Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Battle Report: Losing

It's an odd feeling when you realize you're out of your league in a fighting game. Where you have no tactics or moves to save you from your opponent's torrent of moves. No branch to grasp as you fall down the side of the cliff. I wish Capcom would hurry up and implement the update that will allow us to record our matches. I'd be able to analyze what's going wrong.

My recent loses with Sakura have left me in a bewildered state. My old tactics are failing. Her moves don't seem as effective as other character's. I'm stuck in a rut. Naturally, I should pick up another character to gain a new perspective in the game. But it doesn't feel right. I love her for her personality but her moves aren't giving me the support I need. I guess we weren't all that compatible to begin with. It's not you, Sakura, it's me. All that time we spent together must feel like a waste. Hopefully we can be still be friends.

I'm trading in the spunky school girl for a Sumo wrestler. He's a charge character so he's more reactionary than Sakura's all out offensive mix-up style. Not that he has no offense. Tricking people into the Oichio throw should be fun. But picking a new character presents a new set of challenges. I have to spend time to learn Honda. Time that is such a commodity in adult life. Time that veteran Street Fighter players have already clocked. Where's the limit to my abilities in these games? How much time am I prepared to sink into this game?


Sam said...

It is very discouraging to hit a plateau, especially with a character you like. I think this is a major challenge for fighting games.

After hitting a point where improvement seems to be minimally incremental, there seems to be a few options players take. One would probably be quitting the game entirely. Another would be like what you're doing, trying out new characters and exploring new mechanics. Finally, you have people like me, who are incredibly stubborn and would like to continue playing our favorite characters no matter what.

Fighting games are really hard to break into that mass appeal. The genre itself already has a hard enough time attracting new players, considering the conditioning many players have since the early 1990s. As Daisuke Ishiwatari stated, designing a difficulty level is a careful process to ensure players do not hit that plateau early and will not be turned away. Ultimately, effort should be rewarded yet still allow lower skilled players to have fun.

Taylor said...

Moral of the story:

Norman prefers thick men to athletic women.

Just kidding. However, you're getting to a fairly normal state of life -- when you plateau and are unaware of how to improve. It's times like these that you should be stubborn. That's one of the best ways to get through it. Despite losing, you'll gain more insight the more and more you lose. There is always another way to dodge/out-maneuver/defend/counter out of something.

Your character isn't the problem -- you are the problem. The point of it all is to understand your own weaknesses/short-comings, rather than switching to another character. Sam's comments are true, but I tend to think that one should stay with "their" character, unless they find another style is more suitable to their play-style.

That being said, if you find that Honda is a more obvious character and matches the way you want to play, then you should switch. If you're only switching because you *think* Honda is better, then it's a pointless switch.

You have things to improve. Imagine -- your effort could be utilized in perfecting dodging ranged fireballs. Despite the fact that you will lose in the process, you pick up another skill that others will not gain. Your overall strategy will adjust, and soon you'll be linking in an attack with the fireball dodge. Slowly, more will come to light.

If you like a character and they match your "style," stick with them. This is why I've been playing Ken for the better part of a decade. I'm having to learn how to adjust though, especially with the Sus.

Losing isn't a bad thing -- it means that you're going to further reap the rewards of improving. You're not really plateauing. That's a thought in your head. In reality, you're on the verge of learning and becoming even better.

Jesus said...

I was thinking the same. That I couldn't get better, that I'm stuck.
But I realized that despite the fact that I still loose, I managed to be more careful and capitalize in some of the mistakes made by other people.
Even though I keep loosing, it is a small step forward.

If I could master the use of the arcade stick... I'm tired of the accidental Cannon Spikes... :(