Competitive Gaming
January 13, 2009 7:11 PM   Subscribe

Most video games are easy to learn, but hard to master. For those focused on single player, there are always speed runs. However, multiplayer competition can often be much more interesting to perfect. Of course, there are those who make gaming a career with games like Halo and other FPSes. There's Street Fighter II (as well as other editions and variations), which can lead to some incredible matches. There are some very intense StarCraft tournaments, as well as similar tournaments for a variety of other RTSes. Often, games can last so long beyond their shelf lives simply because of the fan base and multiplayer aspect.
posted by cardern (41 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Does anyone else remember when Raz cracked CPS-2 and FinalBurn just started supporting Super Street Fighter II Turbo and everyone started bitching about how the speed wasn't emulated correctly? Those were the days.
posted by griphus at 7:19 PM on January 13, 2009

I don't remember T. Hawk from street fighter, but I DO remember HATING Dhalsim.
posted by tylerfulltilt at 7:21 PM on January 13, 2009

Did you mean to link to that boring Street Fighter video?

I'm sure you meant to post this one.
posted by empath at 7:22 PM on January 13, 2009 [23 favorites]

Empath, that was absolutely amazing. I knew it was possible to parry like that, but that's the first time I've actually seen it done.
posted by explosion at 7:34 PM on January 13, 2009

I came in here to link that, empath. I don't even play Street Fighter, and that blows me away.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:35 PM on January 13, 2009

I don't get it. What am I look for in that Street Fighter video? Note: I have never actually played Street Fighter.
posted by Justinian at 7:40 PM on January 13, 2009

The one in the actual FPP, i have no idea.

The one I linked to is the 20 seconds of flawless, inhuman reflexes at the end there.
posted by empath at 7:47 PM on January 13, 2009

I played Street Fighter II in elementary school but because very few people in my town were even half-serious gamers I had forgotten all about it by high school. This was not to remain the case.

In tenth grade, during one class period, two kids I thought were assholes had been antagonizing each other all day and from my perspective any one of the numerous possible bad endings would be hilarious. Our biology teacher turned her back to fiddle with some disgusting preserved thing in a dissection tray and one saw his chance.

He grabbed a collapsible metal book shelf - one that had a scissor mechanism similar to this - and, yelling "HADOKEN!", swung it at the other kid, whereupon it extended to its full length and connected with the kid's face hard enough to give him a bad case of the wounded-ego sniffles.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:49 PM on January 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

Wow empath that was awesome. I was going to say, the link in the FPP is about half as exciting as the average fighting game match, but that thing was incredible.
posted by fleacircus at 7:51 PM on January 13, 2009

Yeah, that was totally the one I wanted, empath >.> It's a lot better than mine, I was just impressed by the speed at which the guy playing dhalsim could teleport. I can still barely do it in training.
posted by cardern at 7:52 PM on January 13, 2009

The first two rounds neatly establish the scene. Pretty much all the moves are used, and you see the consequences of them, the main ones being Chun-li's super kick and Ken's dragon punch, both of which do tremendous amounts of damaged if they're not blocked. And even if they are blocked, you still take a decent amount of damage.

Not very long into the last round, Ken is clearly in trouble. He's got very little health left and he's taken almost none off of chun-li. Chun li gets sloppy and starts taking chances trying to put it away and Ken takes advantage, knocking Chun-li down to the point where she's vulnerable, but Ken is still pretty clearly an underdog.

At the end, he's backed into a corner, and Chun-li charges up. The match is clearly over, even if Ken blocks he's going to take enough damage to die. Except he doesn't. He parries. The interesting thing about the parry is that he has to hit an attack button at exactly the time the kicks would strike him, each time. And if he misses just once, the rest of the attacks go through unblocked. And yet he does it not just through one flurry of kicks, but two.

Chun li is stunned, breathless, and Ken unleashes his own devastating and fatal flurry of kicks and punches, and the crowd roars. A once in a life time ending to an awesome match and it happened to be in a big tournament with hundreds of people watching and cheering it awesome. It must have felt awesome to be there.
posted by empath at 7:59 PM on January 13, 2009 [11 favorites]

Could someone say more specifically what's going on at the end? I haven't played a recent version of SF. To me it looks like when Ken is down to a silver of life that Chun Li is about to beat him down with her kicky move for a great comeback victory, which gets the crowd excited, which Ken awesomely reverses, making the crowd go crazy. On second glance, it looks like her kicky move isn't really doing any chump damage at all, and so I must admit I don't know wtf is going on...

Samurai Shodown II is more my game...
posted by fleacircus at 8:00 PM on January 13, 2009

Glad you found that Empath. I've had this little clip of just the end of that fight since the old days, long before YouTube, but I never realized the whole match was out there. The whole thing's phenomenal. I guess you have to have played SF3 and kind of "get" parrying in order for that finish to totally blow you away, but lordy that still gives me goosebumps. The way Ken jumps to air-parry the last hit so he can combo into his super holy shit fuck balls.

