It's time yet again to bring you an irrelevant listing of games for an utter lack of creativity on my part. So here we go, get ready to be completely unfulfilled by my incessant rambling.
#10 Karate Champ
It may not be the absolute first fighting game ever created, but it's certainly the one that planted the seed of inspiration for other developers to push the genre to new heights.
#9 Mortal Kombat
Certainly not my favorite franchise, but there is no denying that along with Street Fighter II it brought millions of fans to the arcades, truly ushering in the era of fighting games.
#8 Samurai Showdown II
You can't have a list of fighting games without a mention of SNK. Here in the U.S. SNK always seemed to live in the shadow of Capcom, but their games were always just as good. And there is no finer example of SNK's handiwork than Samurai Showdown II.
#7 Marvel Vs. Capcom 2
2D fighters by Capcom have always been some of the best on the planet. When you add Marvel Comics characters into the mix fighting Capcom characters, you get an instant classic.
#6 X-Men: Children of the Atom
This game is the reason I chose the Sega Saturn over the PS1, and I have never regretted that choice. One of the finest fighters to ever grace arcades. Arcade perfect Saturn port, horrible PS1 port. It goes on the list because it is my personal favorite, and it's my blog.
I'm referring to the Dreamcast port of course. Don't get me wrong, the arcade was great, but the DC version had far superior visuals and still stands up quite well. I personally find this to be Namco's best franchise. Tekken never did it for me like this could.
#4 Dead or Alive 3
The Dead or Alive series has always been simple to pick up and play, but very rewarding to master. The third in the series helped usher in a level of detail never before seen on a home console at the time. It also set the graphics bar so very high early in the X-Box's lifespan, and few developers were ever able to attain it's level of detail over the consoles lifespan.
#3 Virtua Fighter 5
The finest example of one of the deepest fighting franchises ever created. From the onset of the first, we knew we were in for something special. This is one game that you really don't want to jump from character to character, you really need to find one that fits you, and learn them inside and out.
#2 Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
A beautiful remake of one of the best fighters ever created. The balance is there. All the characters you know and love are also. Gorgeously redrawn in 1080p glory.
#1 Street Fighter II
The fighter that really started the craze in the early 90's. Mortal Kombat as I said before helped, but it didn't posses near the grace of this gem. If you like fighters, odds are this is where it all started for you as it did many others. To this day, a discussion about the genre cannot be had without mention of Street Fighter II.