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The Fighting Game Noob Thread: From Scrub to Master

Jul 18, 2015
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Now's as good a time as any to go into fighting games. Street Fighter V, Smash 4, KOF14, Mortal Kombat X, Tekken 7, new Blaz Blue, new Guilty Gear...There's a lot to choose from. But when I say "get into" fighting games, I don't mean treat them casually. I mean, full on serious and competitive to be the best you can be.

This thread is for that.

We have a lot of threads for the fighting game community on this forum but none are dedicated solely to (relative) newcomers of the genre.

Why fighting games?

Why Fighting Games Matter

Fighting games have long been dismissed by philistines as “button mashers”. This is, I reckon, because “speed-chess-poker-magic-the-gathering-rock-paper-scissors-fighting” is kind of a mouthful, and frankly, most of the people who think fighting games consist of mindless button-mashing never got deep enough into a fighting game to get to the speed-chess-poker-etc. part to begin with.

...

Learning how to beat another person in a fighting game involves understanding elements of game design, psychology, programming and basic machine input/output, human physiology, motivation, and several other serious bodies of human knowledge — and then applying them to go beat down your buddy’s virtual avatar. You must train yourself to understand complicated situations and react to them with complicated physical movements within fractions of a second. Perhaps most importantly, you must learn how to get better at something: How to absorb good behaviors and discard bad ones, how to push yourself, how to practice, how to diagnose problems and fix them. I think it’s a good thing for people to do, period. To paraphrase MMA legend Renzo Gracie, “Fighting [games] is actually the best thing a man can have in his soul.”
- Patrick Miller

Why fighting games? Because fighting games are beautiful.

Fighting game terminology and glossary

"What's a meaty?" "Frames?" "What is a link?" All answers can be found here at SRK's fighting game glossary.

What This Thread is For

Positive fighting game thread discussing mechanics, under the hood depth, strategies, mind games, psychology, and general growth as a player. Shit talking is allowed, even encouraged, but again - this is a positive thread to help each other improve, doesn't matter what game. Post your replays! Let's find someone who can deconstruct your game and help you improve! Even if you're not a beginner, I want everyone in the GAF FGC to join in so we can be the best we can be.

What This Thread Isn't For

Stream monster stuff. You can link to highly skilled players, so we can dissect what the skilled players do through match analysis, but this thread isn't about Daigo worship. It's not about news to whatever game you play. It's not about linking to streams. It's about matches, games, mechanics, and self improvement. Please stay on topic. We have other threads for the aforementioned things. And no Theory Fighter.

Fighting Game Basics

Every fighting game shares core fundamentals. It's like how every card game shares a deck of cards. Different game, same deck.

In order to tap into what makes fighting games so complex, you need to simplify. A lot of newcomers to competitive fighters stress the emphasis on flashy things like combos more than actual core game fundamentals. You may be practicing a combo to the point where you can hit it 90% of the time, but who cares if you can't even get in to apply it?

That's where fundamentals come in.

When learning a character your first priority should be what the game plan for that character is. Otherwise, you could be using them wrong, or not as effectively. Look at their character design and decide from there what your overall strategy for most matches should be.

Let's take an example: Ryu. Ryu is the basic template almost every fighting game character after Street Fighter II has been made to fight or defend against. Ryu is the Adam of the fighting game genre. What kind of character is Ryu based off his character design? He looks like he can do just about anything, can't he? A real martial artist master who could take you any way he wants. In a way, that's Ryu's game plan. Ryu is a jack of all trades.

He has a fireball to keep you out of his space.



If you try to jump in over the fireball, he can dragon punch you to keep you out.



He has a long reaching crouch kick in crouch medium kick, and he can use that to get into your space from a long range and cancel it into a hadouken for damage. Even if doesn't damage you and you block, it could still go in the player's favor because the hit will push you back into the corner while you block, which puts you in a disadvantageous situation.



His high kick goes really far and can hit you from a decent distance. Another tool to keep you out.



But he also has tools that allow him to go in and deal damage.

Playing A Fighting Game

Step 1. Start with picking your character in training mode. There's two school of thoughts on picking characters when learning a fighting game. Some think you should start with characters that help teach the game, like Ryu. Others think that the best way to get better is to have a quasi relationship or connection with that character to promote an environment to want to improve more. Both are valid. I fall in the latter camp, but learning a fundamental-oriented character is just as good.

Step 2. Learn that characters fastest moves, and try to figure out a general game plan with that character or how you think that character is supposed to be used. Learn their supers, learn their anti-airs, learn what moves they have that allows them to out of hairy situations.

Step 3. Go into Arcade mode to try what you learned in training mode to practice on a live moving opponent. Fighting AI is best for supplemental training, it isn't great for learning the actual game or how to fight actual people.

Step 4. Fight actual people. Take notes of mistakes, match up notes. Anything that troubles you make note of it.

