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Fighting Games

Fighting games and roguelikes are my personal school of hard knocks

May 26 // Nic Rowen
Titles like The Binding of Isaac, FTL, Nuclear Throne and (my latest obsession) Darkest Dungeon make it their business to stymie and frustrate your futile attempts to get to the credits screen. They delight in throwing a wrench into the works, tearing apart promising looking runs or dungeon crawls with a few merciless rolls of the RNG. They move around the win conditions and goalposts from the traditional idea of “I gotta get to the end and dunk on the last boss!” to “oh God, please just let me survive a little longer this time.” Victory isn't just marked by, well, victory, but by discovery and learning. Seeing a new enemy, figuring out a new trick or strategy, and learning to avoid whatever awful thing killed you last time. Those small successes are what dubs a run a win. It's tough to turn that switch that demands progression off in your brain. It has been dutifully conditioned by years of games where victory is the expected outcome. But it's those wild unfair swings in a roguelike that completely mess you up that makes them so satisfying. The emotional roller-coaster of suddenly losing a beloved party member, or picking up an item that completely gimps your current build, or getting screwed by a few unlucky rolls that leave you facing almost certain doom. These factors that push you out of your comfort zone and force you to come up with new strategies broaden your horizons, you have to think about the game and really consider all of your options rather than relying on one or two recipes for success. Those runs that truly are hopeless? Well, they just let you appreciate the good ones a little more. It took me a long time to realize it, but fighting games are much the same when you get right down to it. While you always want to win a fight, just adding more notches to your W/L ratio isn't, and shouldn't be, the goal. What you really should be aiming for is learning. When Street Fighter IV came out, I was very hot-to-trot for some online play. I remembered dominating at SFII in grade school, all the hours I sunk into collecting every ending in Alpha 3 on the PS1, the times I used to rush through Marvel Super Heroes on one quarter in the arcade. I thought I was good at fighting games, and was looking forward to a chance to prove it. I swagged online like I was O'Hara from Enter the Dragon, obnoxiously breaking boards in front of Bruce Lee like it meant something. My fights ended up going about as well as his did -- Boards, and CPU opponents, don't hit back like the real deal. [embed]292757:58670:0[/embed] I'll be completely honest, I almost quit playing fighting games at that point. Nobody likes to lose, especially when you're losing at something that used to be a point of pride for yourself. Thankfully, despite its rough and tumble exterior, the fighting game community actually has a great attitude about these things. EVERYBODY loses. It's what you take away from those losses and how you come back from them that defines you as a player. Shortly after SFIV came out, I was introduced to David Sirlin's Playing to Win, a book that is all about the philosophy of fighting games and is as close to a bible for the fighting game community that exists. I remember when I first read it I distinctly thought “this guy is an asshole.” Playing to Win can be a very abrasive read if you come from a background of playing fighting games for fun. If you ever thought your next door neighbor was cheap for constantly sweeping in Mortal Kombat 2, or angrily called someone a “spammer” for repeatedly tossing out fireballs from across the screen, or think there is such as thing as too many throws in one round (a philosophy I can no longer recognize except in direct reverse), Sirlin's opinions will probably rub you the wrong way. These self-imposed rules and ideas about how the game should be played are the foundation for what he considers a “scrub mentality,” a mental framework that will always limit how far you can go in fighting games, and ultimately, how much joy you can derive from them. Embarrassingly, I saw a lot of that “scrub mentality” in myself. The way I'd get angry at “coward” Guile players for tossing endless sonic booms, or frustrated with people constantly choosing the blatantly over-powered emperor of Muay Thai, Sagat, for easy wins. But when you stop looking at what other players are doing as “cheap,” and start looking at your losses as learning experiences rather than straight out defeats, a lot of that frustration evaporates. It takes real effort and time, but when you internalize that outlook, fighting games become less stressful, more enjoyable, and infinitely more beautiful. Of course people are going to throw sonic booms as Guile, he's a machine made by the Air Force to do exactly that. It may be true that Sagat (or whatever character) is over-powered and easier to win with and disproportionally popular as a result, but how can you blame people for making a choice that will tip the odds in their favor? You have that choice and opportunity too, and if you decide to stick with a different character you'll just have to make peace with the fact that you'll run into tough matches and try and develop a strategy to deal with them. You can either get frustrated, stomp around, and quit/uninstall the game forever, or you can thicken your skin. Learn how to roll with the punches, and take something away from the mistake. Either figure out ways to avoid it in the future, or come to peace with the idea that sometimes things are out of your control. These are not new concepts, ideally we should always be trying to find the positive side to a set-back or learn from a mistake. But to me, at least, nothing else crystallizes the idea of learning from a loss into a rock hard truth than pitiless rougelikes and fighting games. And after spending so many years immersed in both genres, I like to think that I've been able to take those lessons and apply them to other areas of my life. It's not always easy, and I won't claim to be some kind of Zen master who never gets frustrated, but I know I'm definitely a more patient person now than I was five years ago.
Learning from failure photo
Learning from my (many) failures
The last few years of games for me have been all about defeat. Constant, unending, expected defeat. I think I'm better for it. It wasn't always like that. In fact, for most of my life, games have been all about completion, vi...

