What Is Difficult About Learning Fighting Games? - lightslingergame.com

What Is Difficult About Learning Fighting Games?

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Hint: It’s the same thing that’s difficult about every other competitive game.
also, most of the arguments that y’all are going to get into in the comments we’ve discussed in some older videos:

streamed Mar. 31, 2021

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Editing/Thumbnail by Magic Moste:

Addendum: this mf sajam need to turn off auto-focus bruh im heated


  1. I'm just posting a comment for the engagement because the comments in that reddit thread annoyed me so much that I hope the actual video goes viral

  2. I love fighting games. I love fighting games and I'm absolutely awful at them. So awful that I can't recall a single game I've played in which I ever got past the execution barrier. I'm talking complex combos that demand consistent frame-perfect transitions. I have a basic understanding of the fundamentals, but putting them in practice is a whole different story.

    I think one of the reasons people get disheartened trying to get past the execution barrier is because they watch professionals play these games competitively and find themselves in total awe of how the players who compete can pull off those combos and then some. So to new players, they convince themselves that unless they're a Jack-of-all-Trades for every possible technique, they can't proceed past the execution barrier to learn the other aspects of a fighting game.

    Another motivation behind getting through the execution barrier is the desire to be able to perform flashy combos in a crowd one day, like it's a huge deal, and I'm of the opinion that simplifying combo structures in modern fighting games only makes the problem worse. Don't make it easy for them and me. I don't care if I suck at fighting games. I want the combos to feel earned.

    Even I'm guilty of that, but I still enjoy fighting games so I'm not turned away by them at all. Just self-aware at my general slowness, incompetence, and inability to get any better. Eventually, life takes over, but I definitely recommend people giving fighting games a try and putting time into them.

    TL;DR: Fighting games are hard, but still fun and well worth getting into. It's just that some people (like me) think execution is the bare minimum/true starting point before learning all of the essentials.

  3. "I spend a lot of time on this channel talking about fighting games"

    What? I only ever hear you talk about Dark Souls and DnD though wtf

  4. The most difficult thing is finding a good controller, or one that you can perform well with. Without being able to effortlessly, accurately pull off the special moves and combos you are SCREWED..

  5. More like hard to go against crappy outdated game design that's the real enemy instead of the player in front of you.

  6. I like when sajam uses "twerking" as like impressive it's very funny to me idk .

  7. I definitely agree with this, but I also do think at very low skill level other competitive games are more intuitive.

  8. I gave up learning to fight against a human opponent and just playing arcade mode/survival mode while listening to a podcast

  9. My wife says to clean out your closet. Or at least close the door. Lol.

  10. Learning to execute special moves really is the easiest and least complicated part of learning fighting games. Like Sajam says, it’s all mechanical. It’s the part when you need to know when to apply the mechanics that takes a lifetime to master. Yes you do need to spend time on the mechanics but you don’t need to master the toughest mechanics of a game before enjoying it. You don’t need to be able to do infinite’s or that 50 hit combo to beat people. Start out by learning the buttons and movements of your character. Then apply their specials, then supers. Then other mechanics the game offers. You slowly build on top of what you’ve already learned. That’s how learning happens. It’s not the matrix. You can’t just stuff yourself with a buffet of knowledge and expect to internalize all of it instantly.

  11. Strategy?
    Never met her.
    (This must be why I'm trash)

  12. I ve learned how play fighting games myself ! The first game I played was SF2 and I started to say well this gotta be a way to perform these moves and started trying down forward and it gave me hadoken lol and so on then I started training on combos etc… The best way to learn fighting games is practice and observation and mimic the joystick or joypad moves in my case I even learned to play on keyboard ! I m PC fighting player

  13. It took me three days and about 12 hours to learn one Playstation All stars combo, so I don't know about that one chief lol

  14. Alternate title: "sajam talks about learning nootral without actually saying the word"

  15. You know what's hard about fighting games. Spending hours in the lab only to get demoralized online.

  16. what's difficult for me is finding someone to play with

  17. So like, I realized what fighting games are:

    Half of them (or some percentage) is execution based, compare it to learning a musical instrument. You’re gonna build up muscle memory for songs just like you do for combos, etc.

    The other half (or some percentage) is mental games, compare it to learning a card game like yugioh or magic. You see your opponent play a card that sets up into their endgame, and you have a few possible choices of things you can do: play your endgame setup card, destroy theirs, hold on to resources to deal with their future win condition pieces, etc. just like pressuring with oki guessing if they’re gonna wake up super or normal get up etc.

