Playing to Win.

daiconv

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that's a pretty cool article. i know a few people that would probably benefit from reading that.

i never knew about that iceman glitch in MVC2
 

Darth_Jonas

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The guy brings up interesting points, but is generally full of himself. There is such a thing as a cheap player, but cheap in a different way than mentioned. He thinks someone who exploits the bugs in a game is not cheap, but I submit that it can be cheap. It sounds to me that he's the kind of player tha only knows the cheaper moves (like the Iceman combo), and can't win without them. I knew the Iceman trick, but I know how to win without it. I think the people he labeled as scrubs are really the ones who don't know the game well enough to win unless they use the overly powerful moves or simply don't know even that. True gamers can win the game no matter what the scrubs throw at them. The Iceman combo, for instance, can be countered by Colossus' special (the glitch is also in Xmen). Go into his special as soon as that little break occurs and you've flipped things around on him. I've always thought Wolverine is almost always designed for button mashers.

I also submit that there is an honor code among gamers, at least among the more seasoned gamers I've played, and especially in an arcade. I'm talking about those who refuse to exploit glitches such as one in Battlefield 2 that let's you go prone in mid-air and reap the benefit of the prone position instead of the inaccuracy of shooting and jumping.
 

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The only "bug" I found on my own was in the PS1 version of Marvel Super Heroes, that allowed me to do a 25 hit air combo with Spider-Man (without using a special). It exploited a slow down in the animation frame rate that didn't exist in the arcade version. And the only thing stopping the combo from continuing is the game preventing me from doing a third knock-up (spidey's feet go right through him at this point). If it's in the game, I consider it part of the game.

Now, there is poor sportsmanship in just demolishing someone, especially a scrub, and especially when their hard earned quarter is at stake. What fun is there in alienating someone from a game by just demolishing them?
 

ImagoX

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The problem with guys like that, in MY experience, is that they feel that crushing newbs and people that just play casually is some sort of "teaching tool". It's a question of motivation... Some people play "to win" at all costs, because that's how they define themselves. Without the "win", the game is meaningless. Other people might have different motives (like, say recreation). he asserts that top-end players have MORE fun, but I'd label it as a DIFFERENT kind of fun.

Either way, I disagree with his points about how a player that does not "play to win" is hindered by what he calls "artificial limitations" - he fails to recognize that, for some, it's truly not whether you win or lose but rather how you play the game. But hey, to each their own - what do *I* know? I'm one of them freaks that plays games for artificial pleasures like character, story, art and presentation, as well as to have a shared experience with friends. I, personally, don't feel that I'm any better (or worse) than a friend that maybe does something better or worse than I do in a game - what I really care about is that we enjoy ourselves in the process. Personally, despite his assurances that "top end players have morre fun", every time I see such players really getting into the game, I worry that one of them are going to have a stroke - veins throb in temples, obsecneties are thrown back and forth, people storm off only to return after "cooling off"... (shrug).

Sounds to me like his real issue is with whiners, and hey, I've certainly known people that "play to win" that are the biggest whiners of all. :cookiemon
 
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Darth_Jonas

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agreed, imago. The ones who are get upset the most are the ones who take it so extremely seriously. His attitude is derogatory towards those who aren't as ruthlessly intent on winning as he is.
 

spudlyff8fan

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The point is, though, that if you are not playing to win, or if you're playing just for fun, or calling cheap, then you just are not good at the game. If you're playing the game but NOT LEARNING, then you'll NEVER get good. If you say "hey...stop Hadoken-ing" then you'll never learn the many ways, and never get good.

But Imago, that's entirely for competitive gaming :p It wouldn't apply to, say, Katamari. But if you do consistently beat one of your friends in a game...then you're better then them at that game. As for the throbbing...the latest Evolution tourney wrapped up, and it celebrated its eigth anniversary of nobody dying. But when it comes to gaming, he should be full of himself. He's one of the best in the world.

As for Voice...that's not a glitch. That's just your opponent not recovering, combined with the general easiness of the game. I love Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter. It was the game that got me into fighting games. But really...every single one of the Capcom/Street Fighter vs Xmen/Marvel 1/2 are easy as hell (cept for maybe Marvel vs Capcom 2, which I've never played).

