Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Getting Started with Street Fighter

David Sirlin has already written a wonderful book called Playing to Win which explains the competitive mindset that you must have before you can successfully be competitive in any game. He has a much better grasp on the subject than I do, but if you just want a summary, read on. However, I highly recommend reading his book in its entirety at some point. It's free!

Competitive Street Fighter is very difficult. There's a multitude of barriers to overcome before you can be at a level that can be considered "good". In this post, I'll do my best to explain what some of these barriers are and the most efficient ways to tear them down, brick by brick. (They are not listed in any particular order.)

#1 Physical

I included this simply because it needs to be stated; you obviously need physical access to the game i.e., you must own the game, the console it runs on, a TV, and a controller to play the game. Now that that's out of the way...

#2 Paradigm

This barrier represents a constant challenge for most new players. You have to let go of mental constructs that hold you back. There is nothing you can't achieve. There is no "cheap", there is no "broken". There is only the game and how you manipulate it. If you see a move like Abel's Breathless ultra and think "that's cheap", then you have not yet overcome the barrier of Paradigm. The correct thought would be: "Breathless is a good move. Perhaps it's much better than most moves in the game. But the game will not change just because I don't like it. I must learn the counter to Breathless and apply it. If for some reason countering it is especially difficult, maybe I should learn Abel. That is, If Abel truly represents the clearest path to victory."

#3 Execution

Practice, practice, practice. It doesn't matter if you know what you're supposed to do at a particular moment. What matters is that you are able to do it at a moment's notice, without thinking about it. Throw teching, option selects, BnB combos, punishing on reaction, hit-confirming…
Having good execution cannot be understated as a requirement. For help on practicing execution, see the next post titled "What to practice in Training Mode".

#4 Psychological

No matter how good you are, Street Fighter is a 2-player game. Any skill you have can be matched by your opponent. In every matchup and situation, you must demonstrate the ability to get into your opponent's mind and deter him from winning. He is surely doing the same to you. If you cannot condition your opponent, you will not be able to survive the highest levels of play.

#5 Geographical

This is almost as important as #1. What good is Street Fighter if you have no one to play it with? More specifically, how can you hope to beat someone like Filipino Champ if you can't beat Joe Schmo down the street? You need access to a player base in order to get your skills going. Online play is a reasonable substitute, but also a bad one, for reasons I will outline in a later post. For now, just keep in mind that online play will not fully prepare you for offline tournaments unless your opponents have good adaptation skills (and they won't, at least the vast majority won't).

No comments:

Post a Comment