This stuff gets taken as seriously as any sport by the players. I have attended a nice little amateur 10-person SFAlpha3 "tournament" among old friends that literally came to blows.

Like real, angry punching.

As for Starcraft, there's probably a whole post's worth in competitive Starcraft play in Korea alone. I'm no expert on the matter but these guys are straight-up celebrities, with televised matches, sponsorships, endorsements, the whole bit. The Korean Air Force sponsors one Starcraft team.

If anyone in Portland's getting wistful, Ground Kontrol has SF3 3rd Strike, 2 Turbo, and Alpha 3. And the joysticks still work.
posted by churl at 8:00 PM on January 13, 2009

(uh, cheering it on)
posted by empath at 8:01 PM on January 13, 2009

standard preview whine here
posted by fleacircus at 8:03 PM on January 13, 2009

Like real, angry punching.

I got punched in the face once over a starcraft LAN game like 8 years ago.

Protip: Don't say to the already angry guy that is a foot taller than you, outweighs you by 40 pounds, with a beer in his hand that you just zerg rushed, "Either take a swing at me or stop crying about it" You might not like his choice.
posted by empath at 8:05 PM on January 13, 2009 [4 favorites]

I'm glad empath pointed out the whole "block damage" thing. Allow me to add that the kick flurry at the end has about twelve or fourteen kicks in it; the timing is staggered and they come in at varying height. Now, a parry in Street Fighter III has an eight frame input, and a frame is 1/60th of a second, meaning that in order to not die, whether he blocked the kicks or not, the Ken player had to perform a quick motion in under an eighth of a second, with the correct timing, predicting the place the kick would land, fourteen times in a row.
posted by Amanojaku at 8:12 PM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Re: the parrying at the end of Empath's link: you parry by tapping toward on the joystick at the instant an attack connects, and, unlike blocking, you don't take any damage. It's hard enough to parry something as obviously telegraphed as a fireball that amateur players rarely use it. Parrying a multi-hit attack like Chun-Li's normal hundred-kick thing enters professional territory. But parrying an entire Super sequence is incredible, as it's not only an incredibly fast flurry of many attacks, but the attacks are irregularly spaced within that few seconds and any parry mis-timed even slightly would have meant guaranteed death for Ken, who had only the smallest possible sliver of health left on his meter. Jumping and air-parrying the very last attack in the Super sequence was especially insane, but (as far as I know) the only way Ken could combo the last parry into the two- or three-attack sequence that led into his Super without leaving Chun-Li the opportunity to block in the interim.
posted by churl at 8:12 PM on January 13, 2009 [3 favorites]

There's a soft spot in my heart for TFC.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:14 PM on January 13, 2009

I can;t articulate why, but speed runs always make me very sad. Very very sad.

I got punched in the face once over a starcraft LAN game like 8 years ago.

My little brother would throw fucking SHIT FITS if he died in SMB3 or whatever. Like balls out rage storms. I had to pin him to the floor to get him to calm down. Later, he burned an abandoned trailer down and somehow survived. Later still, he walked away from a crash that would have killed most mortal men. He's okay now.

He wants to be a cop. I'm trying to push him into Stuntman work.
posted by The Whelk at 8:16 PM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Street Fighter II was fun but I always thought Marvel Super Heroes was the best of the genre. Former Aladdin's Castle employee.
posted by starman at 8:17 PM on January 13, 2009

Here's my personal favorite, where Wong (Chun Li in Empath's vid) shows off his own ability to comeback.
posted by shen1138 at 8:38 PM on January 13, 2009

I really need to get a new job: today I spent 90 minutes watching castlevania 3 speed runs. They are only like half an hour each but I watched speed runs for beating the game with all 3 spirits. Sypha never did anything interesting. So basically i watched pretty much the same video game from 18 years ago being played by another person with some slight variations over and over again. I hate myself.
posted by I Foody at 9:08 PM on January 13, 2009

GomTV is a good place for anyone who can appreciate top-level StarCraft play.
posted by Dark Messiah at 9:09 PM on January 13, 2009

Youtube also has a lot of Starcraft Korean league play and it's actually very entertaining. You have to find a good english commentator though. I suggest KlazartSC.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 10:32 PM on January 13, 2009

Is there any explanation for why StarCraft became HUGE and a ... spectator sport in S. Korea? Yes, it's a great game, very balanced, very fun, but the popularity is just over the top to my eyes. Why StarCraft? Why stadium matches? Or is it just another cross-cultural thing I'll never understand? I'm not trying to be sarcastic or anything, I just want to know why a decade-old game is somehow gigantically popular in Chosun.

My very first paid work thing was getting 50 bucks for designing some WarCraft maps for an expansion pack when I was 14. I also got a t-shirt zug zug
posted by The Whelk at 10:45 PM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

My favourite character is Lei Wulong. He can do Daniel-san's kick.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 1:43 AM on January 14, 2009

This is my favorite fighting game video. It doesn't have the most impressive play, the highest stakes or even a clear sequence. However, it does have the most amazing free association trash-talking I've ever encountered.

