This issue’s arcade game of choice is none other than the immensely popular side-scrolling beat-em up Double Dragon. The initial game was released in 1987 by Technos in Japan, and licensed to Taito for manufacture and distribution in the United States and Europe. The original game concept, in addition to the character names, were loosely inspired on the Bruce Lee film, Enter the Dragon.

Interestingly, when Taito released the game internationally, they altered the original Technos Japanese storyline. Since most reading this column reside outside of Japan, we’ll focus on Taito’s international Double Dragon releases.

Double Dragon, 1987

Martial arts masters and brothers Billy and Jimmy Lee attempt to rescue Billy’s girlfriend Marian from her abductors known as the Shadow Warriors. The game was playable by two players simultaneously, and in addition to using martial arts moves, the heroes could also use items found in their environment such as knives, whips, baseball bats, sticks of dynamite, boulders and oil drums. Double Dragon contained a shock ending that reveals that the leader of the Shadow Warriors, known as Big Boss Willy, was none other than Billy’s own brother, Jimmy Lee. The final battle, if being played cooperatively, bouts the players that were previously in cooperation together against one another! The game was such a HUGE hit that when it was released on home consoles, the game box proudly stated, “You’ll never have to stand in line to play Double Dragon again!”

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Michael Thomasson Michael Thomasson (63 Posts)

Michael Thomasson is one of the most widely respected videogame historians in the field today. He currently teaches college level videogame history, design, and graphics courses. For television, Michael conducted research for MTV's videogame related program Video MODS. In print, he authored Downright Bizarre Games, and has contributed to nearly a dozen gaming texts. Michael’s historical columns have been distributed in newspapers and magazines worldwide. He has written business plans for several vendors and managed a dozen game-related retail stores spanning three decades. Michael consults for multiple video game and computer museums and has worked on nearly a hundred game titles on Atari, Coleco, Sega and other console platforms. In 2014, The Guinness Book of World Records declared that Thomasson had “The Largest Videogame Collection” in the world. His businesses sponsor gaming tradeshows and expos across the US and Canada.  Visit