Universal Fighting Game Guide: Gimmicky vs. Intelligent Tactics

Gimmicky fighting game techniques are about as old as fighting games themselves. When I first stepped up to a Street Fighter II machine back in 1991, the first character I ever chose was Blanka, as I thought I could cheat the system by simply mashing the punch buttons to trigger Blanka’s electricity move. At the time, I thought it was a fool-proof tactic…for about 5 seconds. Instead, the computer systematically picked me apart as I wailed on those punch buttons, thinking the electricity move was bound to save me eventually.

While gimmicks may have their place in extremely specific situations, they’re not a substitute for solid and intelligent play. In this month’s Universal Fighting Game Guide post, we’ll talk about the difference between gimmicky and intelligent tactics.

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Universal Fighting Game Guide: Meter Management

Back in the old days of fighting games, you only had to worry about one meter: the life meter. As long as that meter didn’t run out, you were golden. However, as the genre progressed, so to did the number of meters you were required to manage. Today, almost every fighting game has some sort of super/EX/resource meter that grants you additional moves at the cost of the resources in your meter. In this edition of the Universal Fighting Game Guide, we’re going to cover resource meters and how to leverage them to your advantage.

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Universal Fighting Game Guide: Throws 101

Since the hey day of fighting games, the throw as a maneuver has received a lot more heat than it deserves. In the early days of Street Fighter II, I remember going to the arcades and hearing other kids talk about how the throw as a move was ‘cheap’ and that people shouldn’t use it in fights. Even now, I still get hate messages on XBOX Live and PSN about my use of throws in a fighting game, regardless of what game I’m playing.

Particularly around entry-level fighting game players, there’s a weird dichotomy at work where there’s a group of players who think throws are super awesome and will exploit them at every turn, and another group of players who actively handicap themselves by not using throws because of some phony gentleman’s rule that’s reached urban legend status. In this edition of the Universal Fighting Game Guide, we tackle the art of the throw, which is a key element to almost every fighting game ever made.

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Universal Fighting Game Guide: How to Read Frame Data


(UPDATE: Part 2 of the frame data sub-series of posts is now live. Click here to learn more about frame advantage!)

When most people play fighting games, they don’t think about the underlying mechanics that drive the on-screen action. Odds are, all they care about is whether or not they’re beating their opponent to a pulp. That’s all well and good. However, competitive fighting game players will go to great lengths to find any sort of advantage on their opponents. This can include learning advanced combos, specific tactics, or as deep as understanding the raw mathematics that drives how a fighting game works.

Yes, I did say mathematics. You see, behind the action are a series of mathematical constants, variables and calculations that drive how everything works. Most people never think about this side of a fighting game (or any game for that matter), but the math is there, whether you actively recognize it or not.

In this entry into the Universal Fighting Game Guide, let’s take a high-level stab at talking about one element of the math that drives a fighting game, which is frame data. Certain off-the-shelf guides will contain frame data for your game of choice, though online sites will likely be your best bet to find this type of information. To the untrained eye, frame data charts look like rocket science. If you’ve never tried to read frame data (or have attempted it and failed), this crash course in the basics may help.

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Universal Fighting Game Guide: 5 Tips to Help You Come Back From a Huge Life Deficit

EVO moment #37 is to date, the most legendary fighting game moment of all-time. Odds are, even if you don’t actively follow the fighting game scene, you’ve seen the above video of Daigo, playing as Ken, making the most unbelievable comeback against Justin Wong’s Chun-Li, which ended with an unreal example of dexterity.

In this installment of the Universal Fighting Game Guide, let’s talk about the comebacks in fighting games. More specifically, tips to help you come back from a huge life deficit. We’ll use the classic EVO moment #37 video and the full match video to break down some overarching tips that you can use to turn the tides like Daigo did years ago.

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Universal Fighting Game Guide: How to Transition From Control Pad to Fightstick

For most of my fighting game playing life, I played fighting games with a control pad. It was what I was most comfortable with and I had no interest in learning how to play these games with any other control method. However, in 2010, I felt like I was ready to switch to a fightstick. There was a steep learning curve to it, but I’m glad that I ultimately made the switch.

I know there are a lot of people out there making the transition in hopes of upping their game. Making the switch isn’t an easy process, but I’m hoping that this post may help you ease into a fightstick if/when you decide to give it a go.

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Universal Fighting Game Guide: Resets

Welcome back to In Third Person’s Universal Fighting Game Guide! I hope you enjoy reading these posts as I do writing them, because I have put a lot of thought and heart into this series of posts.

Today, let’s talk about one of my favourite advanced tactics in fighting games: the reset.

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Universal Fighting Game Guide: The Don’ts (and Do’s) of Flowcharting


Poor Ken Masters. As a character, his capabilities are fairly standard issue. However, the sight of Ken is enough to induce a groan from even the most casual Street Fighter fans. It has nothing to do with the character himself, but rather the player using him. There’s a good reason why the term “Flowchart Ken” exists.

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Games That Make Me Feel Dumb

Video game complexity has come a long way from the days of Pong. Graphics have improved, AI has gotten smarter, control methods have become increasingly complex and the games themselves are more complicated than anything you can find on an Atari 2600.

Due to the way the medium has evolved, there are games and game genres that I cannot wrap my head around, regardless of how hard I try. The following is a list of games and game genres that make me feel dumb after playing them because I can’t come to grips with how to play them. Knowing that there are thousands of other people that are playing the same games just fine only amplifies the stupidity I feel when I fail miserably. Check out my list and tell me if any of these games make you feel dumb, too.
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In Defense of Fighting Games

I was planning on writing a whole post about how the entirety of Alexander Hinkley’s “Why Fighting Games Suck” post is terrible due to his ignorance and poor arguments supported with incorrect facts, but the Internet has done that for me in the comments section. Thank you, Internet.