Episode 455: Enjoying Fighting Games (Without Being Good at Fighting Games)


I have played a whole lot of fighting games. I started out late as I entered the fighting game scene when Street Fighter IV came out. I will even say, before that game, I didn’t play a whole lot of games, period. There was something special about Street Fighter IV, though. I can’t really put my finger on it but I just loved playing it. Ever since then, I have tried branching out to playing other fighting games and other video games in general. I have had mixed reactions to them. Some I thought were just fine, like the new Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite and Guilty Gear Strive. Others, like Street Fighter V, DragonBall FighterZ and the newest King of Fighters, I just love to bits.

There is one common denominator when it comes to fighting games for me, unfortunately. That would be I suck at them.

Yes, you’ve read that right! Despite my overwhelming passion for fighting games in general, I can say without any exaggeration that I’m not really that good when it comes to playing them. Even though I spend countless hours playing them, going through multiple videos examining how to get better at them, I can humbly say I’m, at my best day, decent. However, I can definitely say I’m no pro and I will get beaten by the more average player out there.

When I do say this to some people, they seem really puzzled as to why, especially since I’m not good at playing fighting games, I still love them. It seems like it’s usually you take a strong interest to something because you find out you have some natural affinity to it or you build up the skills to get good at it since you spend so much time doing it. That’s just doesn’t seem to be the case for me.

Take the King of Fighters XV. I got it on the same day it was released because I was so incredibly excited for it. I’ve spent almost every single free minute I have playing it and I have developed enough muscle memory to do the combos. I’ve even completed most of the combo Missions available! The only exception would be K’s because, well, I just think it’s so impractical and, yes, I suck at doing his combos.

You would think I should be good at playing competitively, even against the computer. I can cheap out the AI, even the final boss, yes. Beat the computer in an honest fight by using all the combo skills I’ve amassed, though? Nope! Performing combos in a controlled environment against a computerized dummy who’s supposed to be just standing there is one thing. Doing a bread and butter combo during the heat of battle is another! Whenever I attempt this against the computer, my fingers stiffen up and I just wind up doing the simplest combo I can think of, leaving a ton of damage on the table. Same thing happens to me when I get online. I see an opening but fail to really capitalize on it. It does feel rather depressing and frustrating because, even though I know what to do in concept, I can never execute it into reality.

So why do I continue to enjoy playing fighting games despite being rather inept with them? Well, it’s hard to explain because, despite never really making great strides with the genre, I can still say I’ve improved a lot since I first played Street Fighter IV all those years ago. I used to be someone who never even bothered going for even the simplest combo during a match because I know I’ll flub it. At least now I can do some of the more moderate ones with great difficulty in the heat of battle once in a while. There’s some improvement but definitely never on the caliber of what I would call actually good.

I guess the largest contributing factor as to why I do like fighting games is because I like watching people really good at it compete against each other. In a way, watching a fighting game tournament to me is like someone else’s love for the sport of basketball or football and tuning in to see their favorite sports team or player do amazing things on the field. Things that seem impossible since you can’t do them yourself. For sports, it might be a basketball player breaking through the defense and dunking it through the hoop with milliseconds to spare. For fighting games, that might equate to EVO Moment #37, wherein Daigo parrying every single hit of Chun-Li’s Super Art, leading to a killing combo.

At that time, EVO Moment #37 seemed like an impossible feat. It may have been theoretically possible because Street Fighter III’s game mechanics allow you to parry all hits. To do so during an actual match under extreme pressure? Well, that’s just inconceivable! To the fighting game world, Daigo did the impossible with EVO Moment #37. However, to him, it was just Tuesday… or Sunday as the case may have been. I just wanted to stick the M. Bison reference in.

A sports fan can enjoy seeing their team and then trying to emulate their favorite sports star by doing what they did. They probably can’t do it in real life but, in their imagination, they can. This does seem like the case for me but it’s more in the realm of possibility for me. I can watch a pro player pull off a seemingly impossible combo during a heated match and I can actually copy the combo. It may take some time to replicate all of the hits and get the timing done… but I know I can do it if I practice hard enough.

I guess for me the biggest reason why I enjoy playing fighting games even though I’m not particularly good at them is because there’s still a part of me which imagines a time when I can be better. I can watch a pro player, understand what he’s doing and immediately do it. Sure, I will eventually regress and go back to my usual scrubby ways. However, for that short moment in time, I can do whatever they’re doing and be the best like they are.


How good are you at fighting games? Better yet, what is your favorite fighting game? Let me know in the comments section below!


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