Virtua Fighter, the world’s very first 3D fighting game, has celebrated its twentieth anniversary.
When SEGA released Virtua Fighter across arcades in 1993, gamers flocked to the coin-op machines to dump quarters in and enjoy the best graphics for the era. If you remember the trademark floaty graphics and the over-excited animations that combatants yelled during victory, then you were around when the fighting genre took shape.
Over the last twenty years, the genre has kept pace with the technological advances put forth by modern consoles, but the basics have always been the same: two fighters, a health bar, a time limit and a win limit–and we can thank Virtua Fighter for that.
Yesterday the series celebrated its twentieth birthday–do you feel old yet?–and if you’ve got a Sega Saturn with a copy lying around, you ought to pop it in for some nostalgic beat-em-up action.
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Nowadays the game can be painful to play due to its graphics–remember when we used to gawk at those polygons with wide-eyes?–but the game will always have a special place in many gamers’ childhoods.
To date the series has stayed alive, with Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown releasing on Xbox 360 and PS3 last year. A special 10th anniversary edition was launched on the PS2 to commemorate ten years of Virtua Fighter, and maybe we’ll see something like that later this year for current-gen consoles–or maybe a mega collection that bundles concurrent releases together.
SEGA has even started a special website in celebration of the game’s anniversary, and features official tournaments and events where players re-live those old nostalgic arcade moments in modern day times.
It’s good to recognize the classics and embrace our gaming roots, and more than a few gamers can regale their past moments playing the old-school arcade machines, in the throes of bitter combat and sweating as the intensity of those virtual melees got closer and closer. Those were the days!