The appeal of action/beat 'em up games

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#1 Posted by _Judas_ (785 posts) -

When I was younger, I loved games such as Final Fight, Double Dragon, and this silly game [edit: Bad Street Brawler] where you went around as this wrestler-looking dude and fought people in the streets.

Nowadays, I don't see the appeal of these games. I tried some of the DmC-games. I've also seen gameplay from "Ninja Gaiden"-games , "Bayonetta" (latest; the sequel), "Lollipop Chainsaw", "Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance" to name a few. People often like these games, and once I see this I become highly self-concious: have I turned my back on a genre that I used to love? It's just...they all seem like button-mashers to me.

Am I wrong?

I consider trying the "God of War"-series while I wait for better entertainment on the PS4. "Heavenly Sword" is also a game I would try, and what is the best DmC-game?

Please educate me on the matter of action/beat 'em up-games: are they all button-mashers with great graphics, or is there more to it? Is is a love/hate-relationship? What is the appeal?

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#2 Edited by mastermetal777 (3213 posts) -

For me, those kinds of games are about mastering the combat, whether simple (God of War) or complex (Devil May Cry) in order to defeat countless mooks and feel like the ultimate badass.

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#3 Posted by torenojohn7 (510 posts) -

That's because final fight&double dragon are some of the most primitive beat'em'ups!

"they all seem like button-mashers to me"

Now what does that exactly mean? don't you "mash buttons" whenever you play any game? are you implying that there's no skill involved?

Don't judge an entire genre of games just because you saw some videos play them first and then decide for yourself if they're good or not.

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#4 Posted by _Judas_ (785 posts) -

@torenojohn7: Yes, I guess I actually am contemplating that "button-mashers" don't need much skill. BUT don't get me wrong... I am not SAYING or STATING that there are no skills involved, it is merely my opinion, and I ask the community for a more opinions. Instead of telling me that I am generalizing, can you please tell me why I need to play these games? Can you "sell" 'em to me? I am not interested in playing games that are shit... so why don't you tell me your opinion, if you care/mind :) Doing a bit of society-based research before buying a game.

Most games I play aren't button-mashers (the way I see it), Lately I've been playing "Rogue Legacy". This isn't a button-masher. Also been playing "FIFA 14" and "Towerfall", none of these are I consider button-mashers. And last buy not least, The Last of Us... I don't consider this game a button-masher either.

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#6 Posted by Jag85 (10219 posts) -

You've never played Streets of Rage 2 before? You've missed out on (arguably) the greatest beat 'em up of all time. I'd recommend playing that game and re-living the glory days of the beat 'em up genre.

As for modern brawlers, while the likes of God of War or Batman Arkham might be button-mashers, the same cannot be said for the likes of Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden, where button-mashing will get you killed. The DMC/Gaiden school of brawler game design requires mastery of the combat system, and a great deal of skill, to get through.

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#7 Posted by Maddie_Larkin (7378 posts) -

Hmm, Hard to explain It is not my favorite genre, but I do play them, and people prefergenres for different reasons.

For me that kind of genre are nice because you can focus on one thing (the fighting) and Little else. There ate breakups in the flow ofcourse often via boss battles, but it is simply a very relaxing power fantasy thing. Also it is great at venting frustration :P

So for me it is the relaxation that comes with it, it looks mighty nice and I can take alot less Things into considuration. I am sure however that other people have different reasons, some might want to perfect combat, some likes the scores that are often attatched.

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#8 Posted by Planeforger (17133 posts) -

Some of these action games, like Bayonetta for example, certainly aren't button-mashers. They take skill and a lot of practice to master the combat systems and maximise your points in each scenario.

The appeal is...difficult to explain. They're fun to master? Look, just pick up Bayonetta to see what I mean. It should be pretty cheap nowadays, or you could wait for the WiiU bundled version.

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#9 Posted by _Judas_ (785 posts) -

@daforsaken1: Yes! Most console games in the early 90's were fast-paced and with little or no story. This suited me just fine at the time as I didn't understand English very well anyways. I will admit that the amazing-looking boss fights in God of War has intrigued me at times. And I do sometimes feel the urge to play fast games, you know? Yeah, some of those games have notoriety for being very difficult as well (Ninja Gaiden-series). Thanks for your response.

@Jag85 : Streets of Rage I've never played, but there are of course other beat 'em up games I've played but those mentioned above.

