If you were a child of the 80’s or 90’s, you mostly likely spent some time in an arcade. Whether you were in a dimly lit game room, a back room movie theater arcade or on a single machine at your local convenience store, everyone at some point has stepped up to a video cabinet and plunked down a quarter for a few minutes of fun. Unfortunately that fire has faded in present times, as arcades have fallen out of popularity due to advancement in console technology and explosion of the internet. Though it is possible to play updated HD versions of these games, they are often devoid of a player base online. Thankfully, the efforts of arcade game enthusiasts and clever programmers have brought the experience to our PCs, offering the closest social experience possible: FightCade.
FightCade is a version of the arcade machine emulator Final Burn Alpha, equipped with an online client that allows users to connect to each other instantly and play against each other as if they were right next to each other. Upon loading the online client, players can join open lobbies hosting the game they wish to play, allowing them to converse, share tips or talk smack. From here, you can either challenge another user or be challenged, which plays the “here comes a new player” sound from Street Fight Alpha 2, a very nice touch. Upon accepting, the game immediately loads up and you are both ready to go. You can also send text messages to each other as you play, increasing the social aspect missing from console revisions and resulting to the often annoying voice chat.
You can also spectate other players while they fight. This is a huge appeal, as you can often find well-known players from many different regions of the world (Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and South America typically) playing these games casually, offering others the chance to observe their skills or even test their skills against them. It’s not uncommon to see a well-known tournament player online, with many hounding them in chat for a match. The interaction factor with it even goes beyond the hype one would experience back in the day when the top local player from the neighborhood came in to destroy every who took him on. Playing the games are fun on their own, but being able to do it in an active, popular social environment just makes it much more fun.
The selection of games is quite diverse, mostly populated with arcade hits from Capcom and SNK in the 90’s. Some of the more popular games are titles such as King of Fighters ’98 and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, but you will have no issue finding players in games such as Street Fighter II (and its many revisions) and Fatal Fury Special. Though the game list also composes of shmups such as Strikers 1945+ and beat ’em ups such as the excellent Sengoku 3, it’s rare to find other players who are available to play with you. This can be remedied by asking in the general lobby room for a game, or the more populated ones. Otherwise, best to set something up on a forum. Also, it goes without saying this being this is an emulator, you will need to find the necessary ROM files to play the games.
In short, if you want a great way to re-live or enjoy the arcade gaming world of the 90’s FightCade is the way to go. Whether offline or online, the app offers a very easy way to enjoy your favorite arcade games from the golden age of competitive arcade titles. Come on in, the more the merrier.