Thursday, March 23, 2006

Five Fighting Games - Part 2

The previous article we talked about the 5 most successful games - ok it was mostly me talking. This time I'm going to talk about the 5 most accessible fighting games.

With the success series we had a lot of great stories where people gave out their secrets to what they did to play these games. This time lets see if we can get any good stories about people you thought you would NEVER play against - simply because these games were so accessible everyone was playing them.

I remember one time when MK2 was popular, I had about 50 some wins and it was the middle of winter. To say that the arcade I was in was ghetto would not even begin to describe it. The places I went to play fighting games amazes me even to this day. Anyways I had a good win streak going when a new guy walked up with a big ass Starter jacket on. He opened it up and showed me the gun he had hanging out of his jeans and was all, 'so I'm going to win next right?' Of course he won and all of his boys laughed at me.

5 most accessible fighting games of all time:

A. Street Fighter 2: World Warrior. Being the one that started it all, people were drawn into the world of Street Fighter easily. It had a cast of cool characters that people wanted to play along with a list of special moves that people wanted to master. Taking the time to practice and learn everything the game gave you no longer applied to beating someone's score or anything, you could now defeat the person that was standing next to you and force someone else to spend their money trying to beat you. The adrenalin rush was something everyone was addicted to at the time.

B. Mortal Kombat 1. Mortal Kombat came out right around the time that Capcom started releasing sequel after sequel. By this point, the divisions between master and beginner in Street Fighter were drawn and drawn deeply. MK gave people an easy way out, if you weren't good in Street Fighter then go try your hand at Mortal Kombat! Combining this fact with the easy to perform moves and the eye candy at the end, people flocked to MK to rip off all of their opponent's heads.

C. Tekken. People grown tired of 2D fighting and the limitations on it, saw a new world to try to conquer when Tekken came out. Tekken requiring different skills than were necessary in traditional 2D fighting games, saw their chance to rise to the ranks of masters in this new world. Combined with the fact that just by pressing buttons, different moves came out, people quickly dropped SF and MK to try to master Tekken.

D. Soul Calibur. Building upon the success of Tekken, Namco developed a weapon based fighter known as Soul Calibur. With the Sega Dreamcast just having been released, Namco brought home one of the most beautiful conversions from arcade to home ever. Populated with mini games and missions for the player to win and achieve, people around the world couldn't stop talking about how great of a game Soul Calibur was.

E. Xmen Vs. Street Fighter. Combining two of the biggest franchises of the 90's - Street Fighter and Xmen comics, Capcom created a game that anyone could approach and see results. Fireball+2 punch buttons resulted in 30 hits for some characters!!! By dumbing down motions and upping the number of hits for moves, people were playing this game in arcades for years.


jchensor said...

Accessibility is a hugely important for Fighting Games, I think. Right now, one of my favorite fighting games is Guilty Gear XX #Reload. Great game, great depth, great character variety, balance is good, really fun, high-level of skill. And I can't get anyone I know to play it to save my life. It just looks so intimidating and frightening and complicated. Derek always jokes how you have to quit your job to learn this game. It only appears that way, truthfully, but I can't argue with anyone who thinks it looks intimidating. It was scary to me at first as well.

That's where, I think, the strength of the Versus series has been, particularly for American audiences. Starting with X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, though the games have a high disparity between those that are skilled (can do huge combos) and those that are scrubby (just mash a lot), they appeal to any level. So even if you are attracted to the 30 hit Super that you can do easily and instantly, eventually you pick up the skill needed to play the game.

So these versus games end up having a tremendous amount of appeal. I mean, back in my college arcade, we even had guys like Cirroc Lofton (I think that's the right name), who played Capt. Sisko's son on Deep Space Nine, played Marvel Vs. Capcom 1. And he was damn good at the game too! And there was one girl named Christine at the arcade who played MvC1 all the time as well (Akumachan to most who know her by nickname), and she was damn good too!! It was cool to see how these fighting games could draw all different people and genders and such to it.

So again, accessibility is huge, I think. If it isn't accessible, people just won't play it. And no matter how good a competitive game is, if poeple don't play it, it doesn't matter.

joey nguyen said...

nothing too crazy, some famous rugby league player used to play 3S with us not too long ago before our main arcade (playtime) closed.. the manager would come and try talk to him about family/sport, but the guy just wanted to play some 3S! he was about an intermediate skill level, at the stage where people try and parry too much.

i heard that the guy who is one of the creators of the "boondocks" tv series is sanford's brother, and used to be a CTF/3S fiend.. that is a pretty nutty story too

Maj said...

