Jumping Into The Fray

Jumping Into The Fray

A beginner’s guide to fighting with friends.

NZGamer.com recently published a feature on the rise of the fighting game community (FGC) in New Zealand - those players who play to win, going to tournaments and studying every facet of their chosen game in an effort to become the best.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a competitor but never knew this kind of scene existed, or maybe you’ve picked up one of any number of fighting games that have come out in recent years for fun and want to take it to the next level.

Whatever the reason, you’re ready to break into the competitive fighting game scene, to climb the ladder and become Aotearoa’s finest - but where do you start?

First, and most importantly, have fun!

Competitive games often seem to be strictly divided between the serious, no-nonsense hardcore types, and the casual players who play ‘just for fun’. I think this is something of a false divide - hardcore players also play for fun (why else would they play at all?), they just tend to get their fun from different elements of the game.

I can see how casual players could see the effort that competitive players put in as being un-enjoyable, but that couldn’t be further from the truth; competitive gaming has its own unique kind of fun, and in my subjective opinion, fighting games are the pinnacle of that. Obviously, winning is fun in and of itself, but even more exciting is the process of learning and employing the strategies that lead to those wins.


Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Having said that, there’s no point in pushing yourself too hard when it comes to competitive play, to the point that it becomes a chore. Obviously, the more you practice, the better you’ll get, and this may involve some mundane things like jamming tough combo strings into muscle memory, but don’t push yourself to the point of getting burnt out. Gaming is a hobby that most of us pay to engage in, so it should be fun and rewarding, at least most of the time. Take a break, play other games, do other things, and never let fighting games become a job.

Go to tournaments and other events

I can’t stress enough how helpful simply being around other fighting game players can be to getting better at the genre. It may seem daunting, but fighting gamers are generally friendly and very welcoming to new players.

You’re probably not going to be winning any tournaments for a while, but don’t let that deter you; the experience you’ll get from your losses, and just from being around other players and talking fighting games with them will be priceless. Just turn up, introduce yourself, and let others know that you’re a beginner, and most people will be happy to show you the ropes and offer advice.


Killer Instinct

Small events are probably better than major tournaments as far as actually getting to know people goes, and if you’re a bit shy like I am, getting to know people online beforehand (most fighting game communities will have a message board of some sort) can be a good way to break the ice.

Pick a game to play

There’s a good chance that you didn’t just wake up this morning thinking “I know, I’ll jump into the fighting game community today!” having never played a fighting game before in your life. It’s much more likely that you’ve enjoyed a certain game or games casually, and want to make the jump into the tournament scene.

Congratulations, you’re off to a good start - enjoying the game you play is easily the most important consideration when choosing a game. If you don’t enjoy a game and are only playing it because it’s popular, you’ll have a hard time getting motivated to put the necessary time and effort in.

With that said, it’s not the only consideration - you’re going to have hard time getting good at a game if it doesn’t have a scene in your area, so you want to pick a game that’s at least reasonably popular. For some games, online play is good enough that this is less of an issue, but for a lot of games, online play is just too laggy to take seriously in a genre that is so reaction and timing dependant.


BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND

Pick a character

You may see a lot of high level players playing a handful of different characters in a particular game, but it’s generally a good idea to focus on only one or two characters and get to know them really well - what fighting gamers generally talk about as “maining” a certain character. There are a few different philosophies about choosing a main, and there’s no real right or wrong way to go about this.

The most obvious path is to pick a character that you like, based on their design or story, have a play around with them in the game’s arcade or training modes to get a feel for their moves, and then move onto another one if whomever you chose doesn’t feel right. As you play more games, you’ll get to know what sort of play-style you like - whether it’s an in-your-face rushdown character, a keepaway character, or some other fighting game archetype - which will help you pick yet more characters down the line.

Another popular but oft-criticised strategy is to “tier whore”, by picking a character known to be good. It’s really hard to balance fighting games perfectly, and there will always be some characters who are better overall than others. Tournament players tend to develop tier lists for games, which rate the strength of each character relative to each other when played to their full potential and divide them into different tiers.

Continue reading on page 2.





 

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Comments Comments (14)

 
Seraphim
Posted by Seraphim
On Friday 19 Jul 2013 8:34 AM
1
I've always been interested in fighting games, it seems like quite a daunting thing to get into though. Especially the amount of time I would have to put in to be even somewhat competitive lol.
 
 
 
VernonWainohu
Posted by VernonWainohu
On Friday 19 Jul 2013 8:39 AM
1
When in competition, is there any type of game-play that is frowned upon ie a player spams 2 or 3 special moves over and over again (I suppose if you're challenging a high ranking player it probably wouldn't matter?!)

