Welcome to the second week of Dead Consoles. Here, we discuss a favorite of Dirk’s, the beloved Sega Dreamcast. This will be the last week of Dead Consoles before moving to Spookaween during October and then going back to Dead Consoles in November.
Welcome to a special episode of The Plastered Paladins where test out background noise to give the feeling of being at a tavern. After all, these paladins aren’t plastered at home. Be sure to give us comments about the audio and what suggestions you would have.
Remember all the hype over the Ouya and how much of a disappointment it was based off weird expectations? The bros go over the history and fall of the Ouya.
Pewdiepie does something stupid, game developers of Firewatch do something stupider by filing a false DMCA and Dirk goes over the history of filing false DMCAs.
There have been thousands of attempts at making the perfect fighting game. In fact, the longest running game series, and the longest running story line in video games is the Tekken series. But how much have fighting games changed? Are they really different from one another? What makes a good fighting game good? Honestly, most of those answers are going to be based on opinion, and the entirety of this article will be mine. I’ve played more fighting games than I care to count, and even take great interest in the ones I haven’t, and I feel qualified to make a statement on the state of the union of the fighting game, if you would.
First, we should take a look at how fighting games have changed over time. The first fighting game was the arcade game Heavyweight Champ from 1976, however, the first game to popularize the one-on-one fist fighting style of gameplay was Karate Champ from 1984. These games consisted of simple hand to hand fighting, punches, kicks, and incredibly basic combo attacks, that more or less, depended on the players ability to mash buttons quickly. 1987 gave us Street Fighter, which introduced the concept of a special attack, with such iconic moves as the Hadouken, an energy based projectile, similar to a shuriken, and shoryuken, an absurd spinning uppercut. These moves were not explicitly demonstrated to the player though, one had to learn a character to learn the move, mostly through hitting seemingly random buttons. These inputs would be simplified to a quarter-circle motion, or a back to front movement input and then an attack button, but without move lists, it was up to the player’s dedication to find those moves. This made using them intrinsically rewarding, and gave the player a distinct, “I did it” feeling. Street Fighter, and more importantly, Street Fighter II cracked the fighting genre wide open, and lead to many other fighters the world has come to know and love, including Tekken, Mortal Kombat, Killer Instinct, and a seemingly endlessly growing list. As much as we see new installments in long-running series, such as Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator 2, it seems like we haven’t seen a new fighting series come out in recent years and gain much steam in the community, with an exception being the Injustice series.
It is important to note the difference between a fighting game and a “beat em up,” or yet more vague, a “brawler.” Fighting games, traditionally, feature only two characters fighting each other, either bare handed or with a melee weapon of some sort. Beat ’em ups are usually more of a side-scrolling game, or one character taking on mobs of weaker “pest” characters, as we’ve seen in the modern day. These games are satisfying, and make the player feel a high degree of satisfaction from mowing down multiple foes very quickly, but do not meet the same criteria as a fighting game. Brawler is a bizarre amorphous sub-genre that seems to be applied to any game in which fighting is even remotely involved. I will never understand how “brawler” got to be so popular of a tag, yet many who read this have probably never played Splatterhouse, a brawler if ever there was one. Again, these games can be satisfying, but not quite what we’re looking for out of our fighter.
A fighting game is a beautiful thing because it pits two characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses against one another. Some characters move slow, and deal massive damage with each hit, while others rely on fast, weaker hits, landing many weak hits over few strong hits. Each of these characters will have varying move sets that, in a modern day, can be looked up on the fly to study and learn the character much more quickly than what was seen in the late 70’s through 90’s. These intense battles can be done either as a single player, traditionally through an arcade mode, that puts the player through a series of fights against other characters that are controlled by the computer, or with two players, as you’ll see in any number of households across the world. This is actually what drew a large deal of controversy with the release of Street Fighter V in early 2016. Street Fighter V clearly demonstrated that it was more focused on the E-sports community than the individual fighter, as it launched with no arcade or story mode. This upset those of us who prefer to play the game alone and learn our characters before going into the multiplayer realm, which is distinctly different than anything the AI will put you through. Injustice and Mortal Kombat, both the products of Netherrealm Studios, have entirely embraced the single player audience by giving the player a cinematic story mode, complete with intricate stories, impressive cinematics, and a few quick-time events, to help the player feel like they have some agency over the incredible moves that are only programmed into the story mode, and can’t be preformed in an actual fight.
