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Anatomy of a Game episode 1

Posted by Canis Minor , 01 June 2011 · 950 views

Nearly everyone who's ever played a Capcom fighting game will tell you that it's a blast. But what makes them so great? Welcome to Anatomy of a Game, my first blog feature. In it, I'm going to try to disect games so that I can see what makes them tick.

Anyway, back on topic. Little bit of backstory. Capcom basically pioneered the fighting game genre. They did not however, create it. There were multiple, much more primitive fighting games released before it. Few, however have created such a big splash as Street Fighter II. A sequel to the much less popular Street Fighter, Street Fighter II has become an incredibly popular game, to the point where some would say that it is the greatest fighting game of all time.

But what makes it so great?

First, it has the universal appeal feature. This can basically be summed up as 'anyone can play, few can master', and it applies to nearly every game in the series, and almost every Capcom fighter. Anyone can drop a quarter into the machine and button mash their equally untrained friend into oblivion. But try doing that against somebody who actually knows what they're doing. It's a whole new story. It's fun to pound on buttons, to get to see the tar beaten out of the other character, but the game reaches a new level when you practice at it and develop a strategy.

On a side note, no amount of strategy will ever help you if you're still a crappy player. That's what practice is for.

Second, the controls are brilliantly thought out. Capcom devised an excellent six button control system that is very easy to adapt to. You have light punch, medium punch, strong punch, light kick, medium kick, and strong kick, and that's it. Anyone can pick it up and play it. It took me very little time to adapt when I first started playing because it was so straightforward. But that's where the 'few can master' comes in again. When I first started, I had to re-read the instructions a few times to remind myself that the hadouken is down, down forward, forward, punch. But as time progressed, it became second nature. Street Fighter adicts can quote the attack combinations like Castlevania fans can quote the Konami code. Short and simple, combos take a little memorization, but the damage they do is more than worth it.

There's also a great community factor. So many people love these games and so many people know how to play them. This is kind of a sappy story but it makes for a good example. Up here, we have the anual Michigan Pinball Expo. It's pretty simple: a bunch of people who own pinball machines bring them to this thing and everyone comes and plays as much as they want for free (excluding admition price). Anyway, they frequently have some arcade machines set up in the back that play classic arcade games (I'm fairly certain they're all emulators, but I digress). I was standing at one machine that had some four hundred-odd games on it (I think it was around 435), most of which were fighters or beat-em-ups. I was hooked into Street Fighter Alpha 3, when some guy whom I'd never met before comes up behind me and asks, "Care to be challenged?" "Yeah, sure." I reply, "It won't be much of a challenge though, I suck at this." He didn't seem to care as he pressed the button to give him a credit. The next twenty, or so minutes were nothing but me and him duking it out. I lost nearly every time, but still had a great time. Long story short, a grand old time was had by all. The point is that these games, as ridiculous and violent as they are, bring people together. I don't know that guy's name. I don't know how old he was. I don't know a single thing about him, and he doesn't know a single thing about me. The only thing we have in common was that game. I could go on, but I'm saving that for a different post.

Finally, there's the enduring factor. These games have iconic characters whom everyone recognizes. I could mention Ryu, and chances are you'd know I meant the SF character, not Ryu Hayabusa. Even people who've never played the games them. I knew the entire premises behind games like Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom before I ever played them. They have such lasting ability, and I think that if video games are ever considered an art, some Capcom fighting games will be the equivelent of Van Gogh.

Throwing my two cents in.
Canis out. \n/ :angry:\n/




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