An Unforgiving Genre

As a fast-paced genre that demands a lot of mechanical skill and impeccable decision making, fighting games tend to drive off most newcomers the second they test their mettle against a skilled player. Fighting game players come in all shapes and sizes, from the typical button-mashing newbies to the pros who can dish out seemingly endless combos. If I had to classify myself, I’d say that I’m somewhere around the middle.

Despite being pretty bad at it, I absolutely love fighting games. If you were to ask me what some of my favorite video game franchises are, Tekken and Soul Calibur would be among them. Recently, I’ve been trying to get good at Tekken (specifically Tekken 7), and it’s no easy feat.

I even bought an arcade stick!

Have you ever tried learning all of the underlying mechanics (such as knowing how to read frame data and animation cancelling) involved in fighting games? It’s not easy at all. Knowing about all of this stuff really gives one a new perspective when it comes to these kinds of games. These things are what makes moments like “Moment #37” of the Evolution Championship Series very special. To the uninitiated, “Moment #37” probably looks like a bunch of people getting excited over a seemingly unimpressive win, but to someone who has even just a bit of gaming knowledge, it may look like one of the best comebacks in competitive gaming history.

Here’s Moment #37 for those who haven’t seen it yet:



Going back to Tekken, it’s a very complex game, especially considering its 3D nature (as opposed to most fighting games, which are 2D) and long move lists. Even though I’ve played every game since Tekken 3, I’ve only started taking it seriously in the latest iteration of the franchiseTekken 7, which was released just a couple of weeks ago. To be completely honest, I’m still really bad at the game. I can get away with a bunch of basic launchers and a single juggle combo, but that’s about it. I’ve been spending most of my time in practice mode or other single player modes practicing the same stuff over and over again. I’ll probably continue to get creamed online for the next few months, but that’s just part of the learning process!

This is literally the only combo for Miguel that I know at the moment.

As much as I love the game, I probably wouldn’t recommend it as a first game for people who want to get into the genre. It may have pretty solid single player modes, but the second you play with other people online (or play with your friends, who may or may not be already good at it), which is where games like these really shine, there’s a huge chance you’ll get completely demolished and it’ll probably discourage you from ever playing again. Unless you already liked Tekken in the past or you have the patience of a saint, you should probably try something else for now.

So where should I start?

Personally, I’d recommend a fighting game that has a proper tutorial. Based on games that I’ve played, you’re probably better off starting with Skullgirls or Guilty Gear Xrd. Obviously, nothing’s stopping you from jumping right in to other games, but at the very least you should look up some video guides on YouTube to learn the basics. Remember, a newbie who actually tries will still be way better than a button masher!

One of the first few lessons of Skullgirls‘ tutorial mode!

Well, that’s all I have to say for now. Go try out a fighting game today and join one of the “hypest” communities ever. Let’s help the fighting game community grow!

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