Video game console
A video game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play. The term "video game console" is used to distinguish a console machine designed for consumers to use for playing video games, in contrast to arcade machines or home computers. An arcade machine consists of a video game computer, game controller and speakers housed in large chassis. A home computer is a personal computer designed for home use for a variety of purposes, such as bookkeeping, accessing the Internet and playing video games. While arcades and computers are expensive or “technical” devices, video game consoles were designed with affordability and accessibility to the general public in mind. Unlike similar consumer electronics such as music players and movie players, which use industry-wide standard formats, video game consoles use proprietary formats which compete with each other for market share. There are various types of video game consoles, including home video game consoles, handheld game consoles and dedicated consoles.
Although Ralph Baer had built working game consoles by 1966, it was nearly a decade before the Pong game made them commonplace in regular people's living rooms. Through evolution over the 1990s and 2000s, game consoles have expanded to offer additional functions such as CD players, DVD players, Blu-ray disc players, web browsers, set-top boxes and more; the first video games appeared in the 1960s. They were played on massive computers connected to vector displays, not analog televisions. Ralph H. Baer conceived the idea of a home video game in 1951. In the late 1960s, while working for Sanders Associates, Baer created a series of video game console designs. One of these designs, which gained the nickname of the 1966 "Brown Box", featured changeable game modes and was demonstrated to several TV manufacturers leading to an agreement between Sanders Associates and Magnavox. In 1972, Magnavox released the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game console which could be connected to a TV set. Ralph Baer's initial design had called for a huge row of switches that would allow players to turn on and off certain components of the console to create different games like tennis, volleyball and chase.
Magnavox replaced the switch design with separate cartridges for each game. Although Baer had sketched up ideas for cartridges that could include new components for new games, the carts released by Magnavox all served the same function as the switches and allowed players to choose from the Odyssey's built-in games; the Odyssey sold about 100,000 units, making it moderately successful, it was not until Atari's arcade game Pong popularized video games that the public began to take more notice of the emerging industry. By autumn 1975, bowing to the popularity of Pong, canceled the Odyssey and released a scaled-down version that played only Pong and hockey, the Odyssey 100. A second, "higher end" console, the Odyssey 200, was released with the 100 and added on-screen scoring, up to four players, a third game—Smash. Released with Atari's own home Pong console through Sears, these consoles jump-started the consumer market. All three of the new consoles used simpler designs than the original Odyssey did with no board game pieces or extra cartridges.
In the years that followed, the market saw many companies rushing similar consoles to market. After General Instrument released their inexpensive microchips, each containing a complete console on a single chip, many small developers began releasing consoles that looked different externally, but internally were playing the same games. Most of the consoles from this era were dedicated consoles playing only the games that came with the console; these video game consoles were just called video games because there was little reason to distinguish the two yet. While a few companies like Atari and newcomer Coleco pushed the envelope, the market became flooded with simple, similar video games. Fairchild released the Fairchild Video Entertainment System in 1976. While there had been previous game consoles that used cartridges, either the cartridges had no information and served the same function as flipping switches or the console itself was empty and the cartridge contained all of the game components.
The VES, contained a programmable microprocessor so its cartridges only needed a single ROM chip to store microprocessor instructions. RCA and Atari soon released their own cartridge-based consoles, the RCA Studio II and the Atari 2600, respectively; the first handheld game console with interchangeable cartridges was the Microvision designed by Smith Engineering, distributed and sold by Milton-Bradley in 1979. Crippled by a small, fragile LCD display and a narrow selection of games, it was discontinued two years later; the Epoch Game Pocket Computer was released in Japan in 1984. The Game Pocket Computer featured an LCD screen with 75 X 64 resolution and could produce graphics at about the same level as early Atari 2600 games; the system sold poorly, as a result, only five games were made for it. Nintendo's Game & Watch series of dedicated game systems proved more successful, it helped to establish handheld gaming as popular and lasted until 1991. Many Game & Watch games were re-released on Nintendo's subsequent handheld systems.
