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Insights from the gaming industry
Shooter games are a subgenre of action game, which often test the player's speed and reaction time. It includes many subgenres that have the commonality of focusing on the actions of the avatar using some sort of weapons. Usually this weapon is a gun or some other long-range weapon. A common resource found in many shooter games is ammunition. Most commonly, the purpose of a shooter game is to shoot opponents and proceed through missions without the player character being killed or dying. A shooting game is a genre of video game where the player has limited spatial control of his or her character, and the focus is almost entirely on the defeat of the character's enemies using long-range weaponry.
Shooting gallery games include light gun games, although many can also be played using a regular joypad and an on-screen cursor to signify where the bullets are being aimed. When these debuted, they were typically played from a first-person perspective, with enemy fire that occurred anywhere on the screen damaging or killing the player. As they evolved away from the use of light guns, the player came to be represented by an on-screen avatar, usually someone on the bottom of the screen, who could move and avoid enemy attacks while returning fire. These sorts of shooters almost always utilize horizontal scrolling to the right to indicate level progression, with enemies appearing in waves from predestined locations in the background or from the sides. One of the earliest examples is the 1985 arcade game Shootout produced by Data East.
A specific subgenre of this type of game is the Cabal shooter, named for the game Cabal, in which the player controls an on-screen avatar that can run and often jump around the screen in addition to being able to aim their gun. Other games in this subgenre include Blood Bros., Dynamite Duke, NAM-1975, Wild Guns, and Sin and Punishment.
As light gun games became more prevalent and started to make use of fully 3D backgrounds, such as the Time Crisis or House of the Dead series, these sorts of games fell out of popular production, but many like Blood Bros. still have their fanbase today. Other notable games of this category include Operation Wolf and Laser Invasion.