fighting games | Teen Ink

fighting games

December 13, 2019
By IcyyWill BRONZE, Missouri City, Texas
IcyyWill BRONZE, Missouri City, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Humans as a species are inherently competitive, the drive to win is something we all possess. Nobody wants to lose, so they put everything they have to achieve success. Competition brings out the best in people. Our society has evolved since the days of fighting on the streets with a pistol duel to preserve one's honor. Nowadays if you have something to prove you settle it in a more civilised way, for gamers that means settling it through a fighting game. Fighting games are just one of the many genres of video games. The core premise of a fighting game is simple, beat your opponent by using the skills and techniques to deplete your adversaries in game health to 0. This essay will focus on the appeal of fighting games and why you should play them.

Let's go back to the video arcades of the 1980s and 1990s. Fighting games in the 1980's were not nearly as popular as games such as Pac Man or Donkey Kong.The limitation of graphics and hardware at the time hindered developers, as fighting games rely heavily on the visual aspect of controlling a character on a screen to simulate fluid movement and action between two characters. 1984s Karate Champ was the inaugural game to popularise 1 on 1 combat in video games and was the first true fighting game. The game was a simple simulation of the martial art form known as karate . The game was set up as a sparring match between two fighters wearing different colored gis. The controls were also simple as each player used an analog joystick to control their fighter and buttons to input actions such as a punch or a kick, like a regular sparring match the first one to strike a blow to their opponent wins the round. The characters were not throwing fireballs at each other or flying across the stage. The game was influential as many developers would use this concept of 1 on 1 fighting to bring new ideas and game mechanics to the genre. The next year in 1985 Konami  released Yie Ar Kung-Fu to arcades. Yie Ar Kung-Fu’s is another karate 1on 1 fighting game, but the game introduced something that is now a standard mechanic that is included every fighting game. That mechanic is the life bar, the life bar is one of the most important fixtures in fighting games. But the culmination of all of these features and mechanics came in 1991 when Capcom released the legendary StreetFighter 2. SF2 is the first modern fighting game, SF2 had 6 unique playable characters who all had different movesets and personalities. SF2 also introduced special moves which are the moves the character uses when you hit the correct inputs with the joystick, the most iconic example of this is the character Ryu's hadouken and shoryuken ( a fireball and uppercut respectively). The game has a complex but rewarding combo system, greatly benefiting the players who have mastered the mechanics and moves. SF2 was the revolution that fighting game genre needed and throughout the 90s many now established game franchises such as Mortal Kombat, Tekken and Super Smash. But no matter how good a game is,they fall flat if nobody plays them. 

The greatest strength of the fighting game genre has always been bringing people together. Some of my favorite gaming memories are of me and my little brother Nicholas playing Super Smash Bros together, having fun, talking trash and at the end of it all, shaking up after a good game. Fighting games are interesting because the hardest opponents are not found inside of the game, the computer players may put up a fair challenge but at the end of the day they are just computers. Players who are good at fighting games come together and they compete to see who is the best, these competitions are known as tournaments. Tournaments are awesome because you technically only need 4 people to run a tournament, but the big tournaments can have more than 1000 entrants. Some events even air on ESPN as they broadcast various Street Fighter 5 invitationals.  Tournaments like DreamHack, Apex, Capcom Cup, Combo Breaker but no fighting game tournament is as prestigious as the Evolution Championship Series oe EVO for short. EVO is the Esports equivalent of the Superbowl in football or the Daytona 500 in NASCAR. Winning EVO is the ultimate goal for every esports competitor and the people who win are considered legends in their respective games people such as Daigo Umeharia, Zero, Leffin, Armada, HungryBox,Mango, Justin Wong and many more have claimed wins on the biggest fighting game stage in the world. The coolest thing about EVO is that anyone can enter and anyone can win. The people at any tournaments are part of the Fighting Game Community or the FGC, the FGC has been known for its exceptional exclusivity and the people who attend FGC events are friendly and are passionate about various games. Most local tournaments are attended by around 45 people and are hosted in a variety of places from college campuses, local YMCA’s, Community centers and even at local restaurants. The community is a great part of what makes fighting games a special form of entertainment that is hard to replicate anywhere else.

People have made a living playing video games by making Youtube videos explaining or teaching advanced techniques or complex movement. Players broadcast themselves on Twitch to make a living which allows players to easily interact with the community and share their expertise to better everyone who watches the streams. Fighting games have really come a long way since the humble days of the arcade.

The common reason why people don't give fighting games a shot is because the games look super difficult and hard to just pick up and play. As long as you know the basic fundamentals of a fighting game then you can pick up and play any fighting game. So the next time you are at a restaurant that happens to have an old Street Fighter arcade cabinet, put some quarters in it and play a few rounds. You will not regret it.


The author's comments:

fighting games are awesome


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