“A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”
April 2, 2019 5:01 AM   Subscribe

Melee Player Quits Match Over Opponent's Jigglypuff Stalling [Twitter] "Over the weekend, an entire venue of Super Smash Bros. competitors and spectators lost their collective minds over the actions of one Jigglypuff player. Did he cheat in some way? Go overboard after a win? Destroy a CRT? Yell obscenities at the audience? No, he simply played to the Pokémon’s strengths in a favorable matchup, causing his opponent to get so frustrated that he unplugged his controller and left in a huff." [via: Kotaku]

“The above video immediately caused divisions in the greater fighting game community on social media, split along predictable lines. Classic fighting game players saw nothing wrong with Chango’s play, comparing it to Justin Wong’s famous ability to play “lame” or “turtle” through many of his matches. The Smash scene, however, has a very different idea of what constitutes legitimate play. Due to the way characters like Fox and Falco have dominated tournaments, the community believes fast, combo-heavy matches should form the basis of competition. Anything else is disrespectful to those watching the fight, or so a vocal contingent of the scene seems to believe.”
posted by Fizz (92 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
You come at the puff, you best not miss.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:08 AM on April 2, 2019 [58 favorites]


I kind of love that someone played an entire game defensively and frustrated their opponent so much that they just quit. I am certain I would become frustrated and upset too, but I admire this kind of gameplay because it finds the strength in a so called weakness and exploits that.
posted by Fizz at 5:12 AM on April 2, 2019 [50 favorites]


The Jiggly of House Puff understands his Sun Tzu.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:15 AM on April 2, 2019 [27 favorites]


Due to the way characters like Fox and Falco have dominated tournaments, the community believes fast, combo-heavy matches should form the basis of competition. Anything else is disrespectful

"heeeeeey! you're beating me wrong! it's not faaaaiiir! I'm supposed to be allowed to win when I play like this! :("

Stalling seems like a perfectly valid tactic to me. Opponents get frustrated because they can't win against it not because it's somehow invalid. If you think it's bullshit, come up with a strategy to counter it. Shouldn't be hard if it's such bullshit, right?
posted by Dysk at 5:17 AM on April 2, 2019 [52 favorites]


(I feel the same way about the ban on wobbling, mind, and can understand the frustration in that context!)
posted by Dysk at 5:22 AM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


It's been done.
posted by dumbland at 5:49 AM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


This part of the article has me LOLing the most:
“It’s hard to say whether wobbling would have allowed Fauxhebro to compete with Chango on more even footing, but there’s certainly a tinge of irony in protesting your character’s most potent technique being banned while also making a grand show of quitting against an opponent who is playing their character as efficiently as possible.”
HA!
posted by Fizz at 5:52 AM on April 2, 2019 [8 favorites]


Any time I see a “vocal contingent” of the gaming community getting upset over anything, I assume it’s because they are terrible manbabies. I am occasionally wrong, but not often.

If you can’t manage being frustrated for a few minutes, you are seriously lacking as s competitor.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:00 AM on April 2, 2019 [56 favorites]


Looks familiar.
posted by tdismukes at 6:02 AM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


This is game theory at the finest. This is the 3 way duel problem. Your opponent hits 90% of the time, your other opponent hits 60% of the time and you hit 10% of the time. It is in your best interest to miss.

Jiggly Puff did exactly that. The two opponents killed each other. Jiggly puff had 31% life, and the last opponent had 10%. 3 minutes 30 seconds later - no matter what - Jiggly Puff would win.

As for unplugging and leaving - that too is valid. But it isn't a quit. It is acknowledgement that your strategy failed, and the better player survived by *not* getting hurt.

On edit, but to clarify - the manbaby in this case quit.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:09 AM on April 2, 2019 [13 favorites]


Add a shot clock and problem solved.
posted by notyou at 6:09 AM on April 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


Did I miss something? The Ice Climbers player made no effort to catch the Jigglypuff player. You got outplayed and now you're gonna quit?

Guy definitely wouldn't be able to hack it in any real game scene with that sore loser attitude.
posted by explosion at 6:09 AM on April 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


That guy who quit, and everyone who got upset about this, are the textbook book definition of a scrub. Their tears sustain me. Jigglypuff forever!

"A scrub is not just a bad player. Everyone needs time to learn a game and get to a point where they know what they're doing. The scrub mentality is to be so shackled by self-imposed handicaps as to never have any hope of being truly good at a game. "
posted by I-Write-Essays at 6:10 AM on April 2, 2019 [14 favorites]


I don't play Smash at all, let alone competitively, but I've always heard a lot of static about how it's not suited to competitive play because of the amount of "rules lawyering" that has to go into it to make it consistently fair. Isn't there something along the lines of a standard competitive configuration with no items and stuff? Maybe a more informed Smash player can help me out here.

I've got both feet firmly on the if-it's-in-the-game-it's-fair side of the line, but I do wonder if maybe game design is a little to blame here as well. I mean, Ed Boon could walk into his office tomorrow and decide that Scorpion gets to hide in a tree for a whole match but he doesn't because that would suck.
posted by mmcg at 6:11 AM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


Back in college I played a lot of SSBM. Obviously none of us were pros, but one of my friends sometimes played Jigglypuff like that. It was annoying as hell. But in that case you probe, find a weakness or wait for a mistake, and take your shot. Probably you lose, because Jigglypuff, but sometimes you break through. The guy playing Ice Climbers is being pathetic. I won't say I never overreacted out of frustration when playing Smash, but I was also not a pro.
posted by biogeo at 6:23 AM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


The announcers in that Twitter clip are also manbaby assholes for booing Chango rather than trying to make a boring game interesting. They can get schooled about what their fucking job is supposed to be by every baseball announcer having to call a runless game, or football announcer grasping for something to say during infinite timeouts at the end of a lopsided match. It's hard but tough shit.
posted by at by at 6:23 AM on April 2, 2019 [44 favorites]


The other irony to all of this is that the gaming community is all about finding unique ways to break games, glitch runs, finding a way to skirt around the rules of the game. While this isn't exactly the same, it has a similar quality. It's someone finding the cracks underneath the surface and using it to their advantage. I'm super impressed.
posted by Fizz at 6:26 AM on April 2, 2019 [7 favorites]


It's hard to see how this could be made to work in a fighting game - offensive-action shotclocks maybe? - but despite the fact that playing like this is a permitted strategy, playing games like this is also the precise reason that basketball has shot clocks and football has the 10-yard, 3 (or 4) downs rule. Might work for the player; definitely bad for the sport.
posted by mhoye at 6:28 AM on April 2, 2019 [8 favorites]


"The only reasonable case to ban something because it is “too good” is when that tactic completely dominates the entire game, to the exclusion of other tactics."
posted by I-Write-Essays at 6:35 AM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


Offensive shot clocks would be way too easy to game. Land a single hit on your opponent and then kite them until their clock runs out.
posted by Dysk at 6:35 AM on April 2, 2019 [9 favorites]


It's someone finding the cracks underneath the surface and using it to their advantage.

