Fighting Games

axel streets of rageLet’s be clear about the term “fighting game”… If only fighting was concerned, most beat’em all would fit the bill as they’ve all got their fair share of knuckles, testosterone and boobs… Fighting games are not only about that but are more like tools used by gamers to humiliate others.

However, it is nowadays common to see beat’em all characters such as Guy, Hugo or Poison included in fighting games characters lineups. Also, when Tekken developers wanted to develop some original solo/story modes, they adopted the beat’em all concept with the entire heritage that comes with it as beat’em all were a major game genre in arcade parlours before consoles and the emergence of versus games in the early 90’s. The 2 genres are actually somehow linked as Street Fighter 2 was supposed to be a sequel to Final Fight…

When people I know ask me which fighting game I prefer, I cannot resist to answer Street Fighter 2 is… Although my first experiences were playing beat’em all in the arcades parlours or Sega Genesis (Final Fight, Captain Commando, Streets of Rage, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Double Dragon, Golden Axe), Street Fighter 2 fascinated me when it came out. The sticks came with 6 buttons on the SF2 machines, quarters and half circles had to be mastered forward and backward… The game added a whole new dimension in gaming due to the dexterity one had to possess/learn to play them. Gamers also had to train in “reading” the opponents’ game in order to anticipate his next moves/movements and a whole new psychological aspect to the game that is commonly called trash-talking appeared (and God knows that can be annoying!).

The big problem with versus games is that it’s pretty difficult to enjoy when playing against much more experienced players… That’s where Tekken comes into play. In my opinion/experience, very few gamers really know how to play Tekken and most players I’ve seen used the ancestral button mashing technique… The worst part is: it works! And people have fun and enjoy their evening!

Capcom-vs-SNK1Versus players can be split into two generations: the ones who discovered the genre playing Street Fighter 2 at the arcades or on SNES, who are diligent and can perform quarter circles, 360 degrees, 720 degrees and other complicated moves and the ones who discovered it playing Tekken on their Playstations who know how to mash buttons… There are also King of Fighters players, a third category of players that’s much more “underground”… Those guys usually wear a cap 24/7, maybe as a tribute to Terry Bogard, and are somewhat a bit over the top in their “underground purist fighting gamer” trip.

Personally I’m more of a Street Fighter guy… I started playing Guile heavily but now enjoying playing Ryu, maybe because I’m really good at landing my quarter circles… I’m really good at quarter circles… Never miss one and I’m proud of it, although it’s of totally no use in real life… Won’t help you save someone from cardiac arrest, won’t improve your resume (I’ve tried writing it in but potential employers were kind of clueless to what kind of skill that was), won’t impress anyone at parties, won’t help you score girls in discos…

It’s worth noting that at the heart of 2D fighting games, looking passed the Capcom/SNK rivalry, exist two different distinct styles which are zoning games and combo games. In zoning games such as Street Fighter, gamers’ timing and space management skills are put to the test, whereas in combo games it is their ability of pressing lots of buttons really fast…

Fighting games also represent the conviviality at the base of video gaming, which gets people together (although they’re often referred as being autistic or isolated). Playing online is fine and it can be fun but your opponent will always use lag as an excuse for his failures… That’s why fighting games players like to meet IRL, share a 6-pack as well as viril moments of friendship.
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