The VES continued to be sold at a profit after 1977, both Bally and Magnavox brought their own programmable cartridge-based consoles to the market. However, i
Platform games, or platformers, are a video game genre and subgenre of action game. In a platformer the player controlled character must jump and climb between suspended platforms while avoiding obstacles. Environments feature uneven terrain of varying height that must be traversed; the player has some control over the height and distance of jumps to avoid letting their character fall to their death or miss necessary jumps. The most common unifying element of games of this genre is the jump button, but now there are other alternatives like swiping a touchscreen. Other acrobatic maneuvers may factor into the gameplay as well, such as swinging from objects such as vines or grappling hooks, as in Ristar or Bionic Commando, or bouncing from springboards or trampolines, as in Alpha Waves; these mechanics in the context of other genres, are called platforming, a verbification of platform. Games where jumping is automated such as 3D games in The Legend of Zelda series, fall outside of the genre. Platform games originated in the early 1980s, which were about climbing ladders as much as jumping, with 3D successors popularized in the mid-1990s.
The term describes games where jumping on platforms is an integral part of the gameplay and came into use after the genre had been established, no than 1983. The genre is combined with elements of other genres, such as the shooter elements in Contra, Beat'em up elements of Viewtiful Joe, adventure elements of Flashback, or role-playing game elements of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. While associated with console gaming, there have been many important platform games released to video arcades, as well as for handheld game consoles and home computers. North America and Japan have played major parts in the genre's evolution. Platform themes range from cartoon-like games to science fantasy epics. At one point, platform games were the most popular genre of video game. At the peak of their popularity, it is estimated that between one-quarter and one-third of console games were platformers. No genre either before or since has been able to achieve a similar market share; as of 2006, the genre had become far less dominant, representing a two percentage market share as compared to fifteen percent in 1998, but is still commercially viable, with a number of games selling in the millions of units.
Since 2010, a variety of endless running platformers for mobile devices have brought renewed popularity to the genre. Platform games originated in the late 1970s - early 1980s. Most, but not all, early examples of platform games were confined to a static playing field viewed in profile. Space Panic, a 1980 arcade release by Universal, is sometimes credited as being the first platform game, though the distinction is contentious. While the player had the ability to fall, there was no ability to jump, so the game does not satisfy most modern definitions of the genre. However, it influenced the genre, with gameplay centered on climbing ladders between different floors, a common element in many early platform games. A difficult game to learn, Space Panic remained obscure as an arcade game, but the 1981 unauthorized clone Apple Panic was a hit for home computers. Another precursor to the genre from 1980 was Nichibutsu's Crazy Climber, which revolved around the concept of climbing vertically-scrolling skyscrapers.
Donkey Kong, an arcade game created by Nintendo and released in July 1981, was the first game that allowed players to jump over obstacles and across gaps, making it the first true platformer. It introduced a modern icon of the genre, under the name Jumpman. Donkey Kong was ported to many consoles and computers at the time, notably as the system-selling pack-in game for ColecoVision, a handheld version from Coleco in 1982; the game helped cement Nintendo's position as an important name in the video game industry internationally. The following year, Donkey Kong received a sequel, Donkey Kong Jr.. The third game in the series, Donkey Kong 3, was not a platformer, but it was succeeded by Mario Bros, a platform game that offered two-player simultaneous cooperative play; this title laid the groundwork for other popular two-player cooperative platformers such as Fairyland Story and Bubble Bobble, which in turn influenced many of the single-screen platformers that would follow. Beginning in 1982, transitional games emerged that did not feature scrolling graphics, but had levels that spanned several connected screens.
Pitfall!, released for the Atari 2600, featured broad, horizontally extended levels. It was a breakthrough for the genre. Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel's Castle was released on the ColecoVision that same year, adding uneven terrain and scrolling pans between static screens. Manic Miner and its sequel Jet Set Willy continued this style of multi-screen levels on home computers. Wanted: Monty Mole won the first award for Best Platform game in 1984; that same year, Epyx released Impossible Mission, which further expanded on the exploration aspect and laid the groundwork for such games as Prince of Persia. The term platform game is somewhat ambiguous when referring to games that predate the widespread, international use of the term; the concept of a platform game as it was defined in its earliest days is somewhat different from how the term is used today. Following the release of Donkey Kong, a genre of similarly-styled games emerged characterized by a profile view of tiers connected by ladders; these included Kangaroo, Canyon Climber, Miner 2049er, Lode Runner, Jumpman.