It's not even that complex. It's picking a character that is good at floaty jumping and your opponent picking a character that is slower and needs to get in close and can't catch you. The article itself referenced Dhalsim vs Zangief as a similar example. The solution is for the guy using the Ice Climbers to change characters, not pout and quit.

The fact that the Ice Climbers player is at the same time protesting the ban on wobbling - an infinite combo that is banned from competition - makes this extra sweet. One of the pro-wobbiling arguments is that the range for it is super short and a good player would pick a character that can avoid getting pulled into it. Just like a good player would not stick with the Ice Climbers when going up against a Jigglypuff, right?
posted by thecjm at 6:36 AM on April 2, 2019 [15 favorites]


There's asshole stalling to be an asshole, then then there's staling to win.

If the life percentages had been reversed, if the Jiggly Puff player was going to lose and was just stalling out of spite I'd agree with the people complaining about them. You do run into that sometimes in online gaming. Player A is going to win, there's no way for player B to pull it out, and player B just wastes as much time as possible to be obnoxious.

But this? This was victory not spite or obnoxiousness. Jiggly Puff had more health, if the player could keep that going until the clock ran out they'd win. There stalling is an entirely legitimate strategy, a bit frustrating for the other player, but that's when you concede with grace.
posted by sotonohito at 6:45 AM on April 2, 2019 [12 favorites]


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I needed this today. Thank you.
posted by duffell at 6:56 AM on April 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


This is how downs in football came to be:
Now the general structure of the game was in place, and Camp made minor adjustments as needed. There was, for instance, the modification he made after witnessing Princeton’s “block game” in 1881. Until then, there was no consistent mechanism in place for the transfer of possession when a team failed to make forward progress with the ball. Camp had figured that proper sportsmen would punt the ball away in due time, but Princeton men, unable to gain yards on their own, simply held the ball for the entire first half of the game against Yale, reasoning that if they could not score, they would not give their opponents a chance to either. Yale men responded in the second half by prolonging their possession of the ball too, until Camp punted the ball away. The scenario was tantamount to a baseball player swinging through or ignoring pitches over and over, regardless of the strike count. In 1882, vowing not to allow “the football rules to become a refuge for weaklings,” Camp invented the concept of “downs.”
Likewise, the introduction of the shot clock to the NBA:
Danny Biasone, the late owner of the Syracuse Nationals, invented the shot clock following the 1953-54 season to try to speed up the game and prevent teams from stalling. The lack of pace in NBA games in the early 1950s was widespread, typified by a game between the Fort Wayne Pistons and the Minneapolis Lakers on Nov. 22, 1950. The Pistons defeated the Lakers 19-18 in the lowest scoring game in NBA history. Each team had only four baskets, and Fort Wayne outscored Minneapolis by the underwhelming margin of 3-1 in the fourth quarter.

Former Boston Celtics All-Star guard Bob Cousy was legendary for his ability to stall with the ball. "That was the way the game was played -- get a lead and put the ball in the icebox," said Cousy. "Teams literally started sitting on the ball in the third quarter. Coaches are conservative by nature to begin with, and it didn't make much sense to play a wide-open game.
Stalling may well be a legitimate strategy now but any game where you can eke out a slim advantage early and then spend most of your time running down the clock is destined to be a bad, boring game.
posted by mhoye at 7:07 AM on April 2, 2019 [11 favorites]


This reminds me of Muhammed Ali’s rope-a-dope strategy.
posted by TedW at 7:16 AM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


That's where Sirlin's chapter on what should be banned (which I linked above) comes in. The criterion is that stalling in those situations became the dominant strategy in the game's meta. Everyone started doing it. You shouldn't ban stalling just because some players are bad at beating it, such as in this case.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 7:18 AM on April 2, 2019 [7 favorites]


I have played a lot of Smash Bros in my time, and I think this is totally legit. Smash Bros is not really a balanced game, some characters are noticeably "better" than others in each iteration (hello, Marth) although a good player can make the best of whoever they're stuck with. Hell, back playing smash bros melee the house rule was "no marth" for most matches because it made it more interesting. I was the weakest in the house for a long time, but won a fair few matches by virtue of being ignored until there were only two people left.

This guy did the best he could with who he had, if you have an issue with that because it's not your preferred playstyle then.... only play at home?
posted by stillnocturnal at 7:20 AM on April 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


This is how downs in football came to be:

This also gets gamed to hell and back in professional sports. Basketball teams with a lead will pass and pass and pass and pass until the shot clock hits 1, and then fire a long 3 and hope to come up with a rebound. Football defenses protecting a lead will tackle a receiver in bounds, and then three more dudes will dive onto the pile and take their sweet time getting up off the receiver, all to bleed a few more seconds off the clock. It's technically allowed within the rules, and that's all that matters. If you want don't want to be subject to it, then don't let the other side get more points than you coming into the end of the game. And even still, I don't see a lot of rage-quitting in the NFL.
posted by Mayor West at 7:21 AM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don't play Smash at all, let alone competitively, but I've always heard a lot of static about how it's not suited to competitive play because of the amount of "rules lawyering" that has to go into it to make it consistently fair.

So, I haven't really played in something like 15 years (!), but this wasn't my experience with my group of skilled-but-not-pro players back in college. There's a lot of in-game rules customization that can be used to increase or decrease the amount of randomness at play.

Playing with items on can be less "fair" in that random events can immediately cost you the match without much or any opportunity to react. (I was notorious for having bad luck with barrels and crates randomly spawning right on top of me while at high damage, to the point that my group turned my name into a verb meaning "to have a crate appear from nowhere and kill you," as in, "aw, damn, you got biogeo'd.") On the other hand, using items effectively can be a critical part of skilled play, and the game lets you turn individual items that can be more unbalancing off if that's your preference. Keeping certain items in play can actually make the game more skillful and balanced, and can weaken strategies like the one the Jigglypuff player used in this match. If one player is running down the clock, that's just more time for a capsule or something to spawn that you can use as a projectile, even if you're Ice Climbers.

