Thursday, March 16, 2006

Five Fighting Games - Part 1

Decided to throw up a series discussing fighting games. I figured I would pick the 5 most successful, accessible and complex fighting games of all time. Today will be the most successful.

Seeing as how we are talking about the most successful fighting games, I'm curious if anyone has some great stories about things that they did as a kid to play them. I had a friend who would go through the mall parking lot pulling up on car handles looking for cars that were unlocked and seeing if there was any change to steal just to play Street Fighter. I remember trading copies of games (old sierra games) with the local guy who worked at my arcade for all of the foreign tokens (tokens that were for a different arcade that people tried to use in that arcade).

5 most successful fighting games of all time:

A. Street Fighter 2: World Warrior. Often heralded as the 2nd Pac-Man, Capcom quietly released a bomb into the arcades in early 1991 that rescued arcades and revolutionized the world. Names such as Chun Li and Blanka are now household names that everyone is familiar with. Capcom succeeded where others had failed for three reasons. One is that for the first time teenage males had something to compete with besides just score or time, they had one another. Second is that for the first time someone came up with a way to read in complex joystick motions correctly. Attacks went from just being a button or a direction and a button to now Down, Down/Toward, Toward+Punch (known through out the world as the fireball motion). People were given a new skill to attain and everyone across the world wanted to be the first ones to master these new skills and use them to win. Third, whether by design or by chance, Street Fighter succeeded because there was never one strategy that dominated the game. As soon as you thought you had found the perfect strategy to win with your character, there was someone there to prove you wrong.

B. Mortal Kombat 2: In the harsh weather known as Chicago, 2 guys were busy trying to get in on the craze that were fighting games. After having decent success with Mortal Kombat 1 - nothing more than an experiment with gore and real actors for their graphics, Midway did the unthinkable and actually injected some game play into MK2. Characters had actual strategies to employ and tier rankings were formed. The success of MK1 was largely in part due to the 'sekrets' that the game had (fatalaties, hidden character) and Midway created with MK2 with this in mind. Even going as far as releasing upgrades that changed the commands of not only some moves but also all of the fatalaties that were in the game. It was not uncommon to see players in the arcades with towels or even boxes over their hands to hide their inputs from fellow players. Midway seemed to be in tune exactly with what the players wanted at this time and delivered in full force.

C. Tekken 3. After having lived as nothing more than a shadow of Virtua Fighter, Tekken grew wings and sprouted into a franchise that no one could touch when Tekken 3 was released. People were tired of playing Street Fighter rehashes and Mortal Kombat became too silly, when along came Sony touting how 2D was dead and 3D was the future, and in walked Tekken 3 to prove that the future was here. Building upon precepts that people were familiar with, Tekken 3 learned from its mistakes and nailed the magic that is making a game that looks easy to play and provides years of depth. Having a story line that affected the characters throughout the series, having chars that were time released, having home releases that were often better than their arcade counter parts all added up for Tekken dominating the console sales figures for years to come.

D. Killer Instinct 1. After seeing that Midway could put a dent into the armor of Capcom's Street Fighter, Nintendo and Rare teamed up to carve out their slice of the fighting game pie. Once again, building upon the concepts that everyone were familiar with (6 buttons, 1 joystick), Killer Instinct came out brawling and succeeded. Boasting high resolution 3d models that were using the Ultra 64 hardware, (along with advertisements of how it was coming home to the Ultra 64 hardware) Rare knocked a home run with it's easy to perform combos and ease of play. Prior to KI, 4 hit combos were seen as the echelon of combos where as KI introduced a complex system that resulted in the player being able to use different subsets to create 40+ hits. Also since Rare were a UK company, they used what was then a burgeoning soundtrack of electronic dance music and introduced many Americans their first taste of quality techno music.

E. Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. Fighting game companies having alienated most fighting game fans by sequels that no one could understand the differences or were too complex that required people to read 100 page manuals written in Japanese, Capcom released a gigaton bomb on the fighting game community with Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. This was a new Street Fighter for a new generation - people were no longer settling for one on one and Capcom answered with the first real team based game that consisted of 3 players per team and could have potentially all 6 characters on the screen at once. By using a cast of 56 characters, mostly from previous titles - anyone who had ever come into contact with a Marvel comics book or a Street Fighter game prior would recognize half of the cast. Capcom once again pulled out their magic and created a game that is easy to get into and at the same time leaves enough room for talent and skill to be blossom. Released in 2000, this game has celebrated more tournaments and bigger tournaments than any other fighting game in the history of the US.

Honorable Mention:

Street Fighter 2: Hyper Fighting. Capcom knew they had a goldmine with Street Fighter 2 and wanted to cater to their fans. America at this time was the bulk of their audience, being more competitive by nature than Japan. With that in mind, they also wanted to provide an upgrade to counter the bootleg versions of Street Fighter 2 that were floating around. So Capcom of USA brought in 2 of their employees and asked them to fine tune what was already there. Possessing not one single frame of new animation, they took what they had and produced arguably the best version of Street Fighter 2 to date. Fans quickly flocked to the tweaks in droves and once again reminded everyone in the world why Capcom was #1 at this point.


Kamui said...

Nothing too crazy, but I used to go around pulling money out of the parking lot pay boxes near the arcade I frequented. People would never push dollars all the way into the slots so that they fell in, so you could use a key or a knife to pull them out. I never had much money, so for a while that was the best way to play street fighter.

omar kendall said...

I have two:

Back when World Warrior was new, I sold a Nolan Ryan baseball card (circa 1981) so that I could finally beat Bison (straight up jumping forward kicks wtf). I think at the time it was valued at ten bucks, and i sold it for five. No idea what it's worth now, but probably a helluva lot.

But my real hardcore-ness struck with MK2. My parents went out of town, and had left me with their ATM card (actually, my mother had given it to me to get money out for her, and had forgotten to take the card back). So I did what any bloodthirsty kombatant would have done - I completely cleaned out their checking account and blew it playing MK2. Checks bounced all over the place, and my parents were getting all these calls from the bank. They went there, and the bank had me on camera at the ATM, cleaning them out. It was awesome.

Now, I make games for a living. I think it was worth it.

Maj said...

Dude how much money can you spend on MK2 in a day? How long were your parents out of town??

Back when i was playing at corner liquor stores, i wasn't really into seeking out competition. So i got pretty good at getting all the way through games like SFA1, X-Men:COTA and MSH without having to continue. If i had a dollar, i could probably play for an hour.

So there was like a month or two during high school where i worked in the cafeteria. During that time i made friends with all the old ladies that worked there. Plus, i was generally pretty good at getting out of class early, even after i quit working. So i would head over there every day just before the lunch bell rang, and they would give me one of those little personal pan pizzas from Dominos that they would sell for $2 at lunchtime. Then i'd go and sell it for like $1 or $1.50 and have money to play games on the way home after school. Most days i'd be pretty hungry by the time school ended, but it was worth it.

- Maj

Derek Daniels said...

A long time ago, some friends of mine moved in across the street from a muesuem. We used to sneak on to the museum grounds at night and raid the fountain and all of it's change so we could play more SF.

"I'm taking it back - I'm taking 'em all back!'

Flare said...

me and my bro carried trash bags full of cans and bottles across town to return to the grocery stores (where they had sf2). WE GOT THEM FROM OUR HOUSE! NO GARBAGE PICKING!

Koop said...

Sup family

Well when sf2 came out i mainained by quarter currency by the following things

1)local hustlers would use the "youngins" as stash spots if the cops were swarming...and I remember very well me being one of those stash spots. they would stash a sandwich back down my pocket an tell me to keep walkin roun the block n not take the stuff outta my block till they saw me when they saw me again they would give me 10 dollars...that was loot me bein in the hood n shyt. now i look back that moment would cost you 60-80 bucks..

2)I do remember poppin locks...the beginning of my old car snatchin days. when a cousin of mine showed me how to pop or snatch a was on. sure i had ol hood buddies that would pull on locks in parking lots an get change outta ashtrays...but imagine having a buddy that could pop em an get shyt

3)LAUGH IF YOU WANT TOO BUT GROWING UP IN THE HOOD MADE YOU DO ALOT OF GRIMY SHYT...i remember grabbin the "spare change for the needy" buckets that stores would have...hell we even jacked the ones in micky d's with the water in em!!!!!! WHAT!!

