Instead of trying to cram everything about a genre into one article, this time I am going to focus on a particular series within the realm of the shoot ‘em up. It is one that started off in arcades and was done in such a way that the home ports never could capture the full experience due to the hardware configuration required. That series is Darius, by Taito.

The original Darius was released in 1986, a time when Japanese developers were asserting their position within the video game industry at large. Scrolling shoot ‘em ups had already enjoyed a bit of success in the business with the likes of 1942 (Capcom), Xevious (Namco) and others; Taito had Space Invaders, although with how technology was progressing, they were looking to impress by doing more than what one would see from a single screen title. And impress they did.

Darius instantly stands out for the arcade cabinet, which has the appearance of using what we would now call an ultra-widescreen display. The arcade allowed them to use the old reflection image trick, where you can set a monitor down on the inside of the cabinet, then using a half-silvered, angled mirror, show the reflection of the image above. By combining this with two other monitors set in place behind the mirror, a unique image was created that ended up being much wider than was possible through the wide CRT tube manufacturing process at that time. While memorable, doing this does make the cabinet bulky and more expensive. However, this also limits competitors trying to do the same thing and leaves home console ports lacking that unique touch.

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