This is Daigo Umehara, a badass of badasses in fighting games. Some love him, some hate him. Either way, he's a name to know. Maybe you might be on his level of fame someday as well? If so, you'd best get practicing right now!
EVO is THE tournament, the place for every fighting game fan goes each year to try and prove him/herself to be the very best like no one ever was, dun dun dun. No, but seriously, this is what most people strive for. Some notable people are Daigo Umehara (seen above), Justin Wong, Mike Ross, and 8-year old prodigy Noah. So basically speaking, if you can get your combos and shit down right, you might just be as legendary as them.
GGPO, or Good Game, Peace Out, is a very good way to play arcade games with bros over the intornets. Kind of like the Steam of fighting games It's like the emulator of fighting games TBH. Basically, you just download your rom, find it on the list and go into battle ASAP. You need to make an account obviously for it first before using the program online.
Fightan games are pretty fucking neato things. They often have great music, characters, artwork/animation, and most notably above all else: COMMUNITIES. Most people who play these games are considered bros and know their vidya. Though, true to the expected white-knuckle style, not everyone gets along, and some participants can flat out be trolls and dicks, so beware.
If you still find yourself curious about this phenomenon and want to get in on it, or maybe you just want to casually try it out but have no idea which ones to pick, then this is your page.
A: People who often play online have been practicing for a while in these games, you might need to memorize more move sets and combos to be better.
Q: But I never win, why should I keep playing I should give up.
A: No, you shouldn't. Everyone sucks at these at one point or another, you just have to remember that nobody is perfect, and keep trying to get a win in there somewhere. Then you'll prosper in these games.
Q: I suck at guarding, I always offense the fuck out of the other person, but I end up getting bodied to hell.
A: Guarding IS essential, it's basically like 1/3 of your fighting game mojo. Don't just think you can fuck up the circuit by offense, because if you rush into everything, odds are, they will guard until you stop for a split second and you probably will get bodied to hell.
Q: How do I know which character is me?
A: Everyone has a style. If you're used to other fighting games, it's much easier to transfer your style over (there are 3 broad archetypes in 2D fighters, for example, which may narrow your selection considerably), but you may find your style carries over even from a completely different genre. Do you always Zerg rush in Starcraft? Maybe try a rushdown character. Do you use the sniper in every FPS? Try a heavy zoner.
Q: A character from Street Fighter III 3rd Strike.
A: I see what you did there.
Q: How should I know which characters are high tier?
A: Depends upon the game. Games that have been out a long time with an established community tend to have well-developed lists, whereas less popular and newer games have lots of conflicting lists. I'm not going to tell you how to pick your character, but I will suggest that you don't pick a top tier character unless you actually like their playstyle. Nothing kills your drive to learn more than playing a character you don't like; you'll probably be better playing a mid-tier that you find really fun than a high tier that you hate (unless the game is really poorly balanced, in which case you should play something else).
Okay, we covered a lot of things above here, but now we have the list for these games.
Super Street Fighter II Turbo
Yes, but rarely.
THE quintessential fighting game. The SUPER variation is more or less an expansion adding 4 characters among the cast of already great playable characters. On like a fuckton of systems with too many to count for almost. Super Turbo is best version because it added Akuma/Gouki, making the game officially complete.
Street Fighter III 3rd Strike:Fight For The Future
HD Ver. Yes.
One of the best fighting games of all time like SSF II, but this one is real original and has animation just beautiful to look at altogether. Way different the the game above with even more great characters to play as.
Street Fighter EX 1-3
Highly underrated 3D Street Fighter game, mainly knocked because HUURRR NOT COMPLETELY MADE BY CAPCOM, HURRR TREE DEE ECKSDEE. Very fun, especially the third one. Worth a look at something that could have been more.
Ultra Street Fighter IV
The new, NEW, NEW addition to the Street Fighter Series, includes six new stages and five new characters in addition to those included in previous installments. Recommended over SSFIV and SSFIV: Arcade Edition, especially that incomplete shit known as SFV, as this comes with extra content for a smaller price.
