Being curious & fond of quite a lot of things, Fighting Games have been one of the many many kinds I tried in the past, playing more or less seriously with friends, or even by myself. Tekken 3, Mortal Kombat 9, Naruto Clash of Ninja, Injustice, few Street Fighter games… I always settled for some characters of the cast, and learned how to play to the best of my hability, in order to be sure to always defeat everyone I knew.
Last year, working at the Meltdown – an eSport bar franchise, opening all around the World lately -, I witnessed players fighting in a very serious way & became pretty intrigued. An Ultra Street Fighter IV team tournament was coming up, and a friend obsessed with the game who swore to teach me registered for it. We eventually forgot about it. On the evening before, I was almost forced into buying USFIV, chosing a character, and training for the whole night. Having very little time before me, I selected around 10 characters that seemed interesting – selection solely based on character design. After a short description of each of them, I settled for one that stroke me as the perfect choice : El Fuerte, a mexican cook & Lucha Libre.
I had played that character before, when I knew nothing about the game. He was like the black sheep that wanted to break the rules. Fast, shouting food names, adorably dumb – always putting a smile on my face as a result. I knew that I would stick to that weird fella no matter what. Winning or losing, I would still enjoy playing. As weird as it may seem for outsiders, chosing a character in a fighting game has a lot to do with your personality.
What attracted me to the game was not the violence of throwing your virtual fist at your opponent, but everything that was behind that action. As many like to say, after a while we do not see two persons fighting anymore, but rectangles coming into contact with others – “hitboxes”. Violence is just a mean to serve the gameplay. It conveys that a battle is ongoing. And that battle is happening between two real persons. Deeply focused, holding your breath, your purpose is to get in your enemy’s head. Observe. Analyze. Create a strategy. Bait. Manage the distance between the two of you. Establish pressure to scare him into making a mistake. Drop his heath bar to zero.
Your hands have to follow as well, dexterity being an essential quality. You need experience. Train your moves. Train the way you push the buttons. Faster. Faster. Even faster. Repeat until it becomes an instinctive response.
Around that time, I was also watching tons of matches online to get familiar with the game. It made me really passionate, and it kept being interesting to watch two high level players fighting. That is how I started to be interested in traveling to real life tournaments, the feeling of fighting a person, seating right next to you, being completly different. Handling the pressure, the adrenaline… everything was feeling so great. Even in disappointement.
Here I am, a year later. Not a very good player. But a part of that huge family called FGC – Fighting Game Comunity – that became quite dear to me.