It’s a big year for fighting games. The latest Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter titles are releasing, and there’s potential for updates on massive projects like Tekken. It’s plausible that the genre is about to hit an exciting new golden age, especially since the range of titles includes a variety of famous properties. The interest surrounding fighting games is sure to increase as these releases roll out, but the gaming category can also seem pretty inaccessible for the uninitiated.
Just like any video game genre, there’s a community dedicated to fighting titles that have become experts on the gameplay mechanics, specific jargon, and generalities concerning major and niche releases. From professional tournaments to online play, the industry seems to be expanding and can certainly feel daunting for a newcomer. Luckily, there are several paths one can take if they’re interesting in diving into the fighting game genre. In some cases, a player’s existing familiarity is all they need. Other players can ensure master the basics by becoming familiar with the fighting game genre’s legacy. Ultimately, fighting games have carved out a specific style of play that sets them apart. At the exact same time, the best fighting games offer a variety of combat, story, and gameplay.
The Fighting Game Genre Has A Rich History
To truly get to grips with fighting games, it’s vital to go back to the beginning. Occasionally, it’s easier to learn about modern releases by playing through their predecessors and seeing all the different fighting archetypes in their original forms. That way, the player can progress as the genre did, adding to their skill sets as the industry incorporates new technology and gameplay mechanics. The first-ever fighting title was Heavyweight Champ, which launched in 1976. The 8-bit black-and-white arcade game from SEGA has now been lost to time, but the boxing title featured some of the same elements that made the genre what it is today. This included a side-on perspective and streamlined controls.
1984’s Karate Champ from Data East took the arcade world by storm and popularized the video game format. By the time Capcom’s Street Fighter launched in 1987, the foundations that make up a fighting title had been firmly established. Indeed, Street Fighter has a habit of setting the standard for its competition. The concept was clearly catching on, offering new combos, special attacks, and wider character rosters. For new players to get a full appreciation of what the fighting game genre offers, they should start by exploring this detailed timeline. It’s easy to find classic arcade games remade or reimagined online and there is a growing range of local arcades that stock these classic experiences. Where possible, players will enjoy getting to play the originals on their intended game system — getting a feel for the gameplay through the 8-bit graphics, joysticks, and limited button controls.
Get to Grips With the Basics
The easiest way into the fighting genre is simply by learning the basics. Some great social media communities out there lend a helping hand and explain some of the controls’ intricacies, but there is nothing better than a hands-on tutorial. Most fighting games understand the genre can be daunting and provide gamers with a tutorial to walk them through step-by-step. The controls are often more complicated compared to classic action RPGs, first-person shooters, or other combat-influenced titles. A knowledge of beat-em-ups certainly wouldn’t hurt, since there are similarities, but the key is to understand a game’s combos.
There’s always debate about which fighting title would be the best fit, from Tekken to Street Fighter and beyond. It doesn’t necessarily matter since each game has shared elements and contrasting inclusions, so there’s a learning curve for every title. That’s why a gamer’s core foundations are key, so that they can pick up the skills needed to adapt to other platforms. Regardless, combos are important since they will decide whether or not a player wins. For those who don’t know, a combo is the series of buttons needed to pull off a specific move. Characters use different combos, so understanding the skill set of the roster available will lead to a more effective connection to the controls.
Franchises Give new Players Something to Latch Onto
A history of the genre and a back-to-basics tutorial certainly help players dive into the fighting genre. However, the specific franchises and worlds seem completely inaccessible, considering how long they have been around. For those who aren’t that knowledgeable about the likes of Mortal Kombat and feel that there’s simply too much to know about the characters and their universe, there are more familiar paths they can take. First, most fighting games include a campaign that acts as the fighting game’s story mode. That can be a really useful method of entry, even if some elements and character relationships aren’t completely explained.
Alternatively, there are massive brands that offer a variety of familiar characters. Super Mash Bros. Ultimate might be the perfect starting point, since the game combines many of Nintendo’s most famous characters. On the other hand, Warner Bros. recently brought out MultiVersus which boasts a broad roster from Scooby-Doo to Arya Stark. Marvel Versus Capcom and NetherRealm’s Injustice appeal to comic book fans, while Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid from nWay Inc., and Animoca Brands deliver proper television nostalgia. It doesn’t matter which pre-existing franchise truly speaks to the player. Whichever path they choose, these games are still amazingly put together, deliver on those basic lessons, and encourage newcomers to explore the wider fighting world. If there’s ever a time get started on this combat adventure, it’s now.