The two most common gameplay goals were to get to the top of the screen or to collect all of a particular item, both of which are found in Donkey Kong. The North Ame
Massively multiplayer online game
A massively multiplayer online game is an online game with large numbers of players from hundreds to thousands, on the same server. MMOs feature a huge, persistent open world, although some games differ; these games can be found for most network-capable platforms, including the personal computer, video game console, or smartphones and other mobile devices. MMOs can enable players to cooperate and compete with each other on a large scale, sometimes to interact meaningfully with people around the world, they include a variety of gameplay types. The most popular type of MMOG, the subgenre that pioneered the category, is the massively multiplayer online role-playing game, which descended from university mainframe computer MUD and adventure games such as Rogue and Dungeon on the PDP-10; these games predate the commercial gaming industry and the Internet, but still featured persistent worlds and other elements of MMOGs still used today. The first graphical MMOG, a major milestone in the creation of the genre, was the multiplayer flight combat simulation game Air Warrior by Kesmai on the GEnie online service, which first appeared in 1986.
Kesmai added 3D graphics to the game, making it the first 3D MMO. Commercial MMORPGs gained acceptance in early 1990s; the genre was pioneered by the GemStone series on GEnie created by Kesmai, Neverwinter Nights, the first such game to include graphics, which debuted on AOL in 1991. As video game developers applied MMOG ideas to other computer and video game genres, new acronyms started to develop, such as MMORTS. MMOG emerged as a generic term to cover this growing class of games; the debuts of The Realm Online, Meridian 59, Ultima Online and EverQuest in the late 1990s popularized the MMORPG genre. The growth in technology meant that where Neverwinter Nights in 1991 had been limited to 50 simultaneous players, by the year 2000 a multitude of MMORPGs were each serving thousands of simultaneous players and led the way for games such as World of Warcraft and EVE Online. Despite the genre's focus on multiplayer gaming, AI-controlled characters are still common. NPCs and mobs who give out quests or serve as opponents are typical in MMORPGs.
AI-controlled characters are not as common in action-based MMOGs. The popularity of MMOGs was restricted to the computer game market until the sixth-generation consoles, with the launch of Phantasy Star Online on Dreamcast and the emergence and growth of online service Xbox Live. There have been a number of console MMOGs, including EverQuest Online Adventures, the multiconsole Final Fantasy XI. On PCs, the MMOG market has always been dominated by successful fantasy MMORPGs. MMOGs have only begun to break into the mobile phone market; the first, Samurai Romanesque set in feudal Japan, was released in 2001 on NTT DoCoMo's iMode network in Japan. More recent developments are CipSoft's TibiaME and Biting Bit's MicroMonster which features online and bluetooth multiplayer gaming. SmartCell Technology is in development of Shadow of Legend, which will allow gamers to continue their game on their mobile device when away from their PC. Science fiction has been a popular theme, featuring games such as Mankind, Anarchy Online, Eve Online, Star Wars Galaxies and The Matrix Online.
MMOGs emerged from the hard-core gamer community to the mainstream in December 2003 with an analysis in the Financial Times measuring the value of the virtual property in the then-largest MMOG, EverQuest, to result in a per-capita GDP of 2,266 dollars which would have placed the virtual world of EverQuest as the 77th wealthiest nation, on par with Croatia, Tunisia or Vietnam. World of Warcraft is a dominant MMOG with 8-9 million monthly subscribers worldwide; the subscriber base dropped by 1 million after the expansion Wrath of the Lich King, bringing it to 9 million subscribers in 2010, though it remained the most popular Western title among MMOGs. In 2008, Western consumer spending on World of Warcraft represented a 58% share of the subscription MMOG market in 2009; the title has generated over $2.2 billion in cumulative consumer spending on subscriptions from 2005 through 2009. Within a majority of the MMOGs created, there is virtual currency where the player can earn and accumulate money.
