246: Legend of the Drunken Mashter

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Legend of the Drunken Mashter

There are two types of players in fighting games: those who study each character's special moves in order to most effectively defeat their opponents, and those who just mash buttons. Brendan Main tests whether mashing is a viable strategy in fighting games both old and new.

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Thank you for using the only Blanka strategy I knew until I was fourteen. haha

Brendan Main:
Or perhaps you're like me, and you hit buttons until someone is dead.

Yeahhh, I'm like you alright! I've never been a fan of fighting games, and churning out those combos just gave headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Glad to see I'm not the only one! :)

I don't TRY to button mash, but in the heat of an online match, my mind just goes blank. Rendering hours of practice with a character useless past arcade mode.

The last fighting game I played was SC:III on the Gamecube. I didn't button mash so much as I can't seem to block worth anything. I either hit the button too early, or the controller doesn't register that I hit the button. :\

So, I always use Nightmare offensively. It really devastates a lot of people that play. XD

Hmm wouldn't that strategy (actually, non-strategy) be esily beaten by projectiles? Or maybe the old hadoken+shouryuken combo? I can't believe nobody used it against you.

Great article, but I must I was surprised to learn that alcohol was not involved in the making of it. ^_^

But I'm also curious: apart from the final game, was there any other where your 'strategy' was proved to be, at least, viable?

No alcohol = That didn't count.

Do it again. This time be smashed.

>:(

Im guessing the guys he played against blew at fighting games. Without a guide I'd know what I was doing in Street fighter, King of fighters, Mortal kombat, Tekken, DoA, MvC2...

Generally you lose the odd one against mashing. The sun shines, even on a dogs arse, somedays. Best example is when I beat my brother blindfolded on Tekken 3 with Eddie Gourdo. I told him it was Zen Tekken. I picked Eddie as he plays more like a rhythm action game.

Finally none of the UFC games allow for button mashing, you just get tapped or ground and pounded.

This reminded me of a time in which I fought a masher. And I learned that skill did beat the random smashing if you know what to do.

It was Soul Cailibur II, and I had just given the controller to my teacher at the time. He was a smug guy, feeling that fighting games were nothing more than mashers. I was a little rusty, but I had experience.

Once I had shaken the rust off, I was a professional. His random swings and special moves i simply dodged, and then charged, beating the hell out of him, then stepping away. His flurry of random moves began again, and I easily dodged them, then kicked his character in the face.

Another round, another set of characters, same result. I'm not sure if it goes for all fighting games, but sometimes, Skill does win the day.

AstorSapolsky:
Thank you for using the only Blanka strategy I knew until I was fourteen. haha

Also popular were the Chun-Li kicks and the E. Honda slaps. :)

Yeah! Getting beaten up by a cactus in a sombrero! I wish I had Live again so I could go back on SF4 and beat all the Kens out there.

"I vetoed it"

Fucking epic. I had to stifle the giggling as too many people came to my cubicle to find out what was so funny.

Well done, sir.

That was an awesome read. Best article of this week. Well done.

I laughed my way through that, genius!

Great article, and one I will remember the next time my nine-year-old daughter beats me up using Pai in Virtua Fighter. (I can usually stop her flurry of punches, eventually, but sometimes I, um, let her win. Yeah, that's it.)

Im a stone set combo learner, even in games where it does absolutely no good like Soul Calibur 4, i refuse outright to button mash on priciple and usually get my ass kicked for it. But when i win at least i win in stlye :P

I believe mashing works better in 3d fighters which normally have simpler commands. All your luck is needed to pull off a Final Atomic Buster with mashing.

mesoforte:
The last fighting game I played was SC:III on the Gamecube. I didn't button mash so much as I can't seem to block worth anything. I either hit the button too early, or the controller doesn't register that I hit the button. :\

So, I always use Nightmare offensively. It really devastates a lot of people that play. XD

For fun I see how long I can play against my friends with Nightmare without blocking. Usually at least 6 rounds, often more, and I'd often beat them with a huge health handicap by just rushing at them until they left the ring forcibly. :D
Pity I can't really use him in the new one.

Ha Ha Ha, thats awesome. Im a self confessed button masher, No matter how hard i try to not button mash, i always do. It never helps me, but by the looks of this, i will have to go and get some "Better" fighting games

Did this really happen though? It seems like a well-written piece of fiction.

