Video games are a big part of most peoples’ lives. They bring out their best and their worst. They can give them peace of mind through simple and fun activities, encourage competitive spirit, and help people find friendships and relationships. There are many kinds of video games out there, some more popular than others. There are puzzle games, strategy games, simulation games, etc.. But one genre of games brings out the true competitive nature resting in most gamers: fighting games. There are many popular and successful fighting games played today, for fun or for the glory of being a champion. Everyone has a reason to be playing fighting games.
The fighting game genre has been around for decades, and during its early years it was pretty underdeveloped compared to today’s fighting games. For example, in 1976, the first hand-to-hand fighting game “Heavyweight Champ” was released, but it was not very popular, and didn’t get much acknowledgement for being a fighting game. “Though Heavyweight Champ was the first game to introduce the concept of fist fighting, and one-on-one combat, it wasn’t until the now defunct Technōs Japan Corporation’s 1984 title Karate Champ, and Konami’s 1985 title Yie Ar Kung-Fu that the fighting game genre was popularized, and the basis for modern fighting games was introduced.” After Karate Champ, we see more of the traditional fight games that modern day games take after, such as the first installment to the Street Fighter series, Street Fighter. Though it did gain popularity, it didn’t do as well as its more popular sequel, Street Fighter II. Later on, Mortal Kombat was released, proving to be a big rival for the Street Fighter series, and was well known for its bloody gameplay and gory finishing moves. The amount of violence made parents question if video games were safe for their children, however it did not halter the success of Mortal Kombat. There have been more successful games of the fighting game genre released as the years went by, with each game improving upon itself in some way, either through graphics, gameplay, or character roster, and each change attracts more people to them.
There are many fighting games out there that people play. They all have something that makes them unique, something that you can’t find in the rest. However, they all share something that makes them “fighting games”. On the surface, the thing they all share could be the fact that they’re 2D games in which you attack your opponent until their health drops to 0 using creative combos, or the flashy special moves you can use to beat your opponent.This isn’t necessarily wrong, however there is more to it. “The Washington Post asked a variety of experts, including esports pros, game developers and executives, journalists and streamers, this deceptively simple question and three obvious trends emerged: It needs to be fast. It should make you feel as if you’re amazing. And it needs to have a compelling story or theme to keep you engaged for hours.” (Goldberg) Fighting games such as Dragon Ball FighterZ, Mortal Kombat 11, and Street Fighter V have noticeable differences, but the intense, high-paced gameplay that keeps you on your toes is what makes them great fighting games.
While there are many popular and unique fighting games, one game among them is a rather curious one: Super Smash Bros Ultimate, from the Super Smash Bros series. There has been a long debate about whether or not this game is a fighting game or a party game. This is because Super Smash Bros Ultimate, or any installment of the Super Smash Bros series for that matter, does what a traditional fighting game does. For one, instead of bringing your opponent’s health down to 0, you attack your opponents to increase their damage percentage, which in turn increases their launch rate so that you can send them flying off the stage. Also, the stages you play on vary in formatting, so the areas you play on change, and it’s up to you to adapt and win. To add on, instead of the usual 1v1 most fighting games have, up to 8 people can play at a time, for true chaos, but that isn’t all. “Teams of three or five can go to battle, or players can work their way through an increasingly difficult tournament.” (Bonfiglio) There are more things about Super Smash Bros Ultimate that make it unlike other fighting games, which is what drives the argument that it is a party game rather than a fighting game, however it was still able to attract the fighting game community’s (FGC) attention, and even won an award for Best Fighting Game of 2019.
In conclusion, the fighting game genre is a genre of complex and unique games that can excite and entertain anyone with a competitive spirit. There are many popular and successful fighting games played today, either casually or competitively. Everyone has a reason to be playing fighting games.
Gilyadov, Aleksander. “KO: The History Of Fighting Games.” CGMagazine, CGMagazine, 30 Jan. 2019, www.cgmagonline.com/2015/04/15/ko-the-history-of-fighting-games/.
Goldberg, Harold. “We Asked the Experts What Makes a Great Fighting Game. Three Clear Concepts Emerged.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 30 Apr. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/04/30/we-asked-experts-what-makes-great-fighting-game-three-clear-concepts-emerged/.
Wilson, Jeffrey L. “Yes, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Is a Real Fighting Game.” PCMAG, PCMag, 11 Jan. 2019, www.pcmag.com/opinions/yes-super-smash-bros-ultimate-is-a-real-fighting-game.
“The 8 Best Fighting Games to Make Enemies of Your Friends.” The Daily Dot, 21 Aug. 2019, www.dailydot.com/parsec/best-fighting-games/.