One of the things about SSBM is that there's a lot of play techniques for which it's not clear if they were designed deliberately or are something more like mild exploits, e.g., wave dashing. But whether or not they were deliberately designed into the game, they actually add a lot of skill and interest, and for the most part make the game better. When certain techniques like wave dashing were first introduced into my group of players, some of us, admittedly including myself, complained that these were unfair and should be banned. Fortunately the more skilled players flatly refused to stop doing it. Although this was really frustrating for the rest of us at first, eventually we learned how to emulate, and more importantly counter, these moves. As a result, each time the best players introduced a new technique into our group, there was a period during which they were unstoppable and the rest of us flailed about in frustration. But eventually we adapted, and those of us who were more average players learned and got better, which kept the game fresh and fun for years.

So, as someone who hasn't played in over a decade and who has no familiarity with the pro "e-sports" scene, the claim that Smash requires lots of "rules lawyering" to be fair doesn't gibe with my experience. Maybe at the level of play these people are at it does, but I doubt it. Some characters are strong against other characters; I wouldn't want to play against Jigglypuff as Ice Climbers. That's part of the game design and seems fair to me. Play styles like going super dodgy as Jigglypuff are hard to counter, but not impossible. If you want to adjust the rules to make tactics like that less successful, turn on some judiciously chosen items.

The case here to me looks like an example of a player and an audience frustrated because they're not creative enough to think of a tactic to even try against the Jigglypuff player. If that's what passes for pro-level play, then some of the folks I played with in college probably could have done pretty well on the pro circuit.
posted by biogeo at 7:22 AM on April 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


Like, in most situations, this tactic wouldn't work because you need to end up with a) two players left, with the stalling player with most health, and b) the stalling player does not get caught. I doubt this is going to come up enough to be a game problem, certainly every time I've seen somebody attempt RUN AWAY FOREVER they fuck up eventually and get killed.
posted by stillnocturnal at 7:22 AM on April 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


Magic the Gathering Arena, their new (very good) online platform, has a stalling problem. There is no round timer as there normally is in person it's shared and on their previous MtG Online it's split 25/25 mins each. Anyway, they made a card that shuffles back into your library and gives you an extra turn. You can just infinitely loop them and never let your opponent go again if you want.

It's now banned at least in one format on Arena because it was so miserable. A pro player was streaming and a guy just was doing it for HOURS against him. A high up developer of Arena finally stepped in to end it.

The Smash tournament community is very immature from a competitive standpoint if they find this legitimate winning technique poor play. Stalling is only bad if there's no point to it or you're doing it to cause grief as in the Arena example above. Looping it while you legitimately win is perfectly fine even if it takes awhile (not my personal jam at all, but I accept it.)
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:26 AM on April 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


In 1882, vowing not to allow “the football rules to become a refuge for weaklings,” Camp invented the concept of “downs."

Danny Biasone, the late owner of the Syracuse Nationals, invented the shot clock following the 1953-54 season to try to speed up the game and prevent teams from stalling.


I request something like these things, except for government.
posted by otherchaz at 7:29 AM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


I don't play, but I could see withdrawing from an unwinnable competition as a legitimate maneuver if done in the proper fashion, much like conceding a game in chess. If a game is imbalanced and players just walk away rather than let it play out where they are just waiting for the timer to show they lost, then that provides more impetus to change the conditions. Unfortunately the player didn't do that and made a scene after withdrawing, which just makes him look like a sore loser rather than making a point in protest.
posted by gusottertrout at 7:31 AM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


I reckon a large part of why the stalling player didn't get caught is that his opponent wasn't even trying to catch him. He stayed down on the main platform, didn't really chase Jigglypuff at all, and then stopped playing when the other player didn't come down to him. He didn't even make a good-faith effort to bring the fight to his opponent, just got upset that his opponent wasn't bringing the fight down to where he (IC) was hanging out. The difference is that you have that upper hand when you're already in the lead, and the rage quitter wasn't in that position. So it was on him to pursue. He didn't.
posted by Dysk at 7:32 AM on April 2, 2019 [9 favorites]


I-Write-Essays: "That guy who quit, and everyone who got upset about this, are the textbook book definition of a scrub."

I believe the textbook definition of a scrub is a guy that thinks he's fly, and is also known as a busta.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:33 AM on April 2, 2019 [47 favorites]


some characters are noticeably "better" than others in each iteration (hello, Marth)

One of the things I found really interesting about Smash is how much my perception of this changed over time. Like, early on it seemed obvious that Pikachu was the overall best character, then it was clear that Falco was better, then Marth, then it was generally accepted in my group that Luigi was the overall best, until we discovered that Jigglypuff could generally kick ass when played well. I think certain characters are noticeably better at certain points along the skill curve (at least in SSBM where I have the most experience), but as you get better, the ordering changes and gets less noticeable.
posted by biogeo at 7:33 AM on April 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


Yeah, that Ice Climbers player had a weak mental, and deserved to lose. I think the announcers are guilty of creating a hostile environment by booing, which surely gave the crowd license to do the same. They should be ashamed of themselves. They should be sanctioned for unsportsmanlike behavior in a position of authority.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 7:34 AM on April 2, 2019 [15 favorites]


This reminds me of that Formula One team in the 70s that realized there was no rule on the books saying your car was limited to FOUR wheels, and that adding two more improved grip and cornering. Instead of other teams complaining, they adapted and began developing their OWN s-x-wheelers. Eventually Formula One instituted a 4-wheel rule, and the Tyrrell P34 became a a piece of Formula One history.

Competitive Super Smash should embrace innovative tactics like this. If they need to adjust the rules after the fact, that's fine. But celebrate the innovators who helped sculpt competitive play.
posted by UltraMorgnus at 7:35 AM on April 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


"That guy who quit, and everyone who got upset about this, are the textbook book definition of a scrub."

I'm pretty sure I heard that a scrub is a guy who can't get no love from me.
posted by Blienmeis at 7:39 AM on April 2, 2019 [15 favorites]


I’m reminded of this incident years ago in roller derby… I forget why both teams were content to stall but the rules were changed soon after to prevent this.