SFV photo
SFV

Street Fighter V will be playable for the first time next month


At CEO
May 25
// Chris Carter
CEO (Community Effort Orlando) is an annual fighting game tournament held in Orlando Florida, and this year, they have quite a bit announcement in store for fans -- Street Fighter V will be playable for the first t...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Tanya will make it to Mortal Kombat X in 'early June'


Or his name ain't 'Boon'
May 25
// Chris Carter
Way before the game released (because that's how WB rolls), we knew the contents of the $30 Mortal Kombat X Kombat Pack. Jason Vorhees has already been released, but Tanya, who made an appearance in the game's story mode...
Ultra Street Fighter photo
Ultra Street Fighter

Ultra Street Fighter IV PS4 supports PS3 fight sticks


1080p, 60fps
May 22
// Steven Hansen
If you thought that the announcement of Street Fighter V meant that, finally, Capcom couldn't squeeze out another Street Fighter IV release, you were wrong. Ultra Street Fighter IV is coming to PS4 May 26 packed in with all t...
Eurovision photo
Eurovision

Six months later, Guilty Gear Xrd: Sign comes to Europe


Eurovision
May 22
// Steven Hansen
Things are going your way right now, Europe. That whole Eurovision thing is going on and you're finally getting Guilty Gear Xrd: Sign, which Chris totally loved when it came out in the US back in December.  Plus, you hav...
2D will ride again! photo
2D will ride again!

More footage from the new 2D Dragon Ball Z fighter


2D will ride again!
May 22
// Steven Hansen
Last month we finally got a look (in video form) at the new 2D Dragon Ball Z fighter from BlazBlue developer Arc System Works. One month ahead of its Japanese release date, Bandai Namco has released another decent length loo...
Guilty Gear XX Accent photo
Guilty Gear XX Accent

Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R comes to Steam on May 26


Heaven or Hell port?
May 21
// Chris Carter
Guilty Gear fan? You'll get a chance to check out another iteration on Steam come May 26. Arc System Works has confirmed to Destructoid that Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R will make its way to Steam next week. I...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X just got two hotfixes, another is on the way


Ermac, Kenshi, and Cassie Cage fixed
May 21
// Chris Carter
Netherealms is chugging along at 200 miles an hour, bullet train style, with both DLC and hotfixes for all three current versions of Mortal Kombat X. After scrambling to fix the PC edition of the game, they're also moving on ...
Smash Bros. photo
Smash Bros.

Smash Bros. player is being bounty hunted


Kick his ass for cash
May 21
// Laura Kate Dale
If you're a competitive Super Smash Bros. player, chances in in the last year you may have started hearing a lot about Gonzalo "Zero" Barrios. Appearing somewhat out of nowhere, he has come first in every single one-on-one Sm...
Scummy Warner Bros. photo
Scummy Warner Bros.