    Fighting games ask these skills of you in rapid succession. Anyone learning an instrument will struggle playing a full song perfectly just like you’ll mess up combos, and anyone learning a card game will make the wrong choice of not dealing with their opponent’s threat just like people new to fighting games have prolly tried to learn oki but ate a super instead, and this is SUPER frustrating. You spend any amount of time learning one and completely fail at learning the other, it’s a slow deliberate process

    So let me end it off with this

    Why are fighting games hard? For the same reason learning to play an instrument is hard, and for the same reason learning a card game is hard

    The reality is: just, fucking, practice.

  18. This is such a boring argument. No one means "difficult" when they say "it's hard to get good at fighting games". It's not difficult, it's dull. Go to training mode, hit the same buttons against a dummy in the same pattern until you have frame perfect execution on one combo. Make sure that combo works on every character, otherwise learn 2 to 3 variants. Congrats, that one combo depending on difficulty might have taken 10 minutes to an hour. Do that for x amount of combos(mid screen, corner, side switch, optimized damage with/without meter). Realize your combos are worthless because you keep losing to one button/move. Go into training mode, set a dummy to repeat that move and go through every option until you find the option/timing to deal with it. Better yet, go do homework as you pour over frame data. Realize you did hours of work so that you might be able to play one matchup in one fighting game against anyone but button mashers.

    People aren't complaining because it's hard to do a quarter circle. They're complaining because literally every game they've played besides fighting games lets you learn how to play better by playing the game, not by reading wiki entries that explain how many extra frames of hitstun you get against a crouching opponent.

  19. in fighting games, the ability to have reliable inputs just takes time
    I was always put off by that huge hump, and last year I just took the leap and accepted that this will take a while…
    in low ranks, nobody has good execution or a real idea what they are doing, so you can win without needing those either
    the first few hundred matches I just used normals, no specials or combos, and I had fun!
    today I hit gold (in sfV) for the first time, and there are still a lot of things I can't do
    but I found the fun for me in learning, so that's that

    what imo is most annoying as new player is when you ask for advice (and also include your rank) and you get advice that's true, but requires very high levels of execution.
    this achieves nothing and leads only to frustration. I had to learn to ignore such advice

  20. Fighting games are for people who like competition for competition's sake. A lot of people play video games to win and dominate the system due to the fact that like 99% of all games ever created are created for the purpose of completing it. Fighting games will never capture the interest of those who don't have a competitive spirit. And very few people will have their competitive spirit forged in the midst of battle.

  21. Finally, a video I can agree with when it comes to this topic. The biggest issue with learning fighting games is that the basic things that you supposed to learn as a new player looks boring as hell. Learning to oki without the execution to combo, usually revolves around the throw button, and it's just so not cool. Furthermore, you have to abandon combo routes as you get better. Whereas as the zerg rush is cool, is easy to do, and stays within your repertoire for the rest of your SC career.

  22. I don't think execution is something that you ever stop improving at.

  23. One thing that makes fighting games hard: You can't acknowledge what you don't know.
    When you think you know everything, you think your good until that overhead breaks your crouch block and you don't know why.

  24. Something I think that is specifically difficult about fighting games and real time strategy games, but not other genres is: their title tends to lie about about what youre doing.

    If I play a platformer, I'm going to be platforming at every single level of gameplay, because its intrinsic to the genre. If it starts to lump in other ideas, the genre gets tweeked, maybe its a metroidvania, or a collectathon

    If I play a shooter, im trying to blow a guys face off. Games that are shooters that focus on movement ahead of shooting tend to die off pretty quick. ex: Lawbreakers, Brink. The ones that do become successful because of their movement still have movement be contentious. ex: fortnite building gets called out as a reason to not play a game. Some of the movement of "future" theme'd modern warfare games gets shunned regularly for "not being what the game is about"

    RPGs when they're narrowed down into an actual genre like turned based rpg, or open world exploration for the most part just do exactly what their genre asks of them with very little outside of it. Sports games are sport related, racing games, can get weird, but they're pretty much always about racing.

    Fighting games are different because even if you get beyond the technical requirement to play the game, it suddenly becomes a chess match at 100 miles an hour, and if you signed up to watch ryu hayabusa pile driver someone into the ground from 20 feet in the air, and suddenly you have to be conscious of the opponent thats keeping you from doing the thing you're trying to do by just kicking you in your chest

    RTS's have the opposite problem where strategy is absolutely not necessary at low levels of play. The barrier to entry for RTS games is executing the primary build order to a high enough degree that the opponents "Strategy" of making guys four times faster than you won't immediately net them a win. You might know what every single units damage is, how it counters each enemy unit, and what situations to use it for, but having your opponent just send 10 units your way before you've ever really finished making your first production build doesn't feel like strategy, it feels like execution.