On preview: I’m with UltraMorgnus on this. If the game maker doesn’t want to see this sort of thing, change the rules. Otherwise “stall until the other player gets mad and forfeits” seems like a perfectly acceptable strategy to me. If you don’t like it, figure out a way to beat it or Nintendo should change the game.
posted by Ampersand692 at 7:40 AM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


One of the things I found really interesting about Smash is how much my perception of this changed over time. Like, early on it seemed obvious that Pikachu was the overall best character, then it was clear that Falco was better, then Marth, then it was generally accepted in my group that Luigi was the overall best, until we discovered that Jigglypuff could generally kick ass when played well. I think certain characters are noticeably better at certain points along the skill curve (at least in SSBM where I have the most experience), but as you get better, the ordering changes and gets less noticeable.

This is true, too. I used to play as Zelda a lot, and people thought it was weird I only played as Princess Zelda rather than the faster, "better" Sheik version everyone around me preferred at the time. And then I would kick them off the map because I got very, very good at kicking people and Princess Zelda kicks hard.

I still maintain that Marth is a spammy, annoying bastard though.
posted by stillnocturnal at 7:41 AM on April 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


(The Tyrrell six-wheeler was the only six-wheeled F1 car ever raced. It is true dat kortet teams developed sine experimental six wheel designs as well, but never put them into competition despite the rule about having four wheels only coming into effect in 83. Using two sets of front wheels wasn't really for grip as such - it allowed smaller wheels to be used without losing grip, but the big advantage was the lower drag and turbulence from the smaller front profile of the wheels/tires. It was competitive for the first part of the season, but had a tendency to understeer, and the bespoke tyres didn't see as much development as the more standard ones used by several teams, so Tyrrell didn't win any championships that season, and ultimately abandoned the concept well before any ban was brought in.

So the other teams just got on with beating the six wheel concept, and pulled it off.)

posted by Dysk at 7:41 AM on April 2, 2019 [8 favorites]


It doesn't even have to be the game maker. As biogeo pointed out, the tournament organizers have the power to customize the game mode by judiciously adding items that help bridge the power gap between different characters.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 7:42 AM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Huh, apparently despite not playing in so long, I still have Opinions about Smash.

I think the analogy to chess is actually a good one. In chess, at a certain point both players may know how the match is going to end, and the loser will go ahead and concede rather than play it out. This isn't because the rules aren't fair or the game is flawed, it's just that skilled players understand the game well enough to know what is possible at a certain point. To a certain extent, what we see in this match is similar. The Jigglypuff player knows that he just has to stay away from Ice Climbers to win, and Ice Climbers knows that if he gets anywhere near Jigglypuff he'll get his ass kicked; Jigglypuff is just too floaty and dodgy. Barring some major mistake by either of them, Ice Climbers needs to come up with something pretty clever to win. He obviously didn't have a strategy prepared for fighting, or even advancing against, Jigglypuff in this situation, and couldn't come up with one on the spot. Much like a chess player, conceding in this circumstance is reasonable, and could be good sportsmanship. Of course, in this case it seems he chose to blame his opponent rather than himself, which is like a chess player walking away from the board and complaining that the game was unfair because his opponent placed his pawns too defensively.
posted by biogeo at 7:43 AM on April 2, 2019 [16 favorites]


If the game maker doesn’t want to see this sort of thing, change the rules.

Some context - this all happened at a Super Smash Bros Melee tournament. A game that was released in 2001 for a GameCube. It's not a currently supported game that gets patches and the like - Nintendo has a new Smash game, Ultimate, that is out on Switch and gets patches and the like. This particular game is never going to be patched or updated. Which is why it has so many house rules about what actions are and are not allowed in competitive play.
posted by thecjm at 7:46 AM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


Much like a chess player, conceding in this circumstance is reasonable, and could be good sportsmanship.

This looked more like a rage-quit ban a concession. It's like looking at an unwinnable position in chess, and flipping the board off the table rather than shaking your opponent's hand.
posted by Dysk at 7:46 AM on April 2, 2019 [9 favorites]


> there was no rule on the books saying your car was limited to FOUR wheels

That car is brilliant and hilarious and I'm really disappointed that this didn't lead to an arms race of more and more tiny wheels dotted all over the place.
posted by lucidium at 7:47 AM on April 2, 2019 [6 favorites]


so on the one hand i've never played smash, so my role here in this thread is i dunno isomorphic to the role played by americans who bomb into the brexit threads to ask "why doesn't the queen just [x]?" or "why can't northern ireland just [y]?"

but: it seems like the counter for this is the other two players 1: realizing in advance what the jigglypuff player was doing and 2: coördinating to kill jigglypuff first.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:49 AM on April 2, 2019 [6 favorites]


And one more point of context - there are plenty of characters that match up well against Jigglypuff. There are 26 playable characters in the game. If your opponent is using a strategy to avoid you, switch to something with a lot more range. Or rage-quit, I guess.
posted by thecjm at 7:52 AM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


Not isomorphic in my opinion, because Brexit is real and matters and naive questions distract from substantial discussion. This is just a silly video game, and questions, naive or otherwise, are part of the fun. Like arguing over unimportant rules of style, such as whether dïäeresis marks are approprïate in modern English.

I'd argue that making an impromptu team in a 1-v-1-v-1 match is less sporting than taking advantage of your character's strengths, though.
posted by biogeo at 8:01 AM on April 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


As someone who doesn’t play, what happened? Why did the other player try to attack Jiggly?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:17 AM on April 2, 2019


I don't like the "scrub mentality" post because, while the original post has a valid point, 99% of the time it gets brought up, it's being cited by Stop Having Fun Guys who think that anybody who plays what they find fun rather than the SHFG's idea of the "meta" is a scrub. And nobody likes those guys.

Furthermore, there's no need to invoke the scrub mentality here, because what's actually happening can be described plainly in a much more straightforward terms: bad sportsmanship.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:18 AM on April 2, 2019 [8 favorites]


I request something like [shot clocks / downs], except for government

Hi! We are trying this in the UK right now! The players had two years on the clock!

They stalled the whole time so it was SUPER BORING for two years but now they got extra time and it's going CRAZY!

1/10, do not recommend.
posted by automatronic at 8:20 AM on April 2, 2019 [17 favorites]


That's a fair point, tobascodagama, although I would argue that it is those people who complain that you're not playing to the meta who are the real scrubs. The meta is descriptive, not prescriptive, and thinking it is prescriptive is exactly one of those self-imposed handicaps Sirlin is warning of.

Complaining that you're not playing towards their self-imposed handicaps makes them a scrub, because they can't see the game as it really is. They rely instead on second-hand descriptions of "What's Good," and this prevents them from improving. They complain about things outside their control instead of trying to maximize the impact of what they can control, another hallmark of the scrub.

