Author Topic: The View From the Outside: Bullet Hell games  (Read 184 times)

Offline EOJ

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The View From the Outside: Bullet Hell games
« on: January 11, 2020, 05:33:44 PM »
https://www.resetera.com/threads/to-those-of-you-who-like-shmups-but-dislike-bullet-hell-why.164208/

A very interesting look into what your average gamer thinks of these games.
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Offline Queen Charlene

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Re: The View From the Outside: Bullet Hell games
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2020, 08:10:49 PM »
i can see and understand their points of view, but i do wonder if maybe most of these people just haven't played around with the genre enough? i see criticisms like "the levels don't matter, it's all dodging" and "there are no upgrades" and stuff like that, but i've found that to only really be true in like... Touhou games. DDP DFK and Crimzon Clover are both games that actually feature interesting level design and have mechanics in play that allow you to temporarily upgrade your firepower, which i think is more strategically interesting than collecting "P" capsules, personally. i found that i too felt like bullet hells were just impossible messes with minimal design or thought behind them until i played DFK, CC, Ketsui, even games like Raiden Fighters you could argue fall into the danmaku genre in the later half of the game. hell, one person even brought up levels of DDP as examples of good STG design, but we all know that DDP is a bullet hell -- it just does a good job of easing you in before it beats your ass, lol.

"i don't have time to develop the mastery over the genre" is also another one that i hear a lot, and it reminds me of what people say about fighting games -- "you have to grind all day every day to get good" -- but i don't think that's true either. i think it's more about how you invest your time into practicing and playing. even 10-20 minutes every other day will help you develop the abilities you need to approach proficiency in the genre.

i will say one thing against a lot of danmaku games though; many of them do not explain themselves very well, if at all. when i started grinding DFK 1.5, i had to cross-check so many different sources just to learn how the game functioned and how people were playing and taking advantage of the score systems. then jumping into DFK Black Label, i found that the scoring system in the two games, and the way you earned score, were WILDLY different. then you play DFK Arrange A or Black Label Arrange and it changes even further (now the focus is on bee collection, or on using hypers to generate tons of chips/stars, or using this specific weapon only in these specific situations). i have experienced this same situation with so many games in the genre that it almost feels like every time i want to pick up a new game, i have to go read five articles about it or look for a wiki that explains the mechanics. it's not exactly the most immediately accessible sub-genre in the world in that sense, although you don't really have to play for score if you don't want to.

i do think that the average gamer tends to have a different mentality when it comes to playing games though. i think most of them think of games more like popcorn you just throw in your mouth and eat, rather than like, a 4-course meal that you approach one bite at a time.

average gamers for the most part want to jump in, start doing cool stuff immediately, and not really feel too challenged by the games they play... which is sort of ironic, considering how many people prefer "original-style" STGs that more often than not require far more memorization and practice than a danmaku in the later half of the game. at least with most danmaku, you can react to the bullet spreads and make strategic positioning decisions much more efficiently, and the only thing you really have to learn is how small your hitbox is, how small the bullet hitboxes are, and what patterns are coming at you. an old-school STG, on the other hand, will blast you with a cluster of bullets at 90mph and although to a degree you can react, you also just sort of have to know and anticipate what's coming and where and position yourself ahead of time. and really, in this way, the danmaku ends up actually looking a little easier than your traditional shooter. at least, that's how i see it.


anyway, i think this is a pretty interesting discussion. i truly think that a lot more people would enjoy danmaku-style games if they just browsed around a bit and tried out a bunch of different games. just because you don't like Call of Duty doesn't mean that the whole genre of FPSs are exactly the same. unfortunately i don't think most gamers are interested in expanding their horizons to newer pastures or trying things that look too scary or different to what they're used to, which is fine, but kind of a bummer.
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