Last week, a channel called Great Big Story posted a video to YouTube called "The King of Street Fighter II Who Disappeared." It's basically a mini-documentary that details the rise and resulting retirement of the greatest Street Fighter II player in America: Tomo Ohira. The video recounts Street Fighter's competitive scene in the 90's and interviews Ohira's former rivals about their love of the game - as well as the drive to compete with Ohira at his peak. Then it catches up with Ohira himself to ask why he left, and his answer was fairly simple: the thrill of victory had been replaced by the fear of defeat.

He was no longer having fun winning - he was just trying not to lose. Once he realized that, he said, was when he decided to quit. He hasn't returned to fighting games since because he's now an adult who doesn't have hours and hours a day to practice and stay on top of his game.

Ohira's story reflects how many other players, like myself, have fallen out with fighting games - or at least out of the competitive aspect. I certainly still play fighting games with friends as new ones come out (especially now that the genre is experiencing a resurgence), but I haven't truly taken a fighting game seriously in years. These days, I can no longer play my former mains with the skill that I used to. My proficiency with Guy, Terry, and my many other favorites from many other fighting franchises has been withering away somewhere in my brain, becoming more like sources of fond memories than tools used in decisive wins.

There are a number of reasons for that, not least of which are the ones Ohira mentions: time commitment starts to outweigh improvement, winning starts to outweigh fun.

Taking a fighting game seriously means committing yourself to learning it - often at the expense of playing anything else. For me, this is the primary deal-breaker that stops me from meeting a fighting game halfway anymore. I continue to play hundreds of games in dozens of genres, and fighting games demand such a huge amount of my time for such incremental rewards that I just can't justify "getting good" at them nowadays.

And when you really want to be a contender in fighting games, the only way to go is up. Honing your skills and searching for ever-stronger challengers, in person or online. That's been the driving force behind fighting games forever - because they rarely offer anything else outside that pursuit of victory. In fact, this only seems to be getting worse; many modern fighting games launch without basic features like an arcade mode or decent trials, and they have nothing substantial to work towards unlocking (because costumes, colors, stages and so on are all paid DLC now).

There are also a lot of particular factors that need to be in place for one to really enjoy playing a modern fighting game competitively. An expensive fightstick for proper precision. A dedicated friend or friends to play with and learn from. An online mode with exceptionally good netcode. It's also ridiculously hard to bring a new player into a fighting game (and keep them there for more than a week) when almost every game has such miserably inadequate tutorials.

These are some of the reasons I only play fighting games casually as an adult, or in a half-drunken slugfest with friends. Despite my desire to return to fighting games in some capacity, the scene (and fighting games themselves) aren't what they were back when I was playing to win. What about you? Have you fallen out with fighting games after formerly loving them, or do you continue the cycle of returning to new ones with the intention of getting good, only to drop them later? Or have you never left fighting games, and they're the genre you spend the most time with? Tell me below!