As for Jonas...I don't get what you're saying? Are you saying that the players should stop using combos? Or are they not good if they rely on combos? Because if the player knows the combos, and wins with them, then they're just plain the winner of the match. Really...you can't win a fighting game without the combos. The mid-air-prone glitch, though, might not be scrubbish. If the glitch is banned in tournament play, then it shouldn't be bothered with because since the best players are in tournies, the best players are forced to go without it and you should be striving to be the best. But for one as huge on fighting games as myself, I've encountered glitches that would BLOW YOUR MIND. Many of them are NECESSITIES to the best players. L-Cancelling and Wave Dashing in Smash Brothers come to mind. Many fast-fall glitches (like Iceman). Unblockables, and more. They're part of the game and should be used as such. You should prolly read this, too: http://www.sirlin.net/archive/playing-to-win-part-2-mailbag/
 

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I'll agree with you that, by definition, if you're playing in any event labeled as a "competition" that you should be there to win. That's not playing a game - that's competing. As such, any competition should have rukes about what is and is not allowed in that venue. As such, if a move is part of a game, then by definition, it can and should be used. I don't think you're ever going to hear someone in a chess match call his opponant "cheap" for using a certain gambit successfully, nor would a tennis player call his opponant "cheap" for realizing that they have difficulty with their short game and taking the ball to the net. that's just gamesmanship.

That said, anyone that would dedicate SO MUCH TEXT to his treatsie on the Do's and Do-Not's of gaming is certainly full of themselves. It's not a case of whether or not it's deserved IMHO - the true greats of all Sports are those players that not only are at the top of their profession, but who are also humble and show good sportsmanship. As much as "sore loosers" are reviled, people tend to hate a "sore winner" even more. Well, mabe not in basketball... Fans put up with an amazing ammount of hubris in a basketball player for some reason... :cookiemon
 

daiconv

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i think once you reach a certain skill level, every 2player fighter becomes competetive and to me, that's what makes it fun. Also because i come from a "pass the controller" school of fighting games, where there's a room full of people waiting for they're turn and if you lose, it will take about 30minutes before you get another turn.

But i don't think it's very fun to totally destroy someone that's inexperienced in the game, (unless they're really asking for it) but that may be from my own set of rules. for example, i'll consider it a handicap that they don't fully know how to play, so i'll tell them to put they're handicap stars up(ala street fighter), or i'll choose characters that i very rarely use.

that the whole being cheap thing never really bothers me, because there's always some way you can take advantage of it. for example, someone does five hadokens in a row guarantees that a sixth one is coming and leaves your opponent open for the counter.

and i've found that just like in basketball, playing against people that are more skilled than you makes you improve.

spuds, i can't beleive you've never played MVC2 before
 

spudlyff8fan

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It's called competitive gaming, Imago, which is what Starcraft, Quake, Unreal, America's Army, and just about every good fighting game ever fall into. And really, are we the ones to accuse people of being overly assertive over what's right and wrong with gaming, Imago? That IS what you and me are here for :p

And even so, he's entirely right about nearly everything. But really, sportsmanship makes you less-lovable as a player, but it doesn't do anything to your skill. Sirlin's skills, Daigo's skills, and Ortiz's skills are what make them undeniably some of the best players in the world. They can jump up and call people bitches and yell that they got OWNED after each match if they like, but they still just plain rule. But really, he didn't say anything arrogant or untrue in any of his articles.

But yeah, I've been playing DOA4 alot lately. About 80% of people just completely SUCK at that game. Very few of them want to make THEMSELVES BETTER. Most of them want to make OTHERS WORSE by calling "cheap" on other players. Almost no game has some huge, undefeatable tactic. And if it does, it's a broken game, and isn't worth playing multiplayer on.

And yeah, I never had a Dreamcast, so I missed out on a few key fighting games. MvC being one of them.
 

Darth_Jonas

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spudlyff8fan said:
The point is, though, that if you are not playing to win, or if you're playing just for fun, or calling cheap, then you just are not good at the game.

