Fighting Games Debunked: Myth 2
You’re 1000 hours too early before you can fight me!
Before we start, let’s talk about the weird gatekeeping of the Fighting Game Community. If you’re a new player, you’ve probably heard this before from either a friend, someone who’s trying to “coach” you into playing the game or maybe your favorite content creator, “Go to training mode that way you’ll have fun and won’t lose playing online or with other people.”
As famously said by Stephen “Sajam” Lyon, “training mode is a tool for finding solutions that you are coming across in a real match”. Training mode is first and foremost a tool, and it is used to enhance skills that you already have or give you an unlimited time limit to practice new and exciting things.
For new players, it is actually detrimental to their learning experience because what do you practice if you don’t know what you’re supposed to be practicing? It is incredibly daunting to go into a new game and realize you have to be a master of every technique and fundamental before you can finally play against your first real human opponent. “Know your block strings, you must find an optimal combo route off of each potential combo starter, you need to be able to wave-dash, dash cancel, and tri-jump before you can even play the game.” (confused on any of these terms? That’s okay, we have our dictionary here for you!) Any new player would simply hate the idea of going into a game with an itemized list of chores they have to spend hours on before they even have a chance to play the game. Even myself, who I consider a lab rat with 1000+ hours in training mode, would hate to be told that I can’t play a game until I become a master at something I don’t even know if I like yet and I can’t even play with my friends.
Please Mom, can I play with my friends?
The counterargument many new players get told constantly is “well if you don’t practice you’re going to keep losing”. To all my seasoned FGC players, that is exactly the point. If you are afraid of losing, I recommend playing an RPG, so at the end of the day, you will always be a winner. Losing is the most important part of playing any fighting game. Losing teaches you everything you need to do to win before you even get to training mode. Losing also teaches you how much you are willing to put time and effort into this game and how much you consider yourself seriously trying to learn this game.
Fighting games’ greatest appeal is the journey of the player. That is why seasoned players put so much emphasis on going to locals to find people to play or grinding out ranked matches online for the real experience. We constantly play the game because there is so much to learn and we improve ourselves by losing online or at our locals then using our training mode tool to correct our mistakes, go back, and discover new mistakes. If we remove that process from new players who have never played a fighting game, we remove the journey of fighting games from them. I firmly believe this is why fighting game retention is so low.
The best message I can give for all new players.
For all new players, when you pick up a new fighting game for whatever reason. It is your game; you can play and experience your journey however you like. Some people love training mode like me, and some people like to just play with other people or their friends. At the end of the day, you are the only person who can dictate your journey and your experiences. You should have the freedom and choice to play the game how you want, and you shouldn’t let any dogmatic view of fighting games dictate how you want to have fun. When you’re ready to take the next step, the FGC will always have open doors for you to come and join the collective experience of fighting games.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our article today. We will be publishing these essays on a weekly basis, so don’t forget to check back in for a new post!