other occasions, we’ve talked about fighting games and how they’ve, in a way, shaped the state of modern arcade gaming. At the very least, it’s fair to say that these games have created their own niche and fan following based around their mechanical complexity and tough-yet-rewarding gameplay. Not to mention the prizes and recognition that the player gets from winning one of the bigger tournaments like EVO.
However, it wasn’t always this way. In the earliest days of the genre, fighting games were often clunky, at best. The idea of stringing combos together or performing complex move sets simply weren’t a part of the equation. But they still could be fun, with a basic formula for pitting one human character against the other making do with the tech of the time. Karate Champ is one product of its era, a veritable pioneer of the entire genre.
Developed in 1984 by Technos Japan, but produced and distributed by Data East, this game was among the first of its kind. It consists of fights where two characters face off in one-on-one regulated battles. The enemy could be either a CPU or another player, much like modern tournament fighting games. However, this is where the similarities with other fighting games ends as Karate Champ is a beast of its own kind.