Step 5. Review. Watch replays of losses. Take notes of what you did wrong. Did you hit a dragon punch when you tried to do a hadouken? Next time you're in training mode do twenty hadouken's on both sides to make sure you got it. Did the opponent do something you're not familiar with? Go to training mode, pick that person's character you played, and use the recording dummy to replicate the exact thing they did. Not surprisingly, replicating situations in training mode also teaches you how to play other characters. Keep working that situation they did to you until you can reliably defend against it. Situational training is a great tool to use to expand your game. Look up the best players in the world who play as your character of choice and take notes on their general strategies and how they play the character. Implement it into your game via training mode.

Step 6. Repeat.

Games and Resources

Current Fighting Game List

Fighting game resources and sites

- add yourself! Anyone can edit the document, so don't be an asshole and do something mean.

Scrub to Master and NeoGaf FGC Discord (quote to read reveal link:




If you're interested in a game, just ask! I'm sure we'll have more than enough people that can help you get the basics.


Six Button Pads and Arcade Sticks

You can play a fighting game any controller that you're comfortable with, but for those wishing for more optimization, a pad or stick dedicated to fighting games and arcade game in general is a good idea.

Two of the top two brands on the market today are Mad Catz and Hori.

FOR DEDICATED STICK/PAD ADVICE, GO VISIT MARKMAN'S ALREADY GREAT THREAD ON THE SUBJECT

Remember people.



GET SERIOUS.

But have fun too!
 

Raging Spaniard

If they are Dutch, upright and breathing they are more racist than your favorite player
Mar 26, 2007
15,869
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www.raging-spaniard.com
Awesome thread.

I always tell people, no matter which fighting game it is, that the number 1 thing you have to get good at, its having good defense.

I can routinely beat "better" players in most fighting games because I dont focus on doing that one 30 hit combo that will take all your health, focus on reading what the guy is gonna do and punish it.
 

oneida

Cock Strain, Lifetime Warranty
Mar 3, 2012
16,039
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fighting games are awesome
good job cindi

if you wanna play vf HMU
psn- oneida_vf
xbl- oneida1
i can play other games but generally i'd rather not.
 

Astarte

Member
Jun 22, 2013
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Wow great job on the op!
Who wants to play All Star Battle?
I'm only joking
Not really

I'm down for a lot of fighting games, but they'd have to be on the PC because college internet rules.

Steam: steamcommunity.com/id/astarte
 

Chacranajxy

I paid good money for this Dynex!
Oct 13, 2008
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This is a cool idea for a thread, OP. I used to be hella into fighting games maybe 8 or so years ago, and was actually pretty good at Guilty Gear XX, but I suddenly lost interest in the genre. I mostly blame it on SFIV, which I hated the feel of. I'd like to get back into it, and I suspect SFV will be the way to do it. And conveniently, I bought the VLX Kuro a couple weeks ago for shmups, so I've got the kit I need to do it.

I guess I just need to convince myself to stick with it.
 

AKingNamedPaul

I am Homie
Apr 3, 2007
6,979
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Whatever happened to the poster segata sanshiro?

anyways, will check this thread cause Fighting games = best games.
 

Fraeon

Member
May 24, 2009
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I... really enjoy the genre. I enjoy pretty much any genre where it's you against someone else and pretty much nothing else. No distractions, no ganging up, just one on one action.

What needs to be warned, though, is that being good at SF4 means you learn a lot of things that will get you punished for in SF5. Reversals in that game are much safer and hard knockdowns are plentiful so a lot of characters just run on theme of getting a knockdown and then setting you up for something that is hard to block and/or avoid.

The very basics are fine, though and the footsies handbook is a godsend for... well, just about any fighter you'd want to play. A lot of what it says can be applied even in a game like Tekken, though the handbook is more for 2D games in general.
 

Hagi

Member
Jun 8, 2009
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This is something that interests me but I'm not sure I have the drive to follow though. I've been watching a lot of excellent adventures and following EVO this year was a hell of a lot of fun so I really would like to get into Street Fighter proper.
 

RecRoulette

Member
Aug 28, 2015
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Subbing, tried to become decent at fighters before but haven't been mentally strong enough to stick with it. Maybe this will help.
 
Jul 18, 2015
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What needs to be warned, though, is that being good at SF4 means you learn a lot of things that will get you punished for in SF5. Reversals in that game are much safer and hard knockdowns are plentiful so a lot of characters just run on theme of getting a knockdown and then setting you up for something that is hard to block and/or avoid.
This is important, but I again stress to not ONLY play SFIV. Play SF2 or SF Alpha 2 on top of SFIV. So I agree.
 

Korigama

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Jul 10, 2009
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Just wanted to mention that BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend is on Xbox One, not 360 (neither it nor the original were on 360 due to disc space limitations). I'd advise against playing it or any other anime fighters on Xbox rather than PlayStation if possible, though, as the communities for such games tend to be stronger and have greater longevity on the latter.
 

Kouichi

Member
Jan 2, 2011
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Subbed. Great OP!