4)jackin foodstamps from dope fien jackie...go buy a quarter back of potatoes chips an get 75 cents back..wash n repeat till you had a pocket of quarters...

5) actually makin money off that game!!!! yes i finally learned the "all u can" i remember the old heads would bet on me. outta all the money i made them i would get like 5 bucks an free games...fuccaz owe

damn that street fighter champion edition!!!!!!!!!

after that i was makin my own loot so playin games was no problem...


Anonymous said...

Well when Guilty Gear X hit i was hooked like a mad man. Before that was XvsSF and Darkstalkers. I looked for as much change as i could find. Then there was Loco Joe's Nickel Arcade where i lived at the time. 5 cent games was awesome. Spare change worked for those XD.

but when i was little i was a thief...

Known as DraculaX throughout the online gaming community

Maj said...

Damn Koop, those are some hardcore stories. I didn't even know that the coin buckets in McDonald's with the water in them were movable. I thought they were nailed down to the counter or something.

Another thing that happened a lot was people putting two quarters in a 25-cent machine. Sometimes some older guys would show up and play like $5 worth of games against one another, always putting in 50 cents. So then when they left, there would be like 10 credits left over.

I wonder if anyone was ever clever enough to fake that. For example, by using some kind of a 50-cent sign or sticker to fool people into putting in too much money. I bet there's some kid somewhere that thought of that back in the day.

- Maj

Anonymous said...

the sf2 players that got good at the game earned their money and valued the games they played. the fools that took other's quarters in line off the cab, told clerks the machine ate their money, stole credits from those who put in the wrong amount of money, etc. were scrubs.

Anonymous said...

that last post was mine but for some reason didn't include my last line, "But we were all there once."

Maj said...

That's bullshit. A lot of the top players in the fighting game community are some of the shadiest people you'll ever meet. That's part of what makes them interesting, and part of what makes the community so lively. It's no surprise that a lot of them went on to become "professional gamblers" capitalizing on this online poker craze.

As for earning money - i don't see how kids in their early teens are supposed to do that. We all had to resort to bootleg methods to get those few dollars to spend at the arcade. Before these games were available on console, it took a lot of practice to get good at them. And that meant a lot of money spent losing.

Of course, once you got good at the games, you could play longer on one quarter. Everyone wanted to get to that stage. Wouldn't you expect the kids who had to resort to difficult methods of getting quarters to value their games more?

I don't know who you are, but your one-dimensional view of what makes someone a scrub is just plain wrong. Nobody is magically good at fighting games. It takes practice and effort. If it didn't involve a high degree of earned skill, we wouldn't like them so much. Everyone who has ever played fighting games started out as a scrub. The only way to get past being a scrub was to practice. Maybe your parents gave you as much money you wanted, but i guarantee you that wasn't the case with 90% of this crowd.

- Maj

Maj said...

Heh, i responded before i saw that slight correction. Funny how one statement can change so much. Anyway yeah, i guess we mostly agree.

- Maj

IzunaDrop said...

When I first saw World Warrior, I was really little. I was on vacation and the hotel had a game room. I saw the machine, was immediately drawn to it, and wanted to play, but I lacked money. I was upset, and the manager saw this and put the game on free play for me(the gameroom was basically dead that day, just me in there). I played that game all day long, and I sincerely thank that guy for creating my interest in fighting games. That guy is awesome.

Nick T. said...

I use to pretty much walk everywhere to save whatever little bit I could rather than take the bus.

Around 98 or 99, I was in 8th grade and I use to have the option to walk or take the bus. Seeing as how I only lived a half hour away from school, I walked home, on the flipside, I then started walking to school as well in the morning. So that was about 2 dollars per day, maybe 3.

When I would go to the mall to play, I lived about 30 minutes to 40 minutes away from the mall. So that was about 2 dollars for that day saved.

