The fighting game has been one of the hardest games to perfect over the years. Games programmers have had to recreate the feel of your arms and legs moving and put that into a controller. When fighting games first began, controllers were very simple, so programmers came up with ingenious ways of controlling your on-screen character, meaning you had to press the one button and move the joystick a certain direction in order to perform a certain move. As controller technology moved on, so did the control, more buttons meant more control over which limb would move and how hard that limb moved. These days, many fighting games use motion controllers, meaning that you actually move your arms (and legs) and the character on the screen does the same. This is ideal for some fighting games such as boxing, and never in the history of video gaming have fighting games became some varied and versatile.
In the next article we will be looking at the evolution of the fighting game, but for now we will just have a general look at the genre. What makes the fighting game so different to any other game genre is the fact that usually the character you are controlling reacts directly with your moves as they would in the real world, and because of the nature of the game, two player fighting games can be immense battles with your best friends or strangers in the arcades.
What makes the fighting genre so special is that it is so easy to pick up and play. Even the most novice game player can pick up a game controller and start moving in directions and pressing buttons. As an example of this, a game like Street Fighter 3 can be picked up with little or no knowledge of gaming at all. As long as you understand that if your player if facing right and you press right then that’s the direction he moves, and when you press other buttons your player will punch or kick, then you have a good chance of having a brilliant game.
That said, there is a lot of depth to fighting games, because although you can pick up and play any fighting games, there are usually combinations of moves that can be put together to perform special moves. This is what separates the causal fighting fan from the hard-core fan. While many people will just pick up the controller and mash buttons for a fun, but messy fight, a hard-core fighting game fan will carefully select the order in which he presses his buttons and pull of a super-move that will in no doubt destroy the opponent with little or no effort.
Modern fighting games have not changed much from fighting games of years gone by, of course they look a lot nicer now, with stunning backdrops and fluid animations. They run at high speed, and have a selection of moves that is only hindered by your imagination. Some games, such as the Street Fighter series, have been with us since since 1987 and are still going strong today, yes the graphics have been changed, and the game play tweaked, but they are still the same game. Another series that has been with us a while, but really improves each time is the Tekken series. This has been with us since 1994, and has you taking control of your characters in a way many thought would have been impossible, with a separate button for each arm and leg, along with buttons for different strengths of punches and kicks.
The grand-daddy of the modern era of fighting games, Virtua Fighter by Sega is probably the game that all other fighting games are judged. You have almost total control of your character, you have a move list as long as your arm, and you have a depth of play that is un-paralleled. If you’ve never played a Virtua Fighter game, then you’ve not played a fighting game, it’s a game that defines the entire genre.
In the upcoming “The Evolution Of Fighting Games”, we will be taking a look at the fighting game genre from it’s very early days, right up to modern games. Fighting games are a genre sometimes forgotten by many in gaming lists, but they’re a genre that everyone should play, even if you just button mash. Thanks to the fighting game genre, you can be a boxer (just as in the Fight Night games), a martial artist (such as the Street Fighter games)and wield weapons (Soul Calibur) in which you can take down your opponent. One on one game play doesn’t get much better than this.