Best Beat ‘em Up eSport Games
The world of eSports is crammed with different game genres.
Recently, one of our residents, Brandon Richardson, qualified for the NBA 2K draft, which is a basketball game. That is one of the popular eSports genres, but only the tip of the iceberg. From first-person shooters to sports sims, almost every popular genre is covered. Most have a history in single-player games and have developed from there. For instance, nearly all FPS games can be traced back to GoldenEye 007, a revolutionary title that broke boundaries. As for battle arena games, they can thank Aeon of Strife, or AoS, a fan-made custom map for StarCraft.
The beat ‘em up genre isn’t as popular as it used to be, but it does have a strong representation in eSports. Beat ‘em ups can’t be directly traced to any single game; ever since the days of 8-bit gaming, two players have been button bashing to defeat the other. The first significant beat ‘em up was Street Fighter II, described by Foxy Games as a title no self-respecting gamer could be without in the early nineties. It has since spawned several sequels and reboots and is a part of the eSports scene. It wasn’t the only nineties classic beat ‘em up; Mortal Kombat was another massive title that decade. In fact, several beat ‘em ups feature on the eSports calendar, and whilst they’re not headline grabbers like some, they are still important, both culturally and as an evolving genre.
Here are some titles to look out for in late 2021.
Super Smash Bros
Super Smash Bros is not the stereotypical beat ‘em up. It is a crossover fighting game featuring various characters from Nintendo and some from Konami, Sega, Capcom, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Square Enix, PlatinumGames, Atlus, and Mojang Studios. This cross-developer appeal makes it a popular eSport, and one of the most-watched online. The biggest tournament on the platform was Frostbite 2020, which Esports Charts suggests was watched for 1.4 million hours worldwide.
Street Fighter V
Street Fighter is an established franchise and has been popular since the late eighties, when it first emerged as a Capcom arcade game. There are several leagues and competitions, including the Capcom Pro Tour, but it doesn’t get the same views as Super Smash Bros. One aspect of Street Fighter which offers growth potential is the recognizable characters; there’s even been a film about the game, starring Jean Claude van Damme and Kylie Minogue.
Mortal Kombat emerged in the early nineties as a competitor to Street Fighter II, and here it is three decades later, still fighting its old rival. Prize money is relatively small on the tour; the JKL Online Tour 2021 had a prize pool of just $1,500 and was watched for 8,788 hours online. In May, the MKX Lives competition drew a prize pool of $5,000 and was observed for 175,453 hours, proving the title’s potential, if not its current success.
Like Mortal Kombat, Tekken is forging a name for itself as an eSport, without ever quite achieving the fame of some of the biggest titles in the world. Prize funds tend to average out at around $2,000, with views barely ever getting above 30,000. The one big tournament that drew headlines this year was the WePlay Ultimate Fighting League Season 1, with a $50,000 prize fund and more than 218,000 hours viewed.