Fighting Games – Why People Love and Play Them

Just about everyone knows about video games, and their many genres. Some people like action games, others horror games, or platformers. If you’re like me, one of your favorites is the fighting genre.

Fighting games are video games where players fight each other. In some games, players face off one on one, such as the Soul Calibur or Street Fighter series, while others can have teams of players play against each other, like in the Super Smash Bros. series. In many fighting games, there are many online modes like King of the Hill lobbies, where you can watch others fight each other as you wait to take on the winner, spectator modes, where you can just sit back and watch, and versus/quickplay/etc. where you’re matched with another player for one quick round. They also offer offline modes – some let you create your own character, others let you fight a series of characters in a stream of rounds, and many, if not all of them, offer an offline versus where you get to play against either a CPU or the people next to you.

Different people will of course have different experiences and opinions with fighting games. I interviewed one of my close friends who plays fighting games as a hobby as well on their opinions and experiences with fighting games, specifically Skullgirls.

Filia from Skullgirls looking into the mirror and seeing her clone, Fukua, who aspires to be the “real Filia”

Nadia Barwick, says that she got into Skullgirls by way of a close friend of hers. “I didn’t know a lot about fighting games at the time, so I bit the bullet and bought it on Steam– and now it’s one of my favorite games next to Megaman 2,” she adds.  She continues, saying that she admires that “despite the short cast, they’re all different from one another and it’s almost impossible to have more than two characters who copy off of one another. Even Robo Fortune and Fukua, the series’ actual copy cats, are NOTHING like their predecessors.” In Skullgirls, Fukua is a clone of Filia, but has an almost completely different moveset with far reaching moves, projectiles and zoning techniques, but less mobility. The moves that Fukua has that do “copy” Filia’s have different frame data, making them play different roles in her kit. “It’s just overall really refreshing to see that in a game when you have games like Mortal Kombat and Smash Bros. who just take a character and copy their abilities onto another fighter mode.”

On the other hand, she expresses what she dislikes: “there’s no canon ending to the game. Playing Double’s route kinda left me a little agitated at the end– not because of how dower it was, but the ending segment just left Skullgirls on a typical ‘up to interpretation’ note. Not that those endings can’t be good, I’m just saying it could’ve been handled a little better.” She expresses concern on how Double’s ending was handled, and the fact that there’s no real ending to Skullgirls. If a game has multiple story modes for each character, a good idea can be that there can be a main story mode where the game does have an ending. In Soul Calibur, each character has their own story mode (even created characters – see Libra of Soul) yet there’s a main story mode with a true ending to the game, named Soul Chronicle in the game.

King K. Rool from Donkey Kong Country, during his Final Smash in Super Smash Brothers Ultimate

Another popular fighting game series is Super Smash Brothers series. The series is considered one of the biggest gaming crossover in history, with the newest entry, Smash Bros. Ultimate, having 77 fighters and 103 stages (not including DLC) from various Nintendo titles, including Earthbound, Star Fox, Donkey Kong, and of course the Mario series, as well as third-party titles like Street Fighter, Castlevania, and Final Fantasy.  Gameplay wise, the Smash Bros. series has a different style than most other fighting games, with a lot more vertical, and overall free-form movement. On top of that, rather than use the normal health pool mechanics most fighting games do, Smash uses a percent system, having fighters trying to knock each other off stage and into blast zones. In newer games, up to eight players can play at a time, as opposed to the usual one on one fights. The newest entry to the series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate introduced a new Spirit Mode, which lets you collect spirits of video game characters and use them to augment your fighter in battle. The goofy modes that Smash Bros. offers makes it great for parties, while maintaining its viability as a competitive game.

People love fighting games for many reasons. The sheer diversity that the genre holds with its characters casts the stories that can be told, and the thrill of competition are what keeps people so interested in them. Of course, in the end, it’s all a matter of opinion, but to me, and many others, fighting games will continue to be the best.

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