Hope everyone enjoyed the April fools day fun! Sadly I didn't get as much time to spend on Redditoid as I would have liked, but I always love the crazy April Fools bits Dtoid puts on. Not sure if anything will ever top last years OKdtoid though!
Glad to have Dtoid back to normal though. As much as I enjoy it when ThinkGeek turns one of their ridiculous fake products into something real, I would hate to see Dtoid pull a Pandarians like Blizzard did and let fervour and excitement pull them into making something exquisitely dumb.
But when it works, when you see a joke thing become real a real thing and it's totally awesome, that is a beautiful moment in time. Take PAX show stopper Divekick, the little two-button fighter that's managed to charm everyone its touched, inside the fighting community and out.
Divekick is doing super well for itself. Starting out as something made in Keit's basement to amuse his friends at EVO. A silly game where the titular pair of characters (Dive and Kick) had a move list solely composed of jumping and kicking (at a radical angle). It didn't just amuse the fighting nuts at EVO, it also tickled a nerve, a real core of competitive fun. Soon there is talk about making it a "real" thing. It develops a bit, adds new characters and mechanics, goes to a cancelled Kickstarter campaign, gets picked up by Dave Lang's IronGalaxy, and does quite well on Steam's Greenlight service. Divekick has gone from a joke to a serious product. So serious they are actually considering making the big goofy two-button "fightpads" seen at events available to fans.
- I love Dave Lang.
A big part of Divekick's success is that it manages to distill all the fun of a fighting game down to the bare minimum. You get all the high speed mind games of prediction, reaction, reading, and adapting of a serious fighting game, but with none of the messy complex systems or hours upon hours of training room practice. Anyone can jump in and have fun with the cool part of a fighting game while skipping all the work. It's brilliant.
If you listen to Keits and Dave Lang talk about the game, that's what they focus on now. Like it there was a master plan for it. Now I don't want to disparage Keits, he is a super smart guy and of course a huge fighting game nut (he runs SRK after all), but I do think it's odd that they really downplay the frankly critical origins of the game.
Divekick was created during a specific period of time when most of the popular fighting games were ruled by characters capable of performing divekicks (you could argue most popular titles are still dominated by divekickers). Games like SSFIV had Rufus, Seth, Yun, and Yang holding down high tier positions on the strength of their funny downward kicks. Wolverine was running rampant on Marvel with his dead angle craziness and other characters like Dr. "FOOTDIVE" Doom are still frequent strong contenders. Even MK9, a series not really known for divekicking shenanigans, was soon dominated by Kung Lao and his decidedly horizontal take on the kick that is also a dive.
Divekicks in a fighting game are often one of the most pesky techniques to deal with. Often very safe for the person throwing it out, and very deadly and hard to crack for the person on the receiving end. Whats worse, several of the characters listed could/can go into devastating combos off a successful divekick, taking out huge chunks of a health bar or even scoring a combo so devastating it could just kill the opponent from full health making the divekick a one-touch win for someone capable of it.
While it's been trimmed down a bit since, when Divekick was initially made, tournaments were swamped with players using the same divekick capable characters and matches were often determined by who could successfully connect with one first.
Now that isn't to say those games sucked or weren't interesting to watch, but Divekick's seeds were planted in a field of criticism. A slightly mean edged joke on the current fighter climate. Distilling a game down to just the characters that mattered (divekickers) and trimming out any distraction or useless fluff (everything else in a fighting game) to focus on scoring that one damn kick that would secure a win.
It's a funny bit that also happened to result in a crazy fun game. But to listen to them now, they tend to downplay that critical edge. Maybe it's because fighting games have moved on a bit (many of those characters have received nerfs in updates or new versions that make them not quite as overwhelmingly good) or maybe it's because they realized they were holding lighting in a bottle and didn't want smarmy commentary distracting from the fun. But to me, the fact that Divekick started as a somewhat barbed in-joke about the FGC only makes it better!
The Divekick guys should be proud of their iconocalstic roots! Punks not dead yet! Whether Divekick was made as a serious fighter clothed in criticitism from the get-go, or a joke that happened to result in a wonderful accident of fun, I think it's beautiful.
No matter what the experience was or which game or genre left that strong first impression, such experiences have the potential to open our eyes to the rich history of a series or genre. With any luck, we might find even more to love or something better. A great first experience with RPGs could lead to an undying love affair.
Sometimes a first kiss can be so impactful that the game gets placed on a pedestal and enshrined as a gold standard, which has its own pros and cons. I mean, it is nice to have a basis for comparison, but some folks take it too far. There are people who loved Half-Life, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, or Final Fantasy VII so much that nothing after them really got a fair shake.
So first impressions matter -- they can shape and inform our gaming habits. I grew up on arcades, Nintendo, handhelds, and eventually into RPGs, so much of what I play will be influenced by how I acquired my tastes. I probably like Overwatch a ton because it has a passion for RPG roles, but contextualizes them closer to older shooters focused on objectives more than gear builds and grinding out perks for better killstreaks.
So for this month's Bloggers Wanted, we'd like you head over to the community blogs write about your first kiss, the games that positively influenced you or maybe biased you a little too much for a time. What turned you on to a series or genre? Was it love at first sight? Did it set any expectations in stone or possibly lead you to something better?
Whatever the case might be, remember to use the title "First kiss" and place "Bloggers Wanted" in the tags!
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