The uses vary from game to game. The virtual economies created within MMOGs blur the lines between real and virtual worlds; the result is seen as an unwanted interaction between the real and virtual economies by the players and the provider of the virtual world. This practice is seen in this genre of games; the two seem to come hand in hand with the earliest MMOGs such as Ultima Online having this kind of trade, real money for virtual things. The importance of having a working virtual economy within an MMOG is increasing. A sign of this is CCP Games hiring the first real-life economist for its MMOG Eve Online to assist and analyze the virtual economy and production within this game; the results of this interaction between the virtual economy, our real economy, the interaction between the company that created the game and the third-party companies that want a share of the profits and success of the game. This battle between companies is defended on both sides; the company originating the game and the intellectual property argue that this is in violation of the terms and agreements of the game as well as copyright violation since they own the rights to how the online currency is distributed and through what channels.
The case that the third-party companies and their customers defen
A visual novel is an interactive game genre, which originated in Japan, featuring text-based story with narrative style of literature and interactivity aided by static or sprite-based visuals, most using anime-style art or live-action stills. As the name might suggest, they resemble mixed-media novels. In Japanese terminology, a distinction is made between visual novels, which consist predominantly of narration and have few interactive elements, adventure games, a form of adventure game which may incorporate problem-solving and other types of gameplay; this distinction is lost outside Japan, where both NVLs and ADVs are referred to as "visual novels" by international fans. Visual novels and ADVs are prevalent in Japan, where they made up nearly 70% of the PC game titles released in 2006. Visual novels are produced for video game consoles, the more popular games have been ported to such systems; the more famous visual novels are often adapted into the light novel, manga or anime formats. The market for visual novels outside of East Asia is small, though a number of anime based on visual novels are popular among anime fans in the Western world.
Visual novels are distinguished from other game types by their minimal gameplay. The majority of player interaction is limited to clicking to keep the text and sound moving, while making narrative choices along the way. Another main characteristic of visual novels are its strong emphasis on the prose, as the narration in visual novels are delivered through text; this characteristic makes playing visual novels similar to reading a book. Most visual novels have more than one ending; this style of gameplay is similar to story-driven interactive fiction, or the shorter and less detailed real-life gamebook books. Many fans of visual novels hold them up as exceptions to the weak storytelling in video games overall; some visual novels do not limit themselves into interactive fictions, but incorporate other elements into them. An example of this approach is Symphonic Rain, where the player is required to play a musical instrument of some sort, attain a good score in order to advance; such an element is related as a plot device in the game.
Some shorter works do not contain any decision points at all. Most examples of this sort are fan-created. Fan-created novel games are reasonably popular. Many visual novels use voice actors to provide voices for the characters in the game; the protagonist is left unvoiced when the rest of the characters are voiced. This choice is meant to aid the player in identifying with the protagonist and to avoid having to record large amounts of dialogue, as the main character has the most speaking lines due to the branching nature of visual novels. Non-linear branching storylines are a common trend in visual novels, which use multiple branching storylines to achieve multiple different endings, allowing non-linear freedom of choice along the way. Decision points within a visual novel present players with the option of altering the course of events during the game, leading to many different possible outcomes. An acclaimed example is Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, where nearly every action and dialogue choice can lead to new branching paths and endings.
Each path only reveals certain aspects of the overall storyline and it is only after uncovering all the possible different paths and outcomes, through multiple playthroughs, that every component comes together to form a coherent, well-written story. The branching path stories found in visual novels represent an evolution of the Choose Your Own Adventure concept; the digital medium allows for significant improvements, such as being able to explore multiple aspects and perspectives of a story. Another improvement is having hidden decision points that are automatically determined based on the player's past decisions. In Fate/stay night, for example, the way the player character behaved towards non-player characters during the course of the game affects the way they react to the player character in scenes, such as whether or not they choose to help in life-or-death situations; this would be far more difficult to track with physical books. More visual novels do not face the same length restrictions as a physical book.