I started playing one of the DmC-games... I believe it was maybe DmC 2? I remember a face "morphing" out of a giant building and shooting rays at the player. I actually got tired of that game because the fighting. But I remember being impressed by the graphics... maybe I'll try it again?

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#10 Posted by SovietsUnited (2456 posts) -

There is more to them, and I agree on the love/hate thing - it's not a genre for everyone. They are an evolution of those old brawlers, and require much more skill and faster reflexes to beat on higher difficulties, at least in my opinion. These days, there are two types among them: skillful brawlers like DMC3, Ninja Gaiden or God Hand and spectacle fighters, where the focus is on the scale and spectacle with the cost of somewhat more shallow combat; games like God of War, Lords of Shadow and arguably the new DmC reboot.

DMC 2 was the worst place to start, it's far and away the worst in the series. If you like old-school beat 'em ups, I see no reason why you wouldn't love these. Just play the right games and turn up the difficulty, they'll feel much less like a button masher

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#11 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

Obviously they are not button mashers but your critism is definitely a valid one.

Look... I don't you should try and force yourself to into liking something again besides I think I get what you're saying, Beat'em ups aren't particularly clever, so why not try a the same thing from a different angle.

You should look into games with "Puzzle Bosses" like Batman, and DarkSiders has a few puzzle bosses, a few shooting games have them too like President Evil and Lost Planet.

I don't know any game that has Puzzles Enemies at its core, maybe Stealth Games fall into that catogry but stealth is not an "action" focused activity.

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#12 Posted by udUbdaWgz1 (633 posts) -

it is a genre i hate with passion.

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#13 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@udUbdaWgz1

You mean the sameway I hate RPGs ?

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#14 Posted by Archangel3371 (21625 posts) -

I love these types of games. Games like Final Fight and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Arcade Game are more the button masher then Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden, and Bayonetta though, those games are more style and finesse in a 'difficult to master' kind of way. I love both types of games though as sometimes simple can be quite fun. As for why I enjoy these games it can be for a whole bunch of reasons which can be said about any game I play such as gameplay, graphics, sound, design, story, etc.

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#15 Edited by Renegade_Fury (19375 posts) -

Well your first problem is that you've never played Streets of Rage 2, 3, or Remake before. Get a friend, crank the difficulty up to hard, hardest, or mania, and then witness the pinnacle of the beat 'em up genre.

Your other problem is that DMC 2 is garbage. Play DMC 3 or Ninja Gaiden Black if you want to experience the best of the hack 'n slash genre. Unlike button mashers such as God of War, they require timing and the memorization of combos.

As to why I play them, it's because I love the speed and adrenaline rush. It's just you and the game, and with no stupid hoops and hurdles attached.

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#16 Edited by torenojohn7 (510 posts) -

@_Judas_: Dude they DO need skill! especially in games like devil may cry and Ninja gaiden where the difficulty spikes like crazy!

If you've only played DMC2.. its the WORST and the easiest Devil may cry game,just play Devil may cry 3 or 4 they're wicked awesome and its ranking system and weapon upgrades depends on how well you play the game... you cannot wade through the game simply by repeating the same thing over and over. beat'em'up games have evolved beyond that over the years my friend.

Hell even the 2d games like guardian heroes&Sengoku 3 have an amazing combo system and challenging gameplay,if you want to play and old school beat'em'up with more depth play these!

IMHO God of war is a very different type of hack'n'slash.... if you really want to enjoy this game play it one the maximum difficulty,yes its easier than devil may cry but its still challenging nonetheless.

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#17 Posted by udUbdaWgz1 (633 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu: i highly doubt it, since, "rpg's", in this day and age, is way too broad of a category. if i say i hate "fighting", "button masher/memorization" or "beat-em up" games and you say you hate "rpg's" i would have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, since, rpg's incorporate elements from just about every genre in the book, but, you'd pretty much know exactly what i'm referring too.

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#18 Posted by Grieverr (2833 posts) -

The appeal I find in these games is the ability to turn off my brain and just play a game. It's the equivalent of the summer blockbuster movie.

These games are not without a narrative and thought does need to go into it to figure out combos and stuff. But the mental part is not heavy nor are the stories super complicated. These games test your reflexes and skills with your fingers as you navigate the controller. It's more physically demanding and dextrous.

These games can also have pretty epic set pieces, enemy designs, and awesome locations.

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#19 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@udUbdaWgz1

Well, There are common factors... Those are the parts I hate.

