Because, believe it or not, the people who designed some of the world's best scrolling shoot 'em ups, including Ikaruga, Gradius V and Radiant Silvergun, claim to have never seen the abbreviated term "shmup" used to describe their games before.
So says Masato Maegawa, president of Treasure and producer on the company's latest bullet-filled video game, SIn & Punishment: Star Successor for Wii. We were curious if they use the shortened description internally and this was their response.
"We knew the word 'shoot'em up' for 'shooting' or 'shu-thingu' in Japanese or 'beat'em up' for 'fighting' or 'kakuto-,' but we have never seen 'shmup' before," Maegawa said in a quick Q&A with the developer. So, stick to "shoot 'em up" or "shu-thingu" if you happen to run into any of them on the street.
The developers of the new Sin & Punishment, a sequel to the Nintendo 64 game released in Japan in 2000, talked about their inspiration for revisiting the game with us and their plans for the future.
On the decision to make another Sin & Punishment, this time for the Wii, Treasure said they started with the system's unique controller. "We decided that the Wii Remote was the most suitable controller for the game. It actually inspired us to make the game. More than any other controller, it offers an interface that is best suited to the game's style of play."
Star Successor may not be the only Wii game the Japanese developer has in mind for Nintendo's console.
"Really, any of our games would be suitable for sequels on Wii," Maegawa said. "We do want to consider the possibilities for new properties and sequels equally, but if there are games that fans would especially like to see a sequel for, we will listen to their feedback." (Please feel free to rattle off your Treasure wish list in the comments immediately.)
As for Nintendo's latest piece of hardware, Treasure offers its non-committal thoughts on developing a game for the Nintendo 3DS.
"We think 3D is interesting as a form of video game production but in regard to shoot-em ups, standard 2D remains an easier platform for that type of gameplay," Maegawa said. "I think making a successful shoot-em up in the future on 3D formats will involve elements from both paths."
And the Wii Vitality Sensor? Given the fast-paced bullet-filled action of its previous games, is there something more calming they'd like to work on?
"We did not have any ideas of integrating the Wii Vitality Sensor during the development of Star Successor, but I think that's an interesting idea," Maegawa said. "We might be able to find a possibility for a totally new shooting experience after we have actually tried it, and can consider how we could integrate it into our games."
Finally, for any hardcore shooting game fans who may worry that Treasure is getting soft for its first Wii shooter—or noobs who might be intimidated by all those bullets—Nintendo supervisor Yurie Hattori has this to say.
"Thanks to the many hours of play testing by Nintendo, all difficulty levels – Easy, Normal and Hard – are well-tuned to be enjoyable by different types of players. We believe any kind of player can beat Easy mode if they are willing to try stages more than once and learn as they play. Even Hard mode can be beaten by shoot-em-up veterans if they build a solid base of tactics."
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor shoots its way to North American store shelves on Sunday, June 27.