I have a story about playing against someone who wound up famous. Back in high school, the convenience store on the way home had like three arcade machines that they kept in working condition, running new-ish games. This was before i got into the competitive versus aspect of fighting games, so i would just play through the game.

Now and then, maybe like once a week, this one kid from school used to go there and play against me. He was better than i was so he would usually win. I didn't want to waste all my money in 5 minutes so when i lost i'd usually play something else. I remember there was one period of maybe a month where he would show up in a cast cuz he'd broken his arm or something. And he'd still win. That dude was competitive!

So anyway fast forward like 5 years and he's an All-Star in the NBA! Yup, i used to play MvC1 with Gilbert Arenas.

I wonder if he still plays fighting games. I remember hearing some random bit of news about him commenting that one football video game is better than another one because it takes more skill or something. So i know he still plays random video games, but he might have moved on to Halo or whatever like most people.

- Maj

jchensor said...

You used to play MvC against Gilbert "4th leading scorer in the NBA right now" Arenas? Dude, that's awesome!!

Chris said...

The local arcade (Closed now) got really jumping around Mortal Kombat 3/Ultimate.

I remember one day the crowd around the machine was pretty big, and during one of my big win streaks this guy who looked at least two years older than me (I was 10 or 11 at the time) stole my queue quarter, and razzed me on. I went after the guy and he punched me before I could ask for my quarter back.

Cops showed up and apprehended the guy, and later down the road it ended up into a small lawsuit and my parents got a pretty decent settlement from the kids parents.

joey nguyen said...

i hope your parents hooked you up with a tidy piece of that settlement.

Anonymous said...

I'd say an honourable mention for a very accessible fighter would have to be Smash Brothers. All Star Nintendo Cast + Goal of knocking them out of the arena = lots of fun, for fans and casual gamers alike.

Maj said...

Is Super Smash Brothers Melee really a fighting game though? I'm not really sure.

A lot of people seem to complain whenever someone lists SSBM in the same category as SF3 Third Strike or Virtua Fighter. One of the big complaints is that the moveset is really limited in SSBM. Fighting games are known for their huge number of possible attacks. Also, it's possible to KO someone instantly at any time in SSBM. Rare infinite combos aside, you can't just kill someone in most fighting games if they have 100% vitality.

Personally i'm undecided on the matter.

- Maj

Anonymous said...

Personally i'm undecided on the matter.

Let's see if I can make you decided ;).

A lot of people seem to complain whenever someone lists SSBM in the same category as SF3 Third Strike or Virtua


I'm not here to complain, as I play both Smash and SF very competitively. I do understand all points of view and can

see why Smash isn't accepted in the other communities. Mainly, the Smash community of players formed from that one

game alone. Most of those players never played any other fighting game hardcore, and therefore are essentially the

first generation of their community. They're in a very primal stage, still trying to find their place and figure it

all out. SF communities look into them and see what appears to be scrubby or non-conforming to standard tournament

rules. But in actual fact, they just happened to go about things a different way.

Look at ST tournaments. In the US, Akuma is banned, o.Sagat isn't; in Japan both Akuma and o.Sagat are Soft-Banned.

Akuma, we can all understand, even though he's only soft banned; but o.Sagat? He's SBed because of his utter

dominence on most of the cast. His design accidentally puts him ahead of the rest of the cast. I'm going off topic a

bit here; point is that the US and Japan have differing rules for the same game. Both have come their own rules from

their own experiences. And although it could be argued one community is better than the other, the fact is that it

doesn't matter, because only during a cross country competition will it ever matter. For each one's local scene, its

what their own rule sets define that matters in their community.

Comparing this to Smash though, its like the Smash community have developed their own rules their way from their own

experiences. Some things (like the massive list of restrictions on stages, items etc) don't seem to be logical and

almost scrubby from a "Playing to Win" persepctive, but its what they've decided is best from their experience.

One of the big complaints is that the moveset is really limited in SSBM. Fighting games are known for their huge

number of possible attacks.

I don't agree here. Mainly because Omni has included both WW and MK in his list. They're both first generation of

their genres, therefore having a more limited moveset and options. Admittedly, there wasn't too much changed from the

first game to the 2nd as far as extra moves goes, but the massive roster update more than makes up for that.

Also, SSBM is only the 2nd version of the game so far, so it doesn't have the decade of spin offs and updates behind


Also, it's possible to KO someone instantly at any time in SSBM. Rare infinite combos aside, you can't just kill

someone in most fighting games if they have 100% vitality.

I'm not sure what you're going on about with KOing someone instantly at anytime in Smash... I've never seen this.

