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About

Caravan Stage is a small tribute to my favorite type of game, the caravan shooter. There are varying opinions on what is and isn't a caravan shooter, but I loosely define it as a vertical shooter made after Star Force with a science fiction or fantasy theme, items to increase the power of your shots, and an emphasis on the player's ability to clear the objects onscreen, rather than dodging massive enemy fire as in a bullet hell shooter. Many developers made games like this in the 1980's and 90's and I hope to cover as many of them as I can. The games section is in chronological order, so you can have an idea of the history and progression of the genre. I know there's a lot of games missing, but I'm going to keep adding to it as I have the time.

Each game's page is intended to be an archive of material related to it, including artwork, music, and video. I'll add to it as I come across it, so these pages will be constantly changing, all updates will be noted on the news page.

The hardware section is a collection of reviews and information about mostly arcade sticks and controllers, from a STG players's perspective. I've found that most stick and controller reviews focus on their usefulness for fighting games, and sometimes what works for them doesn't translate to shooters and vice versa. Hopefully this can be a helpful resource to shooter fans looking for some nice hardware.

In 1989 I turned six, and my birthday present was a TG-16. Before that, my family had a ColecoVision which I used mostly to play a port of an arcade game game called Cosmic Avenger, but I didn't really have that much interest in games. The first game I can really remember wanting was Blazing Lazers. Something about it seemed so different and interesting, it had this feeling of craftsmanship and skill and the joy of creating something fun and beautiful that I had never experienced in games until then. That game more than any other is what sparked my interest in this hobby, and it's been recognized by sources much more authoritative than this as one of the best shooting games ever made. Much later, I found that the caravan shooter during the 80's and 90's was kind of a test of a developer's skill and a way for them to showcase their best talents. These games pushed hardware to the limits and the best ones are joyful expressions of creativity, full of nods to the games that inspired them. They are purely video games, without any of the cinematic grandiosity of today's mass-market games or the self conscious and desperate cargo-cult artiness of some independent games, both trying to convince the user that they are doing anything but playing with a toy.

Caravan shooters are great toys, and I hope this site can turn you on to a game that makes you happy. Have fun!