The false advertising of Mortal Kombat's Kombat Pack


Leave it to the kings of DLC
May 20
// Jed Whitaker
Warner Bros. is notorious for its preorder, DLC, and season pass bullshit, and Mortal Kombat X's Kombat Pack is no exception. Nicolas Jones sent us a tip about how he asked WB Games Support why the Kombat Pack didn't include all the DLC for the current season, as there have been various costume packs released that aren't included. WB's response:
KFC game photo
KFC game

KFC takes us through the life of Colonel Sanders in a game


Double Down Browntown
May 20
// Darren Nakamura
Colonel Sanders lived an interesting life. In an attempt to bring him back into the public eye, fast food chain KFC wants to tell the story of his life, though it seems like it might be embellished a bit in the free minigame ...
Marvel-ous photo
Marvel-ous

Dead or Alive 5 gets superhero costume set


Marvel-ous
May 19
// Steven Hansen
Not as on the nose as the Senran Kagura cross over and a bit more creative than the many "as few clothes as possible" packs, Dead or Alive 5 Last Round (the fourth, final iteration of Dead or Alive 5) debuted its super hero ...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X is nearly as popular as Ultra Street Fighter IV at Combo Breaker


A very small difference at the moment
May 19
// Chris Carter
The hyped has worked out for Mortal Kombat X it seems. It's done well both critically and commercially, and the fighting game community has taken a liking to it professionally as well. According to lead organizer Rick Th...
M. Bison photo
M. Bison

M. Bison was revealed today in Street Fighter V, of all days


For him...
May 19
// Chris Carter
Like there was any doubt Street Fighter V would ship without M. Bison? Capcom, by way of IGN, has revealed the character with a brand new gameplay trailer. You'll find plenty of psycho-action and some really neat p...
BRASIL photo
BRASIL

Mortal Kombat X gets, uh, Brazil costume pack


Not the movie
May 19
// Steven Hansen
Ok, look. I did pay $.99 for a PSN avatar once. An Italian-flag-colored LittleBigPlanet sackboy back in whatever World Cup when LittleBigPlanet was still a thing. Probably 2002 or something. Still! Mortal Kombat X's Ed Boon t...
Jack photo
Jack

Jack the robot is back in Tekken 7 as Jack-7


Too seven for me
May 15
// Chris Carter
While Yoshimitsu has undergone some sort of Cthulhuian ritual to turn into a squid, Jack will be returning as the same old robot you're familiar with. On May 19 the arcade edition of Tekken 7 will be getting Jack-7. His...
Evoland 2 photo
Evoland 2

Evoland 2 is part shmup, part platformer, part RPG, part puzzler...


Cute little microcosm
May 14
// Jordan Devore
After watching this debut trailer for Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder, I regret missing the first game. The basic concept of an adventure that evolves from 2D to 3D and spans multiple genres is the s...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Is that Brock Lesnar in Assassin's Creed Syndicate?


Bloody well looks like it
May 13
// Vikki Blake
An eagle-eyed Kotaku reader has spotted a familiar - if unexpected - figure in the recent Assassin's Creed Syndicate stream: wrestler and all-round I-kick-asses-for-a-living-dude, Brock Lesnar.  To check it out for yours...
FGC photo
FGC

Fighting game streamer has his equipment stolen


Latest in a growing trend
May 11
// Joe Parlock
Panda, a well-known fighting game streamer and commentator, has had his equipment and personal belongings stolen following the recent Texas Showdown tournament. Panda, who has over 30,000 followers on Twitch.tv, made a series...
Killer Instinct photo
Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct's final Season 2 character is a CEO


Send in the drones
May 08
// Jordan Devore
Season 2 of Killer Instinct gave us a golem, a sorcerer, and a Japanese ghost, among other characters. Who's next? The CEO of UltraTech. ARIA may be an artificial intelligence, but that's not about to stop her from getting ph...
Jason photo
Jason