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#20 Posted by pook99 (714 posts) -

I remember when I fought the last boss of DMC 2 I sat in the corner and just held the fire button down, the game was so abysmally bad I just wanted to see if I can beat the last boss by standing in one spot and holding down fire.,.it worked. So hopefully that gives you an idea of how easy and how horrible DMC 2 is and that game should not be your scale to which you measure modern day action games.

As others have stated there is a visceral thrill in wiping out hordes of enemies with a bad ass character doing bad ass style moves the whole time. Play DMC 4 and ninja gaiden black, if you don't like those games than the genre is simply not for you, but if you want a good evolution of old school beat em ups it does not get better than those 2, after completing those then you can branch off into some other good modern beat em ups(darksiders, god of war, bayonetta etc)

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#21 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@pook99

You can do the same through 80% of Bayonetta just equip Shuraba and use the Punch kick Punch combo all the way through, its short and easy and way too powerfull, it will kill anything and everything touching the ground.

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#22 Posted by pook99 (714 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@pook99

You can do the same through 80% of Bayonetta just equip Shuraba and use the Punch kick Punch combo all the way through, its short and easy and way too powerfull, it will kill anything and everything touching the ground.

I don't remember the game well enough as I played it a long time ago, I enjoyed it but in all honesty I am an action fiend and like most halfway decent action games. Bayonetta is certainly not my first choice but if you've played the other better games, than it is a decent choice if you still have the itch for that kind of game.

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#23 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@pook99

Theres nothing wrong with Bayonetta, I'm simply saying these things happen.

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#24 Edited by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@pook99

You can do the same through 80% of Bayonetta just equip Shuraba and use the Punch kick Punch combo all the way through, its short and easy and way too powerfull, it will kill anything and everything touching the ground.

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#25 Posted by BranKetra (51726 posts) -

Even Ninja Gaiden 3 is not a button masher. Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden 2 require some skill to complete on normal. Devil May Cry is also not a button masher. The style system requires mixing agility and weapon usage to earn the highest rank. DMC3 is the best out of the series overall, but my favorite is DMC4 because the combo system is the most advanced version Capcom made themselves. A button masher will not defeat bosses in any of them.

God of War is not a game which one can win by button mashing, either. A basic understanding of game mechanics is necessary to beat sub-bosses in the first game of this series, for example.

If you are looking for action games, you need not look much further than what others and I mentioned so far. The Batman Arkham games are stupendous. Streets of Rage 2 is a very fun game. Double Dragon Neon is decent.

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#26 Edited by torenojohn7 (510 posts) -

@BranKetra: Off-topic is double dragon 2 remake as good as double dragon neon? i've only heard bad things about it.

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#27 Posted by mastermetal777 (3213 posts) -

@torenojohn7: Never played the remake, but it has a Metacritic score of 17/100. That's...pretty damn bad.

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#28 Edited by _Judas_ (785 posts) -

@Renegade_Fury I haven't played "Street of Rage". The game is available for purchase on PSN -- maybe I'll force some friends to play it with me. Looks like Final Fight.

There seems to be a lot of debating concerning which games are actually button-mashers and which games that aren't. As @Lulu_Lulu , says : These things happen, meaning _ALL_ of these games are, in-general, button-mashers with optional elements of strategy, am I right? I remember starting out in DmC 2 (which I now know is considered to be the worst DmC-game...by some) alternating between guns and sword, but eventually settled with just tapping the sword button, performing combos without even knowing it, because they did the most damage.

Although @Grieverr mirrors my feelings towards these games: games where I can "shut of my brain" for a minute and just go with the flow, I remain intrigued by God of War and the stylistic execution of DmC-games. Games like "Lollipop Chainsaw" and "Splatterhouse"(?) are games I wouldn't touch.

@BranKetra informs me that there are elements of strategy and reflexes. I'll see if I find some cheap games.

To the guys and girls that find this genre to be their favorite: how much time do you spend on games like these? Do you play 'em on all difficulties?

I see that there is a "God of War Collection" on PSN: is this worth getting? Could you, if you felt like it or were in a hurry, complete these games rather quickly by only spamming the "punch"-button?

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#29 Posted by -ParaNormaN- (1426 posts) -

My favorite thing about Beat em Ups is that, the game wasn't complicated. You didn't have puzzles that would take you hours to figure out or a keycard hidden in some cheap hiding spot that you would run past for the last hour. It was simple, you walk the streets and kick gangsters asses. Grab a bat, trash can, knife and teach the assholes a lesson.