Only way you'd be able to do it is with Jiggly's Sleep on a small arena (most of which are banned in tournament play,

also varying degrees of success on different characters, not to mention the massively large risk it is to do this

move in the first place), if the opponent stuffs up their recovery and falls short, or if you've accidentally

directional-influenced your knock back into a disadvantageous position (ie: they smack you right, and you're already

pushing right on the analog stick to push you even further right). All of these scenarios aren't what I'd consider

broken or even game breaking. Unless you were thinking of something else?

I've got more, but this post is way too long already for a blog comment :P.

Maj said...

Hm, well, those all certainly seem like compelling arguments. You're right that it makes no sense to blame a community for having different rules when those rules stem from a different game. Especially when the SSBM community is too new to have a sense its relationship of the rest of the fighting game community.

I guess my big test would be this: Does getting good at SSBM make you good at other fighting games? Because i don't play Tekken at all, but i know i could become competent at it in a week or two because of my background in SF games. In other words, it would take me A LOT less time to pick up any new fighting game than it would take someone who was as good at let's say Halo as i am in SF games.

- Maj

Anonymous said...

Ah, good point :). I like the way you think. Ok, I'll use as many examples as I can think of regarding this topic - being good at one game makes you good at another. But we'll stick with fighting games, to be fair ;). PC FPS compared to console RPG would be a stupid comparison :P.

I myself was a SF player before I was playing Smash. However, I started on both Arcade and SNES at more or less the same time. I think I was better with a SNES pad before I was good with the arcade stick. However, I now prefer the stick (no gay jokes please :P) to the pad. This is mainly because I have gotten so much better at execution with the stick and that I am able to play faster and more accurately.

Smash was designed for the N64 controller originally, using the analog stick for movement with speed dependencies included (further you push, faster you run etc). This was translated to the GC controller quite well, and it feels even better on it than on N64.

Anyway, being good at using an arcade stick, or even a SNES pad to play SF is probably not going to help you get good at Smash. However, being comfortable with the GC's analog stick (anyone that owns a GC should be, and even PS2/Xbox to an extent as they both have analog sticks) will definitely help a lot. This actually ties into he original point of this topic: Accessible Fighting Games.

Because of Nintendo's strategy in their hardware designs, its hard to refute the GC controller as being hard to use. One big fat main A button surrounded by smaller buttons all with differing tactile feels so you don't have to look down to see what you're pressing (well, first time you do, but that's a given :P). And having less buttons overall (only 2 shoulder's plus their strange Z, no select button) only makes it even more accessible. Also, you can't deny the 8 direction corners on the analog stick isn't just the best thing for analog control.

But this post isn't really about accessibility, its more about getting good at one game if you're good at another.

I can tell you that I'm not a very good Smash player. In fact, it was only in the last year that I was able to watch top level play and actually understand what was really going on (wave dashes into moves, fast falling, tipping, etc). I'm still nothing great, but I do understand a great deal more. And I think it is because of the pretty high level of play in SF recently that I have been exposed to that made me see that.

See, I wasn't able to apply much of my SF skills into Smash, but I can apply the strategies and tactics into it. Being able to perform 20 dps in a row won't mean nothing because Smash doesn't have a dp motion. All of its moves are very easy to perform. The glitchy stuff, like wave dashing is not. There's some other stuff like bomb jumping (surprisingly easy actually) and shine combos (stupidly hard) that were probably not part of the game's design. But then again, neither were roll cancels or even combos originally.

I have some friends who I regularly play Smash against and we've all improved greatly over the last year of play because of our constant playing. All of these guys are people I used to play SF with ;). They weren't top tier SF players (none of us were), but were still very competent and understood the game well.

There's the other side too though. I know of one smash player who is very good at the game (I'm still yet to convincly beat him at it) but is terrible at SF ;). He is mainly a console player, so wasn't quite exposed to the same hardcore SF scene I was. Also, his execution on an arcade is not very good. However, get him on a GC pad for Smash, and he'll be wave dashing like a madman and you won't be able to touch him.

So, in closing, it looks like SF will help you get good at Smash, but not the other way around. However, with the last example I used, I think if he was given the right amount of time, he would be able to get used to the arcade controls for SF and be able to apply some strategies and tactics from Smash into SF.

SF and Smash are similar in very basic theories (fight the other opponent, moves will knockback), but in their core mechanics they aren't (no real life meter in Smash as you can die anywhere from low to high percentages, goal is to knock opponent out of arena which is essentially a ring out that is recoverable from I guess).

P.S. Sorry took to long to repond to this ;).

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