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Retroactive Posts: A Quick Fighting Game Related Thought

May 8, 2013

(Originally posted on December 10th, 2012)

Quite a ways back I was watching a fighting game stream and someone on the mic (it might have even been Seth Killian himself) likened Street Fighter to chess, but he said that it was BETTER than chess, because of unpredictable elements such as minor glitches or otherwise weird shit that can happen due to the nature of it being a video game. While I see where they were coming from with regards to the mind game element, Street Fighter (or any fighting game for that matter) is not on par with chess.
Chess is perfectly balanced. While one player gets to go first, the game board and pieces are perfectly 1:1. The pieces aren’t balanced against one another (queen versus pawn for an easy example), but this is in the interest of making the game interesting while retaining overall balance between the two players.
Fighting games are inherently imbalanced simply due to the fact that there is no overall structure demanding balance. It would be much like playing chess on a regularly sized board but with each player getting to choose only one play-piece.
Because of this, I would compare fighting games more to a card game, and not a traditional 52 card card game, but something like Magic The Gathering or the like. Maybe none of the cards are designed to be imbalanced compared to other cards, but some are still better than others. You may have an idea of what sort of deck your opponent has built, and you might even know every card he has in his hand, but you might not know in which order he’s gonna play them.
As the game goes on, each of you gain meter and such, and this helps you develop a better idea of what the other guy is capable of doing which in turn helps you prepare for avoiding it or countering it; much like the mana ramp in M:TG or placement of key game changing cards (such as enchantments or artifacts). The decks are shuffled to keep things fair while (in most cases) unpredictable, allowing for the random element that you see in video games.
You might go into a fighting game match with a shitty deck of cards, but you may draw the right ones at the right time which earns you a victory. This is why fighting games are like trading card games, and nothing like chess.

From → Games, Rambles

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