Sunday, January 30, 2011

Outside the box

I keep trying to figure out why I like watching Street Fighter so much.

Perhaps it’s the constant set of checks and balances I can see through and analyze, having played the game for years. Similar to those who watch sports and can drop statistics at the drop of a hat and know the players of the league, I know this game. I know the players. I can hardly see the difference between an NFL fan and myself in this respect.

Street Fighter in particular has always had a bit of a unique balance in my opinion. It has a set of rules that were instituted over two decades ago, and has only expanded—not completely changed, but expanded—as the years went on. Projectiles clash only with projectiles. A crouching mid may get you out of a sweep. A throw requiring some kind of input will easily beat out most attacks. These are intuitive constants that have stood the test of time and made Street Fighter into the fighter mainstay it is today.

However, no amount of foreknowledge can anticipate that upper echelon of players. Those that, against all odds and reason, know how to extrapolate the game in unforeseen ways, doing things the developers never thought possible. This extends to the community as well, as they discard yet another tier list and learn the hard way that a fighter’s base ability is nothing compared to the person using them.

This is the brilliance of Street Fighter, in my opinion. The allowance of just that much leewway means that the game you purchased may not be the same game you're playing next year, due to an ever expanding repetoire as more and more skilled players come to grips with the system.

I stumbled across this video while paging through the internets, looking for some decent footage to analyze. There are some profound things going on in this video, but whether you’re well versed or not, it’s quite the show indeed. I don't think even Capcom thought this was possible when they designed this version, but they better be proud..

After all, circumventing the system is what we gamers do best. Bravo!

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