Jason's Mortal Kombat X Fatality is such classic Jason


Call him Mr. Brightside
May 08
// Brett Makedonski
Through decades of cinema, Jason Voorhees has been painted as a relentless killing machine. This Mortal Kombat X video which shows off the famed slasher's moveset accomplishes the exact same. The likes of Goro and Scorp...
Tekken 7 photo
Tekken 7

Yoshimitsu is coming to Tekken 7


Wow, really? I'd never have guessed
May 08
// Joe Parlock
Yoshimitsu’s turned into a weird mix of Cthulhu, a Xenomorph, NiGHTS, and Frieza from Dragonball for his appearance in Tekken 7. The video released by Namco shows him in all of his swordy, hovery, self-stabby glory; a...
Oops photo
Oops

Huge Mortal Kombat X patch meant to fix PC problems deletes save data


Oops
May 05
// Steven Hansen
Yesterday, NetherRealm's Ed Boon promised "huge improvements" for the PC version of Mortal Kombat X, which does not work as well as the console version. This came in the form of an extensive 15GB patch, detailed here. Unfortu...
MK X PC improvements photo
MK X PC improvements

NetherRealm promises 'huge improvements' for the PC port of Mortal Kombat X


About bloody time
May 05
// Nic Rowen
Mortal Kombat X on PC has been like an extremely tasty looking bowl of soup that is way too hot to eat. Every time I try and take a sip, I get a mouthful of scalding molten pain (laggy, unplayable matches being the metaphoric...
Killer Instinct photo
Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct fans maxed out the community fund in under 72 hours


$50K is going to EVO 2015
May 04
// Jordan Devore
Last week, Iron Galaxy Studios said that for a limited time, it would funnel up to $100,000 in revenue generated by digital sales of Killer Instinct into the game's tournament scene. Players had two weeks to reach that cap bu...
SoulCalibur news photo
SoulCalibur news

Who's your favorite SoulCalibur fighter? Team teases 'something huge'


369, damn I'm fine
May 04
// Steven Hansen
Project Soul is doing a thing. Probably developing SoulCalibur VI. On the team's Facebook page, it's asking fans to weigh in on the, "future of SoulCalibur" by voting in a month-long poll of your favorite series characters. M...
Mad Catz photo
Mad Catz

The next round of Mad Catz FightPads are coming with Street Fighter V


Wait until then
May 04
// Chris Carter
While arcade sticks are generally the preferred way to go for a lot of fighting game fans, there are a lot of people out there who like to play on pads. Mad Catz has done well by those enthusiasts for some time now, with its ...
Jason Mortal Kombat X photo
Jason Mortal Kombat X

Jason Voorhees and the Horror Pack are out tomorrow for Mortal Kombat X


$7.99 for the bundle or part of the Season Pass
May 04
// Chris Carter
The season of DLC is upon Mortal Kombat X, less than a month after its launch. In addition to a ton of day-one DLC, the Jason Voorhees character add-on is out tomorrow for Season Pass owners, with a few confusing pricing opt...
Combat Core photo
Combat Core

Cryamore artist lends talent to Combat Core, a Power Stone inspired fighter


Work in Progress arena fighter brings in top talent
May 03
// Jonathan Holmes
[Update: It turns out that Skullgirls co-creator Alex Ahad is also working on character designs for Combat Core. Is that a crossover I smell?] Most of the time when Destructoid posts something about the revival of a old Capc...

We crunched the numbers: Pacquiao wins tonight's fight (according to Smash Bros.)