Hack n Slash games are not as simple but not overly complicated either. Some were just beat em ups with a sword in the characters hands or others like Metal Gear Rising would use the blade and give it its own identity by having it able to do a bunch of stuff to progress through the game.

Then RPG's came and started to **** everything over...

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#30 Posted by mastermetal777 (3213 posts) -

@_Judas_: God of War is a great collection to get. However, button-mashing will not get you through the higher difficulties, as the game becomes much more focused on actual strategy then.

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#31 Posted by Devil-Itachi (4384 posts) -

weren't the classics more of button mashers than the modern games outside the Dynasty Warriors series and it's many iterations. Or are you just saying things are to complicated so you just button mash?

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#32 Edited by Notorious1234NA (1917 posts) -

@_Judas_: 1st problem:

Ninja Gaiden isn't a button masher lol go troll somewhere else or get gud at it :p

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#33 Posted by _Judas_ (785 posts) -

@notorious1234na: yeah, I guess I learned that a couple of posts ago.It's the same genre as "Metal Gear Rising: revengeance" anyway (hack n' slash).

@Devil-Itachi: as I stated above, I tried to bring a little flair into DmC 2, but ended up just using the one attack button in the end.

@-paranorman-: yeah, those are the games I'm talking about -- 3D hack 'n slash. Although the sword-gimmick in "Metal Gear Rising" seemed kind of cool...for about 10 seconds.

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#34 Edited by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@_Judas_

Its called a "1st Order Optimal Strategy".

Its natural for all human beings to choose the path of least resistance, maximum results for minimum effort, and once you discover it, you stick to it until it no longer works, this was the biggest problem with the Arkham Games or basicly any game with optional strategies that aren't mandatory... Or games that are simply purely unbalanced (See Bioshock Infinite or Dark Souls).

Almost all games have them, if you're willing to put the time in then you can exploit even the toughest games, like Dark Souls, it took me 3 minutes to kill one baddy in a mob of 5 baddies, I just take my time to run around until one of them gets isolated, then I stab him good, the only reason I didn't win was because I got bored and felt insulted and just played Rayman Instead.

Thats the problem with Dark Souls, it forces you to use these strategies because appearently thats whats Hardcore now.

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#35 Posted by Pffrbt (6606 posts) -

@_Judas_: "Nowadays, I don't see the appeal of these games."
Character action games aren't comparable to oldschool sidescrolling beat 'em ups.

"I consider trying the "God of War"-series while I wait for better entertainment on the PS4. "Heavenly Sword" is also a game I would try"
Don't. Both of these are completely mindless, clunky, and shallow. Most western action games are shit.

"what is the best DmC-game?"
1. DMC3 Special Edition
2. DMC4 PC
3. DMC1
4. DmC (this game is terrible and shouldn't even be considered part of the series)
5. DMC2 (Somehow worse than DmC)

"are they all button-mashers with great graphics, or is there more to it?"
No. The best ones focus on fast paced, stylish, challenging technical action where the aim is to constantly switch up your combos and attacks without taking any damage and without dropping a combo.

"What is the appeal?"
Lightning fast, over the top, stylish action with razor sharp controls and the flexibility to string together insane combos while also thinking on your feet and dealing with multiple enemies attacking from all around you.

My favorites in the genre:
-Bayonetta
-DMC3
-DMC4
-The Wonderful 101
-Ninja Gaiden Black
-Metal Gear Rising
-Anarchy Reigns
-Zone of the Enders 2
-Guacamelee

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#36 Posted by _Judas_ (785 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu: I can easily see the appeal of hardcore games such as the Souls-series. Problem is, these games aren't that hard. They've definitely mellowed over the years. In Demon's Souls you could encounter very cheap enemies that hid out of sight, hid just inside rooms, but once you knew their location, dealing with them next time provd no challenge.

The Souls-games cater to my old school side -- the controls are fluid, not overly complicated, combos are intuitive, and the combat is strategic. Once you learn the way enemies behave, the game becomes much easier. You can go on YouTube and see people play through these games with minimum leveling-up. It takes patience once, and then you know how to deal with most enemies. Still, I consider these games as the modern day "Ghosts 'n Goblins".

