Video games have been around for a little over thirty years. People have seen everything from racing games to dating simulators. There is nothing that has not been done before within the gaming universe. With all that gaming offers, is it possible for a specific gaming genre to become outdated? Do Baltimore gamers even care if games in a particular genre never get made again?
The beat em up genre is one that plagued arcades and consoles in the late eighties into the early nineties. Games such as Double Dragon, Streets of Rage, and Golden Axe will always be remembered. Playing through some of these franchises again via PlayStation Network, it is safe to say that the beat em up genre is archaic. The movesets for characters are very small. There are only about two to three things a character can do in each of these franchises. There is a physical attack combo that each character can do. Characters also have some kind of super move that takes massive damage to enemies, but it almost always ends up hurting the player as well. Finally, there is always some type of throw move that a player can perform. These three moves that define all games within the beat em up genre are not enough to stand the test of time. Most beat em up games today tend to get boring after about twenty minutes.
A game like Scott Pilgrim Versus the World tried to make the genre feel fresh again, but it failed to do so. The developers gave the game a cool art style along with upgradable movesets, but these things can only have so much appeal. The game is a beat em up at heart, and the repetitiveness eventually became apparent. Having to beat levels again and again so that a character is strong enough to progress through the game is not fun. The game also has an awesome retro sounding soundtrack. Every song is pretty great, but songs alone cannot make a game awesome. Scott Pilgrim failed not because the game itself was terrible, but because the beat em up genre is dated.
The beat em up genre will always hold a special place in the hearts of many people, but that does not mean it should be revived. Some things are better off remaining a pleasant memory. It is sad to see a genre that cannot be remade into something that can be enjoyed by people in the present, but sometimes that is just how things are.