I guess what i'm trying to ask is if there any in-game ettiquette that needs to followed (written or un-written)
 
 
 
Takuyafire
Posted by Takuyafire
On Friday 19 Jul 2013 8:45 AM
1
19 July 2013, 08:39 AM Reply to VernonWainohu
When in competition, is there any type of game-play that is frowned upon ie a player spams 2 or 3 special moves over and over again (I suppose if you're challenging a high ranking player it probably wouldn't matter?!)

I guess what i'm trying to ask is if there any in-game ettiquette that needs to followed (written or un-written)
"Flowcharting" is pretty common especially in games like SFIV with the Shoto characters (Ken, Ryu, Akuma etc).

But realistically, repeating the same move over and over again usually wont win you any high level competitions...if it does, then everyone will accept it. Look to the recent UMvC games in EVO2013, specifically Flocker's Zero play...he waits for the opportunity and sets up an infinite combo every time. It's perfectly legit.
 
 
 
Posted by Coddfish
On Friday 19 Jul 2013 9:24 AM
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19 July 2013, 08:39 AM Reply to VernonWainohu
When in competition, is there any type of game-play that is frowned upon ie a player spams 2 or 3 special moves over and over again (I suppose if you're challenging a high ranking player it probably wouldn't matter?!)

I guess what i'm trying to ask is if there any in-game ettiquette that needs to followed (written or un-written)
Not really, aside from stuff like pausing the game during matches. Certain games may have particular things banned - Akuma was banned in Super SF2 Turbo prior to the HD Remix, for example - but any such bans will be expressly stated at events, and only come after a lengthy discussion within the game's community and a lot of tournament data that suggest that the character is, in fact, overpowered.
 
 
 
Posted by Ron
On Friday 19 Jul 2013 10:09 AM
1
As a young lad my Street Fighter name was 'Rogue Dragon'. The only way I'd ever win would be pulling out a random dragon with the odd fireball...
 
 
 
Posted by Bank
On Friday 19 Jul 2013 3:37 PM
2
keen as hell. just got my first arcade stick 4 days ago. completely changed my experience (although still not used to it and kicking knocked around online).

getting the hori fighting edge next month from mighty ape - advantage being that my mates can finally play with me like the old arcades.

fighters are hardcore. endless fun even though i'm one of the worst real match players i know and ive seen. epitome of gaming
 
 
 
Posted by emetic
On Friday 19 Jul 2013 4:29 PM
1
I did a bit of a double take at the Tekken Tag screenshot in the review there.
 
 
 
Tzeit
Posted by Tzeit
On Friday 19 Jul 2013 8:20 PM
1
I think the most fun out of casual comes out of fighting with people at a similar or slightly higher level than you. If you play in an area with a high level of play it naturally forces you to evolve to a similar level of play.
 
 
 
Posted by jtbthatsme
On Friday 19 Jul 2013 10:26 PM
1
Have to agree that I've always loved fighting games Street Fighter first then Mortal Kombat but just not gotten around to sinking the time into the console versions of any of them. My partner recently got herself DoA5, which led us on to getting a 2 for $30 deal on Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter on the Xbox which we've not been able to crank up just yet but we're certainly looking foward to it.

Unfortunately for my partner with her being a relative Noob in gaming I am hoping to win a lot... DoA though has actually seen her hold her own with many a wins going her way lol.
 
 
 
Posted by SilverStrummer
On Saturday 20 Jul 2013 3:24 PM
2
I wish that Capcom would just announce Darkstalkers 4 already
 
 
 
Posted by Coddfish
On Saturday 20 Jul 2013 4:50 PM
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20 July 2013, 03:24 PM Reply to SilverStrummer
I wish that Capcom would just announce Darkstalkers 4 already
THIS

If you'd told me three months ago that a Guilty Gear X3 announcement would come before Darkstalkers 4, I wouldn't have believed you.
 
 
 
sick_wierdo
Posted by sick_wierdo
On Monday 22 Jul 2013 5:43 PM
-
I used to think I was pretty sharp at Street Fighter games, that was until I started playing online. Man, there are some incredible players out there. Absolutely got my arse handed to me most of the time.
 
 
 
luke_skip
Posted by luke_skip
On Saturday 27 Jul 2013 3:50 PM
1
Also don't play a game with air juggles, that is a douche way to win, but is spammed like no tomorrow online.
 
 
 
Posted by Bank
On Wednesday 21 May 2014 11:39 PM
1
Happy to say that I've created our Hibiscus Coast FGC for my mates and interested people around this area :)

We band together every Saturday and will be coming up to our 4th week this Saturday :D
Good times indeed.