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Shack Chat: What's your favorite esports fighting game?

The Shack Staff weighs in on their favorite fighting games just in time for EVO 2019.


Shack Chat is back once again, our weekly feature each Friday where we’ll ask the Shacknews staff to give their opinion on a particular topic, then open the floor to our dedicated Chatty community to provide a diverse mixture of thoughts on the subject. It’s a great way for us to get to know one another better while inspiring healthy debates with all of you passionate gamers out there. 

Question: What's your favorite fighting game esport?

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - Asif Khan, Kirby Main

At this very moment, my favorite fighting game esport is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It is fast-paced and features all of my favorite video game characters. The Smash community has done an amazing job cultivating the esports scene with little-to-no help from Nintendo. The game even features Captain Falcon, who was once in a game called F-Zero. Smash Ultimate even trolls F-Zero fans with an extensive playlist of songs from the racing game. It is not uncommon to hear the Mute City theme in between round at EVO. Sigh.

Super Smash Bros. - Brittany Vincent, Senior Editor

Going to be honest here, I don’t follow competitive fighting games, but if I had to choose one, it would be Super Smash Bros. in all its various forms. There are so many characters and moves, if you wanted to watch pros duke it out in-game, you’d have plenty of people to root for and fighters to main if you wanted to get into it yourself. I’d much rather play the game than watch others (esports or not) but this is the one I could most likely see myself tuning into. In fact, I have in the past – and I’m just reminded I’ll never be on their level!

Killer Instinct - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Editor

Yes, I am absolutely going off the board for this one. As much fun as it is to watch Street Fighter V or the Super Smash Bros. games, there's one community that consistently generated excitement whenever it had the stage despite all odds being against it. When Killer Instinct was first introduced to the EVO audience, it was booed out of the building. It was fresh in the middle of the Xbox backlash, when Microsoft was regularly disgraced and shamed for attempting to shovel DRM into their latest console. It wasn't cool to be an Xbox gamer.

Through all of that, Killer Instinct persisted. Double Helix had put together an incredible foundation, built on the 16-bit original's fundamentals and adding in a much more "heavy metal" kind of presentation. Then Double Helix was sold to Amazon, the franchise was handed off to Iron Galaxy, and then the game was truly off to the races, adding in exciting new characters. Some of those characters were cameos from other franchises, like Halo, Gears of War, and Battletoads. Others were all-new creations for the franchise. But all of them felt different, while also feeling balanced. On top of that, they were all fun to watch. Arbiter would own faces with his sticky bombs, Hsien-Ko would terrorize opponents with her counters, and then there was Darnell "Hollywood Sleep" Waller who brought an entire EVO crowd to its feet with his Gargos.

The competitive community responded, bringing their unique personalities to go along with dozens of competitively viable characters. The registration numbers were often below 200, but Killer Instinct proved that you don't need to have numbers in the thousands to put on an exciting show. Whether it was at EVO, Combo Breaker, or the Killer Instinct World Cup, Killer Instinct constantly brought the excitement.

Last week, Maximillian posted a video to his YouTube channel called Bring Back Killer Instinct. It helped get the #BringBackKI hashtag trending on Twitter. Killer Instinct went from persona non grata to becoming the fighting game that's most fun to watch. Iron Galaxy made that happen and they should be saluted for their efforts.

Super Smash Bros. - Josh Hawkins, Zelda Aficionado

I’ve never been a huge fan of fighting games, if I’m honest. They’ve just never really grabbed me the same way that FPS games or even RPGs have. That being said, though, the Smash series has always had a special place in my heart. Despite not really knowing what’s happening most of the time during matches, it’s still fun to tune in and watch the brawlers as they go head to head to be the best fighter among the ranks. The insane amount of skill and precision needed to pull off some of the stunts they do is just mind boggling and well worth watching despite my lack of any real interest in the esports scene.

