I’ve been playing fighting games for as long as I can remember, however, I only really starting taking it seriously after 2009 when Street Fighter IV was released.
Since then, I’ve attended dozens of tournaments, made countless friends, learned how to play stick and generally had a lot of fun.
So I was slightly disheartened to learn a certain colleague of mine doesn’t like fighting games and he thinks they are boring.
Now, that’s his opinion, and I know that not everyone likes fighting games so I have to respect that. In fact, a quick google search confirmed that my colleague is not alone in thinking this and that’s fine.
But it also got me thinking. Why don’t people like fighting games? Why do they think they are boring? Well, I thought I would write an article examing this topic and as a counterargument, give 6 reasons why I think fighting games are in fact awesome.
Let get started.
Why fighting games are boring
I have to admit even I wasn’t a massive fan of fighting games when I started playing them. I like them, sure. But I never really took them seriously until 2009 when Street Fighter IV was released.
Before then, I played Tekken casually and occasionally some Mortal Kombat. I thought of these as good time killers and nothing else. I would quickly get bored and move onto something else like Call Of Duty (I know, I was young).
So I DO understand somewhat, why people may get bored with fighting games and generally not like them.
Let’s examine this deeper and look at some reasons.
Fighting games are hard
Fighting games are hard. In fact, I did a whole post on why fighting games can be difficult. This can put a lot of people off – certainly to begin with.
Developers often have to strike a good balance between making a fighting game deep and complex enough to appeal to hardcore fans, without alienating newcomers. This is easier said than done.
Fortunately, games like Street Fighter IV and V do a good job of this. Still, many casual fans can still find it difficult to get into these games. Tekken and Dead or Alive have characters with hundreds of moves. For example, Lei Wulong In Tekken Tag 2 has over 150 moves!
It’s no wonder newcomers find learning all these moves overwhelming. They often give up at the first hurdle because it would involve investing a lot of time and effort to get good.
Lackluster Single Player
The single player experience in these games can often be lackluster. The only exception is Mortal Kombat and Injustice which have a really good story.
However, It isn’t even the story in some cases. Although they’re bad (looking at you Street Fighter V and Tekken 7), they are generally bearable. I’m talking about the lack of content in single player modes.
The most you’ll probably get is a story mode, arcade mode, survival, VR mode (wtf?) and so on. They’re always the same and most of them are pointless.
The only things I want is a decent story mode, training mode and something different like the tower mode they did in Mortal Kombat 9.
I know the focus is on multiplayer nowadays but some people may not enjoy that.
6 reasons why fighting games are awesome
Now that we’ve established why people may dislike fighting games, let’s look at why fighting games are so awesome.
1. Fighting games are more popular than ever
It used to be fighting games were classed as a niche, however, with the rise in tournaments, games, and coverage, fighting games are now more popular than ever.
Recent games like Street Fighter V, Tekken 7 and Mortal Kombat have sold millions of units. There are several fighting games released every year.
Then there’s the fighting game community. One of the most passionate communities in gaming. EVO, the largest fighting game tournament outside of Japan, is seeing record-breaking numbers every year. That’s through streaming and attendance.
It’s no doubt that fighting games are growing and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
This means more games, more support from developers and more EVO hype moments.
2. Visual aspect – moves
Video games are a very much a visual medium and fighting games take full advantage of this.
Whether its the beautiful 2d art in Dragonball Z Fighters or the stunning realism of Mortal Kombat, there is something to be enjoyed by everyone.
Then there are the moves which provide a visual feast for the eyes. Street Fighter IV introduced ultra combos which changed the game and provided cool, visual and exciting finishers. Soon, there were other games like Tekken that took note and introduced there own version of finishers.
3. Characters you can get attached to
What is a fighting game without its characters? Nothing, of course. Street Fighter 2 started the trend with only 8 characters, each with different moves and personalities. The latest iteration, Street Fighter V, now has 35 characters!
But starting off you’ll probably only use a handful of characters. I think most fighting games do a good job of setting up unique personalities for each character.
This means you can quickly find the character that is right for you and then gets attached to that character. It’s hard to describe the feeling when you get attached to a fighting game character.
They almost become an extension of yourself. For example, in Street Fighter 5, I became attached to Guile. Not because I was in the Military saving the world and being a family man (I wish). The reason I picked Guile was that he was cool, calm and cautious, kind of like me (minus the hair) and that was reflected in my gameplay.
Because of the vast array of character in a fighting game, it’s hard not to like at least one character. And when you do, it makes the game that much more fun to play.
4. The challenge
Fighting games can be hard, yes, but this can also be seen as a positive. Fighting games have a lot of depth which can be incredibly rewarding to dive into if you invest the time.
For beginners it’s tough, but if you keep on playing and learning, you’ll get better and better and start having more fun. The challenging part of the game is what makes it interesting. For example, once you learn how to do the moves, the next part is learning combos, then, after that, you’ll learn pokes, and so on and so forth.
You’re always learning and moving forward. Of course, you don’t want things too difficult, but the beauty of fighting games is that it allows you to learn at your own pace. This makes you better as a player and makes you appreciate the game more for being tough.
I can’t tell you how rewarding it feels when you’ve pulled off a difficult combo, you’ve been practicing in training mode, in a real online match. All that hard work eventually pays off!
5. Competitive aspect
By design, fighting games are incredibly competitive. Unlike most team based games, it really is about the individual. This allows his or her skills to shine.
Fighting games also have a lot of depth when it comes to playing competitively. I would compare it to a game of chess. At high-level, players use strategy to win games; reacting to their opponent and choosing the right moves at the right time.
Tournaments have made fighting games so much fun to watch and play. There are pro players who are considered celebrities in their respective games.
Try searching on youtube for EVO hype moments and you’ll see why fighting games invoke some of the best reactions in e-sports.
Arcade stick controllers are not unique to fighting games but boy did they make them cool.
Fighting games have increased the popularity of fightsticks. In fact, there are whole communities dedicated to building and customizing fightsticks. In addition, it’s encouraged creativity with stunning Fightstick art.
Not only do they improve you as a player but they are also a heck of a lot of fun to use.