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With the interesting Street Fighter IV (I say interesting because I still hesitate to call it awesome) on the very distant horizon, I think a more immediate concern is that fighting games in general are pretty much dead, save for the really crappy anime titles that have since graced the consoles.

Dragonball Z pretty much started this whole transition of Cartoon Network to video game console with Budokai on the PS2 (Though, there were scores more DBZ games before this title), and many others followed. Inuyasha, Bleach, and Naruto have all been translated to slightly better than average fighting franchises, and more are probably on the way.

But why has the once wildly popular genre of pounding somebody else’s face in on a 2-D plane (d)evolved into strictly being fare for the 14 year olds and geek crowd? Sure, Soul Caliber, Tekken, and others are great series’ that have maintained a certain air of prestige over the years, but these are all old franchises that have gotten little to no fresh new features to warrant a reason to fall back in love with fighting games again. Instead, we’re left with only the Guilty Gear series (Much better than you think) and Smash Bros. to relive those massive, sky high combos and awesome super attacks of yore that made fighting games such a hoduken blast in the face to play in the first place.

I think the main reason that anime titles are now the only source of fighting fun, though, is because they’re so damn easy to make. Honestly, how many Street Fighter clones did we see in the early to mid-90s? All it takes to make a fighting game apparently is a few quarter circles, a decent graphics chip, and decent enough speed to warrant playability to create one, which makes it so easy to just plop in Naruto and add a few voice snippets to the game.

Alas, I’m afraid we’ll never see a brave new fighting game like Killer Instinct or even a War Gods—which even I’ll admit was terrible—again. Well, we’ll always have Street Fighter IV, I guess.