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This is part of our ongoing series about games and trends of one of the most longest-lived eras in gaming’s history — the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 generation.

We have seen a lot of KO screens since 2005. Fighting games have attained a popularity not seen since the arcade years thanks to the revival of famous franchises, the rise of online play and patching, and the growth of tournaments in terms of both participants and online viewership. With the Wii U already out and the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 launching in weeks, it’s time to observe what new characters and ideas prevailed in the past generation.

These warriors aren’t the coolest or have the most imaginative abilities, but they represent the trends that dominated the genre in terms of combat styles and outside-the-ring developments like the rise of downloadable content. As a rule, they also made their fighting-game debut in games that appeared on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or Nintendo Wii. So don’t blame us if your favorite isn’t on the list — blame SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos and Justice League: Task Force.

Scroll down below to meet some of the most interesting people who ever pummel you, launch you into the air, smack you 50 more times, fling you into the ground, and evaporate you in a laser blast.


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