the homoeroticism of the side-scrolling brawler

It’s June. More importantly, it is Pride month, or as it is known today: Pridetm, presented by Mastercard, Raytheon, and the McElroy Brothers. In this month of people and corporations pretending to like us so long as we remain sexless, docile concepts rather than actual human beings, I thought I would do something a little different. And by “different,” I of course mean, “write about video games.”

The Side-Scrolling Brawler, also known as the “Belt-Scroller” and the “Beat ’em Up,” is a genre that gets a lot of shit. Critical reception these days looks at these games as boring, badly made, repetitive, “poorly animated guys lumbering around and punching other poorly animated guys.” This is bull shit, brawlers are awesome. Maybe some day we’ll get a big resurgence of the genre.

A big reason why these games are good is simple: they are gay as fuck. In this post, I’ll be playing a bunch of these games, and rating them on a scale of their homosexuality.

Final Fight

I’m starting this with the Grand Leather Daddy of them all. Final Fight is gayest game to ever gay. It is the story of gay archetypes beating up other gay archetypes that look like they bought their clothes at Stryper’s garage sale, and tearing their way through a suspiciously San Francisco-looking New York.

Let’s take a look at the playable cast:

You have Guy, a self-assured, twinky bottom-bitch. Then there’s Cody, the bisexual, versatile switch, complete with extremely form-fitting jeans. Finally, there’s Mike Haggar. The body, the single leather strap, the immaculate mustache. Mike Haggar is 80’s Gay in one large, bulging package. It’s like a Tom of Finland drawing did the Fusion Dance with Ray Harley.

So you pick your piece of ass, and get started beating people up. You start off in the most derelict part of the city, where amphetamines and isobutyl nitrate are easily acquired. Who is the very first enemy you encounter?


Bred is a man who knows what he’s into. And any of you fucking know-it-alls can spare me your bull shit “uhh actually, it is a mistranslation of ‘Brad'” and shut up. It’s fucking Bred. This is a man who joined up with the Mad Gear gang, and when picking his name, decided to use that opportunity to let the world know that he enjoys both cocks and cum in his ass. Nobody loves to get dirty more than Bred, and God Bless Him for it.

Final Fight also introduces us to Poison, one of the first transsexual video game characters. I once watched some porn where a trans girl doing Poison cosplay was cranking on her sizeable hog, then she stopped at the five minute mark to inform the viewers that, quote, “Poison was one of the first transsexual video game characters.” That’s awesome.

Okay, look, this dude’s name is goddamn Sodom. It cannot be more obvious that Final Fight is a game for the queers. You don’t have a game with two characters named after terms used to describe man-on-man anal sex and then try to pass it off as straight.

look at those jeans! cody wants the world to know what kind of heat he’s packing.

Final Fight is a game where tough, burly dudes with good physiques do manly shit with one another in the dirtiest way possible. Fighting. Wrestling. Grappling. There’s a level that takes place in a fucking public bathroom. Do not try to tell me that that’s a realistic depiction of street gangs; as if the Bloods and the Crips are getting into territory wars over nightclubs, public bathrooms, and any other notable spot used for gay cruising. This game has all the makings of a Can-Am Productions fetish video. It’s kind of hot, honestly.

oh hey, look at all these bikes. i bet they were all driven here by a hetero leather club!

These days, you get all these SJW snowflakes losing their shit over current day gay pride. Doing a Helen Lovejoy bit, freaking out over the possibility of a child seeing someone in a puppy mask and a leather harness. First of all: shut up, bitch. Second: When I was a child, you could walk into any arcade in America and play Final Fight. It was there, front and center, with all its extremely homoerotic imagery that made my brain feel funny until I was old enough to understand that Guys Being Dudes in a sexual way was something that I was into. Final Fight is gay, possibly the gayest thing. Actual gay sex is straighter than this game. A leather daddy pounding down a PBR before he walks into a gloryhole to get sucked off by some shirtless cumpig with a George Michael beard is more heterosexual than Final Fight. This is the greatest arcade game of all time, and the lack of homoeroticism is what what killed the subsequent Final Fight sequels.

Gay Rating: 10/10


Knuckle Bash

Knuckle Bash is a rare departure from STG masters Toaplan. It takes the eroticism of Final Fight, and makes it far more overt. You play Knuckle Bash and chuckle to yourself, “this game is gay lol” over and over. This is a game about pro wrestlers going out and fighting other, much more evil, pro wrestlers. The game itself is fine, it’s a short quarter muncher from a company that wisely went back to making shooters. But I’m not here to talk about “gameplay,” I’m here to talk about “gayplay.” Knuckle Bash has a lot of it.

First of all, let’s take a look at the between-level transition screen:

hachi machi

Do you enjoy excruciatingly detailed sprite work of muscles? Do you enjoy outfits that go way beyond the flamboyant excess of professional wrestling? Do you enjoy the camp nature of video games? Because if so, you should definitely load up your preferred version of MAME and load this game up.

You’ve got:

Kind of obvious gay dudes.

Middle-aged divorced dads who have finally discovered themselves.

Well defined asses that not even Yoko Taro could imagine.

this is the “bonus stage.” you mash buttons until the timer runs out, and whoever mashed better lands a punch.

A little something for the furries.

please ignore my mature initials

Football players, for those of you out there with a jock fetish.

Unfortunately, the homoerotic stuff declines late into the game. So unless you have a thing for dudes with pig faces grafted onto their own, you won’t be getting as much out of the second half as you did in the first. But fuck me, what a first half! Worth the 15-20 minutes it takes to play through the whole thing.

yeah this is cool in a body horror sense, but not in a hot gay sex sense.

Gay Rating: 9/10


64th Street: A Detective Story

A real hidden gem here. I mean, the game itself kind of sucks, and the gayness is toned down compared to the last two games. But it’s worth looking at, if only due to the fact that it is very obvious that the two protagonists, Rick and Allen, are definitely in a “daddy-boy” relationship.

Other than that, and the funny plot point about secret messages in the classifieds, there’s not a whole lot here. But I don’t think this a game a lot of people know about, and even trash has its fun.

wait, what the fuck?

Gay Rating: 3/10


Streets of Rage




Rushing Beat

Rushing Beat is honestly, pretty fucking generic. Generic in terms of how it plays, and generic in terms of being homoerotic. However, one of the characters, Bild, dresses up like M. Bison at a gay bar, and the second level lets you recreate the iconic scene from Lords of the Locker Room.

hey buddy, i think you got the wrong door. the leather club’s two blocks down.

Gay Rating: 6/10


There’s plenty of other gay ass brawlers out there. I thought I would look at a handful of them for funsies. I’m mostly doing this post to let everyone that brawlers are for the queers, and don’t let anyone dump on this genre without a fight!

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