Double update: I’ve written a small piece in response to the feedback I’ve been given today, it can be found here.
Update: In response to the overwhelming response this article has received, I’ve answered as many of the criticisms as possible in a follow-up article.
Video games are becoming an increasingly legitimate form of entertainment, they have adverts for games during primetime TV and the best-selling christmas present are usually video games and consoles. As a fan of the medium I welcome this, more people interested in the medium means more money will be invested in it, which of course means more celebrity voices in games. Liam Neeson as Master Chief, make it happen.
Which is why we as gamers need to stop playing fighting games. Now I play a lot of fighting games, I bought Ultimate Marvel Versus Capcom 3, three separate times because my copies kept being destroyed. I bought two copies of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 because my Xbox scratched one, I had over a thousand games and 100 hours of game time on Soul Calibur 4. Long story short, I fucking love me some fighting games. Which is why it’s painful for me to tell people, not to play them.
Every video game has a fan base, it’s the hallmark of a good game, if you create something that people will put effort into following, you know you’ve made something worthwhile. However, the people who play fighting games, are dicks. I know, I’ve spent a lot of time playing against them, and playing with them. I’m here all week, tip the waiters!
First things first is the misogyny, oh the misogyny. I’ve already written about how misogyny can go fuck itself with wasabi coated wire wool before. In fighting games, misogyny is so ingrained that even the people who helped create games like Street Fighter have admitted to the boys club like mentality it has. Although the game has made progress, whenever a girl plays the game, the reactions are so filled with repressed sexual desire and veiled insults at their skills you’d think they were reviewing a porno their mum starred in. Like this video of Choco Blanka (one of the best Street Fighter players on the planet, period) playing some sets.
Sure you could say this is just a small part of the community, but when you have just one person who thinks like this, it’s alienating for half of your potential audience and when we as gamers are trying to fight the image of sexually retarded teenagers who yell at people online, that doesn’t fucking help. It does the opposite of help, that sentence is so far from help it’s technically considered an inmate on death row.
But by far the worst part of fighting games is the competitive nature of the people playing them, now by their very definition, fighting games are competitive, it’s their whole appeal. If you can’t see your virtual avatar punching the lifeless corpse of a sumo wrestler reflected in the watery eyes of the person you just beat, what’s the point? But here’s the thing, active players are so into the whole idea of being the best, new players are completely left out to to dry. Now I’m going to share a story. Because I can and because it segues nicely into the video I want to share.
In my time I’ve played a lot of Tekken, it’s one of my favourite games and I’ve got a fairly solid understanding of the mechanics of the game, but I’ve only ever played it on a console, with a controller. When I happened upon an arcade cabinet version of the game at the beach, you better believe I got in on that shit. I gleefully inserted my money and started selecting my character (Kuma of course, boogie with the bear, baby!) when I was casually approached by a guy of about 20 years of age (I was 16 at the time) when he got to the cabinet he asked if he could play too, I agreed, and shuffled to the side to make some room. As the match was beginning to start I leaned over to the guy and mentioned that I’d never actually played the game on an arcade machine before and had no idea which buttons corresponded to which buttons on a controller. I innocently asked if he’d hold off from playing for just a few seconds so I could figure out which button did what. As soon as the game started he attacked like it was a training session, my bear was beaten so badly a nearby Russian guy playing on a slot machine got an erection. Realising that he wasn’t going to let me do anything, I tried to fight back the following match and lost again. When the match finally ended the guy said I needed practise and walked away. I’d like to say I had some sort of comeback, but I didn’t, I just took my money and went and played House of the Dead.
Now I’d like to share a video. For some back story this guy lost at a video game, the entire time he was playing the match he was being yelled at, I mean properly screamed at, Full Metal Jacket style, by people he didn’t know. When he lost the match he burst into tears, presumably because 4 guys he didn’t know had been yelling in his fucking face! While he was in tears, he was filmed and forced to say, “I’m not a real nigga” to the camera while people laughed. Which is something that should only happen in the roughest of gay pornos, and sometimes, not even then.
Now you could easily say, that video isn’t representative of the entire community, but along with the 100,000 views it has, it also has this.
That’s like 80% of the people who’ve watched the video and felt strongly enough about it express their opinion, have liked it, it’s hard to say it’s the opinion of one person when according to the stats, tens of thousands of people agree with what they’ve done. Then you have the comments. Which are so sad you’re automatically signed up for depression counselling when you click the “Load more” button.
Yep, someone being bad at a game and wanting people to play and take him seriously so he can improve is a perfectly ok reason to yell at them until they cry. And if they cry, they’re obviously a pussy and don’t deserve to play the game with you until they improve. If you tried that shit in any other aspect of life you’d get punched in the dick so hard your grandkids would be born with black eyes. If you was playing pool with someone and you missed a pot and that person then screamed in your face about you being a bitch, you’d slap their shit. Why is it acceptable with fighting games.
It’s an attitude that’s fucking poison to video games, fighting games, arguably take more skill to play than most other types of game, they require frame perfect execution and have very rigid tier lists and an incredibly technical meta-games. That’s the appeal, they take an age to master. But when people just trying to learn the game are actively excluded from the community at large, they’re just going to stop playing. It’s not worth it. When you have a community of player who look down on casual players for not being knowledgeable or using scrubby tactics,the majority of those players aren’t going to keep interacting with that community and the community will never grow.
I love fighting games, but it’s all too often that I’ll see someone refuse to pick the game up because they simply cannot be arsed dealing with the hassle of losing over and over again while someone who has dedicated dozens of hours to it brags about how they won. They’d rather play Call of Duty where no matter how good you are, there’s always a chance you’ll get hit by an airstrike. A feature that’s sadly missing from fighting games.
This article has seen a huge boost in views so I wanted to clarify something. This article was written using my experience as a casual fan of the fighting game scene. I’d like to clarify that it wasn’t written to criticise the community or the scene in general, it was written to criticise how the community treats people who aren’t intimately familiar with it and how I feel that, that can alienate newer players and thus harm gaming in general. Considering there has already been a heap of comments about me not understanding how the scene works, I kind of had a point.