The fighting game has stood the test of time as a past time between two friends. The culmination of a rad bromance. The fighting game is a bromantic activity, shared between two loving bros. Humor aside, fighting games have been used in my personal life alone to determine who buys the pizza, whether Batman could beat up Superman, and who got to play music on the radio. The fighting game has also become a staple of the hip-hop community, in an odd turn. Who would have thought video games based off of bad kung-fu movies would have infiltrated the same communities that pride themselves on how many crimes they commit per fiscal year. Nevertheless, fighting games have grown in the community so much that we’ve seen tournaments played in areas that are also rife with hip-hop fans, such as Chicago, New York, and California, though once anything becomes popular it will arguably make its way to these locations anyway. The influences shared between fighting games and hip hop only serve to make the games more interesting and fun, particularly in sound design, such as T.J. Combo’s theme from the latest installment in Killer Instinct. The fighting genre has also shared a loving relationship with rock and metal music, as the player will notice while playing games such as Guilty Gear. The Street Fighter series has managed to incorporate more techno/electronic music into their games, while also meshing in traditional, almost stereotyped music depending on the fighters origin. Chun-Li’s has a very distinct oriental sound to it in comparison to say, Guile, an American.
One of the large criticisms of the fighting game is actually that it embraces stereotypes too much, as one will notice from playing absurd games such as Punch-Out. This was particularly evident due to Anita Sarkeesian pointing out a lack of “fat” fighters, or even fighters that split from the traditional concept of beauty in fighting games at large. While it is true that fighting games seldom see fighters that depart from the societal norm of traditional attractive qualities, many argue that fighting games should step away from that norm. Fighters at large were inspired by goofy, absurd kung-fu movies, and the 80’s action film. This leads to larger than life male characters, and slender, beautiful female characters. It’s basically a root of the game at this stage. I would also stress that inclusion of “fat” characters such as E. Honda in Street Fighter, or Bo Rai Cho in Mortal Kombat, is more often seen as a joke than a serious character anyways, and these games have built an empire on being emblems of the absurdly fit. Your character should look like a professional wrestling action figure that was put in the microwave for 20 seconds. It isn’t a sexual statement, or a jab at those who aren’t in the traditional standard of beauty, but an attempt at fulfilling the base needs of a fighting game. You shouldn’t relate to these characters, nor should you aspire to be them, in most cases. Frankly, the attempt to apply logic and a social and moral implications to games where one selects characters with the intent of beating each other to a bloody pulp is absurd.
Back to the actual structure of a fighting game though, each game can be distinctly separated from one another based on simple concepts the games apply. These include things like finishing moves, meters, or even how the game utilizes space, between a 2D or 3D space. For example, Guilty Gear uses a 2D plane for the fighters to move side-to-side, while Tekken uses a full 3d space, allowing the characters to move across a vast floor. Some of the different fighting games have become known for a single word because of how they handle these things. Mortal Kombat has become known for the “Fatality” an over the top finishing move that not only kills your opponent, but does so in a gruesome way, usually involving spilling blood all over the fighting plane. Dead Or Alive is known for the counter hold, where one blocks an opponents attack, and launches into a fluid counterattack, which punishes button-mashers mercilessly. Killer Instinct has the Ultra-Combo, another beautiful finishing move, which launches the victim into a lengthy and impressive combo that they can do nothing to stop.
