Images that Defined Gaming – Vertical Gaming

February 8th, 2008

Images that Defined Gaming is a featured series showcasing the various images that changed the way we thought about gaming, the characters and franchises within it. To view more entries in this series click here.

Theres been a bit of fuss lately about gaming monitors, a few weeks back we saw images of the awesome AlienWare curved monitor and many months ago I posted up a screenshot of this new ‘Surround Gaming’ phenomena. Sure, these monitors definitely look awesome but they’re not quite as awesome as vertical gaming:

cruved multi monitor

Vertical gaming is just as it sounds; video games played vertically instead of in your typical horizontal fashion. One genre that works brilliantly in a vertical perspective is the shoot-em up genre.

Not surprisingly there aren’t a lot of games that support vertical play. The only one that I am familiar with is the legendary Ikaruga (pictured) on the Dreamcast and Gamecube.

ikaruga vertical

You’re probably wondering why someone would go to the trouble of buying a vertical only television or monitor just to play one game. Sure its great for shoot em ups but its not like every monitor is built vertically, they’d be difficult to find and probably quite expensive, right? Actually, quite a few new computer monitors (such as my Dell monitor) can actually be rotated 90 degrees so that they can viewed vertically (for photos and such). So it might surprise you how accessible this phenomena actually is.

If you are interested in trying this out and have a TV or monitor that you think might be rotatable then I have two pieces of advice. Firstly check the product information before you try and move anything because sometimes you can only rotate the base one way. Which leads me to the second point if you can only rotate your TV anti clockwise then I’d probably forget about Ikaruga (once again not sure about other titles). Unfortunately as a result Ikaruga will be displayed upside down and there is no option to change it. You can’t flip the picture in the game’s options hence you might be forced to play upside down. I have heard that they’ll be fixing this for the new Ikargua HD on Xbox Live Arcade though.

I ran into the second problem myself and decided to unscrew my base and flip the rotation plate. Which worked but this isn’t recommended.

Playing Ikaruga vertically is like a dream, I’m only new to shmps but I love not having the huge ugly bars in the horizontal mode. I set the display so that there is only very small bars on the top and bottom. The game is stretched out to high definition too. Its been very exciting so far so I want to following this up with some impressions of the game next time.

  • That’s actually rather cool – I had never heard of vertical games. It does make a difference. It reminds me of those old arcade games where you flew vertically upwards forever, shooting stuff.