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Remember the 90s? You know, the decade of Kurt Cobain, Terminator 2, and Bill Clinton playing the saxophone? Yeah, now you remember. And if you actually happen to remember it fondly like I do, then you’ll recall how everywhere you’d turn, you’d find another Street Fighter copycat (World Heroes) or a Mortal Kombat knockoff (Time Killers) in your local arcade. Yep, if the 90s had anything in abundance, it was joysticks and move lists, not to mention big crowds held together by a token based system that indicated your place in line (I used to put my tokens in the space just beneath the screen).
But what the heck happened? Besides Tekken, DOA, Mortal Kombat, Soul Caliber, and the occasional, near half-decade separation of Virtua Fighter games, fighting games have pretty much gone the way of the Noiseland arcade, causing nothing fresh like a Killer Instinct or a Primal Rage to come out in quite some time. And to me, that’s a problem. As a fan of the genre, I direly miss the hundred hit combos and monsters tearing into each other feeling you only get when you play a fighting game in the arcade. But then, maybe that’s the problem, there AREN’T that many arcades out there anymore, not in America anyway. People are content to just lay down their DDR floor mats on their carpets and annoy their neighbors downstairs with their hippin’ and their hoppin’ and their bippin’ and their boppin’. And if you don’t believe me, just go to an arcade nowadays. You’ll be stepping over tumbleweed -- it’ll be such a ghost town, and that’s because it seems that people would just rather stay home and play video games.
With Xbox Live Arcade and games getting easier and easier to just log on and play over the internet, it seems that the fighting genre in general has gotten stale and tired (When was the last time you saw a Bushido Blade sequel on your console? Yeah, that’s what I thought (Editor's Note: I'm still waiting). And while the whole on-line formula works great when you’re fighting hordes of orcs and necromancers in an MMORPG, quick paced fighting just doesn’t seem to translate over well on a wi-fi connection. Also, truth be told, it’s just more fun to see your opponent sweat when you switch from Guile to Strider to Wolverine in a monster hit combo in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. Trash talking never felt so good.
But don’t get me wrong. While I miss new and exciting fighting games, that doesn’t mean I miss the influx of crap that comes along with it. For every new Killer Instinct I’d get, I’d also acquire three more Rise of the Robots and four more War Gods to add to that list. Still, I kind of miss those games. They made the other ones feel that much more authentic.
(Sigh) It’s a shame that I’m one of the only people in the world who would actually trade a Halo 3 for a Guilty Gear XXX Remix any day. But I guess top down shooter fanatics were saying the same thing when fighters took their place. That’s just how the world works, I guess.