Now allow me to wax poetic about the finishing move. I think finishers are undervalued in games in the modern era. Fatalities in Mortal Kombat feel great, and make you feel like your character selection actually mattered, as the fatality preformed depends entirely on which character you chose. Insta-kills in Guilty Gear add an interesting mechanic that makes it so the player losing the game has the power to turn the tide completely as long as they can get this one, incredibly challenging move off. A hit feels glorious, and a miss is demoralizing. It carries weight in a way that no other move in a fighting game does. I do not understand why the finishing move hasn’t been embraced more fully by the fighting genre, especially considering that one of the biggest aspects of the fighter is humiliation. From trash talk, to fatalities, to flawless victories, fighting games revolve around establishing superiority by humiliating your opponent. You can’t just be better than the other guy, you have to make them choke on it. You have to force them to realize your superiority. This is perfectly executed with a finishing move. Instead, we’ve seen an over abundance of the super meter.
The super meter is a gauge that appears on the screen that fills as the game moves forward. Actions like attacking, being blocked, or taking damage are typical meter builders, while Mortal Kombat pushes the bar further by awarding extra meters to more technical moves, such as counters, special moves, or wake-up attacks. the meter can be used by a fighter to enhance a special move, either through “meter burn,” as we see in Mortal Kombat, or “Shadow moves” as we see in Killer Instinct, break combos the opponent is building, or unleash a super move. While super moves are usually very satisfying, and involve character specific elements while dealing tons of damage, with the usual being around a third of a health bar, they don’t quite match the intense satisfaction of a finisher. I’ve personally started to use the super move as a stand-in for the finisher, to end a match with a bang, but it still never quite feels the same. Other games such as Injustice have incorporated a meter in new ways, such as a “Clash” system, in which the fighters invest a certain percentage of their meter to overpower their foe, gaining either a damage boost, or regaining health. Guilty Gear has also implemented the “Roman Cancel,” which allows a character to return to a base pose in the middle of a move, to allow the player to push their combos just a little further, by launching into a new combo, or capping things off nicely with a special move. The super meter can be seen as a “quality of life” adjustment to level the playing field in a way. Meter management has worked its way into the vernacular of the fighting community as well, to determine whether you should save the meter up for a big super move, or use it more liberally to land more enhanced specials.
There are some who say the implementation of the super move killed the fighting game, calling Street Fighter IV, one of the first to use the super move, “Baby’s First Fighting Game.” I however, disagree. I believe the super move created a bizarre schism in the fighting genre. The games that use the super move, such as Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, move one way, while those without, like Dead or Alive and Guilty Gear moved in another. The games without the super move have become known as more technical, while those with have become known as more casual. I think that is a fair sentiment, but it becomes unfair when we treat these games as “less than.” The communities rallying around each one continue to grow, and even if we do treat these as more casual or beginner friendly, I think that’s even more a reason to embrace them. Every player needs their first fighting game. For me, and many others, it was Street Fighter II. Some may not have come around until Mortal Kombat 9, which featured a super move, but arguably also featured an incredibly diverse cast of playable characters, each with intricate and involving movesets and finishing moves.
The ideal fighting game for me is very simple. All I seek is a diverse cast, with interesting characters, and completely individual movesets. I’ll be completely honest, Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator is the hardest I’ve ever gone into a game, and it was dead on arrival for an online community. The game features varying characters, each with entirely different movesets, with each special move being different and interesting, and the insta-kill system flawlessly featuring characteristics from each fighter, it’s a masterpiece. Couple that with sound design that feels like it should be there, each character having their own theme music that flawlessly matches both their personalities, and the intensity they bring to the fight. They managed to perfectly bridge the gap between giving me characters I could not possibly relate to, and characters I wanted to know so much more about, while still not straying from the absurdity that fighting games require, with characters named Sol Badguy, and Bedman, you know it’s got to be a little silly. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and as of yet, they have yet to shill out to the e-sports masses, and have managed to make a game two guys can play on a couch together.
