18 Most Iconic Signature Moves In Video Game History

Is Ryu's Hadouken the most well-known move of all time?

For the first few decades of its existence, gaming was ruled by soundbites and catchphrases. Arcade cabinets were adorned with iconography of now-legendary characters like Pac-Man or Street Fighter's Ryu. Seriously, think about how many games you could identify through sound alone in 2016, as oppose to the "wamp-wamp-wamp" of Pac-Man's chomping, Sonic's ring noise or Ryu's "Hadouken!" - back then the industry didn't have the attention of the world, but it was damn determined to get it. Over time, that mentality has folded into movelists and abilities, too. Each character or franchise needs a specific 'thing' that only they can pull off to really succeed, and now more than ever it's very rare that a genre alone will sell a given title - a far cry from the endless World War II shooters that sprang up across the 2000s, following the Medal Of Honor's initially meteoric success. To that end, for every butt-stomping plumber you'd find a charged shot-firing soldier or a grapple hook-flinging ninja. Those early days were a hotbed for innovation and forward momentum, so much so that the vast majority of gaming's most signature moves come from this golden era. So, in celebration of everything from fireballs to spin-attacks and all things in between, let's look at what are the most iconic and recognisable moves of all time...

18. "Fus Ro DAH!" - Dragonborn (Skyrim)

From knee-skewering arrows to underground cities and buggy-as-hell animation, Skyrim was the complete package back in 2011. However, some of the most fun abilities to unleash on the various denizens of Tamriel were the 'Dragon Shouts' - or more specifically, Unrelenting Force; Bethesda's more powerful version of Star Wars' force push. By unlocking all three tiers of this ability you could do anything from launching giant spiders over cliffsides to sending innocent civilians pinwheeling across a market square. I definitely, wholeheartedly, recommend the latter.
Gaming Editor
Gaming Editor

WhatCulture's Head of Gaming.