fighting game
A game in which the goal is to fight and defeat opponents who are either controlled by the game itself or another player, usually with one character fighting one other character at a time. Nearly all, if not all, emphasis is on fighting.

Fighting games became so much of their own phenomenon that it's easy to forget how fighting games started mostly as sports games. Most early fighting games, like Karate Champ and Great Swordsman, were based on organized competitive fighting more than back alley brawls. Having fighters using the same style back then wasn't from laziness or maximizing sprite space, but because that's how most competitive martial arts were seen at the time the genre started. That probably seems weird to anyone born in this current climate in which Mixed Martial Arts is on TV more than even Boxing at times in the United States.

Some people have a tendency to lump fighting games together with beat 'em ups/belt scrollers just because they're both about fighting, but they don't come from the same root. As mentioned earlier, fighting games started as sports games and beat 'em ups started as action games with an emphasis on combat over evasion, shooting, or platform maneuvering. Besides, as a wise man once said, "You use different moves when you're fighting half a dozen people than when you only have to be worried about one."
Game list:
Karate Champ, Karate Champ Vs., Yie Ar Kung-Fu, Street Fighter, Street Fighter II, Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Tournament Fighters
Screenshots (click to see full-sized):
Karate Champ (arcade) Yie Ar Kung-Fu (arcade) Street Fighter (arcade) Street Fighter Alpha 3 (arcade)

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