This year has been the first time I've really sinked my teeth into a fighting game outside of Smash Bros with the SFV beta. It's been such a rewarding and fun experience for me. I consider myself pretty good at video games but I felt like one of my non-gaming friends holding a controller for the first time when I first started playing. Everything was so different and daunting at first. But man nothing felt better when the game finally started to click and my constant loss streak turned into a win streak. I'm still bad, but I came so far from my beta 1 Ryu to my beta 3 Rashid.

I definitely plan to spend a lot of time practicing when SFV releases and participate in any local events.
 
Jul 18, 2015
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I admit that I'm not too knowledgeable about Smash or anime fighters. Please post any good resources for those type of games so I can add them to the OP. :)
 

Sianos

Member
Apr 17, 2011
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Perfect timing, my arcade stick arrived a few days ago and I'm just starting to get into the genre. Excellent OP!

I've always loved to fight and I've always loved video games: what if I could do both at the same time?! :O
 

grimmiq

Member
Oct 11, 2013
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Subbed, I've been slowly reading through the SRK e-book.

I learned a lot during the SF5 beta as a complete noob that will take a lot of time/practice to get right. Followed Gootecks' tutorial of practicing moves in training until you can do it 10 times in a row without an input error and did that for a love of moves..then when I got into actual matches I was screwing up, mostly because I was trying to rush, hitting buttons before the motion finished or finishing motions too early (Like supers stopping the 2nd QCF at DF instead of F).
 

WarRock

Member
May 25, 2014
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Says "get serious" and uses a Ken + Ryu gif instead of a Terry one, smh.

Joking aside, awesome OP.
 

atomic moth

Member
Oct 23, 2011
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This is important, but I again stress to not ONLY play SFIV. Play SF2 or SF Alpha 2 on top of SFIV. So I agree.
No sure if you mentioned Fightcade, but since you brought up some classics here, I'd recommend pushing people towards that. For those that don't know, you can play against other with quality netcode on Fightcade.

The Street Fighter 2 iteration you want to play is Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo primarily. Also Hyper Fighting is good.

The Alpha series games you want to play are 2 and 3.

The Street Fighter 3 iteration you want is Third Strike.

And the only SNK fighter you want is World Heroes Perfect, because that is the best game ever.
 

Warxard

Banned
Aug 1, 2015
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If you're a SF4 player or someone with a novice understanding of Fighting Games, and are going to jump into KI you should really look into this guide settles you into the basics of Killer Instinct's mechanics and find the right character for you.
 
Apr 28, 2012
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I see no mention of Killer Instinct in the Op.

Killer instinct 13 (Xbox One) easily has the best tutorial mode I've played in any fighter so far.
 
Jul 18, 2015
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No sure if you mentioned Fightcade, but since you brought up some classics here, I'd recommend pushing people towards that. For those that don't know, you can play against other with quality netcode on Fightcade.

The Street Fighter 2 iteration you want to play is Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo primarily. Also Hyper Fighting is good.

The Alpha series games you want to play are 2 and 3.
I am going to edit in a section for Fightcade later but I want to parse it in a way that won't get me in trouble. :)

I see no mention of Killer Instinct in the Op.

Killer instinct 13 (Xbox One) easily has the best tutorial mode I've played in any fighter so far.
Thanks! I forgot!
 

Korigama

Member
Jul 10, 2009
12,470
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I admit that I'm not too knowledgeable about Smash or anime fighters. Please post any good resources for those type of games so I can add them to the OP. :)
Dustloop's definitely a good place for anime fighter resources, so you've got that covered. Other games that are being played right now include Under Night In-Birth: Exe Late, which is PS3-exclusive, and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, which is on PS3 and 360. Both currently have updates that are still arcade-exclusive, [st] for UNIEL, and 2.0 for P4AU, with no word on future console versions. [st] is a rebalance that adds one new character (Phonon), while P4AU 2.0 is a rebalance only.
 

Karsticles

Member
Oct 25, 2010
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Needs two things:
1) Smashboards.com for Smash players.
2) Mandatory wired connection if you're playing online. Check the second post of the Smash OT for a link to an ethernet adapter for the Wii U.

Also, this would be a great place to give people invites to the GAF fighting game Discord groups if you have them, Cindi.

I'd love to give newcomers general smash tips. But, you'll get even better advice from Smashboards.
Do you not play online?
 

Femto.

Member
Sep 10, 2013
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Subbing.

Great initiative OP, I've been playing fighters casually since 2011 (MK9 broke my cherry with over 4K matches across XB360/PS3) but I've been wanting to up my game for a while now. I buy almost 90% of all fighting game releases but I can never get past the scrub stage of the grind.

Looking forward to getting bodied.

Super tip: FUCKING USE A WIRED CONNECTION WIFI WARRIORS MUST BE STOPPED
This should be added in the OP.
 

vocab

Member
Feb 12, 2009
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Don't use wifi.
Don't focus on flashy/long combos.
Don't get discouraged by trails (especially in kof13).