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? 😛 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.
In response to “The Last Samurai” from The Escapist Forum: Bushido Blade was excellent at the time and I see no reason why such a game couldn’t succeed today.
I’m surprised you found all the weapons quite similar, though. For me they were far less so than in conventional fighting games. Taki can block Astaroth’s axe, after all, but when a Bushido Blade opponent is coming at you with their Naginata held forward and you’re armed with a Saber… well, let’s just say there won’t be any blocking going on!
Oh, and whoever said the single-player mode is too easy, were you unlocking the “good” endings easily, or just beating the game? I agree it’s not hard to just get from the beginning to the end, but try doing it without taking any injuries whatsoever and getting the minimum number of kills possible. That’s not easy, at least it wasn’t for me.
Other than the general uniqueness of the game (and, yes, the extremely poor movement controls) this is what I remember most; how insanely difficult it was to get some of the good endings. It wasn’t even a question of just knowing what you had to do, which was in itself often complex, but even if you knew what to do executing it was crushingly hard.
As for a new BB game.. I don’t know, I think it’s the sort of thing that would be perfect as a high quality downloadable title. Almost a sword fighting sandbox game with different areas to visit and a minimal storyline. It really does seem too “simple” for it to be a full retail game now a days though. I can imagine if it was made and released to retail, it would sell terribly. As a downloadable title for Live or PSN, however, it could be perfect.
In response to “Fighting Games: A Tapped-Out Genre?” from The Escapist Forum: I disagree strongly. Not about the lifespan of fighting games, Robert has that right. But I don’t think fighting games need story. Ok, now anyone whose been paying attention to my old posts (and if you have been, I’m flattered but you should really get a hobby. I’m dull as dishwater) knows I’m a story-driven guy. But since fighters are really multiplayer focused, the stories already in the game are quickly discarded anyway. The real story is how Evil Friend A has been spamming fireballs at Noble and Pure Friend B for 20 minutes and how B refuses to sink to his level. B will triumph through courage and perseverance and never surrender who and what he is. Real life is just better at telling stories.
Secondly, rhythm mechanics? Really? Gross dude. If that’s the best innovation of mechanics fighting game can come up with, then don’t change a thing. You want to bring in new players? Launch a New IP and hook them with the premise, not the story. Super Smash Bros. did this really well. “Hey man, what if Mario fought Link? Who wins?”. Don’t have an incredibly rich field of pre-existing characters? This doesn’t have to be hard: “Hey man, what if 3 different groups : Robots / Pirates / Zombies / Old 70’s Cartoon Characters / Over-Sexually Exploited Female Characters / etc. (pick 3) all put a few of their best champions in a pit and the prize was a new game in their genre?
Who wouldn’t want to see a a giant mutant dead guy (something Tyrant-ish maybe) fight a pistol-wielding pirate to the death so that Zombocalypse 3 can get made instead of BootyShip 7?
I think fighting games are on the decline because they are most fun when played with a room full of your friends, some pizza, and beverages. Now-a-days we lean more towards online multiplayer, which allows the faults of fighting games to really shine: they are boring without people throwing popcorn at you or laughing in your face.
I don’t really think the learning curve is an issue. Let’s face it the wildly popular Soul Calibur series holds up just fine for button mashers.