Oh, me? I'm just some guy, you know?
Alternatively: I'm a 26-year-old student at the University of Memphis, majoring in Japanese, minoring in Weeaboo, with a certificate in being ridiculously nerdy. Inexplicably, everyone I meet in real life seems surprised that I am a nerd at all. I play just about every genre of games out there, with an especial focus on stultifyingly intricate RPGs and soul-shatteringly hard action games. I listen to a vast array of bands that bring me glee when I hear their sounds, and have a slim chance of overjoying me again when I meet someone else who's heard of them. I take and enjoy philosophy courses. I read obscure English poems. As my handle may indicate, I'm obsessed with Voltaire. I watch a whole lot of anime. I'm developing a penchant for beer snobbery. I'm writing short stories whenever I have time. I am prone to bouts of self-criticism and navel-gazing. I am painfully self-aware. I am, in short, nerdiness personified.
I don't hang around IRC much anymore, but I'll keep this ancient cockboard down there as a memorial to some truly rad people I don't see these days.
So, I have a problem. Itís called masochism. There are some genres of games that I love. I love playing them, watching them, and everything associated. And I also suck balls at some of these genres. Specifically, fighters. My name is Pangloss, and I have a problem.
AUDIENCE: HEY, PANGLOSS.
So, where to start? I enjoy fighting games, for various reasons. I of course love exhibitions of martial prowess, which is certainly on display here. And being the manly dude that I am, I love the fierce competitive aspect that fighters revolve around. And I love watching excellent players of fighters ply their skills. But I am not among their number. I am not even a ďgoodĒ player. A brief youtube search reveals that much.
Thereís this thing, a difficulty curve to these games. And oh [indeterminate deity of your choice], is it ever steep. SNK, Capcom, et alia all have a rather large-ish volume of fighters, and I love them all. And I am far, far away from achieving anything approaching decency in any of them.
I should explain. Being ďgoodĒ and/or ďbadĒ at these games depends largely on what sort of level you play at. And on one level, I probably qualify as ďnot half-badĒ. Whenever I pick up a new fighter, I quickly gravitate (within, say, an hour or so of play) to a level of competent mediocrity. Among friends who play only casually, say, when company is over, I generally dominate without much effort, to the point that nobody wants to play with me anymore. They think Iím good at these games.
No, they are dead wrong. I know better. I have seen people who are truly good at these games (who no doubt have other players that can make them feel inadequate). I have been dominated by the third AI opponent in line on the old SNK arcade games. Iíve looked at the FAQs, at the combo lists Iíll never master. Iíve tried network play, teeming as it is with fresh vistas of humiliation. Oh yes, I know where I stand here.
And even though I am aware of my place, I still love fighters. I picked up BlazBlue the week it launched, and I adore it so far. And Iím still not good at it. The pain that is always attendant with network play is still fresh in my mind. As per my usual pattern, I quickly attained level 13 on Live, and hit a streak where everyone was better than me. And the AI can still demolish me when it takes a shine to the notion. Three days before this Monthly Musing theme was announced, I had the message of my status in fighters drilled home once again, when I bravely volunteered to host BlazBlue for 360 FNF. And had the pleasure of my fellow Dtoiders grinding me into the dust. Repeatedly. Sweet Odin, Iíd never even SEEN a well-played Carl Clover before.
But Iím committed, now. Iím trying to get better. Iím studying over at Dustloop every other day or so now. It makes my head hurt, but Iím learning, I think. Iím practicing more, and itís hard to tell whether Iím improving at all, but I, well, I think Iím getting better? I think Iím on my way (dinged level 15 the other day! Woo!), but for now, Iím just going to accept my status in the world.
My name is Pangloss, and I suck at fighting games. And I enjoy it.