My Journey Down the Street Fighter Hole: Part 1

So EVO just happened recently. Fighting game hype was (is?) at its usual high. Coincidently SSF4AE was on sale (just about everywhere) for 15$.

As a bit of history, I've always really enjoyed fighting games. I don't know that I've ever been good at them or thrown myself into them seriously, but I've always enjoyed them. I've played a large number of fighting games; from Street Fighter to Guilty Gear to the Vs series (Marvel vs Capcom, Capcom vs SNK, X-Men vs Street Fighter, etc.), to Soul Calibur to Bloody Roar to Mortal Kombat. I've played a lot of different games but not necessarily ever dumped a whole lot of time into any specific game. Actually, the game series I've probably spent the most time playing was Guilty Gear. Anyway.

This was my jam back in the day, but I'm now trying a much slower paced Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition.

A stylish gentleman who takes it to you with good old fashioned fisticuffs, what's not to like? Apparently maybe a lot.

So with EVO having just happened I picked up SSF4E on steam for 15$. My goal here isn't just to play this game and enjoy it, but I want to actually dedicate some time to it. I don't expect or plan on getting seriously deep into the game or have any hopes of grandeur here, but I'd like to know what it's like to go down the rabbit hole of taking a fighting game seriously and trying to learn it on a genuinely competitive level.

I haven't really gotten into it yet. I'm taking it slow right now. What I have been doing is playing through arcade mode with different characters to try and gauge who it is that I may really enjoy playing. This started with me picking out characters who I just liked the look/character of.

I started with Dudley, he was a character I really enjoyed using in SF3. I quickly fell out of like with Dudley. I may go back to him now that I've warmed up my fighting game muscles a bit more, since I recognize that I was definitely rusty coming into this. In arcade though I realized I was having some serious problems using him. Characters with a zoning game were just wrecking me wholesale and I felt like I just was incapable of understanding the tools that Dudley had at his disposal and utilizing him as a character well.

From there I moved on to Oni. I feel I did fine enough with Oni and I could probably play him if I really wanted to, but the whole time I just kept thinking I'd rather be playing Akuma (I played a lot of Akuma in SF3 and got the Raging Demon down solid.) Oni also held the problem of feeling like there are so many other characters like him in the game that I don't know which of the many variants would be the right one for me and I didn't feel entirely like trudging through them all to try and pick up on subtle variances in them that I'm probably not actually ready to understand or commit to. That said, I still enjoy 'this style' of character, but I just feel like I want something more.

Then I moved onto E. Honda. I rocked arcade mode with E. Honda. He was the first character I felt competent with in arcade mode, I was understanding most of the tools he had at his disposal. Getting down some of his charge moves has been challenging. Base charge moves I'm not terrible at but I still find I screw them up too often (for the record right now I'm just using a plain old PS3 controller for playing. If I commit myself to this deep enough I'd definitely like to pick up a fighting stick, but, if I start playing online and find myself just absolutely hating the experience then I don't want to say that I dropped 100$+ on a fighting stick that I now have almost no use for.) Ultras were especially difficult for me to pull off - both the charge ultra and the double-half-circle ultra. Over all I found myself enjoying E. Honda a fair amount.

Not wanting to commit to a single character to early though I've continued looking at characters whose play style I may enjoy; after all, it is possible to find myself liking a handful of characters. So next in line was Seth. I've fought against him enough times at this point that I just wanted to see what it was like to use him. This was another character that I felt 'ok' on. I enjoyed him having relatively less in the way of difficult/annoying to perform moves, but as far as character design goes I just wasn't really feeling him. He's on the back burner for me, I think, as a character who I enjoyed playing but who I'm not overly excited about the idea of trying to play.

E. Honda worked pretty well for me and I found that the sumo style helped me blow through Arcade Mode easier than with any other character so far.

From there I moved on to Vega. For as much as I don't like charge moves I seem to find myself drawn to the characters who are almost entirely based around the idea of charge moves! What is wrong with me? Anyway. I enjoyed Vega. I think he was the first character who I really stopped relying on special attacks for. I could pull off his super fairly regularly (though I was still finding I was screwing it up at some times when I think I was just trying too hard to pull it off. Plus it seemed very easy for anyone with an anti-air attack to counter and too hard to set up without telegraphing it.) His Ultras I could never pull off for the life of me; either of them. I like his design, his reach, and all of that, but his normal special attacks seem fairly difficult to pull off in any meaningful way that doesn't just leave me open for punishment. So as much as I may have liked Vega, I think he may go on a back burner somewhere as a character I may look into just how to play him well, but with no hopes of ever being able to understand how to play him.

That's where I've left off. I don't know if I'll play through arcade mode with everyone just to be thorough or not, but there are certainly other characters who I'd like to try out just to see if any of them click with me.

I know I may not have been incredibly in depth about what it was that I liked or disliked about each of the characters, but, if anyone has any suggestions based on who I did and did not enjoy the play style of just in general, I'm open to whatever. Or if anyone thinks I'm going about this the wrong way, let me know. Or if there are any suggestions or anything for this potentially insane mission of mine to go down the fighting game path, let me know. I'm not really sure I know what it is I'm actually getting into here, and I know that finding strategies and stuff isn't too hard (and SRK is a good place to go to for guidance) but I'm open to as much help or info as I can get.

I'll be back maybe in a day or two, depending on how much time I have, with part 2 which will probably be a lot like part 1 unless I find myself brave enough to try some actual online play where I will undoubtedly get wrecked over and over and over again, trial by fire style.

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