Barriers to Entry: Fighting Games

Through Silence November 3, 2012 0
Barriers to Entry: Fighting Games

Let’s face it, many people grew up playing with a plethora of choices. What you pick up at an early age will generally become your favorite genre to play. We personally grew up playing fighting games, at home and at arcades. That said, the one thing that stuck to me was how challenging it was for new comers to adopt fundamentals to enjoy playing these games.

For this article, I’m specifically focusing¬†on Street Fighter, my favorite childhood game next to Mortal Kombat. I’m going to give my two cents on why I feel many people don’t want to give fighting games a chance, and the reasoning behind our community not being as big as other popular video games.

I’m by no means a professional, but I’ve played and observed enough to at least give a educated opinion on what I’ve gathered throughout the years. To start, I’ll give you guys some background. I first started fighting games casually, with my brothers and a cousin. We juggled between our love for Samurai Showdown, Killer Instinct, Street Fighter II (Turbo, Hyper, etc.), and Mortal Kombat (1, 2 and 3) knowing this, we never thought of anything competitive outside of spending our quarters on these machines. Fast forward to the present, you have Super Street Fighter 4, my current favorite fighting game. Many things change but my love for Street Fighter didn’t. The only problem now is, convincing more of my friends to play, and have them actually enjoy it rather than feel like being forced.

As many others in the FGC (hopefully) their goal was and still is to expand the scene to someday become a Starcraft or League of Legends, so people can get paid to do what they love. Unfortunately, the way the scene is currently, there is little to non-existent help to newcomers (aside you teaching yourself using online videos, resources, or your own group of friends wherever you live.) Some pro players have this mentality of just keeping to themselves and welcome others at their level. Maybe it’s their ego, or maybe they just feel the need to conform to a clique of best-in-class gamers. All I know is that, in order for this scene to get any bigger, they’ll have to start welcoming newbies.

When starting, it’s either too hard, or they just don’t get it–people get discouraged, start slamming buttons and throwing their d-pads or joysticks to the walls. Strictly speaking, this has probably happened to all newcomers trying out something for the very first time. Some have natural talent, others get flustered and have to try hard to learn. If they feel like they’re not winning or progressing fast enough, they quit and go on to another video game. Here are key points that has stuck with me over time:

1. Don’t give up learning and trying just because you’re not a natural at it (e.g. learning stick, learning pad, learning mind games, execution, theory, etc.)

2. Don’t give up just because you’re losing. In order for you to win, learn, and absorb, you’ll need to lose- just accept it..

3. Do your research: learn match-ups, common scenarios and your character. Don’t expect or accept that because you’ve beaten all your friends that you’re the best. Explore a bit and you’ll see that you might not be at the level you think you are.

4. Trust in solid fundamentals: poking, footsies, zoning, anti-airs, normals, basic combos and punishes. If you understand what’s happening and have solid fundamentals, the fancy execution combos are icing to the cake.

5. Find a group of friends, find your local arcades and actually reach out on your own level to promote happiness the same way you feel playing these games.

6. Don’t feel ashamed to ask for the reason(s) why you lost. Many people are too shy and prideful, but if you ask, most people will tell you because they want you to get better so they can enjoy the challenge.

Mash University was created to break these barriers that turn off new players so often. When we started, no one helped us. We live close to some of the best players in Northern California. But they seem to be in their own world so we just do what we can to teach ourselves. In a perfect world I sometimes imagine what it would be like if everyone was friendly to each other, and wanted to teach these new comers who have no sort of fighting game experience. Having this central hub to gather quality information and knowledge on Street Fighter may help break that barrier to entry.


We’re Mash University and we’re here to help gamers unite to centralize fighting game knowledge to promote and grow the scene to something greater.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below on why you think the fighting game scene is the way it is and what you would do to promote and better it.

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