For example, the total word count of the English fan translation of Fate/stay night, taking all the branching paths into account, exceeds that of The Lord of the Rings. This significant increase in length allows visual novels to tell stories as long and complex as those found in traditional novels, while still maintaining a branching path structure, allowing them to focus on complex stories with mature themes and consistent plots in a way which Choose Your Own Adventure books were unable to do due to their physical limitations. Visual novels with non-branching plots, such as Higurashi When They Cry, Planetarian: The Reverie of a Little Planet, Muv-Luv Alternative, Digital: A Love Story are rare exceptions within the genre. Many visual novels revolve entirely around character interactions and dialogue choices, such as Ace Attorney and Tokimeki Memorial feat
Survival horror is a subgenre of video games inspired by horror fiction that focuses on survival of the character as the game tries to frighten players with either horror graphics or scary ambience. Although combat can be part of the gameplay, the player is made to feel less in control than in typical action games through limited ammunition, health and vision, or through various obstructions of the player's interaction with the game mechanics; the player is challenged to find items that unlock the path to new areas and solve puzzles to proceed in the game. Games make use of strong horror themes, like dark maze-like environments and unexpected attacks from enemies; the term "survival horror" was first used for the original Japanese release of Resident Evil in 1996, influenced by earlier games with a horror theme such as 1989's Sweet Home and 1992's Alone in the Dark. The name has been used since for games with similar gameplay, has been retroactively applied to earlier titles. Starting with the release of Resident Evil 4 in 2005, the genre began to incorporate more features from action games and more traditional first person and third-person shooter games.
This has led game journalists to question whether long-standing survival horror franchises and more recent franchises have abandoned the genre and moved into a distinct genre referred to as "action horror". Survival horror refers to a subgenre of action-adventure video games; the player character is vulnerable and under-armed, which puts emphasis on puzzle-solving and evasion, rather than the player taking an offensive strategy. Games challenge the player to manage their inventory and ration scarce resources such as ammunition. Another major theme throughout the genre is that of isolation; these games contain few non-player characters and, as a result tell much of their story second-hand through the usage of journals, texts, or audio logs. While many action games feature lone protagonists versus swarms of enemies in a suspenseful environment, survival horror games are distinct from otherwise horror-themed action games, they tend to de-emphasize combat in favor of challenges such as hiding or running from enemies and solving puzzles.
Still, it is not unusual for survival horror games to draw upon elements from first-person shooters, action-adventure games, or role-playing games. According to IGN, "Survival horror is different from typical game genres in that it is not defined by specific mechanics, but subject matter, tone and design philosophy." Survival horror games are a subgenre of horror games, where the player is unable to prepare or arm their avatar. The player encounters several factors to make combat unattractive as a primary option, such as a limited number of weapons or invulnerable enemies, if weapons are available, their ammunition is sparser than in other games, powerful weapons such as rocket launchers are rare, if available at all. Thus, players are more vulnerable than in action games, the hostility of the environment sets up a narrative where the odds are weighed decisively against the avatar; this shifts gameplay away from direct combat, players must learn to evade enemies or turn the environment against them.
Games try to enhance the experience of vulnerability by making the game single player rather than multiplayer, by giving the player an avatar, more frail than the typical action game hero. The survival horror genre is known for other non-combat challenges, such as solving puzzles at certain locations in the game world, collecting and managing an inventory of items. Areas of the game world will be off limits. Levels are designed with alternative routes. Levels challenge players with maze-like environments, which test the player's navigational skills. Levels are designed as dark and claustrophobic to challenge the player and provide suspense, although games in the genre make use of enormous spatial environments. A survival horror storyline involves the investigation and confrontation of horrific forces, thus many games transform common elements from horror fiction into gameplay challenges. Early releases used camera angles seen in horror films, which allowed enemies to lurk in areas that are concealed from the player's view.
Many survival horror games make use of off-screen sound or other warning cues to notify the player of impending danger. This feedback assists the player, but creates feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Games feature a variety of monsters with unique behavior patterns. Enemies can appear unexpectedly or and levels are designed with scripted sequences where enemies drop from the ceiling or crash through windows. Survival horror games, like many action-adventure games, are structured around the boss encounter where the player must confront a formidable opponent in order to advance to the next area; these boss encounters draw elements from antagonists seen in classic horror stories, defeating the boss will advance the story of the game. The origins of the survival horror game can be traced back to earlier horror fiction. Archetypes have been linked to the books of H. P. Lovecraft, which include investigative narratives, or journeys through the depths. Comparisons have been made between Lovecraft's Great Old Ones and the boss encounters seen in many survival horror games.
