An Intro to Fighting Games

An Intro to Fighting Games

By Jacob Flores

Fighting games just keep getting better and better and the events are growing bigger and bigger. You may want in on this scene, but for some people this is their first exposure to it. Never understood fighting game science? Never got the hang of fighting game mechanics? Never even played a fighting game? Well this light guide will hopefully serve as a base to grow, after all, we all had to start off with no meter, or in this case no knowledge.

You finally selected one of the many fighting games there are, not to worry though, basic knowledge will carry over too many fighting games. Before you is the character select screen, maybe you realize some characters maybe you don’t.

Two characters don’t necessarily play the same, get some time trying them all. There are many character types to choose from, here are some of them:

All-around: No drastic advantages nor disadvantages. Mainly for beginners.

Grappler: Fighter that excels in throws and throw loops. Usually heavy damaging moves that relive pressure.

Zoner: Projectile master that fights without fighting. Most useful at a distance where he can start set ups.

Rush: Aggressive fighter for the aggressive minded. Combo strings and mix ups keep their opponent blocking.

Once you find a character you like, and more importantly, like their moves then that’ll will be your main. A main just means that you specialize in that particular character. One character may have a better match-up, or an advantage so it’s best to have a pocket character, a substitute that can even the odds on hard match-ups for your main. It is vital to know match-ups as the most experienced player is helpless if he doesn’t know how to play against a particular player.

Alright, you finally find a game, be it with a bot or an actual player. The announcer has yelled ‘FIGHT’, you want to push buttons like how you usually do. You want to, but now your doing what you need to do, and that is analyze.

What your seeing from the very beginning is called the neutral. The neutral occurs when both players are neither attacking or defending, usually seen when they are in the middle of the stage. Alright no player has the advantage or disadvantage, but one of you must win the neutral game. Thus, commences the footsies game. Footsies are when you and your opponent exchange safe attacks that are hard to be countered, these attacks are usually called pokes.

While both of you are using pokes, you will actively look to punish any mistakes the other does. A punish is when one player capitalizes on the other due to slow recovery time of a used attack. There is a how science called frames, knowing frame data is key in order to set up frame traps and the like. That is a little too advanced for this guide so we’ll stick to the basics.

Congratulations, with some well places normal attacks and a bit of convenience you’ve won the neutral, now what? Well think of it like this. If you’re fighting somebody would you want to be the one being punched or the one doing the punching? It’s the same for fighting games. The more room you have to work with the more possibilities you have, that is why the corner is deadly. It is what it means, the corner of the stage. When your opponent is at the corner then he has nowhere left to go, but to block the attacks you give him.

Your opponent seems to be doing well in blocking your oppression session and there seems to be no breaking it. Now you have two choices in this occasion. One is the 50/50, a type of mix-up that uses strikes and the throw. The idea is to keep your opponent guessing which one of the two you are going to use, hence the name. The other thing you can do is a cross up. This is done by jumping over your opponent and putting your self in the corner, you do deliberately put yourself in a disadvantage since your now in the corner, but the small confusion in your opponent knowing which side to block gives you a chance to open him up, letting you get a much-needed combo in.

Let’s say this doesn’t work out the way you wanted, you’re now in the corner and have been thrown into the corner, the character is now on the floor. Your character will have to wake up, essentially get up to keep fighting, but you don’t want to be stuck in the same situation your opponent just was. A usually unexpected thing you could do is DP, otherwise known as Dragon Punch. A Dragon Punch is a large vertical reaching move, good for just about anything. Mostly used for a last resort, but if you manage to land it on your opponent, then more likely than not you will kiss the corner good bye.

Well, there you have it, these are the bare bones to pretty much any fighting game. Don’t be fooled though, many fighting games are very complex, very intricate things, there are plenty of new tricks and things to learn. We hope that you when you do pick one up you’ll think back to this great guide.