SNK has partnered up with Bitmap Books to release a definitive record of their premier fighting game’s history
The King of Fighters series is an often overlooked, but vastly important part of fighting games history. While Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, or Tekken might immediately come to mind as the biggest and most important traditional fighting games to the casual observer, the truth is more complex. In the fighting game community, KOF commands just as much respect as the other series, and in Latin America, King of Fighters is, appropriately, the undisputed King of Fighters.
KOF owes its prestige to its consistently good gameplay, characters, music, and story (that last element is something few fighting games can boast of). Terry Bogard (who originated in the prequel/sister series Fatal Fury) was a guest character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and the mainline series is now on its 15th installment with KOF XV. However, with such a long history, newcomers might find themselves a bit lost as to what’s going on and why.
That’s where THE KING OF FIGHTERS: The Ultimate History comes in. Bitmap Books, the award-winning independent publisher of books that celebrate retro gaming, have teamed up with SNK Corporation to craft a book that explores the rich tapestry that is KOF’s history.
A handy resource for people new to the franchise and an excellent collector’s item for veterans, the book is a 544-page hardback featuring the central characters Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami on the cover. Bitmap was given unprecedented access to SNK’s resources, as a result, the book contains never before seen information, interviews, and artwork (both traditional and pixel), all exquisitely committed to high-quality lithographic paper in special Pantone ink. The book is well bound with sewn binding, so you can lay it flat with double-paged spreads without fear of damage.
There’s also an “ALL-STAR EDITION”, which in addition to the beautiful book, has a cornucopia of delightful accoutrements. This includes:
- a heavy-board slipcase to house it, which has a series of touch-panels on its fascia, that when pressed, play in-game sound effects for each fighter, and is finished with metallic gold detailing
- a set of five A4 art prints from various KOF games. The art prints are housed within a white envelope, complete with an imitation wax seal, embossed with an ‘R’ – something that fans will remember from the intro to KOF ’94
- a postcard featuring an exclusive illustration by Eisuke Ogura, created especially for this edition
As of the time of writing, the standard edition is on sale for £34.99, and the ALL-STAR EDITION is £54.99, but there are only 3000 copies available. For a limited edition piece of physical media and a vital historical resource, it’s crazy that it’s cheaper than KOF IV with the DLC. Which you buy right now on every current console except the Nintendo Switch.
A flamboyant ultra nerd, Dave participates in the Underlevelled Tournament both for the thrill of the fight, and to avenge the orphans lost in the climax of the previous tournament.
Hobbies: street dance, collecting manga volumes, reading, editing
Likes: short-to-medium walks on the beach, pointing out how things can and will be misconstrued as racism, fighting games, RPGs, anime, Hades, alternative hip hop, conscious hip hop, Mara Wilson, overly long bios, ice-cream
Dislikes: insincere media, his own uncanny resemblance to Richard Ayoade, mayonnaise