Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Misnomer

Some time ago I posted about a minor Double Standard within the FGC. Though, as minor as it may be, it's part of a problematic trend within the FGC that has existed for as long as I can remember. Which is: Terminology and definitions.

If you're not the type of person to get hung up on terminologies and definitions then you are not the type to be commentating on the microphone. My mind immediately gravitates to "Fuzzy guard" and how it means entirely different things for 2D FG players than it does for 3D FG players.

I know, it's boring and technical and "no one cares" because it doesn't have anything to do with the game itself or how it's played. Likewise it could be argued that slang can actually incite higher levels of hype and involvement.

But still, I use the following example of an airthrow and a sweep to illustrate a point:
If you call an airthrow a "Hoobiestank" and a sweep a "Floopityflap" then it does not matter what words you actually chose, so long as you use them consistently. The problem I personally have, is when you call both an airthrow and a sweep the same "Floopityflap" name. It makes no sense because the two items, an airthrow, and a sweep, are entirely different in execution and circumstance, possibly risk/reward was well (depending on the game). Basically: They are not alike. It would be a literal misnomer to use "Floopityflap" to describe both actions.

Now, you could have many different names for an airthrow. A "Scoop", a "Hoobiestank", a "Shuttlecock", a "Frisbye". Doesn't matter what words or how many words you use, as long as you are describing the same concept. As soon as you use any of those words to describe a totally different concept is where things become problematic. A sweep should not be called a "Scoop" because you already used that to mean an airthrow.

The English language isn't exactly perfect, but a "Ring Out" should pretty much be when an opponent goes outside of the playing field because it's logical. However, "Ring Out" could also be used to describe a universal defensive block that all character's in a game share involving a ring being deployed (as hypothetical example, to block incoming projectiles). But then if you can knock a player outside the playing field, and also deploy a force field, then saying "Ring Out" for both situations becomes ridiculous.

The reason I'm blogging about this isn't just as a heads up to MCs. I've been using the term "Neutral" since I started playing SFA3, circa 1999. I used it as a technical term to mean when a character in inactive, meaning a state of inactivity. However, "inactive" is a misnomer because there are some neutral states in SFA3 that occur even when a player is actively doing something. Likewise, there are technical exceptions where a player can be doing absolutely nothing and yet they are considered to not be in neutral (out of neutral).

Some players have adopted the term Neutral to mean any time that the two opponents are not directly touching each other or are not at a serious frame advantage or field(corner) advantage. Well that's fine. You can have the word "Neutral" all you want since it was a misnomer in the first place. Winty put it succinctly when he tweeted "what do you call it when the car isn't in gear". Well I'll be happy to use another word like "Idle" since that's also a misnomer. To me it does not matter what it's called because the community would only use it for the one singular concept in SFA3, which is an esoteric within a niche game anyway. Plus, the game extends far beyond me. I'm a relative nobody in the community so at this point people are going to use whatever term they are comfortable with. I speak only for myself in saying I'd feel fine with calling it something else.

I'd like to point out that Aeris trolled on the mic at Evo, calling "Okizeme" pretty much every single permutation of vowels and consonants except for the correct phonetic sequence/pronunciation. He did this intentionally and I applaud him. It's not as serious as some people might think, especially when you consider that we still use "Fireball" to describe just about any projectile, even when it's neither made of fire nor an actual ball. But, we also don't call a headbutt a "Fireball" either. Aeris might have been trolling but it underlines the point that it doesn't matter how you say it, it matters how you use it and what you're referring to. I personally feel that anyone who starts talking about "Neutral" without understanding what poking, zoning, baiting, feinting, midrange, frame (dis)advantage, and footsies are should just pass the microphone to some one else, preferably to someone who does. Because if that person did understand, they probably wouldn't be using the word Neutral in the first place. Likewise, in the end, everyone knew what Aeris was talking about anyway because he wasn't completely ignorant when he did it, he could not have been ignorant or he might have accidentally said it correctly at least once, and he never did.

In closing: I'm also not going to throw out "Red Blocking" while on a microphone unless I'm sure no one else uses it for something different and that I'm also sure the action I'm referring to is the only one I'll label "Red Blocking" during my commentary. But then I'm the type to fancy the use of "Neutral" to mean neutral frame advantage ( -0 ) on hit/block, anyway. Hence why I don't commentate, I pass the mic.

- Copyright © Xenozip.

Casual Progression

Some players are better than others, that's an obvious given but also an important one. The reason gaps are important is the same reason that it's important in basketball/baseball/etc. You will not beat Michael Jordan if you've never even stepped onto a basketball court, and you can't hope to perform as well or be as valued as Babe Ruth if you've never played baseball a single day in your life.