    So what im trying to say is fighting games don't actually have people considering the other person involved in "fighting" very often.

  25. 4:29 who is he talking about? I'm very curious to see that breakdown video myself

  26. The problem for me is that I can't play fighting games "casually" in the truest sense due to the sheer amount of commitment it requires to even get started. Ever since I learned the fundamentals of the genre (after years of being a clueless masher), I can no longer just "pick and play" a new fighting game.

    I'm now aware that in order to get started, I first need to understand the system, pick a character to focus on, read up guides about this character's best moves for various ranges/situations and their bnb combos, practice all of that until I can pull it off at least semi-reliably and only THEN I can actually get started… and most likely get wrecked almost immediately anyway by unfamiliar "cheap" moves of other characters which I'll now have to learn to counter if I want to get a chance to actually "play".

    All this commitment and effort just to get started and almost immediately hit a wall anyway and realize you have to keep learning that much more if you want to actually "play". And so, the amount of commitment just keeps growing and growing, to the point you no longer feel like you're playing "casually". No, at this point you're practically an athlete practicing a sport on a regular basis and tryharding to get wins, to justify all the time you've already invested into getting to this point.

    While that's the fun journey of learning a fighting game, it's nonetheless a journey that you have to knowingly commit yourself to and that's no easy thing to do. Say, I'd like to support GG Strive as it's ArcSys' first rollback game, but I wouldn't buy a game unless I actually intended to play it. The problem is, "to play" GG Strive as someone who never played GG (and barely any 2D FGs at all) is such a huge commitment I can't imagine subjecting myself to…

  27. 100% agree that people who act like other genres don't have a tonne of required learning have no idea what they're talking about. You look at a game like Overwatch and it has many of the same things as a fighting game like character-specific abilities, character matchups, and then has map layouts as well as that stuff. However I do think that the learning in FPSs tends to be more intuitive than in fighting games. You can learn a map by just walking around it, and vague things like 'avoid this area' can still be very helpful, and are concepts that are shared between genres.

    Something like 'plus frames on block' on the other hand is such a foreign concept to any other genre, and I'm not sure how you'd even realise it's a thing without someone mentioning it to you. And even once you know it's a thing it's less useful to simply know you're plus on block, you'd usually have to know by how much, and the startup of enemy attacks etc to make much use of that info.

    That said, games like DOTA are just like a brick wall of incomprehensible nonsense to me, and those are extremely popular, so I don't really know what's going on…

  28. "Ackshuallly, nothing is difficult about learning fighting games, just mash buttons and you'll win." – Some dude who played Street Fighter 2 once thirty years ago

  29. I think that a really great example of another game where planning and outplaying an opponent is Quake. In Quake, your aim practically doesn't matter. It's not like Counter-Strike where you have to hit headshots in a millisecond across the map. In Quake, you can just lob grenades around a corner and control the map. The best quake players know how to always have better armor/health/positioning than their opponent, and they know how to punish their opponent for trying to grab more armor or health. It's very likely that a pro quake player could beat an aimbotter that has never opened up the game before.

  30. It is not a coincidence that the currently most successful fighting game is the one that throws out the executional difficulty of the moves. Super Smash Bros proved you can build a deep and challenging fighting game without making a complicated motion to access the anti-air move, for example. Yes, there is executional difficulty in Smash, but it's high level emergent gameplay, not "can I use my super move at all".

    Street Fighter 2 has gone from being the father of the genre to a lodestone around its neck.

  31. I don't think execution is the most important or hardest thing to learn, but I do think that it's what scares people away. It's the most visible part of the game, and it's the part that seems the most intimidating to new players when they first load up the combo trials and realize they can barely do any of them. One key is letting new players understand this as early as possible.

  32. So i remember when starting to play SkullGirls i was able to exectue full bnb after 40 hours of playing. Skullgirls is my first fighting game. Right now i have 350 hours, i can perfectly execute combos, despite the fact that i play on keyboard. Still can't kill more than one character even if i play against players of a same skill level.

  33. I wish people would stop making the shooter comparison when talking about having to learn the mechanical part.

    STOP, your aim directly transfers over shooter to shooter. Just have to set your sensitivity and there are converters for that. You don't have to learn aiming between shooters like you do combos between fighters. Positioning is the only real thing you have to learn between shooters and that's way easier to learn ( and movement in a few ). Both way easier to learn and retain

  34. Ah this is the perfect response to "Who is a good Beginner Character?"

  35. I wonder if he notices that a discussion like this the bar gets set higher for lower levels. I can't even play a casual match without the other player beating me in 20 sec. Don't think it's much talk bout the losing part

  36. I'm the opposite. The strategy and decision making IS what's appealing to me. My execution sucks, so I play Fantasy Strike :D. I wish there were more players, but it's been so much fun focusing on strategy and match-ups.

