A blog series following my progress on getting good at fighting games with a shitty long-term hand injury
Load up Street Fighter II for the first time and it won't take you long to realise it is a hard game.
Play it as a regular to Fighting Games and you'll find a challenge.
Play it as a newbie to Fighting Games and it's brutally humiliating- and that's before you realise you were already playing on 'Very Easy' difficulty.
Fighting games have a decieving simplicity to them on the surface, but dig a little deeper and you'll find a goldmine of techniques and skills that professional players use to get as good as they are. To truly understand this, watch some pro players online or play SFII for a week and then play Streets of Rage to get an idea on the difference and depth in skill needed. Hell, I didn't even know you could cancel moves until recently.
But I have had my fair share of fighting games growing up- Tekken, King of Fighters, Soul Calibur and of course, Street Fighter. All hazy memories now but I don't remember any of them being as difficult as SFII.
I recently re-bought Hyper Street Fighter II Turbo for the PS2, mainly for the animated movie that came on the disc which, despite the cringy English dubs, is a very good movie. At least check out the Vega vs Chun Li fightscene!
But having a go on the arcade mode of the game itself sent me packing very quickly. Given my usual too-old-for-this-shit attitude about games these days, I was surprised to find myself trying again and again to at least get half way through Arcade Mode.
The snag is, I have a sparring injury back when I did Kempo Karate nearly 10 years ago now. Throwing a sloppy left hook left me with a fractured thumb. The x-ray displaying the crack rippling almost all the way down my thumb from the tip of my thumb to the palm of my hand.
It's mostly healed now, but I still can't make the "proper" fist that you're meant to in Martial arts where the thumb is neatly barring across the rest of your tucked-in fingers. It also tends to cramp up after a couple of Hadoukens, which isn't ideal. In fear of not being able to draw or write again, I regretfully said farewell to the hobby of breaking my body for fun every week, but not being able to play a fighting game almost irritates me more for some reason.
I got talking to a friend about fighting sticks, something I never knew you could even get meta about. There's a lot out there, fairly expensive. But I'm hoping that the way the joystick is used will be easier on my hand. I went with a VENOM in the end, which I managed to grab for 40 quid. it's compatible with xbone, ps4 and pc. Hopefully by the time it arrives, I will have enough spare cash to grab the new Street Fighter Anniversary edition on the Xbox marketplace. some folks on Reddit have pointed out how very different it is fighting real people compared to fighting AI.
I'm currently still waiting on a Courier service to drop off the VENOM, which I'm super excited to use. In the meantime, I've had a bash at some old gems i've missed such as King of Fighters '98. Still A pretty difficult game, but I seem to remember my combos better here. I've got a long way to go, but here's a video of me smashing it out on my Instagram below. (You can see me struggling towards then end with trying to pull of one of Kyo's combos to finish)
I've also got a copy of Street Fighter 4 on the way. I was gutted to hear that the most recent V is ps4 exclusive, but I wanted to get to grips with at least the 3d aspect of the new Street Fighter games. Something I'm aprehensive about as a long time fan of the old Street fighters, but want to try anyway.
Will keep you guys updated on my progress! If you have any Street Fighter tips for a retired n00b such as myself, leave them in the comments below!
Just to round up on things to improve on for next time:
- blocking (or timing of blocking)
- canceling movesets
- Timing (in general)
- Shoryuken (For some reason, this is the one move I seem to screw up)
- better execution of combos