Themes of survival have been traced to the slasher film subgenre, where the protagonist endures a confrontation with the ultimate antagonist. Another major influence on the genre is Japanese horror, including classical Noh theatre, the books of Edog
An adventure game is a video game in which the player assumes the role of a protagonist in an interactive story driven by exploration and puzzle-solving. The genre's focus on story allows it to draw from other narrative-based media and film, encompassing a wide variety of literary genres. Many adventure games are designed for a single player, since this emphasis on story and character makes multi-player design difficult. Colossal Cave Adventure is identified as the first such adventure game, first released in 1976, while other notable adventure game series include Zork, King's Quest, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst. Initial adventure games developed in the 1970s and early 1980s were text-based, using text parsers to translate the player's input into commands; as personal computers became more powerful with the ability to show graphics, the graphic adventure game format became popular by augmenting player's text commands with graphics, but soon moving towards point and click interfaces. Further computer advancements led to adventure games with more immersive graphics using real-time or pre-rendered three-dimensional scenes or full-motion video taken from the first- or third-person perspective.
For markets in the Western hemisphere, the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1980s to mid-1990s when many considered it to be among the most technically advanced genres, but had become a niche genre in the early 2000s due to the popularity of first-person shooters and became difficult to find publishers to support such ventures. Since a resurgence in the genre has occurred spurred on by success of independent video game development from crowdfunding efforts, the wide availability of digital distribution enabling episodic approaches, the proliferation of new gaming platforms including portable consoles and mobile devices. Within the Asian markets, adventure games continue to be popular in the form of visual novels, which make up nearly 70% of PC games released in Japan; the Asian markets have found markets for adventure games for portable and mobile gaming devices. Japanese adventure games tend to be distinct from Western adventure games and have their own separate development history.
The term "Adventure game" originated from the 1970s text computer game Colossal Cave Adventure referred to as Adventure, which pioneered a style of gameplay, imitated and became a genre in its own right. The video game genre is therefore defined by its gameplay, unlike the literary genre, defined by the subject it addresses, the activity of adventure. Essential elements of the genre include storytelling and puzzle solving. Adventure games have been described as puzzles embedded in a narrative framework, where games involve narrative content that a player unlocks piece by piece over time. While the puzzles that players encounter through the story can be arbitrary, those that do not pull the player out of the narrative are considered examples of good design. Combat and action challenges are limited or absent in adventure games, thus distinguishing them from action games. In the book Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design, the authors state that "this doesn't mean that there is no conflict in adventure games... only that combat is not the primary activity."
Some adventure games will include a minigame from another video game genre, which are not always appreciated by adventure game purists. Hybrid action-adventure games blend action and adventure games throughout the game experience, incorporating more physical challenges than pure adventure games and at a faster pace; this definition is hard to apply, with some debate among designers about which games are action games and which involve enough non-physical challenges to be considered action-adventures. Adventure games are distinct from role-playing video games that involve action, team-building, points management. Adventure games lack the numeric rules or relationships seen in role-playing games, have an internal economy; these games lack any skill system, combat, or "an opponent to be defeated through strategy and tactics." However, some hybrid games exist here, where role-playing games with strong narrative and puzzle elements are considered RPG-adventures. Adventure games are classified separately from puzzle video games.
Although an adventure game may involve puzzle-solving, adventure games involve a player-controlled avatar in an interactive story. Adventure games contain a variety of puzzles, decoding messages and using items, opening locked doors, or finding and exploring new locations. Solving a puzzle will unlock access to new areas in the game world, reveal more of the game story. Logic puzzles, where mechanical devices are designed with abstract interfaces to test a player's deductive reasoning skills, are common; some puzzles are criticized for the obscurity of their solutions, for example, the combination of a clothes line and deflated rubber duck used to gather a key stuck between the subway tracks in The Longest Journey, which exists outside of the game's narrative and serves only as an obstacle to the player. Others have been criticized for requiring players to blindly guess, either by clicking on the right pixel, or by guessing the right verb in games that use a text interface. Games that require players to navigate mazes have become less popular, although the earliest text-adventure games required players to draw a map if they wanted to navigate the abstract space.
