Over the past couple years I’ve made a few arcade friends, but none who seem as fresh to the hobby as myself. Most people I talk to have been playing shmups for 10-15 years. And a lot of the classic collectors were hauling cabinets across the country in the 90s. I’m only recently consumed with games like DonPachi, Espgaluda and Truxton. Others may have cleared these long ago and are working on their second loop. And these games are only getting more expensive — digging around in forum archives it’s obvious at this point what a seller’s market it’s become.
In a short period I’ve managed to build a little collection of decent boards with good replay value, and enough challenge to keep me occupied for years (cause I suck). After almost three months of Espgaluda I was able to reach Jakou’s first phase near the end, though not often enough to progress much further. I considered using MAME save states to focus on problem areas, as some players suggest, and occasionally used the PS2 port, but really neither were as much fun as playing all the way through in front of a cab. At some point I start to itch for another game, ignore the guilt and swap boards.
My current daily credits have been going into Gokujou Parodius (stuck on stage 3) and DonPachi (stage 4). I’d likely have to play far more every day to get to a place I’d be happy with. But who’s got that kinda time?