I've come to the realization that fighting games fans don't play Nintendo systems. I'm not sure why, but they don't. And the Nintendo fans that do own Nintendo hardware, don't care for the genre. Unless it's Smash Bros. of course, where Nintendo nostalgia and fan-service figuratively burst from the screen. That's irresistible to a Nintendo fan.
But traditional fighters? Nope. Street Fighter, King of Fighters, Guilty Gear, Mortal Kombat. Dead or Alive, Tekken...none of these series have done well on Nintendo platforms. Except when the games came out on SNES, anyway. And the one exception when Soulcalibur II on Gamecube outsold both the PS2 and Xbox versions. But we can probably thank Link's inclusion in the roster for that.
But...WHY? Why don't Nintendo fans like fighting games? Nintendo gamers are usually quite open to a variety of genres (mostly because Nintendo themselves offer many different games in many different genres) but for some reason, fighting games just don't stick with modern Nintendo fans.
I had a theory that since the N64 didn't have many fighters (really good ones, anyway) that fans of the genre just gravitated to the Playstation since that's where the games were. And then never came back. But the N64 had nearly zero RPGs, but that genre is still very popular with Nintendo fans today. So that theory is bunk.
Another theory I had was that fighting games are kind of repetitious, and require practice for moves, button inputs and strategy. But then, the same could be said for Monster Hunter, and that's kind of taken off on Nintendo platforms. Heck, a lot of that applies to the still-very-popular Smash Bros. series. So that doesn't make sense either.
Then I was like, do Nintendo fans - in general - just not like competition? Like, they prefer to work together in a cooperative manner, rather than go head-to-head? But then I remembered that, besides the popularity of Smash Bros., games like Mario Kart and Pokémon feature fairly heated player-vs-player modes, and sell by the boatloads. So again...I'm at a loss to understand the fighting game aversion.
So... I turn to you guys. This site, this community...pretty much doesn't care for fighting games. Save for a few of you. If you don't like fighting games, can you explain to me why? I honestly just want to understand. If you DO like the genre, then....well, I guess this thread isn't for you. Still, any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone.
I loved Soul Calibur 2. Not even because of Link, it was just fun. I also really didn't mind Tekken 3, either.
For me, fighting games are boring. You memorize a set of combos and buttons to push and then you just have to execute those button presses. It would be like if the classic board/electronic game "Simon" only ever lit up in one pattern. How dull would that be? I might as well go memorize all the decimal places of Pi! Yawn!
Ok, I'll give a serious answer. I feel I'm just "over" the genre. Loved Street Fighter II and Marvel vs. Capcom in my teens, played Tekken and Soul Calibur a bit in my 20s, but every time I play a standard fighter today, they feel like reruns. It's a genre where I've sucked the marrow dry and now I just don't care to go back.
Fighting games, to me, were always a bit of a "test your meddle" genre. It was largely about plopping that quarter onto the cabinet at the arcade, like some kind of alpha male giraffe. Yeah, you could play the CPU and that would be fun for awhile. But after a point, you wanted to play against friends and try to beat each other. And they can be fun when you do that. But I don't have that kind of drive to play games competitively, anymore, and when I do get a hankering for it, I'll play an FPS instead. In general, I find FPSes to be more fun than fighters, so in a way I'd say FPSes have stolen their thunder.
I'll even go so far as to say I'm not as excited about Smash as I ought to be. Yeah, the fanservice will be great, but I don't expect the game to be particularly revelatory. It'll be the same well-designed game as ever, but that's true about recent Street Fighters and I'm not gaga over them, either.
1.) Because we have Smash Bros. 2.) Because we can't really play fighting games online 3.) Because companies don't give Nintendo platforms fighting games anymore (for the most part) 4.) Because I think most Nintendo fans appreciate simplicity of design over complexity. Why learn 8 button presses when I can just press "Over and A" in Smash Bros.? It's the same result without all the BS memorization and godlike thumb coordination.
I don't like traditional fighters because I have to think more than I have fun to be good at it. You can button mash to your fingers bleed, but you can easily be destroyed by someone else. Either by button mashing or by knowing the game. Then you spend hours, days, months, years learning the system. You start memorizing frames, patterns, weaknesses, and everything down to the button on the guy's shirt. Then you keep playing. 1v1. Forever.
I really want to get Injustice: Gods Among Us on PS4 (well, did when it was on sale for $35) but I just can't stand how much time is required to put into the game to be good.
You can't really make strategical decisions in these games until you've spent hours upon hours figuring out how to do stuff. That's why for me, we put on a fighting game, we play it for 20 minutes, and then we get tired of it because no one has any idea what they're doing, or how to do it.
There's just no satisfaction between what my thumbs are doing and what my eyes are seeing on screen. Not until I've devoted myself to figuring out all the moves and counters and throws and all that.
I enjoyed MK and Street Fighter II as much as any kid growing up in the 90's... but I don't know. I lost interest in the genre, save for occasionally flirting with it again here or there. I'm not really good at remembering a bunch of moves and dislike the idea of playing with only one character. I like to bounce around too much to ever really master a single fighter. This is why Smash Bros is so much fun. You can pick any character and get the idea since there aren't any button combinations to remember... though it still obviously takes time to master a character and how to properly use their moves.
Most fighting games nowadays seem derivative of either Street Fighter 2, Tekken or Mortal Kombat. Despite improvements or technical innovations not much has changed. SNK might have had some simulated camera effects but their fighters are developed in the SF2 clone vacuum.
These games tend to require either random button mashing or intense muscle memory and strategy. Mastering this requires time and new skills. That is asking a lot from a player when most of the experience is repeated content. Personally as a grown family man with little time and not around many people who enjoy fighting games I feel like I'm not this game's target audience.
The only game fighting game added to my collection in the past 5 years was Blazblue. It created unique and interesting characters from tropes and art style of anime and put it together in a complete polished package.
Everyone's already said what I would have said, so I'll just comment on your examples.
The thing about Smash Brothers is that the controls are simple and easy to pick up. The concept of knocking opponents off a stage is more interesting to me than just depleting a life bar. 4-player matches are far more entertaining than 1v1. The randomness provided by the items and other elements makes every match play out differently. Having a nice roster of Nintendo characters and stages certainly helps, but if I didn't like the gameplay then I never would have played beyond the N64 title. Conversely, I'd still like the game if it had different characters in it, if I ever heard of it then at least.
I don't think Monster Hunter is much like a fighting game. There aren't any button combos to memorise, so the controls are far less complex. They're actually more simple than they might first appear, it's just that the amount of weapons can make it seem more daunting than it really is. The gameplay is also much slower than a fighting game, so quick reflexes aren't required (unless you want to speedrun, but I sure don't). There isn't really much strategy either, you stab the monster till it dies. The only real reason I play it is because it's one of the very few online co-op games on a Nintendo system, but I'd prefer a different game if one were to exist.
In my case, you're right about not liking competition. Well, not that I don't like it, but I prefer to work in teams. Since Smash Brothers is four-player then I can play that on a team with someone else, and even in a game like Mario Kart Wii, when my friend and I play that together, we don't target each other with items and specifically try to not mess each other up. The only online Pokémon I've ever played was the co-op Battle Frontier, or just trades. When I play a shooter like Call of Duty or The Conduit, I always choose the team modes.