Beat’em ups have the reputation of being a dumb genre. The idea of punching your way through group after group of enemies, once appealing, has become synonymous with boredom and repetition. Like many, I thought the genre was lifeless and dull, a matter of punching enemies harder than they could hit you.
And yet, when I played Final Fight and took the streets of a fictionalized New York city I realized it didn’t matter how hard my character could punch. What mattered was who.