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Why Can’t We Be Friends pt 6d – pt 3 – Fighting Games

December 4, 2011


tl;dr Version: Jump, Kick Left, Punch Left, Block Right, Down, Sweep Left, Up, Kick, Flip, OW!! My thumbs!

‘Splain, Lucy Version: When I was in my mid to late teens in high school, these games were the games the hardcore gamer kids played against each other to show off how skilled they were. We played them in arcades where you could get that satisfying slapping sound of kids playing 32nd note rhythms on the machines and crying out in anguish when they got their virtual teeth removed with a well-placed roundhouse kick. Then they started making them for home consoles, and really, that’s when the fun ended for me.

Boring Version: Oh sure, the games got better. The graphics improved, the response times got better, the music improved, the camera angles got intense, the combos got more arcane, the dizziness factor crept in, and somewhere along the way, I decided it wasn’t my cup of tea. Probably early on. I’ve always been a bit of a weenie about gratuitous violence in video games.

But we’re not here to talk about why I stopped playing these games; I’m here to talk about why normal people give them up. For one thing, it might surprise you just how many people run screaming from the entire notion of memorising and practicing finishing move combos.

I know, crazy, isn’t it? It’s like they don’t want to be challenged by a game at all, and seriously, who plays a fighting game if they don’t expect to have to learn all of the moves and combos to trigger the wicked effects and erase their opponent from the face of the Earth, anyway? What did they think they were playing? Pokemon?
But on the other hand, maybe that’s the point. People who haven’t played many video games, or haven’t played them since the 80s, probably have no idea how advanced they’ve gotten. I mean, I know I haven’t played a Street Fighter, Tekken or Mortal Combat game since the 90s, and I wasn’t all that bad at them. Imagine what that might have been like for those who had no idea how brutal those games could be, both physically and emotionally.

One of the other reasons I think at least one person I know (i.e. my drummer) is absolutely convinced that those combat games are programmed to ‘cheat’, pulling off moves that aren’t accessible to the player, doing ridiculous amounts of damage and generally making the game unplayable. Personally, I’ve always thought this was a mug’s game, convincing yourself that the reason you’re losing is because the game has been rigged to beat you at some point. That doesn’t explain how so many people go on to beat these games, but Derrick remains quite adamant that the games are unfairly skewed. Now, that doesn’t stop him renting or buying every new wrestling game that comes out, even though he has loudly and profusely declared that these games cheat too. *shrug*

These games are pretty much entirely played on consoles these days, which requires that you invest in a new console every few years, and pretty much abandoning your old games, as backwards compatibility is now a sort of dead selling point, as near as I can tell. But then, the only console I own at present is the Wii, and even that is obsolete at this point. But hey, people playing their X-Boxs and PS3s have problems of their own as well, so I won’t throw any stones there.

What I will say is, with the money consoles are sold for these days, the likelihood of households having more than one while they’re still relatively new is fairly remote, and having all of the above is strictly for the Very Well To Do (of which, I am told, 99% of us in the western world are not). Personally, I’d probably own the ones that had the games that most interested me if I could afford the outlay, but I will admit, I’d prefer a different delivery system if they’re not going to port them to PC.

I think that covers that one. As always, if you have any other ideas or arguments, comment below.


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