The year is 2018, and a much younger version of myself is counting down the days until I can start playing Dragon Ball FighterZ. I knew this would be the game I would sink an unhealthy amount of hours into, and I was right because this became my go-to game for the next three to four years.
As time went on, I grew more and more distant from the game for various reasons, including the game’s meta and the amount of Goku’s you could pick from. This eventually led me to put the game down and nearly walk away from the fighting genre altogether.
Mortal Kombat 1 Proved To Me It’s Never Too Late to Get Into Fighting Games
Even after walking away, I desperately wanted to get back into it with another game but was unsure where to start. Flash forward to 2023, the itch to play fighting games was still stronger than ever. I was beyond excited because I had told myself this was the year I got back into the genre with Street Fighter 6 and Mortal Kombat 1. I was locked in and ready to go. All I needed to do was wait until they both came out.
The second Street Fighter 6 came out. I was confident I could pick up and understand the game immediately. Even though the only installment in the series I ever played was Street Fighter 2. Once the game was installed on my Xbox Series X, I played through the story to get a feel of how everyone fights, and after that, I jumped right into multiplayer, thinking that I could relive my glory days. But I was sorely mistaken because I had lost nearly every game I played, and when I thought I was getting good, someone would come along and immediately humble me, which ended up with me bouncing back and forth between Iron and Bronze.
This is when I started to understand what Rick Dalton meant in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood when he said, “It’s official, old buddy. I’m a has-been.” Just like that, I was out of the game as quickly as I jumped into it.
I still had hopes for Mortal Kombat 1, but they weren’t as high as before. The second Liu Kang restarted the timeline; I jumped into it to try my luck in the genre again. Like Street Fighter 6, I went into the main story to get a feel for how everyone plays before I head into multiplayer. But things weren’t looking good for me. Throughout the story, I struggled to nail down combos. This started to discourage me a bit because I thought history was ready to repeat itself.
After completing the story, I headed into multiplayer and saw nothing but my main man, Johnny Cage, get killed in various ways. I must have lost my first ten games before I could perform a fatality on another player. In a last-ditch effort to get good at the game, I decided to play through the Klassic Tower. Thankfully, I did because something in me just clicked. Suddenly, I could nail down those combos I couldn’t before, block right when I was supposed to, and know when to play aggressively.
In the first multiplayer game I played right out of the tower, I went up against a Scorpion. It didn’t take long for this player to do the standard combos one does, such as the Get Over Here! Raising fire from the ground, teleportation, and such. Since I was fresh out of the Klassic Tower, I knew exactly how to block every single one of these attacks and how to punish them with combos such as Dunking On Haters and Back To The Footure. Eventually, this led me to my first fatality, and it’s something I’ll never forget.
Before I knew it, I, too, had the confidence of Johnny Cage whenever I loaded into a multiplayer match. All of my games were no longer one-sided, and a lot of my games consisted of me winning back-to-back. This quickly inspired me to try out some new characters to see if I could get as good with them, too, and so far, I’ve had some great fights using Kenshi.
Not only did winning all of these games feel good, but it also made me fall back in love with the genre again. What’s especially nice, too, is that Mortal Kombat 1 is very young still and has plenty of life ahead of it. The nice cherry on top of this is that the first Kombat Pack isn’t even out yet. This is supposed to add various characters, including Homelander from The Boys, Peacemaker from the DCEU, and Omni-Man from Invincible. Needless to say, I’m excited to try out all of them.
Jumping back into the fighting game genre has filled a void in me that other games couldn’t. There’s just something about winning a game and knowing it was solely because of you and no outside help that I can’t describe. Now is a great time to get into the genre if you haven’t because there are plenty of games to pick from that all play differently. Each fighting game that’s out right now has an easy-to-follow story that anyone can get hooked on. All of them are fairly young in their life cycle, which means there are still lots of players learning how to play the game, which makes it easier for newcomers to join.