Fighting games before Street Fighter II were mostly awful


#1

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#2

I remember as a kid going to the Moose Club and wanting so badly to play Yie Ar Kung-Fu. Not that we didn’t have videogames at home on the old C64 (and later the NES), but they were far less enticing.

I must admit, we barely played it back then (our parents were sticklers for not spending money on frivolities), and I’ve only briefly tinkered with it under emulation.

I’m afraid to read the article on it here, for fear that reality would ruin how awesome that game always seemed.


#3

To answer the author’s question: Why has Super Smash Bros. persevered when other entries in the genre have faded away? Because it’s fun. We (collectively) want to have fun with a game, not work at it like a job. The beauty of many of Nintendo’s platformers (Mario Bros, SSB, Mario Kart, Kirby, etc) is that we can put them down, go live life, and pick them back up again without any learning curve.

The dearth of FPS games is great for the audience it serves, but that audience is increasingly not me, nor most anyone I know.


#4

Well, that’s true. But then most games prior Street Fighter II were awful. Regardless of the genre.

And, come to think of it, most games after Street Fighter II have been awful as well.

Sturgeon’s law.

A couple of fighting games that stand out in my memory is Archon, the fantasy battle chess duel game, Bruce Lee, the platform/fighting game hybrid, and IK+ which was bloody brilliant.


#5

It’s like saying Super Mario Brothers sucked because it wasn’t Super Mario 3, or Space Invaders sucked because it wasn’t 1942.


#6

Karate Champ and Yie Ar were a good time.


#7

HG101 is a pretty cool site.

[quote=“sdrawkcab, post:3, topic:51671”]To answer the author’s question: Why has Super Smash Bros. persevered when other entries in the genre have faded away? Because it’s fun. We (collectively) want to have fun with a game, not work at it like a job. The beauty of many of Nintendo’s platformers (Mario Bros, SSB, Mario Kart, Kirby, etc) is that we can put them down, go live life, and pick them back up again without any learning curve.[/quote]Smash Bros gets quite dizzying in its intricacies. I still haven’t finished all the Event matches in Melee, and I probably won’t without some combination of studying FAQs and Youtube videos (and where’s the fun in that?) and sheer blind luck.


#8

I read “Fighting games before STREET FIGHTER II” and all I could think of were STREET FIGHTER, YIE-AR KUNG FU, KARATEKA, and KARATE CHAMP. That’s not a terrible bunch of games–I would still spend money on KARATE CHAMP today–I love that two-joystick input.

Looking over the article reminded me of URBAN CHAMPION, PIT FIGHTER, and TONGUE OF THE FATMAN, which were just such trash. I remember being so pissed about URBAN CHAMPION. NES carts were precious gold to my 12 year old self and getting a stinker was just unforgivable. (Fuck you, RUSH’N ATTACK!).

STREET FIGHTER II really opened up that genre and made it the giant it is today. There’s a great article at Polygon if anyone wants to read the history there.


#9

I had a lot of fun playing Barbarian on the C64.


#10

Press T!


#11

What, no Punch-Out? (Or maybe they liked it? Or it isn’t a “fighting game?”)

Uppercut! Uppercut! Body blow! Left! Left!


#12

4D Sports Boxing, anyone?


#13

It’s definitely not the same sort of “fighting game”, I’d say. It also has its own separate (and quite thoughtful) article.
http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/punchout/punchout.htm


#14

Rockem Sockem Robots was pretty sweet, and worked fine during a power outage.


#15

They comment in the final paragraph of the introduction that “[b]oxing and wrestling games (including Sumo) are recognized as separate genres”, hence no Punch-Out!!.


#16

Wow, thanks for this trip down memory lane. It’s interesting how much, in hindsight, Street Fighter 2’s design template took over all control schemes. (In what other genre is “make all the character’s key abilities very hard to figure out or use” a design phase?)

(Still have nostalgia for International Karate + on the ST and the early 3-way matches.)

Feeling the need to go play Divekick now…


#17

While it isn’t listed in the table-of-contents at top, they’ve got The Bilestoad !!!

I never played it, but remember reviews and/or advertisements.

<glum />


Interview with the creator reveals an interesting take on software piracy:

The game seemed popular and received great reviews. Did it do well
commercially?

Nope. Datamost only sold around 5,000 copies of the game. I’ve gotten email from a lot of people and even met people who know and love the game and you know what? I’ve never met or talked to anyone who had an official copy.

Pretty frequently I see the recurring threads on software piracy on various newsgroups. People really believe that there is no impact from their copying software. Well, there is an impact. I couldn’t support myself by writing computer games, so “The Bilestoad” was the last game I did.

Why didn’t you write any other games?

I’d put together “Planetoids” and “Space Warrior,” and made a little money. Both of those games were cute little hacks, but there was nothing really memorable or Earth-shaking about them. So after I had my feet wet, I said to myself, “Now I want to do something real. I want to do the best game I can possibly do. If it works out and does well, I can do this for a living and spend my life working on games.” So, I worked my ass off on “The Bilestoad,” made the best game I possibly could, and released it. It didn’t do well. In fact, it didn’t even make as much money as “Planetoids.” It didn’t even make the best seller list as my throw-away game, “Space Warrior,” did. Meanwhile, I was out of money, in debt, and about to graduate with a degree in Artificial Intelligence. Feeling generally unloved and unappreciated, I got a high-paying job at an AI company and worked for a living.


#18

Microsoft faces the very same hardship, no doubt.


#19

Punch Bout


#20

Oh yeah. Takes me back. Back to when “3D” was proper hideous.