The week in brief

Are beat ’em ups back? I’ve not used that term in ages. Beat ’em up. Brilliant. Once one of the busiest genres, these days we’re pretty much left with Tekken, Virtua Fighter and Soulcalibur. It makes me wonder whether video game genres are subject to boom and bust, much like the economy. Ten years from now, will I be sat here asking where all the war games went, the public having grown sick of them? I can only hope.

Anyway, beat ’em ups. Largely forgotten PlayStation and Saturn-era series Battle Arena Toshinden is coming to Wii – presumably because its weapon-based nature might fit nicely – but possibly as just Toshinden. Then there are rumours mounting that Rare are working on a new Killer Instinct game, following character cards appearing in Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise.

If this trend carries on, we’ll see Square-Enix announcing an update to bizarre beat ’em up cum action-adventure Tobal No. 1. I just hope we don’t see the return of Eternal Champions, which despite what I thought fifteen years ago, is shit.

I’ve shoe-horned in a mention of the economy already, so let’s not leave out the other big real news story: the US presidential election. Thankfully I don’t need to find a tenuous link: adverts for Barack Obama appeared in some of EA’s games in some US states, through the magic of Xbox Live. It’s a story that certainly captured the imagination of the Guardian, with an article and two blogs.

In less consequential matters, nominations for the MTV Game Awards 2008 – a German thing, for some reason – were announced this week. The nominations themselves aren’t desperately interesting, but the categories are worth looking at. Mainly ‘Bad Mother Fucker’ – an award for the best boss battle. I’m not sure that the Germans realise that this is actually quite a naughty thing to say; moreover I’m not sure that Nintendo would be delighted if Bowser – one of the nominations – is awarded that title. ‘Living in a Box’ is my other favourite category – both for the title, and because it’s an award for the best in-game item. The Golden Joystick Awards, with their tedious sponsored categories like ‘BBC 1Xtra Soundtrack of The Year’, could learn something from the Germans.

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