Hm...I think I'd have to agree with the "mashing works better in 3D" sentiment. Thinking back on it the 3D fighting games I've played have mostly all lent themselves to spastic slashers. Yes, you can win much more easily in Tekken if you know the more-than-half-your-life juggle combos, sure, but if you can't land your launcher for those combos because you keep getting tiny jabs in the crotch they don't help you much. And Voldo does seem like he was made for mashers sometimes. Crazy person.

That said, there's usually a line in a game where, once crossed, mashing no longer bothers you. It just fails to remain a viable technique once you know how to deal "safe" damage to an opponent that doesn't know what he or she is doing, whether it's generous use of projectile attacks, auto-dodge/invincibility frame abuse, zoning from longer range than your opponent or using a character that pokes faster than the masher's can poke - whatever strategy works best, most games have one that turns mashing into a non-factor.

Then there's Karate Champ.

Metaphor:
Did this really happen though? It seems like a well-written piece of fiction.

Well, yeah. The best fiction is non-fiction!

...

Wait.

Having played against a former "professional" Street Fighter 2 player, and myself being a button masher like yourself, I can with at least some confidence that it is impossible to beat a really good player with random button mashing. A pro Street Fighter player can not only execute his avatar's entire moveset in his sleep, but a pro player also knows which movement animations makes them temporarily invincible, and they also know how to handle button mashers by finding the specific gaps between attacks that make said button mashers vulnerable for a split second.

EDIT: Also, that clip with Jackie Chan was fucking awesome. I must watch that movie now.

matrix3509:

EDIT: Also, that clip with Jackie Chan was fucking awesome. I must watch that movie now.

The original Drunken Master remains one of my all-time favorites - if you like that one, I'd suggest also checking out "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow," another film directed by Woo-Ping with a similar cast.

It's not every movie where you see someone get a front tooth literally kicked out of their face, and then just roll with it.

You are not a man, Jackie Chan. You are a piece of steel.

I don't button mash...ever, well unless it's down to those last few hits in a round or tie breaker, then I unintentionally start to god nuts on the controller which may cost me or save me. I find no enjoyment in button mashing at all and pretty much try my very hardest to avoid it at any cost and aside from the odd panic moment I keep my cool. Strategy and focus will always overcome any button masher, and properly executing moves is just far more enjoyable and rewarding.

I have never played a fighting game where button mashing would work against a competent player. Button mashing will only take you so far, and once you hit that threshold point, the game or player will begin to punish you severely for being careless. It just doesn't work, you can't beat a non-button mashing player unless they are simply being careless or ignorant.

Interesting article none the less.

I try to figure out insanely intricate combos that can kill or nearly kill an opponent without allowing them to take any kind of action. Unfortunately I've noticed that anyone that likes to use block button a lot tends to win. My problem is that I don't really know how to play I just memorize one long sequence and hope that I am able to execute it.

I remember when I was a kid I would practice for hours on SC3 to learn moves for my favorite players. Then my dad would verse against me, hit A a lot and kick my ass. Button mashing is bulls**t.


Watch til the end. No wonder the arcade industry is failing.

In Soul Calibur games, I actually hate button mashers more than people who know what they're doing (triple the annoyance if they're using Maxi/Nightmare). It's the fact that they can dish out moves (no matter how accidental) that a player who trained with a character won't even consider that makes them dangerous.

It's an unfortunate fact that excessive input into the controller beats the player who is actually trying to play the game for what it is. Yet the ironic way of beating a masher is just to study the movesets in a little detail.
In SC2, I'd spoil a masher's fight by picking Ivy or Nightmare and use distanced attacks with some simple combos, while my more mastered friend punished from the other end of the spectrum, taking Mitsirugi or Talim and executing long, premeditated combos. And I'd love playing against him, even if I got my ass handed to me 90% of the time, because it's a proper fight.

You won't enjoy a fight scene in a movie if the victor was just flailing their arms in the air (except for Team America).

matrix3509:
Having played against a former "professional" Street Fighter 2 player, and myself being a button masher like yourself, I can with at least some confidence that it is impossible to beat a really good player with random button mashing. A pro Street Fighter player can not only execute his avatar's entire moveset in his sleep, but a pro player also knows which movement animations makes them temporarily invincible, and they also know how to handle button mashers by finding the specific gaps between attacks that make said button mashers vulnerable for a split second.