In summation, fighting games just need to be fun, and bring variety to the table. The community is starving for interesting characters and intense game systems. As Capcom once said “Violence is a beautiful thing.” It truly is in the realm of a fighting game, which despite a rapidly changing culture, manages to live on. And please Capcom, let us talk trash at Evo again. Play more fighting games. Doctor’s orders.
Did you know that Runescape is still around? Did you know it has a problem of players farming gold just like what happens in World of Warcraft?
Dirk is angry about Game of Thrones finally getting good, Stev talks about his experience caucusing, Hillary Clinton blames Bernie for how the election went and the Paladins discuss mods breaking Skyrim.
Now I’m going to assume that a good majority of people that listen to our podcasts, get involved on our Facebook page, and follows us on Twitter know what I mean by competitive games and what falls under that category. If not, let me explain it to you.
Competitive computer games have you competing (who knew) against other players to obtain a rank in that certain game. Games like Overwatch, CS:GO, and League of Legends have a ranking system to determine your skill rating and match you against players that play at your own skill level. Of course, however, you can simply skip that process of ripping out your hair after every match due to a Genji who forgets what an objective is, your whole team forgetting what an objective is, and your jungler forgetting to pick smite at the beginning of the match. But, that’s the point to my main question, are ranked games healthy for gaming communities or do they turn their player base into salt mines?
TEAM COMP AND YOU
When I say atmosphere, I mean to say how everyone acts in that ranked system. Do they offer helpful tips during a fight or do they simply rage at you for not going for an optimized build and threaten to leave? In Overwatch, you don’t really get to build your character other than getting that sweet as fuck skin on your main. However, team composition matters in Overwatch, especially in rank games. Counter picking, situational awareness, and map awareness go into account whenever you pick a hero in Overwatch. Does this map have a good chokepoint as the enemy team escorts that payload? Bastion, Torbjorn, or Symetra can turn a simple hallway into a deathtrap. Wide open spaces during a king of the hill map? Flankers like Tracer, Reaper, and Pharah can get around, behind, and right in the middle of an enemy team and harass them off the point. But what if you don’t want to use any of those heroes? Maybe you want to flaunt that shiny new Sombra skin when your team doesn’t need Sombra. Your team will tell you either to switch out to another character or someone else will just save the team the trouble and switch out themselves. Or they’ll call you bad, flame you for losing the point, and threaten to report you or they simply leave.
Now, when playing any game, your goal is to win. Everyone wants to win, even if they’re not doing very good. But, in ranked play, that want elevates to a need. A need that many players will outright quit a match they think they’re going to lose so they can get to the next game. While part of the blame goes towards how easy it is to leave a match with little to no repercussion in normals, in ranked games it results in a soft ban (a wait time before you can re-queue) and lose of competitive points that can knock you down a rank. You’d think that the potential of being knock down a rank would make people think twice before leaving a losing match. But, you’d be surprised how many people leave before the match evens starts. If they see that someone doesn’t want to switch to a character they want that player to play as, they will simply leave the match, forcing everyone back into queue. If someone died while on the point, they’ll scream at them because they think they’re bad and should uninstall. Meanwhile, when he dies, he’ll blame the healer and start to troll because “if we’re going to throw, then I’ll stop caring”. When you hear someone raging over the mic, it makes you cringe and makes you wonder if the rest of the community is like this. I’m not saying the Overwatch community as a whole is toxic, but, as they say, the loudest minority becomes the majority. And, to emphasis on that point, I bring you League of Legends.
WELCOME TO LEAGUE OF LEGENDS, I HATE YOU, PLEASE DIE
League of Legends, where pro players are born, dreams die, and a Korean will always be better than you. League of Legends, by far, is one of the most influential MOBA titles to pop up in a while. The variety of heroes, the build options, and the multitude of plays available makes it an esports classic. Watch a League of Legends match once and listen to the crowd as a big team fight happens, people live for that stuff. So, why do people despise the gaming community? It all has to do with how a player goes from zero anger to levels of anger we’ve never seen before. I’ll share with you one of the most toxic moments I have ever seen in League of Legends.