As for Jonas...I don't get what you're saying? Are you saying that the players should stop using combos? Or are they not good if they rely on combos? Because if the player knows the combos, and wins with them, then they're just plain the winner of the match. Really...you can't win a fighting game without the combos. The mid-air-prone glitch, though, might not be scrubbish. If the glitch is banned in tournament play, then it shouldn't be bothered with because since the best players are in tournies, the best players are forced to go without it and you should be striving to be the best. But for one as huge on fighting games as myself, I've encountered glitches that would BLOW YOUR MIND. Many of them are NECESSITIES to the best players. L-Cancelling and Wave Dashing in Smash Brothers come to mind. Many fast-fall glitches (like Iceman). Unblockables, and more. They're part of the game and should be used as such. You should prolly read this, too: http://www.sirlin.net/archive/playing-to-win-part-2-mailbag/

If you take the standpoint that you are in a tournament, then pulling out all the stops is more than fair, it's expected. If I'm hanging with friends, it takes the fun out of it if I just obliterate them over and over with the exact same moves. I can be excellent at a game, but just play it for fun. The "playing for fun/playing for blood" ratio always varies on how much others are enjoying themselves and how much smack is being talked (I love talking it up). I also tend to play games for storylines, characters and art (one of the reasons I love the Soul Edge series.)

And maybe instead of cheap, I should have stated shallow. I understand excellent gaming, perfecting the use of a character, and pushing the limits of your knowledge and mastery of the game against your opponents. What I find distasteful, shallow and... cheap... is when someone ONLY knows a single, extremely powerful move/power/combo. It's not only boring to play against them, but it annoys me when they use the cheapness agsinst players who are just trying to learn. The ones aspiring to learn, or just having fun, or are curious about a game and want to know what it's like will get turned off to a game when one of the ego-maniacs feels the need to crush the little guy. Of course that's when someone like myself likes to step in and humiliate them. (Asylum can testify).

The truth of it is that some of us are coming from the old school. Those of us veterans of the Great Age of Arcades know what it's like to drop a quarter and be playing alone or with equal skill levels and then have some jackass decide he wants to rule the machine. If no one is around who can match him, everybody leaves and the fun is spoiled. You pups who have always had a console to yourself have probably always played with others who had the same gaming mindset whether it is play for blood, fun, curiosity, or just screwing around. You don't understand what it means to be matched against someone who is playing for fun when you want to really throw down, or someone who is ready to go all gladiator when you just want to see what the game is all about.
 

ImagoX

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spudlyff8fan said:
And even so, he's entirely right about nearly everything. But really, sportsmanship makes you less-lovable as a player, but it doesn't do anything to your skill. Sirlin's skills, Daigo's skills, and Ortiz's skills are what make them undeniably some of the best players in the world. They can jump up and call people bitches and yell that they got OWNED after each match if they like, but they still just plain rule. But really, he didn't say anything arrogant or untrue in any of his articles..

Sportmanship makes you LESS likable as a player? Um... OK. Personally, I find all the trash talk and crap in sports nowadays a real turn OFF personally... I don't care of they DO have mad skills, going to sports events as a spectator is primarily ENTERTAINMENT, and I don't find overpaid one-trick-ponies being asswipes entertaining (especially with what tickets cost nowadays).

When gaming "went pro", with prizes and money and all that, it became a sport. Like any sport, some sponsors don't mind being associated with players that are jerkwads, so long as they can claim that it was their product that helped with the win. OK, fine, that's their choice... but I don't watch 2-Player "sports gaming" events either.

Outside of the rarified "competitions", being a jagoff is the worst thing imaginable. Not only does it basically make "fun" a limited commodity, one that only the "winner" gets to partake of, but it makes it so that other more casual players don't want anything to do with that person. Personally, I'd rather "not be good at a game" (whatever THAT means) and have a roomfull of people to play with rather than be the jerk that nobody wants to play. To the jerk, their isolation means that people are "too scared to step up and defeat him" and they can leave feeling like they ruled the room... Whatever. :cookiemon

Really all this means is that some people play games differently, and for different goals. Personally, I don't feel the need to prove my manhood by being "good" at a game - I already have offspring.

The truth of it is that some of us are coming from the old school. Those of us veterans of the Great Age of Arcades know what it's like to drop a quarter and be playing alone or with equal skill levels and then have some jackass decide he wants to rule the machine. If no one is around who can match him, everybody leaves and the fun is spoiled.

QFT
 
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spudlyff8fan

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Ok, if you're playing the game for the story/characters/artwork that doesn't even count because you're playing it to appreciate the nifty aspects of the game.

And maybe instead of cheap, I should have stated shallow. I understand excellent gaming, perfecting the use of a character, and pushing the limits of your knowledge and mastery of the game against your opponents. What I find distasteful, shallow and... cheap... is when someone ONLY knows a single, extremely powerful move/power/combo. It's not only boring to play against them, but it annoys me when they use the cheapness agsinst players who are just trying to learn. The ones aspiring to learn, or just having fun, or are curious about a game and want to know what it's like will get turned off to a game when one of the ego-maniacs feels the need to crush the little guy. Of course that's when someone like myself likes to step in and humiliate them. (Asylum can testify).
Ok if you're losing to the same thing over and over again, then you just plain need to learn how to beat it. There's no such thing as an extremely powerful move/power/combo that is entirely unbeatable (unless the game sucks).