So, with the 2-3 dollars per school day, plus allowance and the 2 dollars from walking to the mall. I would say I had roughly 10 to 20 dollars to spend at the arcade.

Aside from walking, I also would keep the change from when my mom would have me go to the store to buy stuff.

Caliagent#3 said...

Posted this on SRK so i'll post it here too:

Pops used to hit the arcades often so that was my source of money. Just about every other weekend he would take me and my bro to the arcade and we'd shell out money playing SF, MK, and SS. Pops stopped hitting the arcades around 95ish so i had other schemes such as saving my bus fare, playing blackjack during lunch and saving up allowance.

Photon said...

Piggy bank raids, haha. Actually, I did leave evidence, as the lids of the banks I used were removable, and when the old folks noticed a significant decrease in the amount, I'd get a tongue-lashing to hell and back. LOL I must have been ten at the time, and SF2 and MK2 were all the rage.

I finally stopped it when the first MvC came along and my lunch money plus spare change/savings from lunch money were enough to finance my pastime. I think it was MvC1 that really got me into fighting games and being an arcade junkie in general.

Bleetness said...

I remember stealing the money my parents would leave on their dresser than hit up whimseys in the mall or the local super cade before it went down. I remember when street fighter and primal rage were the games at the modesto mall, I think I was like 5 or so when I first saw that and thinking, HOLY SHIT! A JURASSIC PARK FIGHTING GAME! Haha, I miss those times....:( Makes me sad seeing that I couldnt really enjoy them because I was so young....
Call me ghetto if you want, but stealing from ashtrays was a good thing as well, there used to be enough quarters and nickels to last me at the mall/nickel arcade for a few days. I also used to sell my pokemon cards for arcade money, back when mvc1 was still alive. I remember selling an all fucked up charizard for 30$!!! I think I bought a 64 game with that and a few hours on mvc1 spamming megaman supers.

Master Chibi said...

When I was part of a bowling league in school my mother would give me money to spend on lunch after practice. I'd always get pizza, but then when SF2 came around I actually started to just put ketchup on my pizza instead of getting extra toppings just so I could save the money to play on SF2.

God ketchup tastes bad on a pizza.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
joey nguyen said...

a lot of our games were $1 for 2 credits, so i used to put a 5c coin in the machine and press start, jacking the credit, and pretend not to know what was going on.

lol @ people playing mk2 with coins over their hands, that is dope!

anyone remember the "killer kuts" cd that came with killer instinct snes? did you guys get it over there?

- eks

Anonymous said...

Clever word play when challenging other people would lead them to pay for the match. I had to play all my games against other people this way. I also got really good at pick-pocketing on my older sister. Which was a bad idea since she takes after my father's cheapness, so she always knew when I'd stolen small change from her but by then I was already at the arcade.

Ken Nanakase said...

So I would steal tips from a Sizzler next to the arcades to pay for my beatings. How did that work? Well firstly Sizzler being the type of place it is with all those windows one could have a clear view of which tables tips had been left even before walking inside. It was all a matter of flying in and out of the place grabbing the money quickly.

I actually got caught various occasions, but caught as in only noticed. I would never get greedy and I knew when it was the right time to leave even the entire mall b/c even mall security was closing in on me. They didn't care if I showed up the next day though. The employers of Sizzler however obviously did. And the funniest thing happened last time I stole from them and they caught me red-handed, I was showing another kid how to get cash there!

I didn't get arrested though, it was only one waiter that caught me and I was able to drop out of sight before she called in trouble. But things changed after that and they tightened up security and access only to families or people they'd be certain they were going to eat. And LOL, all b/c of me. And SF, and MK, and KI.

It was worth it. :=)

RyongVonKaiser said...

