10 of the best fighting games ever

The most convenient way to beat people to a pulp (without the pesky lawsuits)

We've been fighting each other since the very first punch-up over the last piece of mammoth steak. But that's not to say that violence is the answer, kids.

Having said that, we've spent countless hours over the years beating up virtual opponents without marring our pretty faces with a single scratch or bruise.

Fighting games have often generated as much excitement as they have controversy, with their graphic depictions of violence, and sexiness, often tickling the ire glands of concerned parents. The fortunes of the genre have waxed and waned however, as the genre once inseparable from the arcade experience has moved almost completely onto consoles.

As a tribute to Street Fighter V and the fighting game genre as a whole, here are ten of the best fighting games that have ever come to pass. 

Image: SpencerBerry

Street Fighter

The granddaddy of fighting games has had a long and occasionally chequered history, including more than a few misfires in the series, and at least one so-bad-it’s-almost-good movie (we’re talking about the Van Damme one). Ironically, some of the best improvements to the original gameplay came from hacked versions of the Street Fighter 2 arcade board - meaning that Street Fighter might have been one of the first ever user-modded success stories in gaming history.

Characters like Ryu, Chun-Li, Blanka, and Zangief have become pop culture icons, as have their martial arts moves. Although it hit a slump not long ago, Street Fighter 4 reinvigorated the franchise with a unique sumi art style and dynamic cinematic camera work during special move cutscenes. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Art of Fighting

Art of Fighting came along on the NEO GEO gaming system and blew our little minds. Not only was there a coherent narrative to the storyline, the game also introduced several new gameplay mechanics: a stamina bar for special moves, desperation moves (that you could only use when your lifebar was low) and mini games that allowed you to build your character as the game progressed.

Despite many of its innovations, it just never had the reach or popularity that Street Fighter had, unfortunately.

The King of Fighters

Also the victim of a horrendous movie adaptation, The King of Fighters took the characters of the best SNK fighting games and put them in the same universe. Ryo and Robert from Art of Fighting got to battle with The Bogarts of Fatal Fury in a character roster that was the largest anyone had ever seen back then.

The main storyline revolved around the clashing destinies of Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami, and the eternal battle between their two clans. The King of Fighters introduced team battles to fighting games, which meant you had to pick three characters to fight with. That seemed like a great deal until you realized that it meant you were thrice as likely to suck at the game.