HD Ver. Yes. (Resurrection)
Awesome 2D fighting series by capcom, akin to myths and monsters, very fun and awesome with a 360/PS3 port of Night Warriors and DS 3 called Darkstalkers Resurrection.
Darkstalkers Chronicle The Chaos Tower
Takes the DS3 story and aesthetic and adds music, modes, and endings and artwork from all 3 modes into one. Has an online mode and a survival mode called The Chaos Tower. Overall a real generous offering from Capcom.
A great 3d team fighter by bastardo company Capcom. How wouldn't it be? Look, it's got all that classic fighter's edge outline and shit. Anyway moving on, Rival Schools basically has you beat the shit out mof other school kids as well as some teachers all across Japan. Also has Sakura from Street Fighter. There's and expansion, Rival Schools 2 also on PS1, but japan only.
Basically the sequel to Rival Schools. Adds more characters to the mix, along with a new storyline and whatnot. Worth it in the long run definitely.
Often the black sheep of Capcom fighting games. Often forgotten completely and hardly played. It's a good game for what it is though, a kind of blatant Star Wars rip-off fighter that plays well.
Sequel to the above mentioned. Great game, but lacks something in the animation department probably due to low funding or something. Adds a bunch of new characters to the frey.
Marvel V.S. Capcom: Clash Of The Super Heroes
Yes (Origins Ver.)
Not as good as 2, but still a great game. It's more like the older V.S. games, but with megaman n' shit yo.
Marvel V.S. Capcom 2: New Age Of Heroes
Yes (HD Ver.)
Noted to be one of the best fighting games ever. And it is. It brings everyone and more from all 5 previous Capcom crossover games and adds 3-man combos and hyper combos. The game is not as balanced as you'd expect, but it's a fun ass time that can't be ignored. Some people don't like this game's ideas in thinking it's a copypasta of all of the characters, but that's part of what makes it fun. DC version is the most played, so that's a good one. PS2 and Xbox versions are good too, but I hope you have money to spend because they're fucking pricey! PS3/XB360 versions are pretty good too, and there's an iOS version for some reason now.
Ultimate Marvel V.S. Capcom 3
Practically THE most popular fighting game out there mainly because of how fun it is to play. Along with it being easy to learn and all that shit. It is fun as hell, but some don't think it ended up being as good or even better than Marvel VS Capcom 2.
Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure
HD Ver. Yes.
Whats that? I can't hear you over the sound of my WRYYY. Yes, this is where that came from. Based off of the manga Jo Jo's Bizarre adventure, basically fuck up the universe with the mackdaddy niggas from the series including PET SHOP. DC version is real good and preferred the most whenever asked which one to play, but every version of this game is awesome. Has an 360/PS3 re-release, which is awesome as well.
The King Of Fighters EX2
Portable KOF game that shockingly isn't on a Neo-Geo console. Better than the first one and therefore more recommended that the first.
SvC Chaos: SNK V.S. Capcom
Very different game when compared to Capcom V.S. SNK. This one is made by SNK, and therefore has a totally different animation and fighting system. There are some secret characters that are pretty cool like Mars People from Metal Slug, and Zero from Mega Man Zero.
The King of Fighters XIII
Newest KoF game ported here by...Atlus?! Huh. Anyway a great improvement over KoF XII bringing a lot of great characters back to the playing field like big boobied vet Mai Shiranui. The demo itself even has a small amount of online play, so try that out to see if you like the matchup system.
The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga
Every KoF from '94 to '98 in a glorious collection for the ages.
Garou: (Fatal Fury) Mark of the Wolves
Seen as SNK's answer to Street Fighter 3. The two have a small few similarities in gameplay (ex: "Just Defend" is similar to SF3's "Parry") and a similar boost in aesthetics (Garou has some really good animations when compared to Real Bout and Fatal Fury). The roster isn't too big, but each player is very distinct and pretty fun to play with. There's still a decent handful of active fans out there, so don't think the AI's your only foe!