At my college, there was a laughable little arcade setup in the TV lounge, brought in by an arcade entertainment business (You know, the ones who just rent out machines and deal with thier upkeep for thier clients). It had some pretty meager beginnings, with the Irritating Maze, Ergheiz, and Xmen/SF. I still don't know why they decided to put more money into our school, since about a week into some of our enrollements, my friends and I had managed to break into the irritating maze and eirghiez and set both games to freeplay (The front panels were left open by a lazy and/or retarded repairman, and we made sure to make the most of it). Xmen/SF soon followed, since we managed to figure our how to pop the clasps on the somewhat loose joystick panel and reach in to mess with both the configuration of the machine and the all-important coin trigger mechanisms. So fun was had by all, even when they brought in SFA3 and Marvel/SF (BTW Tony Daniels is the man). Eventually, we actually began breaking into the machines to do our own repairs, since the company in charge rarely showed up to fix them, and when they did, did a half-assed job. These shinnanegans continued until it became evident that these machines wee mysteriously making much less money than thier readouts suggested. So after about 3 years of mooching free arcade fun, they padlocked the joystick panels, and re-inforced the front access panels. Then, the machines quickly fell into dis-repair since there was basically nobody left to fix them.

einlanzer said...

I lived in Isla Vista,CA as a kid. since it was right next to UCSB THERE WAS A LARGE POPULATION OF COLLEGE STUDENTS.Money was tight in my family so i wasnt fortunate enough to get a weekly allowance.

i went to the local arcade about 3 nights a week. Once i ran out of the 50 cents my mom gave me, i was wondering what i should do for extra change, so and friend of mine and I went across the street to a bar/restraunt place,(dont remember clearly what it was, but there was massive drinking)

Thats when we decided to do some amateur tap dancing to some drunk girls and we each got about 20-30 dollars each twice a week!!

those were the good ole days....growing up w/ college students everywhere was awesome.

Anonymous said...

Alot of the times when I wanted to play a few games of SF, I always used to just get money from my mom, but when I go to the arcades, i'd pretend i'd dropped a quarter under the machine, and i'd look under to see if anything was there. Alot of the times, there was a bunch of quarters, sometimes even dollar bills, and i'd just pick em up and play till I ran out.

Jimbo said...

Nothing too fancy for me I use to do odds and ends for my mother to get the money required for me to go to the arcade and get my xvsf on. This is how I started however because I sucked $3 just didn't last that long. So one trick I use to tell one of the dorks who worked at the arcade that my quarter got stuck and instead of investigating they'd give me another quarter.

Since quarters were my life at the time i'd save up plenty of non quarter change and exchange the worthless dimes and nickels for cold hard beautiful quarters. Old habits die hard even though I have a job and make money I still do this to my roomates when they leave quarters lying around.

Anonymous said...

i used to lift up the corners of shops and steal the sweet, sweet olives from within, i than exchanged the olives for quaters.
-andrew vanderhevel

Derek Daniels said...

You fools have done some ghetto ass shit.

Although so have I ^_^

There used to be a grocery store that was open 24 hours and they had a mk2 cabinet there (and they got new rom versions before everyone else...hella weird). But one time the guy who owned the cabinet left the top panel open also. So we would go there after the arcade closed and play MK2 in a grocery store for hours. No one that worked there even cared what we did.

Also at one point one the kids who played SF got a job as the manager of the arcade! So he would let us all in after the mall closed and we would play games until sunrise the next day. There was also some random restaurant in the foodcourt that kept their cold bottled drinks near the fence that they pull down every night. So we would sneak over there and put our hand through the fence and steal drinks then go back to playing games.

Anonymous said...

I used to go around pressing all the coin returns in the arcade till I found one with quaters. Sometimes my pops would hook me up and sometimes I would pretend I'm stranded and ask old people for quaters to use the phone. Yeah I was a scumbag lol.

~Captain Ryu

NKI said...

Method #1:
At my local arcade, if you were in grade school and showed them your report card, you would get one free token for a 'B' and two free tokens for an 'A'. I didn't get very good grades, so I convinced this hella nerdy brainiac to go up there with me with our report cards, and he broke the bank 'cause he got straight A's. He didn't really play games that much, so I got to use most of his tokens.

They would date and sign the report card afterwards so that you can't use the same one twice, but I would just go to Kinko's and making 20 copies of my report card before they sign it.

Method #2:
At a different local arcade, I was playing KI one day, and the arcade operator saw me doing Cinder's broken-Ultra rooftop zoom out glitch, and he was like, "Yo, what the hell is going on!?!?" I explained it to him, showed him a few other glitches, and from then on, he just let me play for free if I showed him new stuff.

