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Once a staple of the gaming industry, Vertical Scrolling Shooter games are rather rare since the latter half of the 1990s.

As the name suggests, the game's playfield constantly scrolls vertically over the course of a level, giving a top-down view of the action. The most common use of such an engine has been for games with some kind of spacecraft or plane, although a number of games were based on roads with the player controlling a car.

Most such games had the player collect health, lives and weapons as powerups in the levels, although some allowed the player to make purchases with their points between levels.

Complexity varies by having different numbers of layers of parallax and in some cases, transparency effects, such as translucent explosions.

Many vertical scrolling shooters were designed for arcade machines with screens taller than they are wide, which causes technical problems when playing them on home systems where TV screens/monitors are invariably wider than they are tall. To accommodate this difference, some home versions have an option to alter the orientation of the video output, requiring the display to be tilted 90 degrees, or, failing that, the player's head; this is known as "tate" mode (not short for "rotate" but the Japanese word for vertical). The alternative, "yoko" (horizontal) mode, allows the display to retain its usual orientation at the expense of having the playing field truncated, zoomed out, squashed or scrolled back and forth.

Compare Horizontal Scrolling Shooter. Bullet Hell is a subgenre of this.

Tropes used in Vertical Scrolling Shooter include: