Top 5 Video Games That Heavily Feature Martial Arts

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Martial Arts have long had a hand in building childhoods in more ways than one. For anyone who is a fan of video games, they will be the first to tell you about the fact that there are so many video games out there that heavily feature martial arts. It only makes sense, doesn’t it; given the fact that martial arts can be used for fighting if required by the practitioner.

With that in mind, we posed the question for those in our writing team that played video games. Which video games did they believe heavily featured martial arts? After all, they can’t all be ranked the same since some will be able to give martial arts justice more than others. That said, we would like to share our Top 5 games:

#5: Dead or Alive

While there has been massive controversy about this particular game series because of the gratuitous exposure of the female fighters in various states of undress or poses, one should not discount this. Dead or Alive is one of the pioneer versus games that was on the very first Playstation.

dead - Top 5 Video Games That Heavily Feature Martial Arts

This game series focused heavily on hand to hand combat. While there were some the veered into the realm of impossibility, there were others that still had martial arts at its core.

#4: Dynasty Warriors

While this game is of the hack and slash genre, it still heavily features martial arts. Martial arts does transcend past hand to hand combat. There are martial arts that are weapon based. There would be kenjutsu which is heavily focused on sparring. There would also be Aikido which has been known to use the staff.

This particular game follows the selected warrior as they utilize their weapon against massive armies.

#3: The King of Fighters

kof - Top 5 Video Games That Heavily Feature Martial Arts

Another one of the older genres of fighting games! King of Fighters introduced some pretty popular video game characters like Mai Shiranui. We placed this game into the list because we believe that this game helped to cast a wide net for the concept of martial arts. While the fighting styles in the game might be fictitious, they had real world styles at their core.

#2: Tekken

This continues to be one of the more popular games that have reached worldwide fame. Tekken while a hand to hand fighting game, boasts the fact that the move set of their characters are primarily based on real world fighting styles.

Karate, Kenpo, Aikido, Capoeira, and so many more are all carried by their characters.

#1: Street Fighter

streetfighter - Top 5 Video Games That Heavily Feature Martial Arts

Of course, our number one pick is the one that started it all. The Street Fighter series introduced the world to the idea of fighting games. The main characters of Ken and Ryu both use a style that is very reminiscent of karate. The character of Sagat was centered on Muay Thai which also represented the country he was from.


Mind you, the picks we have are chosen because of our own set of preferences. So you are more than welcome to build your own top 5 list of martial arts video games. In any case, one of the reasons why martial arts remains alive and well in the consciousness of newer generations is the fact that video games like the ones we listed above exist.

What video games would you add to this list if you could?