Like Rock Paper Scissors, but a Bit More Complex
August 4, 2019 2:26 AM   Subscribe

With the Evolution 2019 fighting game tournament going on this weekend, now is the perfect time to learn about how, and why, to watch a fighting game. Even if you can't play them, they can make a great genre to enjoy as a spectator once you understand some basics!
posted by DoctorFedora (11 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Where is 'lizard' and 'spock'?
posted by Quackles at 3:39 AM on August 4, 2019


So that’s a whole separate conversation: Spock and Lizard are other options that add more things to memorize but add no actual depth to the game, because the payoffs are still all identical. It’s the addition of complexity without depth.

A better example/comparison would beRock Paper Scissors 2.0, where the value of each option is constantly shifting, allowing for meaningful mindgames — do you go for the obvious option to try to win? Of course not, because the opponent expects that, and intends to punish it. So instead, you do the thing that beats the punish, improving your position elsewhere instead.

Anyway, I have all sorts of opinions on complexity vs. depth but I’ll stop myself here.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:48 AM on August 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


I approve of this post.
posted by True Final Boss at 7:38 AM on August 4, 2019


Seek out the works Patrick Miller, who's a cool, non-toxic guy with a lot of great content to get you started.

He recently hosted a First to 10 between Aveebee and Christine Love in UNIST
posted by Reyturner at 8:35 AM on August 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


*Aevee Bee

Missed the edit window...
posted by Reyturner at 8:42 AM on August 4, 2019


I am terrible at fighting games, but I love watching Evo. A lot of the matches are streaming on Twitch.
posted by Sibrax at 12:33 PM on August 4, 2019


Fighting games? Have you not watched Black Mirror at all?
posted by sneebler at 2:57 PM on August 4, 2019


This is a cool article. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has a "Spectate" option so you can watch others play online. Obviously not all the matches are good, but it can be quite interesting nonetheless. A little like watching older kids play Street Fighter in the arcade, but from the comfort of my couch instead!

I'm a person who rarely blocks/shields (or throws....) when playing Smash; I usually just try to run away, so I found this article really interesting and I suppose I'll have to actually figure out those controls at some point.
posted by invokeuse at 3:26 PM on August 4, 2019


Yeah, even though I’ve been playing conventional fighting games (i.e. derived from Street Fighter II) for as long as there’s been fighting games, my current level in Smash Bros. is still “most items on, and did you know you can block with the R button???” It’s a very different game (and incredibly difficult to play, from a mechanical standpoint, once you improve beyond that point)! That being said, though, things like positioning are still pretty much universal.

In retrospect, I feel like I should have included a previously link, though those are for tutorials on the basics of how to play fighting games (the videos on Street Fighter are especially good because they teach really fundamental concepts like the idea of “controlling space,” like chess but much faster).
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:07 PM on August 4, 2019


Incidentally, for folks who aren't fighting game players but who are interested in dipping their toes into the genre, there are a few great options available! First off, there are fighting-game-adjacent sorts of games, like WindJammers or Nidhogg, that at least have that sort of directly competitive one-on-one thing going on, where there's room to fake out your opponent.

My personal recommendation for new players would be Fantasy Strike, which just finally came out on PS4 and Switch, and which is seemingly built to help beginners stop being beginners as fast as possible.* Major elements of that include the fact that you don't have to do joystick motions to do special moves (you just press a button like in Smash), color-coded character states (white outline for invulnerability, blue outline for armor, green outline for counter-hit move, etc.), and built-in videos that explain each character's basic gameplan and what each of their moves do. I feel like I can't recommend it highly enough! (I also like playing it a lot, as someone who's played fighting games for a very long time, just because it has really short combos so there's more time spent with both players playing the game.)

*I have Loud Opinions about the idea of "accessibility" in fighting games, and how poorly it's been handled in pretty much literally every other game that has claimed to attempt to be accessible to new players as a design goal, so trust me when I say: no, really, this time there is a wolf.

And of course, there are plenty of other options too, like Samurai Shodown or Street Fighter or Under Night In-Birth. They just announced a new Guilty Gear game, and rumor has it that they'll be trying to make it a bit more new-player-friendly (though… see above). Some of these games can in fact be extremely intimidating to get into, but sometimes just seeing a game and thinking it's mega cool can be enough to get folks into a game, or the genre!
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:57 AM on August 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


Thanks, DoctorFedora, for those recommendations - I see there's a Smash Bros. Brawl tutorial in addition to Street Fighter on sirlin.net, will check them both out!
posted by invokeuse at 6:22 PM on August 5, 2019


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