Normally, Sega's GIGO Center in Ikebukuro, north west of Tokyo, is just a really big arcade. Earlier this year, however, it hosted the 3 Big Shooting Festa and became the war room for a tiny section of the Japanese game industry. The enemy? The current ideological trend of 'making games for the west'. The symbol for this doomed revolution? A lone, pixellated spaceship.
Recent years have seen a huge number of shooter remakes, plus repackaging and some toe-dipping into the possibilities of download services, from an increasingly embattled group of small specialist developers. The 3 Big Shooting Festa served to illustrate that the genre still has its own big names and, more importantly, ongoing releases. Though largely down to a coincidence of delays and scheduling, the event celebrated the release of three additions to some classic series: the Fantasy Zone Complete Collection and Thunder Force VI on PS2, plus Raiden IV on Xbox 360.