When I first started off in League, I sucked hard core. I had no idea what I was doing, I’d build tank items on someone who wasn’t a tank, I’d accidentally use abilities with long cool downs when they weren’t needed, and I was generally a terrible player. But, it was alright, I was with people that were just as equally terrible and they all knew that we were all learning. And I liked that, especially when you’d get a veteran player who would make a lower level account to help people get to max rank on their accounts. They’d share helpful hints with everyone, ally or enemy, and some of them were generally nice people. Fast forward a few years and I’m a fairly decent player now, although I took a small hiatus due to college starting up. Now, by this point, I had never played in a ranked game before and my friends always said “be careful playing ranked, you’re going to get some assholes at your current level of skill.” I just laughed it off and said I’ll be fine. I get into a ranked game and I wanted to take the position that no one else wanted. Back then, you’d have to type in chat what position you wanted to take in chat really quickly to get the position you wanted. I wasn’t very good at that, so I got the less popular positions, like support. As we were discussing what champs we should pick, I just see someone type in all caps “PICK JANNA SUPPORT OR I TROLL” The chat goes silent. I was already hovering over Janna, a hero I really wanted to get good at anyways. So, I picked Janna and just kind of got up from my computer to grab a drink from the fridge.
When I came back, the guy had flooded the chat box with stuff like “I WANT MID, GIVE ME MID OR FEED.” That sort of stuff. We start the game and the first few minutes were pretty good, we got first blood, the guy I was playing with got a good early game item, things were cool. When it gets to mid game, this player, we’ll call him Greg, starts to signal that he’s coming to our lane. We start fighting, Greg is going all over the place; he was playing a samurai anime guy called Yasuo, so of course he was trying to do anime stuff. As he’s about to kill a guy, I accidentally use and ability that kills the guy he’s about to kill. I say my bad and I start going to back to base to heal up. From out of no where, this guy starts flaming me. He starts claiming that I was trolling, that I need to die, and he starts telling the enemy team that I am trolling. Of course, the enemy team just says meh, free win. This angers Greg to the point where I can feel his anger emanating from the screen. I felt terrible because he was just freaking out over one kill. Then, in a ranked game, he starts to intentionally killing himself by going into fights that he couldn’t win. He’d ping me from across the map saying is this what you want and everyone else was just in shock of how this guy was acting.
Luckily, we won that match, we say GG. Then, it happens, he goes off again. Greg’s caps key must be broken or something. Suddenly, I get a friend request from him. I wanted to say I’m sorry that you thought I was trolling anyways, so I accept this request. Bad move on my part as most of his stuff was death threats. I just kind of sit there and read these messages. “Hey”, I typed, “We won didn’t we? I guess we didn’t need you after all of that.”
I don’t know what exactly happened, but I think Greg got banned before he responded. I tried looking for his profile and it said it didn’t exist. I felt happy.
But, this story has a point. League of Legends can have some very nice people and some really terrible people. And, sadly, enough that sort of attitude leaks into normal games where they want to win, no matter what. That sort of attitude is the reason why a lot of people are starting to move away from ranked games. Greg is probably not even the worst player I’ve ever encountered and I’m sure that there are worse people that play that game.
I HAVEN’T PLAYED CS:GO YET
And I never will.
Now, I don’t want to say that ranked systems are bad and should feel bad. I do feel like the players of those games sometimes give off a vibe that no one really likes and that puts people off from playing the game in general. Has a gaming community ever made you walk away from the game before even picking it up? Let us know in the comment below.
Dirk saw a video showing how bad a tech journalist was at playing Cuphead in a way that was confusing. While they admit the video has shown shame, it does bring up a problem with publications that want us to take them seriously.
Wanna hear Mitch and Dirk fight over a movie? If so, you’re in for a treat. Today, we discuss cult classing movies, how great Blade Runner is and the time Dirk egged on a street preacher.