Wednesday, August 18, 2010
A Confession: I can't play Street Fighter. I've never been able to. But don't get me wrong, I loves me some Street Fighterin'. Ever since grade 3, any time I played SF I'd end up getting wrecked, no matter if it was the CPU or a live opponent. up until two weeks ago I could never even get past the third guy in arcade mode. So somewhere along the way I resigned myself to a life in the peanut gallery, shouting "Yeah!" and "Nice Moves!" over the shoulders of my friends as they battled it out in the arcade. I always figured that it all came down to brain growth and neuroplasticity. I was too busy learning the intricate ways of BOOM! HEADSHOT with a mouse and a keyboard in my formative years to learn how to throw fireballs at the local donut shop. I was an FPS guy and they were fighting game guys, and that was that, right?
So to prove my own ignorant ass wrong, I have commenced on an epic quest to learn the ways of The World Warrior. And what a long road I have ahead of me. This shit ain't easy for a dyed in the wool FPS junkie who is one year away from 30. My critical physio motor learning stage is long over. But this is my journey, one that will either take me to the very top, or at the very least allow me to finish the game on its easiest difficulty setting.
Now in learning the ways of Street Fighter, it is important to be mindful to not take it lightly. Street Fighter is a most serious sort of game, more akin to learning a new art such as playing and instrument or learning to dance than any other game I have tried (besides the new music rhythm games, which I cant really speak for as I have honestly never sat down and played one for more than two a few minutes).
In any art, one must acquire the skills necessary to execute the simplest of techniques before they are able to form them into a practical pattern that makes sense. Each of these techniques must be performed flawlessly at the speed of thought as soon as you think it. Once this is accomplished, the art will begin opening itself up to you.
So, considering this, I realized my greatest obstacle was simply technique; an inability to pull off any of the special moves in a reliable and consistent way. This limited my strategy to button mashing and happenstance. No wonder I sucked. How could I expect to play in a band when I couldn't even hold down my fingers in a proper chord?! So with that realization in my head, I decided to head off to Training Mode! BEGIN!
I think one of the most common n00b mistakes is to get into a state that I call Move-itis. It's when you begin focusing on how to do a move instead of focusing on the match at hand. At that point is when you start getting destroyed by your opponent, and once you start getting frustrated it is all to easy to forget your training and just start furiously mashing the buttons to try to hit the guy back. So the real trick is to train your muscle memory to the point where you can perform any of your chosen character's moves as soon as you think to do them, as flawlessly as brushing your teeth or using a fork. And once you master this ability, Street Fighter starts making a whole lot more sense.
So at the beginning of every SF session, I make sure to get in a few rounds in Training Mode before I go into Arcade. I am currently training with Ken, so I practice my fireballs, shoryukens and hurricane kicks until I can do them each ten times in a row without fucking up. After I can pull off the moves flawlessly, I load up Arcade. I play until my move-itis sets in and as soon as it does it's back to training mode for me. I queue up the last opponent that beat my ass and fight them with an infinite health bar until I am not afraid of them anymore.
I've also come up with a crazy technique to aid me in losing my fear of the enemy. What I do is to purposefully allow myself to get my ass beat down in Training Mode while maintaining my calm and focus. Ill just act like Jason or the Terminator and walk slowly towards my opponent while hes beating me down, and just keep getting back up and walking towards him more. I think some of my favourite baddases are the ones who are so badass that they dont even care about getting hit, and it is that mentality I'm trying to incorporate into my game.
So if I ever decide to pursue bar fighting and general fisticuffs as a new hobby, I'd pay two close friends to hold my arms and pay another good friend to just hit me in the face, belly and groin, over and over again with a two-by-four. I just figure that if your going to learn any sort of new language, the most reasonable approach would be to familiarize yourself with it's most basic vocabulary first, in this case, the letter Getting Smashed In The Teeth. Once you get hit enough times you'll never be afraid of your enemy ever again.
At this point I still have yet to finish the game on 1 star. Sad I know, but with Ken I have gotten up to the third last guy, which is kinda like the beginning of the boss battles. That's not bad for two weeks of intermittent playing during my spare time. I hope to one day be able to take on my friends and at win a few games, but my journey has barely even begun. So it's back to practicing hadoukens for me. I hope these tips helped any burgeoning SFII n00b who is reading this blog.
Anyway, its off to FANEXPO for me!!
See ya on the other side...
PS I fuckin' hate Purple Ken.