"Scoops Häagen-Dazs"
posted by uri at 3:41 AM on January 14, 2009 [6 favorites]

Man. If only there were professional Rampart players, then I could make a bundle....
posted by JHarris at 4:19 AM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is my favorite fighting game video. It doesn't have the most impressive play, the highest stakes or even a clear sequence. However, it does have the most amazing free association trash-talking I've ever encountered.

I had never seen this before (and I fancy myself an avid fightvid fan), but this was awesome. I think "Curleh Moustache!" is my new catch phrase.
posted by aftermarketradio at 6:07 AM on January 14, 2009

You have to find a good english commentator though.

That's how I happened upon the GomTV site, Mr. Tasteless is a good commentator who actually understands the game very well. He did a good job explaining why I was only ever a mediocre StarCraft player.
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:02 AM on January 14, 2009

Here's another angle on the amazing parry. Better video of the fight, and in the lower left you can watch the players at the controls. I assume the guy on the right spazzing out is playing Ken, and I can't fathom how his spazzing is actually precise parry moves. Fantastic.
posted by Nelson at 9:04 AM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

wow, I can't believe my job is on the front page. I work for MLG. nice to see it there!
posted by shmegegge at 10:59 AM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Man. If only there were professional Rampart players, then I could make a bundle....

I was thinking Rampage. I kicked so much tail as Lizzie.

No! Don't eat the dynamite!
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 12:10 PM on January 14, 2009

This is pretty fun to watch. Come play TF2 with us MeFighters, ask me how...
posted by Faux Real at 1:08 PM on January 14, 2009

Ha, I love that parry vid.

A good friend of mine was at that tournament. My friend is the kind of guy who plays fighting games at a world-class level. He used to work as the manager of an arcade in California which was well-known among the fighting game crowd and attracted top players from across the country and Japan. He honed his skills by spending his work days playing against them (in subsequent years the arcade has been replaced with a gelato store, sadly). Playing any fighting game against this guy reminds me of how three blind mice felt about playing chess against a ranked Chess Master.

Anyhow, after I saw that clip he gave me some background on that match: Justin Wong, who was playing as Chun-Li, is arguably the best Street Fighter player in America. Daigo Umehara, the guy playing as Ken, is the best player from Japan. During the match my friend was confused. Having played against him in the past, he knew that Daigo was not playing at the top of his game. Then, when it was over, he realized that the awesome ending was no accident. Daigo was actually taking damage intentionally to set himself up for that awesome comeback.

Even now it still blows my mind.
posted by joedan at 1:09 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

I assume the guy on the right spazzing out is playing Ken, and I can't fathom how his spazzing is actually precise parry moves. Fantastic.

That would be crazy, but Ken is actually Player 1, on the left, even though he's standing on the right when the parry happens, so he's actually the one calmly tapping away.
posted by Amanojaku at 1:22 PM on January 14, 2009

The problem with professional Rampage is that the game is really stacked against the players. It wasn't intended to be a game of real competition, it was a game made for bopping around and having fun. If the game's enemies choose to beat up on a player, there's not an awful lot he can do about it. Xenophobe, by some of the same people, would be a bit better for competition.

Now Rampart, it's possible to rule in multiplayer in that game with the right strategies. (Of course, if there -were- such things as professional Rampart players, then the bar would have been moved much higher, more people would have figured out my strategies, and there'd be a lot more draws.)

I admit it, I kind of look down upon fighting games in a multiplayer setting. Too much of it is reflexes as opposed to strategy and tactics. This isn't to say that there isn't strategy and tactics, far from it, but a lot of that it is just geeking out, understanding a raft of obnoxious minutiae about priority and knockback and hitboxes and execution times and so forth, not to mention learning all the moves for all the characters (even if you stick with certain ones yourself, you must know what the opposition is capable of, after all). A bunch of trivia that must be all thrown out once you move to a new fighting game. And when a game comes out in which you don't have to learn ten thousand obnoxious little facts to do well, it gets derided as lacking depth, as being a button-masher.

RTSes and FPSes are quite a bit better in this regard, but still, in my eyes multiplayer gaming has yet to surpass good ol' M.U.L.E. in versus awesomenesss.
posted by JHarris at 1:35 PM on January 14, 2009

Fighting games have tactics but no strategy. Nothing wrong with that, though.
posted by empath at 3:51 PM on January 14, 2009

That said, if you're good at it, you're thinking 3 or 4 moves ahead all the time. It's not pure reflexes.
posted by empath at 3:52 PM on January 14, 2009

I like watching Starcraft matches. Nothing like hearing those Korean commentators go "RRREEEAAAAVVOOOORRRUUUU!!!1!"
posted by fraxil at 5:43 PM on January 14, 2009

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