Sunday, October 23, 2011

OtakuDante: "Tales of a Fighting Game Fanatic Vol.1"

After some thought, I decided I would go over my fighting game history for all of my readers here. I have been gaming for over 20 years now, and many of those years have been spent on playing fighting games. My beginnings were modest, and actually began when I got 'Street Fighter II: Championship Ed.' for my 13th birthday. In all honesty it wasn't easy convincing my mother to let me play the fighting games when I was young considering she came from a christian background, but she has been very supportive of my gaming habits over the years. Without the support of my family, and friends I probably wouldn't have pursued the fighting game genre as long as I have. My entire fighting game history spans over multiple gaming consoles, and even in time I spent at the arcades when they were still around in my area. Over the years I have gradually advanced in skill level, and can hold my own even against some of the higher online ranked gamers. Even so I still have a lot to learn, and continue to do so each time I put a fighting game into my console.

 The first fighting game I ever played was 'Street Fighter II: Championship Ed.' (Sega Genesis) which I recieved as a birthday gift when I turned 13 years old. I actually knew I was getting the game, because I had to practically beg my mother for it. As a young gamer it wasn't easy convincing my christian mother to allow me to play the more mature game titles. This itself was an obstacle for a while, but my mother allowed me to choose my own path so-to-speak. When I began playing 'Street Fighter II: Championship Ed.' I was immediately hooked. I had never experienced a game like it, and ended up investing a lot of time into mastering it. My two brothers who were younger at the time even played some matches with me. Those were definitely some of my favorite memories even though me, and my bros got into physical fights over it on occassion (^.^). It was nice to have siblings who enjoyed the same games as I did.

As time went on I tried to buy every new fighting game that was released. My tastes in fighting games have changed several times over the years. Once the mature rated versions were released I had to get in on the scene. I found myself craving the uber violent blood shed that the 'M' rated games offered, and the brutal combat systems that were applied to them. I had to actually sneak 'Mortal Kombat' into my house after borrowing it from a friend, because my mother was still strict when it came to allowing me to play the mature games. I was also underage at the time, so buying Mortal Kombat for myself wasn't really an option. Some of the more mature fighting game titles that I owned/played in the years following that included 'Eternal Champions', 'Samurai Showdown III: Blades of Blood', and nearly every one of the Mortal Kombat titles that followed the original release.

Out of all the fighting game types (2D/3D) I have played over the years the 2D games have always been my favorite. I guess this would stem from the fact that my first fighting game was 'Street Fighter II: Championship Ed.'. I have actually played more 2D titles in my time as a gamer than 3D ones. In my experience I found that 'CAPCOM' offered some of the best 2D fighters out there. I have owned several 'CAPCOM' fighting games that included 'DarkStalkers 3', 'Street Fighter II: Championship Ed.', 'Street Fighter Alpha', 'Street Fighter Alpha 2', 'Street Fighter Alpha 3', 'Marvel vs Capcom 2', 'Marvel vs Capcom 3', 'Capcom vs SNK 2 EO' ... The fact is I have played, and owned more 'CAPCOM' fighting games than I have from any other developers of the genre. My second favorite game developer would definitely have to be 'SNK' ...

SNK fighting games have taken up a majority of my gaming time over the years. I think the first series that really caught my attention from 'SNK' was the 'Samurai Showdown' series. I would spend hours at the local arcades playing the classic version of 'Samurai Showdown', and 'Samurai Showdown III: Blades of Blood' before I ever bought the console versions of the games. The 'Samurai Showdown' series had an anime look to it that definitely appealed to me since I was into anime before it actually became popular in the US. Not many Japanese anime inspired fighting games were released at the time the 'Samurai Showdown' series was out, so this was definitely a nice treat. I found that the somewhat bloody finishes that the 'Samurai Showdown' games offered held my attention quite well. It was cool to see an opponent fall to their kness after a visceral spray of blood spurted from their chest, or when they were brutally cut in half as a result of a strong sword strike. Aside from that series I have also enjoyed the 'King of Fighters' games. I didn't spend to much time playing them but I really liked what 'KOF '99' had to offer on the 'PSOne'.

When it came to 3D fighting games 'NAMCO' was king in my books. The first NAMCO fighting game I ever purchased, and played was 'TEKKEN 3' for the Playstation. I absolutely loved the game's CG oriented videos, and the gameplay itself was extremely awesome. It was at this time that one of my two brothers acually began playing fighting games with me again. My brother actually liked the 'TEKKEN 3', and would spend hours playing matches against me. His favorite character in the game was 'Hwoarang', but I was more of a 'Jin' player. Later on I would grow to love playing as Kazuya, and Dragunov. As years passed 'NAMCO' released more 'TEKKEN' games which I gladly invested top dollar into. I enjoyed the new customization options that were made available with the newer releases of the series as well as the mini-games that showed up within them.

Following the release of 'TEKKEN 3' on the Playstation, NAMCO introduced the 'Soul Calibur' series. Once again I found myself hooked on the 3D fighting game genre. The 'Soul Calibur' games all offered something that other 3D fighting games hadn't really touched on at the time which was a solid weapons fighting system. The inclusion of this system definitely influenced future fighting games, and redefined the 3D fighting game genre in an awesome way. I loved the mythological look that the 'Soul Calibur' series had, and the background story was amazing. When I finally got into the Next-Gen consoles I was definitely glad to see the releases of 'Soul Calibur IV'. NAMCO has earned a well deserved place in my gaming history as my favorite developer of 3D fighting games, and they definitely deserve it.

I have been playing fighting games on the Next-Gen gaming consoles for a few years now, and have greatly enjoyed the transition in graphics that I have experienced. I have invested major time, and money into fighting games on the PS3, and Xbox 360. I have enjoyed playing the latest installments of the Street Fighter series (Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Ed.), Mortal Kombat (MK9), the BlazBlue series (BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift), TEKKEN 6, and Soul Calibur IV. There have been many good things about these releases, but there has also been some bad. The bad I speak of is simply the online interaction that current developers of the fighting game genre offer. It's an issue that could impact the future of fighting games as we know it ...

 I absolutely love to be able to play fighting games (or any games for that matter) with people from all over the world by using online/LIVE modes, but the fact of the matter is that the online fighting systems that most developers currently offer are flawed. I have seen hackers, cheaters, and spammers in all of the fighting games that have been released so far on the Xbox 360/PS3. Allowing the bad gamers to thrive in an online gaming genre totally ruins the game's replay value. These issues are something that need to be addressed by developers if they hope to continue to sell their products in the future. A failure to tend to this matter will likely result in the loss of contribution from old school/dedicated fighting game fans such as myself as well as gamers of any online game genre out there. I hope to see these issues fixed soon, because I love fighting games and would hate to have to give up on the genre that has definied me as a gamer. I don't want my experience cheapened/ruined by some spoiled brat/hacker/cheater/spammer who is out to make a name for themselves in a sorry way.

I could actually go on for many pages about my gaming history/background, but I decided to just touch base on the important things that I have experienced as a fighting game fanatic. The games that I have talked about in this article barely touch base on the full list of fighting games I have played/owned. Like I mentioned in the beginning I have played many games on many consoles. Perhaps later on I will go into further detail about some of the other fighting games that I have enjoyed in my 20+ years as a gamer ... On closing I would like to say "Thank You" for taking the time to read my article, and I hope it gives you some insight into my personal fighting game history. Until we met again ... "Keep it real, keep it Awesome, and Keep on gaming!"

- OtakuDante -

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