Brawlers. Beat-'em-ups. Belt scrollers. Call them what you want, but they ruled the arcades in the late '80s and early '90s. Technos' Double Dragon ignited the craze back in 1987, and Capcom's Final Fight set the template for things to come. The genre saw its peak with top-notch releases like The Punisher and Alien vs. Predator, and Konami-produced efforts like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons, and X-Men are fondly remembered today.
Somewhere along the line, though, the beat-'em-up genre's popularity faded. Later console-born efforts like Final Fight Streetwise and Beat Down met with mixed results, and despite multiple cancelled reboot attempts, Sega has yet to relaunch its once-popular Streets of Rage series.
Recently, Wayforward's Double Dragon Neon turned heads thanks to its intentionally cheesy '80s aesthetic, but despite the game's success on multiple fronts, it failed to impress some critics. To them, the brawler is outdated -- a genre that has no place in today's gaming landscape. We intend to prove them wrong.
For our latest Game Design Challenge, we challenged our readers to design a brawler that suits modern tastes. Here are our top picks.
Andrew Alfonso, Localization Director at Capcom Japan, Pub Crawl (see page 2)
Bernard John (B.J.) Badger, Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy Alumnus, Captain N: The Game-Master (see page 3)
Chris Mendle, Independent Game Developer, Rasputin Junior (see page 4)
Bo Banducci, Game Designer at Philosophy Major Studios, They're All Mine (see page 5)
Richard Doyle, Ethan Tonelli and Phillip Lien, QANTM Sydney Game Design Graduates, Outcasts (see page 6)