Ever since I was a kid, I have always found great joy in solving problems. Whether it be a math word problem, a puzzling new word that I couldn’t decipher, or a particularly challenging video game, I yearned for the chance to solve it, to overcome what seemed exceptionally difficult. Cut to today, and I have a new problem: the articles I’ve written for this site have been fun enough as a means of looking at dumb things outside fighters, but what am I contributing in a positive sense?
When I first started this blog, I intended to have one major goal: using my experiences to bring light to different issues in the fighting game community. But the more I write, and the more hits I see the blog get, the more I realize that perhaps I can also educate total newcomers to certain fighting games as to why some of the games I played in the past had the appeal that they did. In my prevailing need to point out the injustices (no pun intended) and foibles of the community, it can become easy to lose sight of why I love it in the first place, so I want to look back at the games that made me a part of this wild community at all with a new series called Run It Back. My goal is to hopefully try and capture even a small part of what made it fun to play these games using actual memories from my time playing.
I’m not a huge fan of most professional sports – not for any particular reason, it’s just not something I’m truly captivated by. However, as one of my main hobbies, video games, begins to circle more and more toward partly being a professional sport with big money players pouring in a bunch of time and cash, I can’t help but make comparisons. One of the things I’m most interested in is the idea of how pro sports determine what is considered “skillfull” in their particular game, because it’s a mess in fighting games.
Like most sports, the competitive scene for fighters has greatly evolved, largely due to external factors. Players can communicate in many more ways than before, and the tools we use to communicate are also vastly improved: we can now easily use our consoles to upload video in order to show off concepts, we can use voice chatting apps on our phones to talk with large groups of other players in order to share strategies, and best of all, that information is all publicly available. With all of those different avenues opening up, it is certainly not a hot take to say that the average player in today’s FGC is probably much more skillful than the average player ten years ago and that the games themselves reach their competitive peak much, much earlier.
Or so you’d think, because I still run into tweets like this all the time: