HG101 Guide to Shoot Em Ups
Image: Nintendo Life

One of the most pleasing aspects of the Switch's success is how the platform has become a bastion of old-school gaming goodness. We've likened it to an arcade you can carry around with you, and, due to the popularity of the Arcade Archives series – not to mention a flood of other classic titles – Switch is the perfect way to bridge the divide between old games and new.

As a result of this, the machine has become home to many fine examples of the 'shmup' genre, and the fact that it can be played in 'TATE' mode (with the help of the excellent Flip Grip accessory) has endeared it to fans of shooters even more. With this in mind, we thought it might be a good idea to briefly shine a spotlight on Hardcore Gaming 101's superb 'Guide to Shoot Em Ups' series of books, which is currently up to its second volume, with a third in the works.

Both volumes feature stunning covers illustrated by Michael Brennan, and are roughly categorised by company. For example, volume one covers shmups by the likes of Compile, Technosoft, Irem and Success, as well as throwing in a few one-offs like Steel Empire and Insector X. Volume two, on the other hand, focuses on the efforts of the legendary Toaplan, as well as Video System, Raizing and Psikyo. Volume three is expected to include the works of Cave, Capcom and Takumi.

Given the calibre of the names mentioned, it goes without saying that some of the great shooters ever made are referenced in these pages, including the likes of R-Type, Aleste, Thunder Force, Cotton, Tatsujin, Batsugun, Battle Garegga, Strikers 1945 and many, many more. While not all of these are available on Switch at present, a lot of them are – which makes these two volumes essential reading for any self-respecting shmup owner with a Switch.

There are some omissions that might initially seem puzzling, such as Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun, Gradius and Axelay, but the reason for this is simple enough – those games are already covered elsewhere in Hardcore Gaming 101's library of physical books, so featuring them here would simply be duplicating content. If you're not looking to buy every one of Hardcore Gaming's books then this might be a slight annoyance, but they're so fantastic we can't imagine you'll want to stop with these two volumes alone.

Simply put, if you're a shmup fan and you want to learn more about the best examples of the genre, these books make for essential reading.

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