Yes. (Tekken 6)
Fun as shit 3D Fighting game series, filled with a bunch of great characters, visuals, music, and the combat system is easy to boot, too! Pick up some Tekken when you see some, you probably won't regret it.
Tekken Tag Tournament 1 & 2 (and Tekken Hybrid)
Yes. (Tekken Tag Tournament 2)
Awesome Spin-Off series that started out as a "what if we had all of our fighter in one game?" idea. Continues to be a fan favorite series. BUY IT.
Soul Edge, Soul Calibur I-V
Yes. (SCIV & V)
From the same weeaboos that brought you Tekken comes Soul Calibur, a 3D-Weapon-based fighting series with a surprisingly awesome charactor creation system (from games III-V) and is notorious from their insane guest appearances (Darth Vader, anyone?) Try it, its some good old fun.
Gulity Gear XX Accent Core Plus
HD Ver. Yes.
Possibly the longest named extension on a fighting game. That aside, an anime-ish fighting game by Arc System Works, mainly known for this, but also for BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, and other stuff. Worth a play for its GORGEOUS sprites and its fun gameplay. Any other version would be considered a HUGE step down.
Original: PS2/PSP/Wii?/AC HD Remake: PS3/360
Blazblue: Calamity Trigger
Pretty much recommended for the story only because of it being essential to know whats the what with the pre 2200 part of the series. Also the announcer doesn't scream like a drunk bitch in this one, so yeah, solid. Just don't expect a big following for this one, because its like playing Street Fighter IV online when we all know that Arcade Edition exists. A PSP version exists as well that is pretty good too.
PS3/360 / Portable Version: PSP
Blazblue: Continuum Shift EXTEND
Latest entry in the Blazblue series. Better than the original Continuum Shift, containing all DLC characters, and carl clover included. Probably best to wait until the next one if that's an issue sooner or later, but for now, its only like 18 bucks at a Gamestop so go nuts.
PS3/360/PSVita / Continuum Shift II: 3DS/PSP
Persona 4 Arena
Latest arc system works fighting game takes place in the Persona 4 universe nearly a year after the whole moyda incident at Inaba. Features Persona 3 characters as well as Labrys, a new character who is an anti-shadow weapon with the accent of someone from New York. Don't ask. Its got some interesting game mechanics and all that shit that you would expect form a fighting game made by Arc System Works. Strangely, the very first Region Locked PS3 game, but seeing how its available in most major territories, I don't see why it was even a decision, especially when people have been importing BlazBlue: Chronophantasma like nuts from Japan without problems.
Super Smash Bros.
HURR DURR NOT FIGHTAN. In a way you are right, but it is fightan bare bones enough to be counted. Just like Dissidia. A very simple entry, but still good, still good. PJ64 provides online support, so you can play this kinda like playing a fighting game on GGPO or somethin'. Beware the Falcon Punch (unless you're the one using it)!
Super Smash Bros. Melee
A.K.A. THAT GAME YOU SPENT PLAYING WITH YOUR FRIENDS ALL THE FUCKING TIME DURING CHILDHOOD. Melee is considered one of the best games in terms of Nintendo games and is packed with a lot more content than the original game on N64. This is where the infamous WOMBO COMBO meme came about.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Project M Yes.
An even better jumble of characters and content here. Supports the GC controller so that you can actually play it like Melee (unless you bought one of those Wii systems that don't have the GC controller ports). In addition to new stuff, it has some past SSB stuff such as 64 and Melee stages and songs. More or less a game mean for casual play, but some people are really good at this. 2 players can also play the adventure mode if you want a break from beating each other up.
Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy
Adds more characters and story to the already large cast from the first. A good fighting game to say the least, but you'll still need to GRIND LIKE FUCKING CRAZY it's FF, you would have thought they would not have grindan here but NOPE. Not too competitive on a large scale tourney scene, but still fun to fight others with.