May 02 // Brett Makedonski
The thing about these kind of events is that they really lend themselves to gambling. The fight's in Vegas, which will naturally draw a lot of action. But, more important than that, a fair contingent will look to bet because it's the quickest way to go from interested to invested. Without loss or gain on the line, it's an occurrence for casual viewing; putting money down makes it personal. Lucky for you, we have the inside track on any legal (or otherwise) wagering you want to do. Pacquiao wins, but it's a nail-biter. Plunk down cash now without a fret in your mind. This is as good as gold. We counted your chickens for you. How do we know? Super Smash Bros. told us. But, it took some science. We set Darren up behind a set of boiling beakers and test tubes. We outfitted Steven in an ill-fitting lab coat. Jordan shouted "We need empirical data, dammit!" over and over again. Chris cried in the corner. Eventually, our sciencing paid off. The simulation took place between two computerized Little Macs. Since Mayweather and Pacquiao are the best in the world, we cranked their skill levels up to nine. We decked Pacquiao out in red, white, and blue trunks to symbolize the Filipino fighter's national flag. Mayweather's in the standard Little Mac garb because it had a lot of green. That's for money. Because Mayweather likes to throw around a lot of money. Since the boxers are scheduled for a 12-round match consisting of three-minute rounds, we found it appropriate to let them duke it out in a 36-minute marathon match. No items allowed -- just fists of fury. The arena was a source of contention. The boxing ring holds up thematically. However, given what it's taken to get this fight to happen, Final Destination also seemed appropriate. We were also worried about the extra space in the boxing ring stage. Chances are slim-to-none that Mayweather and Pacquiao will take the brawling up the ramp, much less on top of the lighting rig. Ultimately, we went with the boxing ring. It was just too perfect for these two ferocious fighters. With all the details squared away (organizing a boxing match is hard!), it was time to get down to action. Pacquiao dealt the first blow as he took the initial stock. However, as one might expect, these skilled combatants went back and forth, no one really gaining an edge. That trend wouldn't hold up, though. Before long, Pacquiao pulled out to an eight to five lead, indicating that this might not turn out to be the coin flip we predicted. Mayweather was landing bigger punches, but Pacquiao was sealing stock, which is all that really mattered. Slowly but surely, Mayweather mounted a comeback. A lot of it was predicated upon rope-bouncing and ramp-fighting. If their well-trained strikes weren't so form-perfect, you might have mistaken this for a Chicago Street Brawl. At the 11-minute mark, Pacquiao was suddenly in trouble. He spent more time dodging, ducking, dipping, diving, and dodging than he did fighting. Mayweather was back, and he was landing K.O. after K.O. The tide had officially turned. Then, each fighter went on a flurry of small streaks. Two stocks here, three there. Time whittled down, and it was impossible to tell who was ahead. No one really outperformed the other noticeably. With 30 seconds left, the lights came crashing down for the first time in the match, but both escaped unscathed. When the timer hit zero, the announcer held off on declaring a winner, instead booming "SUDDEN DEATH!" Holy shit. Two titans now at 300 percent damage, the next blow cementing both their places in history. There was no predicting what would happen, just the assurance that it would happen quickly. No more than seconds after sudden death began, it was over. Pacquiao landed a monster upper-cut and Mayweather almost instantaneously disappeared into a flash of light. The long-standing debate over who's a better fighter had a clear-cut answer. Appropriately, for all the carnage in the extraneous areas of the stage, the match was settled in the ring. The tale of the tape reflects the close-fought bout. Each fighter took 27 stocks from the other. Mayweather inflicted slightly more damage. Pacquiao landed one percent more of his blows. Although, Pacquiao took the belt, which is the statistic that's most important. [embed]291378:58412:0[/embed] For posterity's sake, we also felt it necessary to simulate what would happen in a first to one stock fight. After all, no self-respecting boxer gets knocked out 27 times in one match. Different circumstances, but same outcome. Pacquiao's the man. This news comes mere hours before the big fight, but we still implore you to make use of the empirical data. Jordan did too much work shouting to let it go to waste. Go ahead and bet the farm on Pacquiao. If you don't own a farm, rush out and buy one. Then, bet it. Pacquiao's leaving Vegas with that belt around his waist -- Little Mac has foretold it.
Mayweather & Pacquiao photo
Bet the farm
[Update: Oops, sorry about your farm!] Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are going to fight one another today. Any two other names, and it's a run-of-the-mill weekend where boxing continues to be relegated to the far c...


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