Why We Fight: A Perspective on the Competitive FGC
August 22, 2012
I suppose that if you are into the fighting game subculture, you would know names like Justin Wong, Daigo, Combofiend, or ChrisG. But do you know someone called Joestar? Of course not, he’s what we call in the fighting game community, “free and a scrub.” Just another cannon fodder for most. I guess I should start by introducing myself. Hi, I’m Joey, otherwise known as Joestar in the fighting game community.
I was approached by Mash Those Buttons to write a piece on how someone can make a transition from being a casual player into a competitor that participates on the competitive circuit. Now, there is a lot of material out there written by better players than I, so I assume you’re wondering what I can offer to you. Think of it this way: I am not a top player, and I have no obligation to continue to participate in the tournament scene. My choice to compete deals with me alone; I believe, for most casual players trying to be more serious, there is no one more difficult to play against than yourself. Things change once you have taken that love of fighting games into the tournament scene. Oh, and what a scene it is.
It’s like someone flipped the “Silent Hill” switch in competitive gaming. It is a place where you’re both welcomed with open arms and vilified for your skills. It’s a sodium-saturated battlefield, forged by egos and occasional monetary loot. For those starting in the scene it is also a precarious road, riddled with pitfalls. I am not trying to dissuade or scare anyone from the tournament scene. I honestly feel there is no place like the Fighting Game Community. With competition based on our most primal instincts, it’s hard not to get caught up in the hype of these digitized examples of Darwinism.
That’s what really makes or breaks someone from continuing on this tournament scene, and what ultimately every casual player faces when making that transition. It’s knowing that the only obstacle you have to face is yourself. Every dropped combo or every lost game is the summation of every skipped practice, and there is no one else to blame but yourself. That the only person you really are fighting against is yourself, and for most, this feeling of self-blame never goes away. Before any buttons are pressed, before any tournament brackets are made, the fight has already begun; a point of origin of the routes of a match can be found, alongside the different factors that drive a competitive player to fight.
For most, it’s not about the money. Whether a player is a tenured fighter or someone who is just starting out in the tournament scene, all players ultimately seek the same illusion: invulnerability. It is a sensation that overwhelms the hominal desire of self-preservation and unleashes a recklessness that is essential for success in the heat of battle, and what our tribe-like fight club derives “hype” from. It is the feeling of greatness. It is the same reason why any of us started playing in the first place. From there, we can see the very different routes we have taken to try to make the illusion of invulnerability into our reality. Whether our victory is exacerbated by screaming onlookers, a million stream-monsters, or just knowing you bested some scrub, the reasons have never changed from day one.
We play, we fight, we compete…
Simply wanting to feel…
[Image Source: FightVG.com]