Naruto Ultimate Ninja 1-5
(Naruto: Narutimet Hero)
Although you may not like the show, Nurutu's games are pretty fun and done well by BanDai, Tomy, etc. This one is a 2d-ish fighter using cel-shading for graphics. Characters start out low in the first, then a burst of more in 2, and practically everyone in 3. 4 and 5 aren't set too far in the Shippuden universe, so not everyone is there that should be. 5 is only available in jap, Urop/Aussie.Altogether, a great series with great effects, moves, and characters in it.
Naruto: Clash Of Ninja 1-4
(Gekito Ninja Taisen)
A FUCKING AMAZING fighting series for the GC. The 4th is overall the best on account of it's character count, music, game style, as well as 3-man teams and combos that would shit peoples pants if given. All-in-all, the closest anime fighter to act like a 3-man capcom/SNK fighting game. The first 2 are available outside of Japan, but 3 and 4 are jp only on account of HERP DERP NARUTO BEING LOCALIZED NATIONALLY IN 2005 HURRR. Anyway, all 4 are good and all but 4 is a supreme game not worth sleeping on.
2D DBZ series that were the first "noteworthy" DBZ games. While stinkers like Ultimate Battle 22 and DBGT Final Bout sat on the shelves, these games thrived for DBZ fans. If you like the show, get this, but these games are still fun for any 2D fighting fan. Budokai 3 seems to be a /v/ fan favorite. It also is better in the greatest hits version like Silent Hill. Budokai 1 has better graphics on GC, and Budokai 2 has a special "V" edition which includes Cooler and Kuriza. Only on japan and on PS2 though.
Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi Series
(Tenkaichi 1-3, Ultimate Trenkaichi, Tag Team)
Yes (Tenkaichi 3, Ultimate Tenkaichi, Tenkaichi Tag Team.)
More open and creative game aspect that goes along very well. Tenkaichi 3 is THE DBZ game. On account of it's HUEG character roster. All are good, and recommended if you like DBZ and content-heavy games. The mechanics aren't as good as other games, but they're no gamebreaker.
Super Dragon Ball Z
Great fucking game that is often overlooked. It was developed by a guy who worked on Street Fighter and Darkstalkers. Plays like a traditional fighting game and it's fun and rewarding as fuck. Play it, love it and shut the fuck up.
These are some links to some pretty cool fightan-based websites
The Fighters Generation - Fairly catch-all site that covers artwork, animations, fighter bios, info on games and updates, and even upcoming games. One neat aspect is the large animation archive, featuring lots of animated gifs of various (2D) fighting games. There's also a number of mostly fair and unbiased reviews for games done by the owner. It's probably one of your best places to go to first and maybe even revisit sometimes.
Street Fighter Wikia - Pretty self explanatory. Goes into detail about characters, games, stories, etc. Also has a comprehensive move list of every (?) character featured. Given how Street Fighter tends to be the go-to fightan game for beginners, it might serve you well to visit this place.
SNK Wikia - Naturally, Capcom's greatest rival deserves a link as well. Although this wikia is about SNK franchises in general, there's still a good deal about the fighting games and most of everything about said games and even spinoffs of them. It might be a good idea to bookmark this too, if only for curiosity's sake.
SmashWikia - A wiki that has to do with all things Super Smash Bros. Contains a lot of info about the games that spans from the first game to the third game. Includes all of the essential nitpicks and whatnot. Trophies, Character profiles, attacks, stages, ya know etc.
Mortal Kombat Wiki - Midway's good old fashioned gorey-as-fuck fighting franchise all explained in detail here. Features all the stuff you need to know on MK. Like Street Fighter, a very popular and successful series albeit it very different from other fightan vidya. One of the few American made fighting game series as well.
Tekken Wikia - Guide to Nyamco's Jugglefest fighter. Tekken literally translates to "Iron Fist". Tekken is more or less based upon other fighting games such as Virtua Fighter in which it's origins were based upon 3D Fighting games. Tekken also has some crazy fucking characters like roger the kangaroo and alex the dinosaur. Also a GODDAMMNED BEAR WITH A T-SHIRT AND SNEAKERS. So thats something to look into if your curious about Tekken.