Street Fighter - Kevin S. Tucker, Countless Quarters

I've been a fan of Street Fighter ever since I first laid hands on a cabinet for Street Fighter 2 Turbo down at the local skating rink. I don't know how old I was, but they had a machine there with giant jawbreakers in it, and the inside of the jawbreaker was always a mystery flavor. I remember getting one of those honkers one day and going to town, genuinely eager to see what the mystery flavor was. When I finally got to the middle, I discovered it was a dry putty that tasted like mustard.

Anyway, I got to be very good at Street Fighter 2, and would eventually buy the game for the SNES. I later moved on to the Alpha series, with Alpha 3 being my favorite series release of all time. To this day, I don't know anyone personally that can beat me at either of those two games consistently, although my ego is quickly deflated any and every time I play Street Fighter online. I don't think Alpha 3 is played in any major competitive scene, but watching competitive players duke it out in Street Fighter 5 does bring back some of those old competitive arcade vibes.

Street Fighter - Chris Jarrard, Super Chris Jarrard 2 Turbo

I can enjoy just about any variant of Cpacom’s fighting game series when it comes to competitive play. Ever since I first saw Street Fighter II in an arcade nearly 30 years ago, I have been enamored with the combat in the game. I like that it is deceptively simple on the surface for casual play, yet rewards players who continue to invest more time and practice into it.

Once the series had a mini-revival back with Street Fighter IV, I’ve loosely followed its competitive circuit and made sure to check in on EVO each year. In 2019, it may no longer be the center of attention, but I expect I have loads of fun watching Street FIghter V this weekend.

Tekken 7 - Blake Morse, Flawless Babeality

Tekken is my all-time favorite fighting series, so this one is kind of a no-brainer for me. When I first moved out on my own after high school my roomies and I would hold Tekken Tag Tournaments with all of our friends. Since it was my copy and I was the only one putting in any real practice time I tended to dominate. I had enjoyed the previous entries in the series, but this was really the first time I’d put time and effort into getting good at a fighting game. The more I dug into the world of Tekken, the more it felt like a rhythm game to me. Grooves would ebb and flow depending on the timing of each opponent’s moves and whether or not they’re successful and witnessing that at a pro level is very entertaining to say the least.

While the Tekken Tag series really sparked my interest into the deeper meta, I feel like Tekken 7 is the pinnacle of what this series has to offer. Watching the top players brawl at the highest level of play is always intriguing and informative. It’s also very intimidating because I doubt I’d meet their level of skill even if I had kept up with my Tekken training in the last decade. At least I can still handle myself in a ranked match every now and then.

Dead or Alive 4 - Sam Chandler, You spin me right 'round baby

I’m not very good at fighting games. I can’t quite get used to learning combos and metas. But one game I absolutely loved playing was Dead or Alive 4. I think the main appeal was getting to play as a Spartan II from the Halo series.

While esports has seemingly shifted away from the Dead or Alive franchise, I would personally love to see it return to tournaments. The fast-paced fighting and the provocative fighters has always been appealing.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - Greg Burke, Lives in the mines

Before the games meta was clearly locked in, it was great to see the cast of colorful characters duke it out on screen. It was a shame that Capcom wasn’t able to see that this game could have clearly been a service they could update 2-3 times a year with patches, new DLC characters etc. Ya The MvC series is clearly dead with Infinite & Dragon Ball FighterZ taking hold, but MvC3 was great fun to watch and cheer for.

Super Smash Bros. - Donovan Erskine, Intern

Although I don’t watch too many Smash tournaments, I’m constantly intrigued by their community. With such a diverse range of character options, there’s a lot to process when it comes to playing Smash on a competitive level. I follow a few pros on social media and it’s always fascinating to get their insight to new character additions, patches, and so on.

Mortal Kombat - David Craddock, Long Reads Editor

No matter the version, the roster, or number after the title, NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat games have been a blast to watch pros play competitively since 2011’s Mortal Kombat (9). The combos are fast, furious, and fluid. The rosters are (mostly) balanced, the timing and precision a beast to nail. Watching the best of the best play MK9, X, and 11 is tantamount to watching superbly choreographed martial arts scenes in film, and never gets old.

Disagree with our picks? Think we're a bunch of clowns? Let us know in the Chatty below.

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

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