Fighting game community

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The fighting game community is a collective of video gamers who play fighting games such as Marvel vs. Capcom, Mortal Kombat, Soulcalibur, Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, The King of Fighters, Blazblue, Samurai Shodown, Super Smash Bros., Tekken and many others. The fighting game community started out small in the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s referred to as the grassroots era, but it has grown to a larger scale in the 2010s, with many tournaments being held across the world. This is predominately due to the rise of esports and digitized viewing habits on live streaming sites such as Twitch.


The Chinatown Fair arcade was one of the early venues where a competitive fighting game scene coalesced.


The game Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was a huge success when it was released in 1991 and is regarded as one of the most influential video games of all time.[1][2][3] It refined and popularized the fighting game genre and introduced many now-staples of the genre, such as combos and character selection but most notably, it allowed players to directly compete by fighting against each other in the game, while earlier games primarily had players compete by comparing highscores.[4] During the mid-1990s, a Street Fighter II tournament scene had coalesced in various cities across the United States. Highly competitive communities formed naturally in Chinatown Fair in New York City, Super Just Games in the Chicago area, and the Golfland arcade halls in Sunnyvale and Stanton, California. Players were also finding each other and discussing strategies through the internet on message boards. In 1996, the "Battle by the Bay" was conceived in order to quell debate over who was the best Street Fighter player in the country.[5]

2000–2009: early years[edit]

In early 2000, a forum was created called which was named after the iconic Street Fighter attack. The site became the main go to forum for many fighting game competitors and it quickly attracted the community to create major tournaments to gather the best players from around the country. One of the most major tournaments that gathers players from around the world is called The Evolution Championship Series. In middle of the 2000s the FGC's popularity began to fade due to lack of new fighting games, the overall sales of the genre, and some problems within the community.[citation needed] It was not until 2009, when there was a new spark in the community. After nearly a decade, Capcom announced the development of the next installment of one of their most well-known fighting games, Street Fighter IV. The game received a lot of positive reception from major game reviewers and the FGC.[6][7][8][9] Street Fighter IV brought life back into the FGC by not only rejuvenating the popularity of fighting games, but also creating an influx of new players into the community and increasing the number of competitors.


After the success of Street Fighter IV, new fighting games began being developed and the FGC expanded with more tournaments. The tournaments even started being live-streamed with Twitch so many people can view the tournaments. There are also sponsor-ships from franchises like Evil Geniuses, Broken Tier,[10] and Mad Catz,[11] which pays players for free advertisement.

Despite the rise of other competitive video game genres, a phenomenon known as Esports, many members of the FGC have rejected the label of "Esports" on their community.[12]

The overall size of the community remains a very small proportion of the fighting game market overall. Some of the genre's biggest selling games, such as Tekken 5,[13] Super Smash Bros.[14] and Mortal Kombat X,[15] have sold in excess of 5 million copies. In contrast, the same games might only attract 1,000-2,000 entrants at a large tournament.[16][17] Typically some 20-30% of players fight online.[18]


The fighting game community has been praised for its racial diversity compared to other gaming communities.[19] However it has also been criticized for sexism.[20][21][22][23]

A highly publicized incident of sexism occurred in 2012 on a live streaming event, when Street Fighter x Tekken player Aris Bakhtanians made comments about a female player's bra size and other inappropriate remarks, leading to the female player dropping out of the event.[24] Later, during an interview with Twitch he is quoted as saying that "sexual harassment is part of a culture, and if you remove that from the fighting game community, it's not the fighting game community." He later apologized for his comments.[25]


Hundreds of online and offline tournaments are held worldwide every year, ranging anywhere in size from less than ten to over 10,000 entrants,[26] depending on the location, entry fee, prize pot, and game or range of games available. Tournaments are typically run through grassroots community efforts, although an increasing number of tournaments are being sponsored by stakeholders like Capcom, Twitch, Red Bull, and Nintendo.[citation needed]

Examples of large fighting game tournaments and tournament series include:


  1. ^ Patterson, Eric L. (November 3, 2011). "EGM Feature: The 5 Most Influential Japanese Games Day Four: Street Fighter II". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Archived from the original on March 14, 2017. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  2. ^ "Street Fighter II". The Essential 50. Archived from the original on July 20, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  3. ^ Matt Barton; Bill Loguidice (2009). Vintage games: an insider look at the history of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the most influential games of all time. Boston: Focal Press/Elsevier. pp. 239–255. ISBN 0-240-81146-1. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  4. ^ "Street Fighter II Influence". Archived from the original on 2017-03-14. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  5. ^ Learned, John (2017-07-17). "The Oral History of EVO: The Story of the World's Largest Fighting Game Tournament". USGamer.
  6. ^ "street fighter 4 360 ign review". Retrieved 17 February 2009.
  7. ^ "street fighter 4 review by g4". Retrieved 18 February 2009.
  8. ^ "Street fighter 4 meta critic score". Metacritic. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
  9. ^ "street fighter 4 ps3 ign review". Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  10. ^ "Broken Tier Sponsored Players". Broken Tier.
  11. ^ "Mad Catz Players". mascatz.
  12. ^ "The PA Report - Why the fighting game community hates the word "Esports"". 26 August 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-08-26.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  13. ^ "Tekken 6 - Entrevista". Vandal. 2009-07-26. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
  14. ^ "Top Selling Software Sales Units - Switch Software". Nintendo. September 30, 2016. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  15. ^ Hussain, Tamoor. "Batman: Arkham Knight, Mortal Kombat X Sell 5 Million Each Worldwide, Report Says". GameSpot. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  16. ^ Walker, Ian. "Smash 4, Melee, and Street Fighter numbers are ridiculous". Shoryuken. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  17. ^ Macone, John. "Ultra Street Fighter IV surpasses 2,000 entrants at EVO 2015". Eventhubs. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  18. ^ Data from server logs, for example, 20% of Street Fighter IV players acquire the trophy for playing an online match on the PlayStation 3
  19. ^ Bowman, Mitch. "Why the fighting game community is color blind".
  20. ^ "Is pervasive sexism holding the professional fighting game community back?".
  21. ^ Narcisse, Evan. "Sexual Harassment is a Joke to These Fighting Game Fans [Update]".
  22. ^ "This Woman Is Fighting Sexist Gamers Because They Obviously Suck". 20 March 2015.
  23. ^ "Sexism In Fighting Game Culture Says Nothing About Gamers, But It Says Everything About Bullies".
  24. ^ Mark Graham; William H. Dutton, eds. (2014). Society and the Internet: How Networks of Information and Communication are Changing Our Lives. p. 92.
  25. ^ Casey Johnston (18 February 2014). "Women are gamers, but largely absent from "e-sports"". Ars Technica. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  26. ^ [Evo 2018]