Show Some Love

Posted on Mar 2nd 2020 at 12:00:00 AM by (Crabmaster2000)
Posted under Modern Gaming, Fighting Games

Modern gaming has many advantages and disadvantages depending on your outlook. Many of the things that I don't care for in the modern arena are tied closely to things that really don't interest me all that much anyway so I don't fret too much about them. I'm not a big indie guy so the fact that most indie games are digital only doesn't typically bother me. I can play Dark Souls from start to finish without messing around with the online mutliplayer aspects which don't excite me. Since I don't have a particular fondness for MMO style games persistent online worlds and the joys that accompany them are a non-issue for me.

There is one particular genre that I love and have grown up with my whole life that I no longer play these days. The advances of modern gaming have pushed me completely out of Fighting games and I didn't realize until recently how sad that makes me.

Since the 16bit era fighters have always been a steady part of my gaming diet. Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat II, Killer Instinct, Primal Rage, Power Rangers, World Heroes, Art of Fighting, and Clayfighter were all in regular rotation during my early game nights. Stepping up to a stranger in Darkstalkers, Marvel Super Heroes or Virtua Fighter at the local arcade was constantly a thrill. During the Playstation generation a good friend of mine was up extremely early each morning for competitive swimming practice and was looking for somewhere to kill an hour between practice and the start of school. Every school day he would come to my place for a solid hour of Marvel vs Capcom, X-Men Mutant Academy or Battle Arena Toshinden. School may have been occasionally skipped to fit in some matches of Smash Bros, WCW vs NWO World Tour, Power Stone and SoulCalibur when each of those was shiny and new. As the years progressed and I found myself playing more solo gaming I still made time to play the plethora of fighters that appealed to me. Upon acquiring my NEO GEO MVS I found a great love for the King of Fighters series and dove deep into it even winning a local KoF13 tournament the week that game launched. Being a big Persona and Guilty Gear fan I could not wait to tear into Persona 4 Arena and found myself extremely impressed by the depth of the story, the intuitive systems and lighting fast combat as well as the amazing care taken to do the source material justice. Speaking of justice a DC comics fan like myself fell in love with the campaign and powerful combat that Injustice Gods Among us presented. Many of my favorite games through the years have been fighting games and the core of that style of game really hasn't changed all that much since it's inception. So why do I feel like I don't belong in that group any longer?

Having been immersed in the genre for so long and loving what and how they have offered content I find a lot of the modern twists added to the same basic core extremely off putting. There is nothing worse than opening up a character select screen to see images of characters locked away either behind a real world payment. Costumes and characters that used to be rewards for players (or even just locked away behind silly codes) are now locked away from players not willing to dish out extra payments behind the initial purchase of the game. Got a character and combo you've been practicing for weeks and are finally ready to test your might online against others? You'd better account for that balance patch that renders that plan virtually useless now. Just want to enjoy the game by yourself against the CPU? Occasionally you're just straight up cut off from even some single player content without a paid online subscription service. Looking to the future what if I want to play Super Smash Bros Ultimate in a decade or two. Will ANY of the characters from the fighters pass even be available or will they be lost to our current digital reality?

Not to just be a consistent downer about modern gaming. I adore many new games, genres and features that wouldn't have been possible in the past. I want gaming to keep moving forward and creating new ideas. I just feel in the case of Fighters we may have lost a lot more than we've gained. 

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We're a long way from something like Tekken 3, which was an awesome fighting game, complete with a good roster, that also included several unlockable characters, as well as additional modes of play, that would help extend the experience. All of that, with no need to buy anything extra, for the standard retail price. I realize that game design is more complex than it's ever been, and with that level of complexity comes the opportunity for more bugs and issues, but I agree that it's disheartening to see the trend. Fighting games started to push me out in the late 90's, when the shift to more complicated fighting games took hold, and you had to know how to get a huge combo to even stand a chance against some random player who walked up to a cabinet to challenge you, or to get anywhere in the single player mode. But there have still been excellent games over time that I've enjoyed, like Injustice. Still, I feel like it's a genre that has largely left me behind, and that's okay. I can still play Street Fighter II, Darkstalkers 3, and other games I enjoy.

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