I've encountered some players who say that some games are designed too "hard" or "difficult" and the "learning curve" is not to their liking, and the argument is that these games reward grinding practice far too much. I've also heard the opposite where players say a game is too easy. Well sorry to repeat what I've just said, but if you've put no effort into practicing a game then why should you be favored to win over a player who has put in effort, right? Nope, the player who has worked hard and actually cares about the game and about winning should win. If you think you're so talented that your talent should carry you then go right ahead and keep thinking that, while you continue to not place top 8 at tournaments where other dedicated and talented players do (unless you are placing, then you shouldn't be complaining). When a game is too easy is when things become more about personal experience.

Coin flips are easy and linear, not much to them, but that shouldn't bother you or anyone else. You didn't put effort into training to win a coin flip, so there's no point getting upset over it. There are players who greatly enjoy coin flips though, and you shouldn't try to modify the coin flip game just because it doesn't appeal to you due it being simple. Some people enjoy simplicity. If you don't then at least you know why. Move on.

Exciting things also happen when there's a distinct fissure between players. Style, skill, talent, everything. If every game was Ryu versus Ryu of equal player-skill then it would be boring. It would bore anyone who doesn't main Ryu, bore any observers/spectators, and even bore Ryu mains too, eventually. There aren't twenty copies of Tiger Woods, and the golfing world is probably extremely happy about that.

I personally would agree that a game's difficulty shouldn't be about how difficult it is to perform something like c.MK into fireball. Instead, how difficult is it to land that c.MK in the first place and why. Are you the type of person that throws out a c.MK expecting it to hit, and then gets frustrated when it doesn't hit? I ask because the question itself is something everyone should ask themselves, not only to evaluate their involvement with fighting games, but rather to also consider why frustration is the reaction to "expected [x], but got something different". It extends to both sides of the spectrum: You expected to win, but you didn't.

Most players will get bored doing c.LK c.LK hitconfirm into special/super over and over again against a dummy in training mode. The dummy isn't fighting back. It's the real fans/athletes of the genre that take joy in the next step: Challenge. The challenge of, if the dummy was trying to do the same thing you are, then how do you: A) Prevent the dummy from hitting you with c.LK and B) How do you land your own c.LK knowing that the dummy will try and block or otherwise prevent it (and still also trying to hit you)? With this struggle, it's up to you to find enjoyment in this hobby and whether or not you also would consider Fighting Games as a sport (spectator sport). It's not always going to go your way every match, and that should be a good thing. A fun and interesting and motivating thing.

Watering a game down or making it easy doesn't necessarily kill a game though. Any game will eventually get judged by the community after it gets broken down and analyzed by enthusiasts (usually pretty fast!), and you're free to come up with your own conclusions of course. When a game is dead in the water, it ended up there on it's own accord. Your own personal opinion about a game being easy or difficult makes very little difference in the long run regarding a game's popularity and longevity, as each player experiences the game in their own way and with each other and formulates their own judgement. If a fighting game author were to try and adjust a game's difficulty/ease to try and appeal to the audience after it's initial release, sorry: It has already been judged.

The act of pushing a direction down and pressing the LK button to perform a c.LK is, after all, fairly simple. Most games, though, force you to find creative ways to land that c.LK. So regardless of how easy it is to perform a c.LK or how easy it is to do a two hit or multiple hit combo after landing the c.LK is relatively unimportant to the learning curve and difficulty of the game. What is important is how hard and interesting the game makes it to land the c.LK in the first place, and all the dynamics involved. That is what the community judged in the first place, how fun it is to figure out and exploit strategy.

If these concepts fail you, then it may be time to sit back and reflect on everything in retrospect. In the end, what is important is your own experience. If you're not having a good one, then consider that others are having a good time and maybe the problem lies elsewhere, not with the game and not with them.

In closing: It's actually a good thing when casual players get butt-hurt over a loss, maybe not for the game's unit sale$, but because young children that are still in elementary school shouldn't be able to compete in the NBA with Michael Jordan. They should get their asses handed to them just as hard on a basketball court as they would in a video game against seasoned players of superior experience and talent. Widening or narrowing the basketball hoop or backboard shouldn't change things at all, the elementary school students should still get whooped by a professional player who has the advantages of: Experience, physique, intelligence. Likewise the same logic can apply to fighting games. Making a combo or universal action easier or harder shouldn't affect the outcome between a newb and a top player. Why should a newb player who has never played Street Fighter a day in their life be able to compete with players like Daigo and Wong during a tournament like Evolution? They should not, and they do not. It doesn't happen. It has not happened in over a decade since Evo started, so it's not something to worry about. The fact remains: The players who put in the most effort and are naturally talented come out on top, regardless of how easy or hard the game is. The way it should be.

- Copyright © Xenozip.