It's ironic, isn't it?
posted by I-Write-Essays at 8:22 AM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Furthermore, this is all in the context of competitive play, where Playing To Win is the goal. Unranked games don't have to be played to win, and people who don't understand that are also scrubs.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 8:29 AM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Could not Fauxhebro have played directly to Mornington Crescent, claiming either hesitation or repetition?
posted by Wolfdog at 8:32 AM on April 2, 2019 [14 favorites]


This is game theory at the finest. This is the 3 way duel problem. Your opponent hits 90% of the time, your other opponent hits 60% of the time and you hit 10% of the time. It is in your best interest to miss.

Jiggly Puff did exactly that. The two opponents killed each other. Jiggly puff had 31% life, and the last opponent had 10%. 3 minutes 30 seconds later - no matter what - Jiggly Puff would win


This is how i survived playing murderball in high school gym class. There were two ways to end up out - throw a ball and have it be caught or get hit by a ball. So I reduced the odds of being out by throwing a caught ball by never ever throwing a ball and never trying to catch one. Then I could focus 100% attention on avoiding balls thrown at me making me more effective at dodging than most players. Even when my team lost everyone but me, I could survive for frustratingly long times. Particularly when the balls started accumulating unthrown on my side of the floor.

In my final murderball game ever eventually the gym teacher was driven to intervene and start throwing balls back to the other team and coaching them to throw all at the same time at different points on the floor rather than at me (they tried all throwing at me first but the balls would hit each other an bounce away nowhere near me).

The final game only ended when I was frantically dodging a fusillade of balls and ran right into the gym wall knocking myself senseless. I didn't win but I also didn't lose. A decent result for an extremely unathletic very small kid.
posted by srboisvert at 8:34 AM on April 2, 2019 [38 favorites]


I'm just glad to see roleplaying in Smash tournaments. Jigglypuff has always been a monstrous troll. Do not believe the sweet siren song. Listen too long and you get this.
posted by Nelson at 8:54 AM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Isn't there something along the lines of a standard competitive configuration with no items and stuff?

This is exactly the tension here. Smash was designed as a party game, and is not exactly balanced as a tournament game. And people have to do some bending to get the game as tourney ready, for example no one allows Meta Knight. And only most casual tournament would have items. How far you go is another story. The joke is "no items fox only final destination". This means only using Star Fox, only using the most boring map, and no items.

A lot of this is caused by Nintendo at best being ambivalent about Smash as a fighting game, going so far as trying to get Evo not to showcase them one year. So the developers and the people trying to play the game on a professional level have very different ideas of what they want in the game. And Sirlin, faced with something like this, would go play an actual competitive game.
posted by zabuni at 9:10 AM on April 2, 2019 [7 favorites]


I'd argue that making an impromptu team in a 1-v-1-v-1 match is less sporting than taking advantage of your character's strengths, though.

As long as it is impromptu, I can't agree. It could be the only clear path to winning were one to assume the players were all following their best individual strategies. If you have three players, H, I, and J, and J's best chance of winning is to avoid combat with H and I and they have the ability to do just that, then it's incumbent on players H and I to take out J before battling each other since they would be likely to lose otherwise if neither could catch J on their own. Accepting that as the rational strategy would make playing J a lot less enticing for knowing other players would follow that method. The only advantage one would have is in hoping one of the two would try to sucker the other and attack them while they were attacking you causing disengagement and a return to the initial advantage of avoidance until one killed the other.

If player H could beat either I or J by themselves, then player I is screwed from the get go as they don't have a plausible strategy for beating J and couldn't rely on help from H to make that a priority (or presumably avoid both and adopt J's strategy for their own). Verbally agreed collusion of course would be a different matter and should never be allowed.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:20 AM on April 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


In my final murderball game ever eventually the gym teacher was driven to intervene and start throwing balls back to the other team and coaching them to throw all at the same time at different points on the floor rather than at me

---- And so, class, here we have an example of the author srboisvert's use of anecdote to reflect the injustices of the world he was living in. In this case, murderball is the dryly named stand-in for governing, the very framework of his society. It's hard for our gay luxury space communism selves to believe, but the author himself, out-numbered and but a wee lad against a line-up of toughs, is the stand-in for socialist ideals. The opposing team is obviously that great tide of evil, the Nazpublicans. But who is the coach? Can anyone identify a group which should be neutral, but in fact actively supports the oppressors once it appears that their favored murderous thugs will not prevail?

---- Is it the press?

---- Excellent, Stacy! Now, let's all turn to the chapter on the role of marine snails in the Glorious Awakening...
posted by maxwelton at 9:31 AM on April 2, 2019 [10 favorites]


yeah it seems like top-flight players would just naturally tend toward making the correct impromptu alliances when their interests clearly coincide, without any need for explicit planning.

todo: write a turn-based smash game
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:32 AM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


So the developers and the people trying to play the game on a professional level have very different ideas of what they want in the game.

The past is truly a foreign country.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:41 AM on April 2, 2019


todo: write a turn-based smash game

> CHASE JIGGLYPUFF

The Jigglypuff giggles slightly, then floats with ease onto a higher platform, out of your reach.

[Your score just went down.]
posted by delfin at 10:17 AM on April 2, 2019 [9 favorites]


I don't understand. The non-stalling player could have switched to some other character that could defeat Jigglypuff?
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 10:33 AM on April 2, 2019


I think the analogy to chess is actually a good one. In chess, at a certain point both players may know how the match is going to end, and the loser will go ahead and concede rather than play it out.

The same is true in curling; if you are sufficiently behind late in the game, it becomes very difficult to win against skilled opposition, because they can simply eliminate your rocks and prevent you from scoring any points. (The rules were changed around 25 years ago to make eliminating all the rocks more difficult, because it's dull to watch. It's still very difficult to come back if you're deeply in the hole.)

It's considered good sportsmanship to concede rather than grind out the last end or two (ends are roughly equivalent to baseball innings) if you're in a basically futile position. But the form of concession is so strongly tied to the sense of sportsmanship that you literally show that you are conceding by walking over to the other team, and shaking their hands. (You always shake hands at the end of the game, so you're are signalling the end of the game.)

So in curling, this sort of just bad-sport abandonment isn't possible, even though conceding is and can be good sportsmanship.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:00 AM on April 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


It could be the only clear path to winning were one to assume the players were all following their best individual strategies.

Isn’t this how we get Libertarians?
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:10 AM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


it's funny to read about PvP drama in a game you don't play and are only passingly familiar with

like, the specifics are all different, but the themes, man, the themes are universal

anyway this ridiculousness is why only broken, unpatched, hideously unbalanced games should be allowed in "e-sports"
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:16 AM on April 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


This is how i survived playing murderball in high school gym class. There were two ways to end up out - throw a ball and have it be caught or get hit by a ball. So I reduced the odds of being out by throwing a caught ball by never ever throwing a ball and never trying to catch one. Then I could focus 100% attention on avoiding balls thrown at me making me more effective at dodging than most players. Even when my team lost everyone but me, I could survive for frustratingly long times. Particularly when the balls started accumulating unthrown on my side of the floor.

We called the game middle school dodgeball, but it was pretty much my strategy as well, except our rule set let you block incoming shots with a ball so you can grab one and use it as a quick shield in a pinch.
posted by jmauro at 11:21 AM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


To be clear, the match in the video was game 5 of a best of 5, with both players tied 2-2. We don't know from it what characters they played in games 1-4, and I can't find which characters they played in the previous matches. However, at the moment they locked into game 5, they can't just change characters in mid-game.

If the Chango played Jigglypuff in the previous games, Fauxhebro should have adapted by picking a different character. It sounds like Fauxhebro is known to use Ice Climbers as his main character, however. What I imagine happened is Fauxhebro played Ice Climbers all 4 of the previous games and Chango adapted by picking Jigglypuff to counter him. If Chango only pulled it out in the last match, that's rough for Fauxhebro, but either way, it's rough being a one-trick pony.

If you can only play one character, people will abuse that weakness by picking, e.g. Jigglypuff into you. Being able to switch up your character picks so you don't get countered is a critical element of strategy, which Fauxhebro appears to have been lacking. Instead of adapting, he stopped thinking and got angry instead.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 11:36 AM on April 2, 2019 [9 favorites]


For those who've never played Super Smash Bros. Melee: This is a 2-player match. One player is playing as "Ice Climbers", which are two characters that the player controls as one. So one player is Jigglypuff, and the other player is controlling both Ice Climbers. Just wanted to resolve that confusion I was seeing in here.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 12:03 PM on April 2, 2019 [6 favorites]


For those who've never played Super Smash Bros. Melee: This is a 2-player match. One player is playing as "Ice Climbers", which are two characters that the player controls as one. So one player is Jigglypuff, and the other player is controlling both Ice Climbers. Just wanted to resolve that confusion I was seeing in here.

Oh sure, be that way and bring facts into it, in theory though my point still stands!



my god, this is how you get libertarians...
posted by gusottertrout at 12:29 PM on April 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


anyway this ridiculousness is why only broken, unpatched, hideously unbalanced games should be allowed in "e-sports"

I actually do think that the balance obsession that swept through the industry around the time that MOBAs were at the peak of their popularity did lasting damage to game designs across the board, but that's a topic for a different thread.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:35 PM on April 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


> For those who've never played Super Smash Bros. Melee: This is a 2-player match. One player is playing as "Ice Climbers", which are two characters that the player controls as one. So one player is Jigglypuff, and the other player is controlling both Ice Climbers. Just wanted to resolve that confusion I was seeing in here.

okay but wouldn't they still be able to beat Jigglypuff through a vote of no confidence if Sinn Fein actually took their seats?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:58 PM on April 2, 2019 [28 favorites]


I think the balance obsession swept through the industry before MOBAs became popular. It was already in full swing when SC2 was released. I daresay it was caused by World of Warcraft, but maybe it can be traced back farther.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 1:46 PM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


For those who've never played Super Smash Bros. Melee: This is a 2-player match. One player is playing as "Ice Climbers", which are two characters that the player controls as one. So one player is Jigglypuff, and the other player is controlling both Ice Climbers. Just wanted to resolve that confusion I was seeing in here.

To be slightly more correct, one of the players is controlling one of the Ice Climbers, Popo, while the second Ice Climber, Nana, more or less mimics Popo's action.
posted by jmauro at 3:49 PM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


So this came up yesterday on Discord servers I’m on, and went a little viral because of smashplayers.meme and it’s worth making a little clarification that was pointed out to me, as well: the Ice Climbers player here did actually try to chase down Jigglypuff for a couple minutes instead of just not trying to win, and the ragequit we see is when he is simply broken. The editing on the video is a little deceptive if you aren’t paying attention to the timer.

Granted, this extra bit of context doesn’t excuse the terrible sportsmanship on display, but it at least didn’t start immediately when the Jigglypuff player took the lead.

And of course, basically everyone in my orbit who saw this video agreed that Jigglypuff is being played correctly, with the goal of winning a tournament, based on pretty undeniable Playing to Win principles here.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:55 PM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


Speaking of PtW, the author of that, David Sirlin, has nearly finished making a genuinely accessible fighting game (seriously, I’ve played it with friends who just don’t play fighting games, and they can jump straight to playing “for real” instead of fighting against the controls) called Fantasy Strike (currently in early access on Steam and eventually on PS4/Switch), and it’s been mentioned by the devs on the Discord server from time to time that most of the characters secretly represent different PtW player archetypes.

Perhaps most amusingly, the nominal mentor-type guy is essentially an ascended scrub, constantly concerned with “fairness” (“his notions of ‘fair’ seem to favor himself a lot of the time, though”), despite things like being able to turn into effectively a boss character (but only temporarily! Otherwise it wouldn’t be fair) or having the only option select in the game (kind of like throwing both paper and scissors simultaneously, and the game chooses whichever the right option was).

It’s a fun game, and I guess upon consideration it makes sense that, if nothing else, a Discord server for a game made by the author of PtW would unanimously be like, yeah, Jigglypuff is playing correctly here, heh
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:03 PM on April 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


(The rules were changed around 25 years ago to make eliminating all the rocks more difficult, because it's dull to watch. It's still very difficult to come back if you're deeply in the hole.)

There is a great documentary about this in series on Netflix called Losers (Episode 4: Stone Cold). There is a similar reality. The documentary describes the pre-change sport as one where people played it more like a league game rather than a sport, have a beer on the side. The person who was the cause of the rule, Pat Ryan, played, as Sirlin would say, to Win. Profession teams, exercise regimen, no drinking. And his style got jeers from the crowds. Sort of echoes this game.

At this point though the people who controlled the sport, and audience, and the players were all in agreement with the purpose of the game, and thus the rule change.
posted by zabuni at 5:02 PM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


I have nothing to add except that this thread is glorious.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 5:10 PM on April 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


Homeboy Trouble: So in curling, this sort of just bad-sport abandonment isn't possible, even though conceding is and can be good sportsmanship.

