Believe it or not, the arcades were once a great place to hang out and play really cool video games. Back in the day, ticket games were only a very small attraction at arcades, as opposed to modern times when every arcade is now filled with crane games, quarter flippers and “stop the flashing light and WIN!” games. Of course, the arcades haven’t totally turned their back on the video games as evidenced by the presence of rundown machines like 18 Wheeler, Virtua Fighter and Police 911.
I enjoyed the fighting games, weird early 80s games and shooter games as much as anyone else, but my first love was and still is the beat’em up genre, where you continuously walked from one end of the screen to the other, giving anyone who stood in your way a taste of lethal bare knuckle street justice!
Here’s my absolute favorites of the genre, which I played CONSTANTLY “back in the day” and also a few that I’ve come to love in the last few years. Oh, and for the sake of not having a really long list (it’s already so big I’m cutting this into two parts), I won’t be including the hack ‘n’ slash genre which is very similar to beat’em ups, but had more of a fantasy/RPG element to it with, you guessed it, hacking and slashing with swords and what have you.
The Punisher (1993, Capcom)
This game is so fun. Just like with the Punisher comics, the violence is very over the top and I love it. Guns, swords, knives, bats, fire extinguishers, just about every you would want is a weapon in this game and you can even beat up the scenery, which is something I like to see in my beat’em ups.
Another cool bit is that you could also play through the game as Nick Fury if you chose to do so.
Kingpin is the game’s final boss.