as a graduate goalkeeper and lifelong gamer, I can tell you that none of the fights you see on screen in video games match the ones you can find in real life.
For example, street fighters rarely kick unless their intended target is already horizontal. On the British university campus where I work as a security guard, and where alcohol, 18-year-olds and big passions can sometimes explosively combine, the last kicker I encountered was a drunken girl attacking the rear-view mirror of a parked car.
Actually pressing “continue” to keep the fight takes weeks of healing, not just pressing a button.
But none of that means you don’t enjoy a good fighting game. In fact, making my way through 1998 altered beast and 1989 River City Rescue it certainly helped shape my career choice.
That’s why it’s also been a lot of fun to see the genre enjoying a resurgence thanks to games like fight and rage or the brand new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Shredder’s Revenge. The sheer amount of detail packed into those games got me thinking about how all the alley levels and warehouse boss fights can sometimes mirror the smashed bottle attacks, gang confrontations, and flying furniture I tend to at my job.
Real-life violence is never engaging, and it’s certainly not nearly as rewarding as a game. But the best beat’em-ups deliver gameplay moments that can be just as impressive, stupid, and weirdly realistic as hits thrown offline. Here are some of them.
double dragon (1987)
The story of your character fighting to avenge his girlfriend’s kidnapping is much neater than the violent love triangles I’ve encountered at work.
Take for example the girl who had a fight with her neighbor, and who called her boyfriend to come over and beat her up. When the guy arrived, he was so drunk that he only made it halfway down the trail before collapsing. My fellow guards administered first aid until the girlfriend ran, she slapped him until she noticed and took him away.
At this point, the guy remembered what he was there for and duly ripped his shirt off, throwing it on top of his target’s car. Then he realized that he had the wrong vehicle.
battle toads (1991)
“I don’t think we’re going to come close to having moves like that,” observes Brett Jones, a fellow goalkeeper and private in the British Army Reserve. But there are similarities between his duties and the stunts of the NES Battletoads heroes: both are used to dressing in green and fighting their way through hostile territory.