Method #3:
Only happened once, but somehow this pack of shady negroes popped open the control panel and put HELLA credits on MK2. One guy looks at me and says, "Aye, I'll give you this game for $5." There were WAY more than $5 worth of credits on there, so I took him up on the offer. A mutual win for both parties involved.

Method #4:
I don't think it's well known at all, but in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, there is actually a free game glitch. You have to actually pay for your first game, but from there you can just play literally forever (or until you lose). I used to go up to the arcade and play UMK3 for hours on end for just fifty cents. The only reason I would stop playing is because eventually I'd have to go to the bathroom, or my hands would start to hurt...

Jr7891 said...

I would save up and buy tokens from the cheapest place.

1.00 for 7 tokens was a strange exchange but i didn't care.

Then i found a big ass bag of tokens laying on the floor in a mall.
I took that and had enough to play for months.

I still have the bag the tokens were in.

My other tactic was to find a broke change giver.
I had paper perfectly cut into the shape of a dollar so i fed the machine and got as much as i could before the changer died.

Now that everythings card based, I try to steal the employees free play cards.

I would just go play Tekken or something against this guy who left his card on the machine.

When he dropped his cigarette i switched my card for his.
Now I have free play at Dave n Busters.

I would do this at espn zone but I don't even go there much.

Anonymous said...

Scoured for it. Searched the house for change, for pennies, nickles and dimes that I could exchange for a quarter at the candy vendor's counter. Searched the streets. One night I thought I dropped a few cents from the arcade and I looked for some 30 minutes for it, just for a single game of Metal Slug. Dollars were often asked for and often given, but when they weren't it was the preceding methods.

God, it was so fun back then. I wasn't really around at their peak but I did see the end of the arcade's decline. Makes me go :(


Sabin said...

heh i was reading this thread and i noticed noone mentioned the penny trick, unless i missed it (i also used to do the drill a hole in a quarter trick, which someone DID mention before (on srk)). but i used to do the penny trick on a lot of the machines that were unattended back in the day, ie, pop off the coin ejection cover if it's plastic, and stuff a coin back up the coin rejection slot (iirc, for some machines, there's two slots up there,) you just have to find the one that is the smaller of the two slots and the penny would pass through the trigger and give you a credit - but it would be deposited in the coin box inside the cabinet, so when they collected the quarters at the end of a week, they would have a big surprise coming LOL! It didn't seem to work on every machine, but it did work for a good portion of the machines I played.. so i figured that someone would have posted about this already. gotta be sure that someone was doing this besides myself.

sorry about my ghetto explaination, i don't know much about the insides of a arcade cabinet too well. Anyway, once the stores started catching on, I would usually be shifty about when I would do the free penny trick to be careful not to get caught. In the most extreme instance, it was at the point where someone installed a device inside the machine that would shut off the machine if you tried to do the penny trick. but unfortunately the arcade operator that installed it didn't install it properly, if you did the trick correctly the machine would not shut off. Most of the time they would just switch to metal covers after that or fix the coin slots to stop that exploit.

but back in the days before i did that, a lot of older kids would usually try to steal the boards off poorly installed machines, and at the time i was 8-10, i would usually get a share of the change bin inside the machine for helping them watch out, which translated into a free day of games lol. so i didnt care too much.

Derek Daniels said...


haha - the penny trick. I used to do that one along with another penny trick that someone taught me. Coin slots that didn't have the little door on them where you got your quarter when it didn't get inserted correctly - you could take a penny and put it on the end of your finger and flick it upwards where it would hit the mechanism to trigger a credit. Unfortunately both would result in the penny being in the coin box. I played hella outrun this way.

Nezumiiro said...

I used to shag golf balls on the driving range of this sorry-ass 9 hole golf course in southern Utah. I got to kick people off the range, and then take my sweet time picking up balls. I got 5$ per small bucket of balls, and 8$ per big one. Sometimes the owners even let me use the carts. to carry more balls at a time. The best part, a 150 meter drainage tunnel ran from the course to the mall, where the arcade was located! Easy Come, easy go!

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