What is it: No matter your nationality, there’s a fair chance that your people have been reduced to a stereotype in a fighting game at some point. Maybe there’s something getting lost in translation: Much of these stereotypes are born from Japanese companies creating American characters, and vice versa. But if fighting games are to be believed, then every African American has a wide-toothed grin, every Native American is one with nature, every Japanese person is either stoic or pervy, and every WASP is a brazen idiot. And don’t even get us started on the names for El Fuerte’s moveset, which include Habanero Dash, Quesadilla Bomb, and Guacamole Leg Throw.
Why we love it: As with many kung fu movies, there’s something goofily charming about seeing over-exaggerated tropes done with complete seriousness. Most of these stereotypical fighters are so absurdly off base that it’s hard to hold them in contempt, and they’re usually a product of uninspired designers instead of malicious intent. With a few exceptions (like the entire cast of Tattoo Assassins), these silly typecasts are largely inoffensive. And really--Balrog pretty much is Mike Tyson, if we’re being frank.