Chris Buffa (Modojo): Taito's vertical shooter, RayForce, debuted in 1993. To put that in perspective, I graduated eighth grade (I'm 33), Bill Clinton had just stepped into the Oval Office and Jurassic Park was the top grossing movie.
This was also a time when gamers worshipped shoot-em-ups by obsessively pumping quarters into arcade machines in the desperate hope of beating high scores. Doing so required cat-like reflexes and acute memorization of bullet and boss patterns. These games didn't reward you with princesses and gold coins. They pounded you into submission, suggesting the developers took sick pleasure in making people suffer.