What is... M.U.G.E.N?

 About M.U.G.E.N

"Mugen" is a word of Japanese origin, meaning dream, fantasy, or infinite... M.U.G.E.N is a freeware 2D fighting game engine designed by Elecbyte, originally released on July 17th, 1999. The program was written in C with the Allegro library. Beta versions  were made for DOS, Linux and Windows, and was distributed through Elecbyte's official website. "M.U.G.E.N." is actually an unknown acronym. The creators never revealed what it actually means. In fact, they admittedly stated that they forgot what it stood for. lol. Essentially, this interesting little program called M.U.G.E.N. allows fighting game fans to dream up and create their very own 2D fighting game, with very few limitations. Directly below, check out some very early screenshots of the first few years of the M.U.G.E.N. engine and continue reading to learn more about what M.U.G.E.N. has to offer.


M.U.G.E.N allows users to create their own 2D fighting game using the core game engine provided. From the playable characters, to the stages, to the background music, to the life bars & power bars, text font, and even in-game character stories... you can pretty easily create and customize anything you want once you learn the programming, and it's not incredibly difficult. If you ever had a creative dream of making your very own fighting game, M.U.G.E.N is a good "practice run" at the least.


Creating an actual 2D character yourself is certainly a time-consuming process (as it is for a real fighting game developer), as contributors or "creators" for M.U.G.E.N take the time to rip the 2D sprites themselves, and code it from scratch. Various sites where users can download a wide variety of user-created characters also exist. Many use the authentic characters and sprites from official 2D games, while others use existing characters/sprites to create crazy alternate versions of characters. Then there are the die-hards that actually create their own 2D characters and animations from scratch.


A variety of Capcom, SNK, and Arc System Works characters, coded by M.U.G.E.N. creators, play nearly exactly the way they should from their original games (usually minus the 'balanced' part). Playable characters for M.U.G.E.N aren't limited to just fighting game characters, as you can see from some of the screenshots. As long as it's a 2D sprite, it can be put it into the M.U.G.E.N. engine. Even 3D-rendered sprites work in M.U.G.E.N.! There's no limit on how many characters you can put in your game either. It really depends on the size of the selection screen, which users can also create from scratch.

 On the downside, many user-creations of real fighting game characters often end up missing moves, missing frames of animation, or generally appear or play glitchy. These below average creations have undoubtedly given M.U.G.E.N a certain "cheap" stigma over the years. However, there are a handful of highly skilled creators with a high attention to detail who have created versions of characters that are very well done, and actually rival, if not surpass that of authentic 2D character sprites. Wizards of the M.U.G.E.N. engine have also created some very impressive and some stupidly spectacular (and broken) overpowered versions of iconic fighters (with Super Saiyan 7 God-tier super moves). Yeah, they have fun breaking the game. Check out some gameplay below.

M.U.G.E.N provides a solid, traditional, and somewhat open ended 2D fighting game engine, very similar to classic 2D fighting games we all know and love. You can almost authentically re-create any classic 2D fighting game any way you want it, adding characters or stages new and old (along with adding specific background music for stages), or even having many different versions of the same character in the same game. The possibilities are pretty much endless. While the engine is set up primarily for fighting game development, several other game types have actually been created using M.U.G.E.N, including platformers and even shooters.


You can use any image for a background, or an already existing fighting game background. Want to put in one of your favorite fighting game tunes for background music? How about any song ever created... M.U.G.E.N supports MP3, ADX, OGG and MIDI as background music during gameplay, the introduction screen, or the selection screen.


The gameplay engine uses 7 buttons along with the directional keys consisting of the classic layout (three punches, three kicks & taunt). However, characters made for M.U.G.E.N do not necessarily have to use all seven buttons. Specials, super moves, and priority moves included, but don't expect all of their old combos to work... you'll most likely have to create new combos that work for this game engine. M.U.G.E.N characters are also notorious for being over-powered and having infinite combos (infinite jab combos against the wall anyone?)... After seeing some forms of M.U.G.E.N in action, it almost makes Marvel VS Capcom 2 seem like a balanced game.

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