Extra Credits on Fighting Games

Would you mind mocking this SPECIFIC extra credits video?

Sure, I’d love to.

Despite their praise of fighting games, Extra Credits have absolutely no goddamn idea how fighting games work, and as usual, they’ve done no research, no thinking, no introspection on this matter.

Probably my favorite highlight in this video is the part where they suggest slowing down time, and presenting in big flashing letters, REVERSAL OPPORTUNITY, when neither of the two characters is knocked down or in hitstun. The fact that they don’t actually know what a reversal is (or that they think it’s a counterhit), is absolutely pathetic. They reinforce this earlier in the video by showing a small woman hitting a big man when he attacks her after mentioning a mode where enemies can only be harmed with reversals.

They’re right on one thing, fighting games do need a tutorial mode and they need it more than a single player mode. They’re wrong about pretty much every other element of how to design a tutorial for them, and they very clearly didn’t consult any existing tutorial for fighting games whether online or ingame. Their proposals don’t teach players the rules of combos, they don’t teach players what basic normals are even good for.

Beyond that, locking off player’s moves until they unlock them is a TERRIBLE way to teach players. It’s one thing to have a specific section of a tutorial where some moves are emphasized by locking the others off, but requiring the player to grind to unlock moves means players will get used to fighting with incomplete versions of their characters, and develop bad habits. Most characters have sets of moves that work together or fill in for specific situations. If you play a fireball/anti-air character, but have the anti-air locked off, then you won’t learn to play correctly.
Not to mention, most fighting games don’t have an RPG-like system, and extrinsic rewards a shit.

Slow motion is bad, because players should be learning what things they can react to and cannot react to in what situations. Rewind is pointless and less effective than focused training. Also dumb to tell players directly the correct option.
Maj made a better proposal for a fighting game tutorial mode a long time ago on his website here: http://sonichurricane.com/?p=5849 Not to mention the skullgirls tutorials do a decent job of teaching you how to do all your characters’ moves, and what they’re useful for, as well as most of the systems across the board and things like mixups and blockstring pressure.

Something I’d personally add to Maj’s tutorial is having a dummy that straight up plays the basic fireball game with you, throws lots of fireballs, and anti-airs if you jump in when he’s not vulnerable. But I’d have the dummy get like a glint or jab first before throwing a fireball, so players can get a clue of when the dummy is about to do it, and get an idea of what timing they need to use in order to jump fireballs safely, simulate reading the fireball. This type of visual language can help signal other reads too in that mode.

The Guilty Gear missions mode is cool too, for having missions where you can only damage with combos over 2 hits, or where only supers deal damage, or where you’re not allowed to jump or use special moves. Especially the jump one, because the most frequent mistake beginners make is jumping forward.

In general the tutorials shouldn’t be these generic, they should be focusing in more on the actual skills required by the genre. A lot of them should have dummies that spam the same few moves so that players can get experience in breaking up common patterns (like fireball spam, blockstring pressure, spamming literally nothing but sweeps or low light kicks.) Teaching players the combo rules common to the genre. Teaching players directly how to do special move inputs by displaying them on the screen as people do them, and the framebuffer timer for the special as well, and instructions for what they did wrong when they do it. Specials are hard for a lot of beginners, and having a tool that can show them exactly what is going on inside the engine as they input movements would be extremely helpful. Hell, someone should make a tool like that on PC, that displays the player’s inputs as they do them, what move the current inputs are read as, and how long before the movement expires from the buffer.

This is just another case of EC not thinking ANYTHING through. Their recent episode on Speedruns is equally bad, I’m tempted to write something on that and post it to their forums.

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