  37. For me, you kinda nailed it with the whole, "the fighting part is not the hard part" line. As someone who has been eating a steady diet of RPGs and MMORPGs for almost 2 decades, coming to fighting games is so fucking weird because of frame data and the idea of "turns". What's happening on screen is barely a 1/3rd of the real game happening in the players' heads. I'm trying MK11 as my first fighter I stick with to break through the noob barrier and this messes me up all the time where my mashing (doing a dps rotation) that serves me well In MMOs gets me punished because I'm disrespecting plus frames. It's almost like my brain has an ingrained assumption of, "oh, that didn't work? Well of course I can just try to hit them again..ow! ow! ow! Stop I'm joking!"

    In MMOs we have an acronym called ABC (Always Be Casting) if you stop performing your optimal sequence of buttons, if you don't use an ability when you could have while also avoiding that patch of fire on the ground, then you are losing damage which isn't good. It's actually a skill that players have to learn and you can always tell the better player by just their APM (actions per minute) usually.

    What is difficult about learning fighting games?

    The fact that every single fucking frame is a different situation with different decisions that need to be made. My biggest problem is developing the discipline to accept when a situation, an opportunity has passed and that I need to adapt…and that you can't just force it back by mashing. Almost like how a boxer also needs to learn how to TAKE a hit as well as dish one out.

    It's a slow process I'm taking your advice and appreciating the little victories:

    I lost but:
    I read and teched that throw.
    I read that low special and punished it.
    I landed my optimal combo online in a real match.
    I learned the habits of players who use X character.
    etc. etc.

    Neva give up!

  38. Haven't watched the video but I watched the video on how people commented on this video before watching it
    What i think the problem is is that I haven't watched the video yet

  39. Fantasy Strike and Tough Love Arena are interesting in taking away most of the need for execution (didn't watch or play Divekick).
    Good point on the focus of everything else being important.

  40. anything pretty much. the games tuts are usually not detailed enough and just like any form of guides on the internet need you to know the lingu/basics that are absolutely specificly made for fighting games. so you cant use any of your knowledge/skills from other genres. then theres so many mechanics that pretty much are also only important for fighting games like frames etc.

    ive been playing some fighters on and off for a long time now and ive tried digging in deeper a couple times. in tekken, mk, street fighter, blaz blue…

    even those play so different from each other that for me as a (still pretty much) rookie, its hard to adapt and i almost have to relearn each one.

    its tough and the learning curve is frustrating as hell. when you are trying to get better you sit in a training arena against AI for plenty of hours/days which is really just not fun compared to other games where you just train while playing.

    i love fighting games but i feel like ill never really break through the "being kinda above average"

  41. the hardest part for me is dealing with the skill gap, as a brand new player in fighting games . about 80% of the matches are just a 1 sided rofl stomp in their favor

  42. Idk about that getting owned at fps if u don't know where u stand or learn map layout. If ur aim is good, u can handle the majority of opponents. If u suck at aiming no amount of knowledge will help u win

  43. I can’t even enjoy one player alone they’re that hard for me. I have never found one I’ve ever liked. Hate the genre.

  44. That plane school analogy is so bs:
    If i spend thousands of hours learning how to fly a plane and graduate from pilot school i can make 6 figures a year.
    If i spend thousands of hours learning all the fighting game shit like footsies, neutral game etc i can do what? win a match against a beginner level player?
    Seems like a good investment lmao. You fighting games veneterans dont understand that you are a dying breed of basement dweller nerds. It's 2021, people play games to have a quick fix of fun and achievementwin. If i dont get that stuff in my games i drop em, why would i want to continue get frustrated by the thing that must make me happy and feel good about myself?

  45. Honestly, what makes it extremely hard is execution, I just suck at doing analog moves :1

  46. I think something that doesn't get discussed enough is mindset or how to think about a fighting game.
    Or how to think about a particular genre of game. When I had to teach people programming, it was never the how, it was the why that helped them more than anything.
    In other words, I always first talked to them about what problem were we trying to solve before talking about the algorithm to solve it.

    I am a new player to gg strive and I have seen a lot of videos , showing characters super moves and talking about frame data but the issue with all this information is that it happens in a vaccum (training mode) not real time (actually playing against someone).
    I wish instead there was someone , who just talked about what problems is Sol trying to solve against say a Faust or a Potemkin and WHY does that need solving.
    And if this may seem to basic for you, yes some people are just slow to get started.

    Until then I guess you just have to throw yourself into the deep end and hope the match making isn't going to give you a horrible new player experience.

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