign Version, a special revision of the original DoDonPachi that was not normally released. In these games, engaging the hyper system cleared the screen of bullets, made the player significantly stronger, and increased scoring capability, while also increasing the base difficulty of the game.

References & Contributions

  1. Original research by trap15, see http://ton.5ch.net/test/read.cgi/retro/983805176/80 for more details on Uchuu Sensou
  2. Game Urara Vol.1 pg.93 (NSFW warning) https://archive.org/details/gameurara-vol1-1995-600DPI/page/n92/mode/1up