Well, technically... I can think of at least two bad-sport ways to abandon a curling match -- which I've, of course, never seen myself but I think are at least theoretically possible. The first, obviously, is the walk-off. If you are unable to field four players, your team forfeits (hence the importance of the alternate). In a bad-sport situation, I would imagine the whole team would just walk away.

However, the more insidious way to concede in a bad-sport way is to simply run down the clock. What would likely happen is that once the umpire realizes what the bad-sport team is doing, the umpire would be able to insist that they make their next shot within 45 seconds or have their stone removed. The bad-sport team would wait out the 45 seconds, give up their stone, and then the opposing team would get to go. And then the cycle would repeat: the umpire determines that the bad-sport team is stalling, the bad-sport team waits 45 seconds, the umpire removes their stone, and the other team gets a turn. At some point, probably the tournament director or whatever higher authority exists would probably step in and just disqualify them. But in the interim, it would be some of the most terrible sportsmanship ever seen on a curling sheet.
posted by mhum at 5:43 PM on April 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


(Claps continuously while opponent performs victory pose)
posted by FJT at 12:09 AM on April 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


All games are constructions, and thus tournaments are doubly-constructed. Often tournament play looks nothing like normal play. Real world sports are built off of decades of reactions to degenerate and ridiculous strategies, the rulebook version of software patches. (For a bunch of object lessons in this process, check out SBNation's Weird Rules series, a cool thing they do that Jon Bois doesn't make!) Video game tournaments have the disadvantage that people have no opportunity to tune a game themselves to their liking. They are supposed to accept it, handed down from on high, and deal with it as an artifact. (If they try to do otherwise, as with Project M, they get nastygramed.) Melee is locked in time to the moment it was released 17 years ago, but even more recent games, which can be updated via patches, are usually not updated indefinitely. (Games like Starcraft excepted.) Eventually, the game will begin its end-of-life--and the true competition will begin, because the game is no longer a moving target.

It's a tribute to Melee's design that it's lasted so long, but that's also its curse, as people discover strategic exploits over time. Like wobbling, which, for those who don't know, it's a way to desync the pair of Ice Climbers so each hits before the hitstun from the other's attack ends, allowing for an infinite combo. I am sympathetic to the Jugglypuff player, because what is happening here is not that they're stalling, but that they're refusing to put themelves into a situation where the Ice Climbers have an advantage, while the Ice Climbers are refusing to grant that advantage. This situation happens in casual fighting game play all the time. Smash's reputation is attack-heavy enough that people don't expect it to be played like a normal game, where someone actually plays to maximum advantage like that, stalling out the clock as leading sports teams do frequently.

But on the other hand, Melee is popular in competitions because of its offensive nature. It's fun watching characters beat each other up in a hyper-frenetic fashion, and it's possible, if everyone played like Jigglypuff did, that the game wouldn't be as interesting. Of, if only someone could change the softwa--[REMAINDER OF COMMENT C&D'd BY NINTENDO, GO BACK TO YOUR THREAD, NOTHING TO SEE HERE]
posted by JHarris at 8:36 AM on April 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


A game isn't locked in time just because you can't patch it. Smash has game mode settings that tournament organizers can use to tweak the balance. Starcraft: Broodwar is famous for being able to balance the races by using map design to strengthen or weaken certain types of gameplay.

The standard practice of putting a player's main base on top of a raised platform with a single narrow ramp was developed by broodwar mappers to make it harder for Zerg to rush with a super early Spawning Pool. When Terran players discovered they could kill a Zerg's fast expansion by blocking the ramp with bunkers, props were used to create an unbuildable gap so the Zerg could escape and get a surround on the bunkers to kill them before they finished building.

I can't think of any popular competitive games where the developers don't offer some means of customizing the game mode. It is tournament organizers' responsibility to use those mechanisms to tweak the balance, if only they are able to show enough creativity to do it well.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 9:33 AM on April 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


As someone who has only played Smash uber-casually, but has watched some competition, I enjoyed the Puff player's strategy and it's completely legit. However, I think the Ice Climber player wouldn't have been allowed to Wobble based on the rules of that particular tournament--the article says he was wearing a t-shirt that said "#FreeFaux" as protest. Yes really. (Reference to his handle, Fauxhebro, and he's known as someone who deploys the Wobbling technique.)

The rest was also just him being salty. During the match, Chango, the Jigglypuff player, had already been using avoidance once he was up* and the final round he was just doing it again. In fact, "Fauxhebro regularly shook his head in apparent disapproval of Chango’s tactics, and as he entered the final game of the match, he changed his in-game name to ‘PLAY’ as a way to signal his criticism of Chango’s keep-away game." That definitely helped keep the audience riled up against Chango. But if he was that frustrated at Ice Climbers' inherent Jigglypuff weaknesses, he had the option to switch to another character between games. But it looks like he doesn't have any other characters he tends to play in tournaments, so instead he took the time to make the passive-aggressive jab, and then go on to lose, which is hilarious. Puff still had to get in close enough to take an extra stock, so he would have known that he had to take one first or else he'd lose. He'll have to evolve his play to beat that strategy now. Maybe develop an alternate main against Jigglypuff?

As for the rest of the audience and the announcers...well. If anyone is interested in learning more about the Smash scene, The Smash Brothers was a good documentary series that's available for free on Youtube and focuses on a different top player each episode. From watching that I think there's a lot of baggage in the community about Jigglypuff in general--skip to the episode about Mango and Hungrybox to see that. Basically, people used to think Jigglypuff was just a silly character who couldn't possibly be competitive. Then Hungrybox actually figures out how to play Jigglypuff competitively, which angers everyone because it hinges on perfectly timing a technique (called Rest) that knocks out most characters with one hit even when they haven't taken that much damage, but on the flip side is extremely risky to miss. The rest of the play strategy involves landing smaller attacks here and there to get them in KO range and avoiding their counterattacks. Apparently this is more insulting than losing to some 1337 Fox or Falco combo or whatever, so people tend to hate Hungrybox and Jigglypuff. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

*I think I'm seeing some confusion upthread about "life percentage." A player is actually ahead, first, based on the number of stock (lives) they have left. Jigglypuff had 3 stock left, and Ice Climbers had 2, so if Jigglypuff could avoid getting killed again, that was it. The percentage shown is actually how much damage the current stock has taken so far, and it's not really a percent--as the number climbs, each subsequent attack is more likely to knock you off the screen, which is a KO and depletes a stock. So in this case, Jigglypuff actually had more damage, but 30s is still not enough for most characters to get a one-hit kill.
posted by j.r at 9:49 AM on April 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


Been following this thread since yesterday waiting for the opportunity to respond, and then I had to go back and read Sirlin's "Playing to Win" (which has been mentioned and linked a few times above) as it had been probably ten years.