Many adventure games make use of an inventory management screen as a distinct gameplay mode. Players are only able to pick up some objects in the game, so the
A fighting game is a video game genre in which the player controls an on-screen character and engages in close combat with an opponent, which can be either an AI or controlled by another player. The fight matches consist of several rounds and take place in an arena, while each character has differing abilities but each is viable to choose. Players must master techniques such as blocking, counter-attacking, chaining attacks together into "combos". Starting in the early 1990s, most fighting games allowed the player to execute special attacks by performing specific input combinations; the fighting game genre is related to but distinct from beat'em ups, which involve large numbers of enemies against the human player. The first game to feature fist fighting was Heavyweight Champ in 1976, but it was Karate Champ which popularized one-on-one martial arts games in arcades in 1984; the following year, Yie Ar Kung-Fu featured antagonists with differing fighting styles, while The Way of the Exploding Fist further popularized the genre on home systems.
In 1987, Street Fighter introduced hidden special attacks. In 1991, Capcom's successful Street Fighter II refined and popularized many of the conventions of the genre; the fighting game subsequently became the preeminent genre for competitive video gaming in the early to mid-1990s in arcades. This period spawned dozens of other popular fighting games, including successful and long running franchises like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Guilty Gear, The King of Fighters, Virtua Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom, Killer Instinct, Dead or Alive and SoulCalibur. Fighting games are a type of action game; these games feature special moves that are triggered using rapid sequences of timed button presses and joystick movements. Games traditionally show fighters from a side-view as the genre has progressed from two-dimensional to three-dimensional graphics. Street Fighter II, though not the first fighting game and standardized the conventions of the genre, similar games released prior to Street Fighter II have since been more explicitly classified as fighting games.
Fighting games involve hand-to-hand combat, but may feature melee weapons. This genre is distinct from beat'em ups, another action genre involving combat, where the player character must fight many weaker enemies at the same time. During the 1980s publications used the terms "fighting game" and "beat'em up" interchangeably, along with other terms such as "martial arts simulation". With hindsight, critics have argued that the two types of game became dichotomous as they evolved, though the two terms may still be conflated. Fighting games are sometimes grouped with games that feature boxing, wrestling. Serious boxing games belong more to the sports game genre than the action game genre, as they aim for a more realistic model of boxing techniques, whereas moves in fighting games tend to be either exaggerated or outright fantastical models of Asian martial arts techniques; as such, boxing games, mixed martial arts games, wrestling games are described as distinct genres, without comparison to fighting games, belong more into the Sports game genre.
Fighting games involve combat between pairs of fighters using exaggerated martial arts moves. They revolve around brawling or combat sport, though some variations feature weaponry. Games display on-screen fighters from a side view, 3D fighting games play within a 2D plane of motion. Games confine characters to moving left and right and jumping, although some games such as Fatal Fury: King of Fighters allow players to move between parallel planes of movement. Recent games tend to be rendered in three dimensions and allow side-stepping, but otherwise play like those rendered in two dimensions. Aside from moving around a restricted space, fighting games limit the player's actions to different offensive and defensive maneuvers. Players must learn which attacks and defenses are effective against each other by trial and error. Blocking is a basic technique; some games feature more advanced blocking techniques: for example, Capcom's Street Fighter III features a move termed "parrying" which causes the parried attacker to become momentarily incapacitated.
In addition to blows such as punches and kicks, players can utilize throwing or "grappling" to circumvent "blocks". Predicting opponents' moves and counter-attacking, known as "countering", is a common element of gameplay. Fighting games emphasize the difference between the height of blows, ranging from low to jumping attacks. Thus, strategy becomes important as players attempt to predict each other's moves, similar to rock–paper–scissors. An integral feature of fighting games includes the use of "special attacks" called "secret moves", that employ complex combinations of button presses to perform a particular move beyond basic punching and kicking. Combos, in which several attacks are chained together using basic punches and kicks, are another common feature in fighting games and have been fundamental to the genre since the release of Street Fighter II; some fighting games display a "combo meter". The effectiveness of such moves relate to the difficulty of execution and the degree of risk; these moves are beyond the ability of a casual gamer and require a player to have both a strong memory and excellent timing.
Taunting is another feature of some fighting games and was intro