This +1. As my level of dedication to fighting games often varies from my friends, I run into a lot mashers and 'static repeaters.' Beating them is not hard, it just requires a totally different strategy from normal players. It's particularly easy if you're willing to switch characters.

Most fighting games have at least one character that HORRIBLY punishes button mashers -- for Tekken, it's one of my favorites, Asuka. They generally have one or more moves where if an opponent sticks and arm or leg out, that arm or leg gets broke.

If you're new to a game and try to not button mash nor useing teh same attack all teh time, you'll often end up thinking more than you're fighting.

If you're fighting style (in games) more or less assume your opponent will use "normal" attacks and movement, and you're unwilling or unable to change your own strategy, you will prolly losoe, if your opponent acts weird, like a button masher. It's liek that with other genres as well, thats why a lot of people loose to rushers in RTS, cause they refuse to adapt to their opponents play-style in order to beat him.

If theres characters with ranged atatcks, like devil Jin in tekken or almost anyone in SSB etc. then thats a pretty effective way to fuck up button mashers.

I'm a big supporter of easy specials. Obvious Smash Bros style ones are great, I like how in Blazblue, some of the specials are mapped to the second control stick, it makes it so a newbie can pick it up and get some moves off.

I get where the Street Fighter style commands need to come in, but it's an antique idea. Why have me do two quarter circles and press three buttons at once, when you could have mapped that to one button, or maybe simply all three buttons pressed at once. I still think Dragon Punch is the worst possible idea for a command. Forward, then Down to forward-down, yeah that's not needlessly complicated, which is worse since these characters usually have a quarter circle, so if you do the move slightly wrong, you'll Hadoken instead of Shoryuken. There's no reason to make it that way. And I still don't get why any move makes you do full circles or press up, because guess what happens? You jump.

It doesn't improve the competitive aspect, if I'm playing Blazblue and I'm using actual command, and my opponent is using shortcuts, the battles will end up the same. It's just a way of locking away the best moves from new players. >_< Seems elitist to me.

Great article. A++. too funny for words

I agree w/ the comment that it's MUCH easier to button-mash in 3D games (Tekken anyone?) But Brendan, I remember that you were not always a button-masher: you figured out and memorized all the move codes and would even yell out the combo codes as you did them playing MK3! "Back back forward A! DOWN UP DOWN B! A B B A X Y FATALITY!!" It made losing against you extra humiliating.

This article also give me a serious flashback: do you remember that little kid who used to kick all our asses playing Killer Instinct at Captain Billy's? UGH that kid was like a 5 year old button-mashing GENIUS.

Next time you guys get people together to mash some buttons, please give me a call.

SLD:
I agree w/ the comment that it's MUCH easier to button-mash in 3D games (Tekken anyone?) But Brendan, I remember that you were not always a button-masher: you figured out and memorized all the move codes and would even yell out the combo codes as you did them playing MK3! "Back back forward A! DOWN UP DOWN B! A B B A X Y FATALITY!!" It made losing against you extra humiliating.

This article also give me a serious flashback: do you remember that little kid who used to kick all our asses playing Killer Instinct at Captain Billy's? UGH that kid was like a 5 year old button-mashing GENIUS.

Next time you guys get people together to mash some buttons, please give me a call.

Hah! I'm found out! I remember those old days, when we and the cap'n made it hap'n.

But seriously, I can still clearly recall the last finishing move I ever executed at an arcade, years and years ago, before I dedicated myself to my particular brand of Mash Fu...

I was in an arcade at Canada's Wonderland, just sort of taking it in. One match in Mortal Kombat 3 caught my eye. It was this guy and this girl, pretty into it, trash talking each other... but then right at the end, the guy stood back and did nothing.

I was flabbergasted. Clearly the spooky voice said to FINISH HIIIIIM, but he wasn't finishing anything. Clearly I would have to FINISH IT for him.

I step forward to the abandoned machine and rattle off a quick fatality, watching the opponent explode in a fountain of gore with this weird sense of pride. But I turn back and notice the two players are watching me with this look of utter disgust.

And the guy, honest to god, goes: "Hey BUDDY you just KILLED MY GIRLFRIEND."

So... I guess I should have gone with a "Friendship" instead?

This is why you can't take me anywhere nice. I always end up killing someone's girlfriend.

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