1.) Chango is obviously in the right here, and FauxHebro obviously in the wrong, and while it's unfair to call someone playing at Faux's level a "scrub," he was 100% exhibiting the "scrub mentality" Sirlin lays out.

(For anyone who hasn't read it, Sirlin lays out a pretty simple philosophy for competitive games: either something is legal or cheating, what is legal is determined by the game or the tournament organizers, and the competitive player must avail him or herself of all legal strategies in order to have the best chance of winning. If Chun-Li is kicking your ass with nothing but lightning-kicks, that's not Chun-Li being "cheap," but you needing to figure out how to counter it. Basically, a "light a candle don't curse the darkness" look at strategy. It is considered an absolute classic and go-to of how to think about competitive play.)

Now, I'm not a good tournament player. Of anything, really. I can kick ass at Mario Kart (or Guitar Hero back in the day) but the only game I've played in tournaments is Netrunner, where I played against the world's best but never made a dent.

Netrunner, now dead and awaiting revival by a fan-project spearheaded by those players who were beating me, is a super-cool asymmetrical card came about hacking (or protecting yourself from hacking.) New cards would come out in packs so everyone with $15 every month or two had all they needed and the same pool of cards as anyone else playing (unlike in MtG where there is chance and rarity and a massive secondary market for the best cards.) There are a million different interactions and a couple different ways to win and the game really became about paying attention to what everyone else was doing and either 1.) at the mid-level, learning those strategies and executing them well, often "net-decking (i.e. copying the published decks that the best players were using) or 2.) at the top levels, designing new strategies and practicing the hell out of them so that an opponent would be unprepared for them.

Now, there was one deck I encountered online a couple years ago that used a number of ways to lower how many "clicks" (actions) I had per turn, until I had zero per turn. It was a prison deck designed to do exactly that and then play out until it won without interaction. These decks were dubbed "NPE" for "Negative Player Experience" in the community and there was a ton of debate about them. Not that they should be banned, but that they were bad for the game, which had a small player base and was trying to entice a larger one against all odds.

Both sides of that had a point, though I will say that in the games I've played against multi-time Worlds Champ Dan D'Argenio, I was always able to score or steal a few agendas before getting hosed. And it was always fun (he's a gracious player) and prison decks never dominated the Meta.

But in this game I was playing as Leela, a Criminal. Now, I love Crim faction because it allows for great rewards from attacking early and keeping your opponent off-balance. It generally hasn't been very robust for a while, but Leela was an interesting ID in Crim in that her greatest abilities were passive free reactions to the Corp's actions. And in this one stupid online game I saw what the Corp was doing and set myself up early to have all of those react abilities ready to fire. And I won, but instead of the standard exchange of "gg"s at the game's end, the dude went ballistic demanding that I admit he should have won the game. It was obviously uncool and a little bizarre.

Strangely, the Netrunner authorities did end up nerfing not the prison decks but the Leela-Gang Sign decks (like what I was using) for being uninteractive. I question that decision. But a weirder situation was when the team of top players (Netrunner is generally individual, but "teams" will get together to workshop decks and play against each other in advance of tournaments) had their private decklists hacked and exposed in advance of worlds. This was basically an "ain't no rule says a mule can't play football" situation, and the irony was thick in this being a game glorifying exactly this behavior, but still a clear violation of the spirit of things if not the letter.

But Gango playing a stall game isn't. That's a football coach calling for the QB to kneel to run out the clock. And if Faux couldn't bother to learn anyone other than his main (for which he couldn't even use the Wobble) then that's kind of on him. Fox has projectiles. Use him for the tiebreaker game, man.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:57 PM on April 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


Actually, I should say that Netrunner played around a lot with what cards were legal and in what capacity in order to keep things fresh, and maybe the prison decks were also affected. I can't remember. A lot of archetypes were but I don't recall that being one, as I never played it myself.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:21 PM on April 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


A game isn't locked in time just because you can't patch it. Smash has game mode settings that tournament organizers can use to tweak the balance.

"Game" here is intended to mean the software. And, those tournament settings are a blunt instrument. There are definite limits to what you can do there, and not all rule edits are available in all modes.

The standard practice of putting a player's main base on top of a raised platform with a single narrow ramp was developed by broodwar mappers to make it harder for Zerg to rush with a super early Spawning Pool.

And, Starcraft is a game with user-editable maps. Melee, notably is not. (The first Smash game with that feature was Brawl, it was clunky when I tried to use it, and isn't even present in the most recent version, Ultimate.)

because it hinges on perfectly timing a technique (called Rest) that knocks out most characters with one hit even when they haven't taken that much damage, but on the flip side is extremely risky to miss.

Ah, Rest! Heh heh... one might argue it isn't thematic, in Pokemon that move puts the user to sleep but completely restores health, but it's certainly entertaining! You have to literally overlap the opponent to get it off; if you don't, you just put yourself to sleep, waiting to be punished. If you do, BAM. And it goes all the way back to the original Smash Bros.
posted by JHarris at 6:49 AM on April 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


This is the only strategy guide I need.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:38 AM on April 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


I had a copy of that, long ago, Chrysostom! It's still one of the more entertaining books on gaming I've read.
posted by JHarris at 9:12 AM on April 4, 2019


I got rid of mine in a move a few years ago, and I've come to regret it, tbh.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:42 PM on April 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


BTW, The Winner's Book of Video Games is up as a PDF on The Internet Archive. Amazon sells it a well, for about $9 used, or $65 new. It is not exactly the kind of book that gets reprinted decades after its release. It's a fun book, that not only explains how to play classic arcade and home games and offers a glimpse into gaming culture back when arcades were big moneymakers, but is also pretty entertainingly written, if a bit fluffy (whole chapters are devoted to gags like proposing subsidies in quarters for poor players). But its review of Video Olympics is a stand-out, which is accurately pegged as just a bunch of variations of Pong on one cart. (In fairness to Atari, many of these variations were actually full features of earlier, dedicated pong-playing machines the company had sold. People who were somehow still wanting Ponglikes [WORD COPYRIGHT 2019 BY ME THANKYOUMUCH] in 1982 no doubt loved it.)
posted by JHarris at 11:07 PM on April 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


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