And very often, a specific combo is utterly CRITICAL to a character. Would Akuma in Street Fighter Alpha 3 be anywhere near mediocre without his HK Tatsumaki then MP Shoryuken? No. He'd SUCK without it. Ken in Street Fighter 3 falls back on his overhead MK and HK and his crouching LK and MK for a check for his Shippu Jinrai Kyaku. He would SUCK without it. There are loads of characters like this. And who's to say when it's wrong to do this? Should we make it so you can't use the same combo twice in a row? Maybe 3 times in a row? Maybe once per round? Either way, that'd get so convoluted the game would suck. And yeah, there are dicks. Not every good player is a dick, and many people are more than willing to help your game. Plus, this is the internet and the era of Xbox Live. You can look at match videos and learn on your own.

The truth of it is that some of us are coming from the old school. Those of us veterans of the Great Age of Arcades know what it's like to drop a quarter and be playing alone or with equal skill levels and then have some jackass decide he wants to rule the machine. If no one is around who can match him, everybody leaves and the fun is spoiled. You pups who have always had a console to yourself have probably always played with others who had the same gaming mindset whether it is play for blood, fun, curiosity, or just screwing around. You don't understand what it means to be matched against someone who is playing for fun when you want to really throw down, or someone who is ready to go all gladiator when you just want to see what the game is all about.
What do you want him to do? Intentionally lose? I'm young, but I've played my share of Killer Instinct. I had a monstrous Combo game, somebody complained that it was cheap that I kept using a juggle and like an idiot, I felt bad. That set me back years in becoming good at fighting games. It boils down to you wanting to become better, instead of wanting them to become worse.

Sportmanship makes you LESS likable as a player? Um... OK. Personally, I find all the trash talk and crap in sports nowadays a real turn OFF personally... I don't care of they DO have mad skills, going to sports events as a spectator is primarily ENTERTAINMENT, and I don't find overpaid one-trick-ponies being asswipes entertaining (especially with what tickets cost nowadays).
Typo.

Outside of the rarified "competitions", being a jagoff is the worst thing imaginable. Not only does it basically make "fun" a limited commodity, one that only the "winner" gets to partake of, but it makes it so that other more casual players don't want anything to do with that person. Personally, I'd rather "not be good at a game" (whatever THAT means) and have a roomfull of people to play with rather than be the jerk that nobody wants to play. To the jerk, their isolation means that people are "too scared to step up and defeat him" and they can leave feeling like they ruled the room... Whatever.
In which case, you and everyone around you would just plain suck. You would "not be good at a game" because you'd be very easily killable. Like I said...become better, and you shouldn't be playing to let other players stand a chance. That only makes it so neither of you get any better at the game. Don't expect better players to play down to you. I'd be offended if I was playing a top-level player and s/he (well...he) wasn't trying.
 

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so wait, being good at a game makes me a jerkwad.

you make it sound as if "casual players" aren't the minority in "the room".
lucky for me, i'm pretty evenly matched with all my friends when it comes to fighting games.

it's not about "ruling the room", it's about having a good match with someone just as skilled. analysing patterns and strategies, breaking through defenses. most good players have a rehearsed combination of things they do during a match. seeing the pattern and breaking their strategy forces that player to come up with an entirely new strategy on the spot; which in turn forces you to adjust your strategy; which is what keeps the game interesting. It's almost like having a chess match.

if that's something you can't understand, then maybe you just need more practice.

these games have practice modes for a reason.(sorry if that makes me sound like a jerkwad)
 
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Darth_Jonas

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No, being good at a game doesn't make you a jerkwad. I knew several people who were twenty times better than me, but they showed me how to be good. That made it more fun for them because they had a better player to challenge them, and it made it more fun for me. The ones I didn't like were the ones who would come in, destroy me, brag about it, and then do it again. I wouldn't have time to even learn how to block, let alone counter. What fun is that? Great. You win. They're the kind of guys that kick puppies for fun.

