In response to "Legend of the Drunken Mashter" from The Escapist Forum: 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.
Did this really happen though? It seems like a well-written piece of fiction.
Well, yeah. The best fiction is non-fiction!
If both players are completely new to the game (or even the entire genre), then the player who mashes buttons will often win against the player who tries to play the game 'correctly' (placed in parentheses because it's a stupid word to use in this context), because neither player is good enough to successfully pull off moves and strategies. It's not as effective as simply being good at the game, but when both players are very bad it can be significantly more effective than trying to 'do it right' and failing.
As mentioned in the article, the success of button mashing quickly starts to drop once your opponents get more skilled. There's only one skill level to button mashing, because you can't get better at 'randomly pressing buttons'. However, you can get better at 'proper' moves, combos and strategies. Sure, a button masher might surprise a good player once in a while, but it's far, far more likely that he'll make a lot of useless moves that will leave him entirely open to punishment from the more experienced player.
In response to "Stepping Into the Ring" from The Escapist Forum: The anecdote of snapping a dude's arm 'like a sapling' in your first match made me wince. ;( Eeeh I'm still recovering. It's terrible for both parties really :(
Incidentally: don't you feel judo has been underrepresented in video games? :P I haven't seen a single judoka in fighting games ever (except Blaze from Streets of Rage 1, but the only two moves I can really discern are the suplex and her other throw, and both other characters use the suplex as well). That said: I do admit that, being a child of the eighties, video games actually were a big inspiration for me to start dabbling in martial arts, and it's always a joy to see fighting styles back in games. Eskrima is a big up-and-comer, being featured both in Soul Calibur as well as a recent Mortal Kombat game.
This kinda makes me wonder. Do you reckon I haven't seen judo yet because it's already so prevalent in real life? And do more obscure martial arts like Eskrima and Silat get better represented exactly because they're so obscure (and hence mysterious)? If so, martial arts in video games will continue to represent a broad scale of new and exciting fighting styles. That's good news ^^
Incidentally, video games aren't the only medium where more obscure martial arts get a place in the spotlight, as your article correctly states. Have you guys ever seen Fight Quest? A must-see for every martial arts enthusiast! It's on the Discovery channel.