@Pffrbt : Hmph, "Bayonetta"... I see alot of love for this game. I'm not judging and saying that this game is crap, just at this time it may not be for me. That fair, right? But I do notice that everybody seems to think that DmC 2, the only DmC I've played, is considered to be the worst.
To me "Bayonetta" seems mindless, clunky and shallow... how do you differenciate between a good beat 'em up (Bayonetta) and a horrible beat 'em up (DmC2)? After watching gameplay from both, they both feature a melee-type fighting and a pistol-type fighting, both games lets you dodge,has a combo system, upgrades, big boss battles. I'm not taking the piss, I'm asking for your opinion -- you seem to like this genre.

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#37 Posted by The_Last_Ride (76371 posts) -

@_Judas_: God of War is a good hack and slash. The character isn't that appealing though, but they are good games

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#38 Posted by torenojohn7 (510 posts) -

@_Judas_: "how do you differentiate between a good beat 'em up (Bayonetta) and a horrible beat 'em up (DmC2)"

Simple.. by PLAYING IT!

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#39 Posted by udUbdaWgz1 (633 posts) -

@BranKetra: this is how i describe ninja gaiden to people: great game except for the combat. that game could have been so much better. games like gaiden, god of war, etc. don't even get a second glance from me because i know they're going to have stupific "boss" fights, memorization combat and straight-up button mashing.

however, DO NOT even attempt to lump the greatness of a game like arkham city into that pit of combo hell. i hate combo fighting games and love arkham city because a+x or b+y DOES NOT equal memorization combo combat. and, anybody who's played arkham city knows that tactics are the deciding factor to even those SIMPLE combo mechanics.

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#40 Posted by a55a55inx (4188 posts) -
@_Judas_ said:

When I was younger, I loved games such as Final Fight, Double Dragon, and this silly game [edit: Bad Street Brawler] where you went around as this wrestler-looking dude and fought people in the streets.

Nowadays, I don't see the appeal of these games. I tried some of the DmC-games. I've also seen gameplay from "Ninja Gaiden"-games , "Bayonetta" (latest; the sequel), "Lollipop Chainsaw", "Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance" to name a few. People often like these games, and once I see this I become highly self-concious: have I turned my back on a genre that I used to love? It's just...they all seem like button-mashers to me.

Am I wrong?

I consider trying the "God of War"-series while I wait for better entertainment on the PS4. "Heavenly Sword" is also a game I would try, and what is the best DmC-game?

Please educate me on the matter of action/beat 'em up-games: are they all button-mashers with great graphics, or is there more to it? Is is a love/hate-relationship? What is the appeal?

I was like you; I used to love beat-em-up style games (Double Dragon, Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons, etc) but now I find them very boring. I tried playing through Ninja Turtles and the X-men arcade game on XBL out of nostalgia, but then I found myself becoming bored very quickly. However, games such as NInja Gaiden and Bayonetta are excellent and feel very different from the old beat-em-up games. They require a lot more skill and are much more complex. Every time you pull off a combo or kill hundreds of enemies without getting hit in Ninja Gaiden, it feels very rewarding. I wouldn't even put games like that in the beat-em-up category... the games that feel more like beat-em-ups now days is the Dynasty Warriors series.

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#41 Posted by NippleTuck34 (25 posts) -

Captain Commando took up a lot of my arcade time years ago, and I was pretty happy he was in the MvC series ;)

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#42 Edited by Senor_Kami (8529 posts) -

I love good ones because the combat is fun, there is enough move variety where I feel I can play it exactly how I want to, and the game is challenging to where jumping into the middle of some baddies and fighting my way out is exhilarating.

The good ones aren't button mashers. I mean, the games have the training wheels on for the first few stages but after an hour or so you're going to hit a point where the game expects you to understand the mechanics and understand how to implement them in realtime and if you don't, you're not going to be able to move forward. You're not going to "button mash" your way through Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, or Ninja Gaiden unless you're playing on like easy/automatic mode and are happy getting F-ranks on every encounter.

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#43 Edited by ThehappyfrogUS (25 posts) -

What's up folks? I actually stream all of the old school beat em up arcade games on Twitch. If anyone has a suggestion for one, hit me up! I don't think anything scratches that itch quite as well anymore.

Moderator Edit - Link Removed

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#44 Posted by Byshop (17749 posts) -

@thehappyfrogus: Please do not bump old threads, especially to advertise. If you want to talk about your channel, please do so in our new Youtube/Twitch forum.

-Byshop