If you’ve hopped onto this train known as the “Street Fighter 4 & Friends Express” in the past year or so, you’re probably new to the whole fighting game scene. Don’t worry, I used to be new to the scene too at one point (This was back in the mysterious era known as 2008); however, the scene was considerably different back then.
To begin with, the newer players weren’t quite as (for lack of a better phrase) fucking annoying as some happen to be right now. It’s to be expected, I guess, that when a newer game comes out and the scene rapidly expands there will be some annoying people along the way. It’s not like all the new players are annoying, just the very outspoken ones are.
A lot of their obnoxiousocity (a word I invented to spite you, personally) comes from the fact that they really don’t know any better. What constitutes a broken character? What move is “too good”? What does a character really need to get better as opposed to what you personally wish for your character to have? It’s questions like these that a lot of new players, honestly, don’t know how to answer while thinking logically.
The largest example is when Street Fighter 4 first came out. In the first Street Fighter 4 (Author’s Note: For those who don’t know, there are 2 versions. Street Fighter 4 and Super Street Fighter 4. I will shorten these from now on as “SF4” and “SSF4” or just “Super”), Sagat was a very powerful character. A lot of what made him so good was his fantastic fireball zoning, his high damage output, his corner pressure, and his fantastic anti-airs (which correlates directly to his zoning). To some, he was easily considered the best character in the game, and you would have been hard pressed to find somebody who would have disagreed.
To veterans and better players, Sagat was very good but he was in no way unbeatable. To me, Sagat was only as powerful as the player controlling him. Of course, I ended up losing to Sagats all the time. After all, he’s a lot more powerful than the character I chose to play (Sakura)! To beginner players, however, their frustrations took over and they deemed anyone who played Sagat as “gay”, “no-skill”, or a “tier whore.” There were even some lower-end tournaments (very local, and very small) that ended up banning the use of Sagat, simply because they felt he was “far too powerful.” Other tournaments and events banned the use of characters such as Gouken or Seth, two very mediocre characters that have to actually work very hard to acquire their win. Why were these characters banned? Quite simply, the organizers found one thing to be far too “overpowered”, didn’t want to deal with it, and banned it on the spot.
Their approach to other things was fairly ignorant as well, but less on the complainy side and more on the irrational side. When it comes to fighting games, it is generally characters with halfway-decent mixups that tend to be very strong characters. This doesn’t apply to ALL characters with good mixups as having several tools is vital to being viable, but having a good mixup can do nothing but help your character.
To the people who don’t know what a mixup is, let me briefly explain. A mixup is a situation in which you force your opponent into a situation where they are forced to guess, and their guess will determine whether they blocked your combo or got hit by your combo. A basic example is with my main character, Sakura. Sakura has a move that launches her opponent into the air, and from this point she can dash under her opponent and when they land they are forced to guess in which direction to block. If they guess incorrectly, they will eat a combo; If they guess correctly, they will block the combo or have done an invincible move to hit her out of the mixup entirely. Mixups are not specific to Street Fighter, and have ranged as far back as dinosaur times (Example: The velociraptor mixed up the T-rex and did a stylish combo on him to end the round. However, the next round they both got unblockabled by an asteroid).
To experienced players, they recognize that some mixups are harder to get out of than others. Some mixups only escape is to block the attack, no one move will get you out of it. Other mixups are weaker, and can be beaten by things as simple as a backdash or jumping away. For the newer players, they want this very simple solution to escaping mixups for ALL mixups. Basically, they believe their character should have all the tools to never be mixed up. I may be exaggerating a tad by saying this, but if you read some threads about things people want for their characters you will see things like, “I want my character to be able to do this particular thing, just like that completely different character.”
A lot of the times, the wish will be for a “good wake-up option.” To briefly describe what a wake-up option is, it is an option your character has after having just been knocked down. Characters like Ryu have an uppercut which is invincible on its startup; this is a very powerful wake-up option. Other characters have considerably weaker wake-up options, but the reason for this is probably very simple. In SSF4, Cody has very limited wake-up options. To begin with, his defensive options (excluding his extremely reliable anti-air) are very limited. The reason for this, put simply, is that his offensive options are abundant. I won’t go into details, but anybody who is familiar with Cody’s gameplay will know that he is very strong offensively, and considerably weaker defensively. This is how he was made, and honestly I have no problem with this.
Newer Cody players, however, feel frustrated that their defense is so lacking. You can often find them asking for a “better wake-up option” to deal with pressure from other characters. There are simple ways to up your defense regardless of what character you are playing, in fact the mechanic is built right into the game! Every character has the ability to block, this is a universal game mechanic that nobody is exempt from. Blocking intelligently and correctly can be difficult sometimes, however, and the urge to attack someone who is currently on the offense can be unbearable at times. It’s patience that really gets you through when your opponent is being relentlessly offensive, and while you’re on the defense you can find a moment to turn the tide of the match into your favor.
Am I just going to talk about how much I hate newer players? Maybe, but if you’re a newer player who’s genuinely interested in getting better and you feel like a lot of the reasons you are losing are basic fundamentals, let me shamelessly advertise a website called Option Select. As far as Super Street Fighter 4 goes, it has tons of useful information that could help up your game tenfold. Firstly, check out Ryan Hunter’s blog portion of the website where he gives you 5 Tips for a Beginner. As well, you can find information on more fighting games than just Street Fighter 4 at Shoryuken. Lastly, if you want more information on any of the fighting game terms I used in here (such as mixup), check out the Term Glossary for tons of definitions of fighting game/super street fighter 4 related terminology.
Lastly, I apologize for a rant-post. I usually like to keep my blog posts in the realm of humor articles, but this is something that’s been bothering me for a long time. The Fighting Game Corner, for the most part, will be only “mildly” humorous as far as comparing it to my other works. I take fighting games pretty seriously, and it’s one of the things that I find most enjoyable at the moment. As such, I want to be able to write articles with at least some type of serious composure, even if I throw in a joke or two here and there. If you’re not saavy with fighting games and don’t plan to become so, the Fighting Game Corner may not be the place for you.