*cover image soon come*

Cutting straight to the point: fighting games can be intimidating in a way that appears to have no other point of comparison (false, but more on this later). One look from an outsider and you’ll see an entire foreign language comprises the genre. You see terms like, OS (option select), frame data, low profile, fuzzy, etc… and it’s like you need a doctorate to get your foot in the door. Now, let’s just say that you don’t let that deter you. You pick up your game of choice, play through whatever tutorial they have, maybe play through the story a little bit, then you take it to either online or offline versus and one of two things happens: you win or get bodied. If it’s the former, you’ll get that adrenaline high and keep playing until you lose. If it’s the latter, well, that’s what we’ll focus on.


Before we continue, let us dispel this one notion: fighting games are the most difficult genre for a new player to get into or become proficient at. That is absolutely false, to an extent (and that extent has nothing to do with you or this post, atm). Fighting games are not easy, by their nature, but neither is any other “competitive” genre or sport. You don’t pick up a basketball and instantly become good enough to shut down Lebron. You’re not going to grab a mouse and outskill the pros in Apex Legends, the same way you won’t pick up a tennis racquet and beat Serena Williams. It’s not realistic, nor is it an easy lesson to learn. Even though we live in a world of instant gratification, for a variety of reasons, some things remain constant: you still need to practice to become good at an activity.


So, let’s dig into one of the main unspoken reasons for discouragement: ego and the pervasive idea that you are owed victory for simply buying the game, and the notion that you are better than you are. Let me spell this out for you as clearly as I can, YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE. Say that shit out loud and drill it into your head. Everyone loses at some point in time. Every single pro you see has taken L. What makes you think you’re above the same individuals that you idolize so much?


Losing sucks. There is no way around it. I play Dragonball FighterZ and hop in various discords seeking out people to teach me, and people above my level to play against. I lose a lot. Some days, it feels like I’m doing more to keep from getting perfected, than I do actually playing the game and I’ve been playing for a year. Do you know how bad it feels to get hit with a mix that you can’t even discern (you’re eyes actively betray you), on somebody’s fucking stream, and you’re not skilled enough to stop it? Shit can feel utterly hopeless. On more than one occasion, I’ve eaten an autocombo from Bardock and wanted to take the disc out and spirit bomb it from actual existence: to give up. That feeling is perfectly fine and natural, but it’s one that you can’t let claim you. That’s life in general. I’m jumping ahead though.


“OMG, how can I learn to play? Nobody can teach me. I’m too old to play. I won’t have the reflexes, etc...” The fgc is in a vastly different place than it was when I was a kid. Back in the day, in the states, if you didn’t live in a specific area, then you weren’t really learning shit about fighting games. No matter how these retro inspired movies try and paint it, arcades sure as hell weren’t on every block. You took what knowledge you could get, if any, and used it to the best of your abilities. Nowadays, game mechanic tutorials and combo videos drop within an hour of the game being out, before release. So, really, it’s an excuse. All of that shit, are excuses used, because you don’t want to feel the pain an L brings. You’re actively undermining your own abilities and talking yourself out of a good time. You lost before you even touched a controller. If you’ve got time to complain, you’ve got the ability to press start and hop into training mode.


This op isn’t about mechanics, but sure, let’s touch on it. Starting out, you really don’t need to know shit about most of the jargon that comprises a finer understanding of how to be proficient. That sexy flex ass fly ass combo you saw, you don’t need to know how to do that shit starting out. The only thing you need to do, is learn the very basic mechanics of what you’re playing, how to defend yourself (aka..blocking or the game’s equivalent to defensive options), how to lose, and when to give yourself a break. From one scrub to the next, the last two points mean everything.


Tilt:

Usually a term in video games (though it can really be used in any activity or hobby), tilt is an emotional state when doing the exact same thing activity over and over produces negative results. It's an emotional breakdown and fustration of your hard work not resulting in the success that you crave so desperately. When you or someone is in a tilt state of mind, the best thing to do is take a break from that activity and try not to think about it as much.


I can not stress taking a break hard enough. You will get frustrated and in some instances, your ability to focus on the task at hand will suffer. Continuing to play, after you’re tilted, and not taking a break is a sure fire way to make it so that you never will want to play again. Take a deep breath, finish your match or set, put the sticks down, breathe and come back to it later. Losing is a journey in growth and frustration. Making life harder than it is, is highly unnecessary. Even the pros get tilted. The better ones can push through it.


One last thing, because this is already a lot of damn words: spending wild hours in training mode doesn’t mean you’re nice. This will happen:



Look at you fucking that training room up. Whewww. Nailed that 70 hit combo. Gawd damn. This competitive shit is about to be a breeze.  




Wheww. You hopped in a match and WASHED your opponent. Gawd damn, fighting games feel great.




But...but...but I spent mad hours training. I’m supposed to BE NICE.


Newsflash...they didn’t stop making training mode, because you found yours. People are out there trying to get better, just like you are. And, I hate to break it to you, but experience trumps all. Yes, learning how to do damage is important, but everyone has a plan, until they get hit. People aren’t going to sit there and give you a W: this is a competition. Furthermore, the wrong type of practice won’t give you the results you need.  



TLDR: Don’t give up. Don’t underestimate yourself. We all start as scrubs, at some point. Hell, I’m still one. Push through the L’s and most importantly, enjoy yourself. This shit applies to every competitive activity. Just ask all of us playing Tetris 99.
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