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Working Out the Fighting Game Genre

Let's say it's been a long day. Your mind is completely fried. Maybe you had an exhausting time at work or, for some, a payload of time consuming homework that had to be intensely fermented in your mini-think tank (or maybe you called in sick at work, skipped homework, and decided to hop on your couch and dive in to a video game). Whichever route you chose to take, you would just like to relax for a couple of hours by playing a game. What type of a video game would you play? An FPS?...RPG?...or perhaps a 2-D Platformer, to name a few? How about a Fighting game? I don't know if I'd pick a fighting game after a jammed-packed day. Why? Here me out.

Back in April, I purchased my first ever Fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us. I'm an extremely huge superhero fan so the thought of taking hold of my most-loved icons as well as experiencing them dishing it out against each other was a dream come true. This, in actuality, is only truly made possible because of the fighting game genre.  Everything about Injustice is too cool in my book. With that said, and with Injustice being my first fighting game, I knew I would be in for a new and, obviously for me, due to my love for comics, really fun game to dive into. I, on the other hand, never did think literally fighting for that fun was a part of the equation. My time with Injustice has shown me fighting games in general, at least for me (maybe not for yourself), make you fight for three things: your time, mind, and fun. Time, because of the length and effort it takes to master combos, characters, etc.; mind, via taking the time to memorize moves and characters furthermore being frustrated when losing a spar because of minor training; and finally fun, due to the fact that without a bucket-load of practice (counting defeats), you are practically handicapped from getting the absolute most out of a fighting game. While these statements may seem negative, they are not necessarily meant to be.

Don't get me wrong, I'm assuredly having a blast with Injustice: Gods Among Us. The quality of Injustice is not in question-it's a really great game in generally all respects. Also, this isn't a rant about how I hate the fighting game genre or anything like that. On the contrary, the fighting game genre is very appealing to my tastes. The strategies involved, different various combos (super-moves are so awesome), in addition to how personally competitive and satisfactory fighting games can be are a welcome challenge to rise to. Yet, after almost seven months, the road to champion instead of aspiring contender is appearing to be unfruitful. Of course, I recognized that I wouldn't be taking down an opposing fighter as stylish and fast as The Flash would overnight or even in my first few months with the game, but still, I thought it would be, well, easier besides somewhat tedious. Each occasion I settle on playing Injustice, I always undergo a sense of inexperience (especially on the online front). Maybe some of that has to do with little time training in Injustice's practice mode, I don't know. I find it a bit repetitive being burdened in regards to expected disciplined, continuous in-game training, not to mention the similar exercise mentally. But, hey, if that's what it takes more of, you got to do what you got to do. Just disappointed I haven't reached or grasped that higher tier level, thus withholding from me the best the video game has to offer.

You might feel or maybe have felt the same way. Some of you possibly may have not played a fighting game before. You also might disagree with me, which is fine. Wanting to put forth my initial thoughts on the fighting game genre, I figured they were worth expounding upon. As we move on, I would like to converse in relation to further assessments and experiences I have come to learn by my time with Injustice/the fighting game genre. I desire for these to be taken as encouragements to fellow fighting game contenders and a kind of heads-up to gamers thinking about stepping in to that virtual ring.

-No Pain, No Gain

The basic premise of a fighting game is to defeat the opponent. How you accomplish this task is all based upon skill. Believe me, whether you are facing the computer or especially online competition, you are going to need some skill. You cannot pop in the latest fighting game and start going all "Jackie Chan" on everyone (I know). When to block, jump, move forwards/backwards, hit high/low (in addition to when to hit with light, medium, or heavy attacks) are all a part of the fighting game package. While it may sound overwhelming, timing is everything. Memorization is everything, if not more important, as well. Without a good memory, timing will not mean much. Unless you spend plenty amount of time studying characters' combos and strengths, your losses will sure be far greater than your wins. So be ready to head on over to practice mode (a place where you can hone your skills) or interrupt a bunch of your matches by pausing them so you can see your chosen characters' move list (which, in my opinion, is a little cheap and annoying). When you take in the fact that each specific character in a fighting game has different, various combos/skill sets, then that is a whole other layer. If you do not begin to have a comprehensive recollection of a character's moves, you will not only be toast, but, in regards to combos, stuck on a tight leash because of how little you are able to do in comparison to what is available.

Like I said earlier, I am not a big fan of struggling to get the best out of a game either, but it's clearly unavoidable with fighting games. You have to stick with it. Don't give up; use that mind. Practice makes perfect, right? Do your best and forget the rest.

-Just One More Round...

A possible element of video games which is usually present in fighting games is exceptionally great replay value. I know Injustice will be a game I can always go back to. Not just for my admiration of superheroes, but because Injustice (and fighting games in general) features a rather addictive gameplay formula. Even though whenever I play Injustice I have to warm up to get into the swing of things, it will always be a game I will enjoy playing. In six months I have already played over seven hundred matches, and I see myself playing way more in the future. When I first bought Injustice I couldn't put it down. Even after playing about two hours, I would think, "Just one more round, just one more." It was, and still is, fairly engaging and immersive. This is definitely one thing fighting games have going for them, and that makes the dollar spent truly worth it.

-How The Mighty Fall

Fighting games encompass an interestingly competitive approach and an almost unparalleled personal gameplay flare. That specific one-on-one design induces tons of pressure. Obviously amplifying that intensity is when you are one step away from either winning or losing. As with any competitive activity or video game, you will lose-sometimes unjustifiably. Before I got Injustice, I remember being awfully excited to play online against other players around the world. Expecting it to be the highlight of the game, and something I would thoroughly enjoy, the result so far has unfortunately left me wanting. There have been a few occasions of satisfactory matches, but in several cases I get utterly and completely dominated. It's admirable how good some of the players are. Matches occasionally end for me in an embarrassed state of humiliation. Don't get me started on the players who try to win by enacting the same combo over and over against you is a continuous cycle. Those cheaters will make you want to run for the hills. The computer creates similar emotions also, like it knows exactly what you will do and how to counter before you even hit the button(s). I must be sorely lacking compared to other Injustice players, my internet connection slower than others, or a lot of folks train and practice non-stop. While these factors may explain some of my losses, online appears to only offer a light experience.

The Fighting game genre grants classic gaming fun despite its hold-ups (it's also the type to always have around the house to play with one of your friends).  From a strategic standpoint it is unlike any other video game genre out there. It all depends on how adaptable you are. When you think about it, it's kind of neat how a video game can be that robust. It reminds me a little bit of (speed) chess because of the smarts and flexibilities involved. Being prepared (sorry, but don't expect the story mode to prepare you) for anything and everything is the name of the game.

Remember, this is all coming from a gamer who would love to be better at fighting games. I'm no expert on the subject or master fighter as you could probably tell. Thanks for viewing this blog, and, hopefully, you received helpful info and tips. What are your thoughts on my blog or the fighting game genre? If you have any recommendations of any sort, they are welcome as well.

As for me, I believe I hear the bell ringing...time to put the gloves on.

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