And no, little tater, it's not right to intentionally lose (in the arcade). But again, it depends on why you are playing in the first place. To those of you who've never really had to deal with not having your own personal gaming machine, I say this: Would you buy a brand new game for your personal console, set it to the Legendary level of difficulty and play it? No. You play it on the easier levels so you can figure it out. On your own console, you will play friends (or online gamers) who actually want to play with you.

Back in the day, there were no strategy guides. No internet blogs and chat rooms to find all the secrets. Heck, half the time, there weren't even any instructions on the machine or they would just be the basic "punch, block, kick". You would have to spend enough quarters to buy three machines before you were even able to counter the uber-move.
 

spudlyff8fan

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Darth_Jonas said:
And no, little tater, it's not right to intentionally lose (in the arcade). But again, it depends on why you are playing in the first place. To those of you who've never really had to deal with not having your own personal gaming machine, I say this: Would you buy a brand new game for your personal console, set it to the Legendary level of difficulty and play it? No. You play it on the easier levels so you can figure it out. On your own console, you will play friends (or online gamers) who actually want to play with you.
But what do you want the guy to do? He's definitively excellent at the game and will kick your ass, and the ass of everyone else in the room. Should he stop playing?

Back in the day, there were no strategy guides. No internet blogs and chat rooms to find all the secrets. Heck, half the time, there weren't even any instructions on the machine or they would just be the basic "punch, block, kick". You would have to spend enough quarters to buy three machines before you were even able to counter the uber-move.
You can ask other players. Back on KI, I learned Jago entirely from one of my pals. I figured out combos on my own, though (with Combo, which wasn't too tough...since it's in the name).
 

ImagoX

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spudlyff8fan said:
But what do you want the guy to do? He's definitively excellent at the game and will kick your ass, and the ass of everyone else in the room. Should he stop playing?

I don't want him to DO anything... I was merely commenting that his lengthy thesis, defending the way he plays came off as arrogant to me.

Who knows? He might, in fact, be the nicest guy in the world, but all I know about him is what I read in that article, and from that, I don't think I'd like playing a game with him. I don't think I'd like even being in the same room with him when he plays someone ELSE. That's all. But please feel free to hero worship him as much as you like...

I'm sure the other "competitive gamers" out there all agree with him, so he's preaching to the choir and I hope it mad ehim feel better. As a member of a different congregation (some might even brand it as a totally different and very heritical religion entirely), there's nothing in there that makes me want to become a convert, though.

Game on!
 

Darth_Jonas

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What I would have him do is to either teach those around him or settle for the fact that no one will play his egotistical self. Why am I going to waste my money for 30 seconds of humiliation? And you did say your FRIEND played you. I bet your friend showed you a thing or two while he was winning.

I agree with Imago, this is the kind of guy that you hope someone is good enough to beat. One of my friends once paid for my game just so I'd wipe the smug grin off of someone's face like that. I don't think games should ever be only for the Elite. Can I enjoy playing agame of basketball? Of course. Would I enjoy it if a Dennis Rodman swiping the ball every time I touched it, smacking away the ball, or slamming it over me continually? No. But if there's only one court that everyone shares. . .
 

Taku

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I expected to have some kind of argument about this but I think Jonas has it spot on about the whole teaching aspect. If you do murder people, drop hints, try to help them. The game is fun when you're roughly equal, and it's funner the higher the level you play at. If you do have an abusable tactic, feel free to abuse it, but try to help the person get around it at least. Say "y'know this tactic isn't unstoppable...like every tactic in this game *insert tip*". But you don't need to do it exclusively either =\. Then they aren't learning match flow and stuff. If you are close to the person's skill you don't really need to tone it down THAT much, but if it's like PERFECT, PERFECT, PERFECT, PERFECT, and you are using one move they run into and they get combo'd from then werd. Help um. Improve the community!

But, in any game that can be played competitively (as in it's not broken) there is no tactic I would call "cheap". Why? Because, there is a way to THINK around it. That's why it's interesting. And the fact of the matter is in most balanced fighting games, high-level play never revolves around abusing one universal pwnage stratagy.

And
it's not about "ruling the room", it's about having a good match with someone just as skilled. analysing patterns and strategies, breaking through defenses. most good players have a rehearsed combination of things they do during a match. seeing the pattern and breaking their strategy forces that player to come up with an entirely new strategy on the spot; which in turn forces you to adjust your strategy; which is what keeps the game interesting. It's almost like having a chess match.

Truth. That's why people even playing fighting games at a high level. That's why I <3 them.
 
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