Sunday, May 29, 2016

Silver Trash

So, it took me a while to actually play Street Fighter V, but eventually I received it as a gift from my father who was waxing nostalgic over our playing Street Fighter II Turbo during my childhood.

My time is far more limited these days and playing games is usually contingent on sacrificing an hour or two of sleep or a sufficiently fathomless nap from the kids. But, after having managed some preliminary exploration into the game, I determined that I ought to at least be able to make it as "silver trash" with minimal training. Recently I met this goal more easily than I had expected and I'm curious what it will take to get to gold.

Now, I'd heard a lot of talk about rage quitting being a major issue among SFV players. My personal experience was at odds with this, though; where were all this quitters, anyway?

Turns out they are in Silver league.

Almost uniformly the bronzies I had been playing saw their matches through to the end and overwhelmingly they chose to play out the whole set without much regard to gaming the system for points. Likewise gold players would often see through an entire set with me despite the paltry gains in points a victory over myself would have netted them. But, when I began to regularly compete with players the three silver ranks, things started to change; suddenly I understood the complaints.

Based on the quitting, the style of play, and meta gaming for points seen in Silver league, my current hypothesis is as follows:

Silver leaguers are disproportionately prideful to their actual skill level.

For the record, I take on nearly all commers. I'll finish a set with just about anyone, except perhaps the poorest of rookies who would be done more harm by it point-wise and people proven to rage quit when things don't go in their favor. If something needs to be addressed in real life, i leave the controller and forfeit the points. I never rage quit. I've received some massive blows to my score because of this, but also seen massive gains by overcoming high rankers.

Part of what is so fascinating about fighting games for me is how they reveal the personallity of players. I'm curious how Golds will behave, but for now an important lesson is that Silvers are probably very vulnerable l to trolling tactics. Repeatedly throw them or tick away at them with only light punches; being obnoxious in gameplay will likely put a silver on tilt and if you can then withstand and counter their offense you'll have yourself a win.

I Just Want to Feel Something Again

Recently, I heard a friend of mine mention with reluctant apprehension that we are "...in a golden age of gaming, I guess."

What a strange demeanor by which to deliver that phrase. But, I think I know why he was reluctant to admit what ought to be a glorious revelation.

What I think he realized was that we have all the necessary infrastructure in place for a golden age of gaming; all the wheels seem to be turning, after all. People have convenient access to powerful games-making software and an unprecedented ability to self publish their work or get it into a number of viable publishing platforms. I can tell you from experience that even representation on the major home consoles is far more accessible than it was less than a decade ago. This can be illustrated simply by taking a look at their respective digital storefronts.

Yet here we are, wistfully awaiting for something important to happen, all the while sighing over it's absence and lamenting the disappointments that arrive instead. Why?

I have seen many ideas put forth, but I will cut to the chase and identify what I observe to be the worst problem:

Insincerity.

I have come to understand this as one of the hallmark features of millennial art. In an age of prodigious opportunity, where individuals really can make their visionary game a reality, people far too often choose to instead produce something ironic and irreverent, affirming what they purport to admire on one hand, but sneering condescendingly at it from the other.

These are the "turbo fist puncher" homages to Streets of Rage and the "super blocky dungeon" successors to Wizardy.

Perhaps you think I simply don't have a sense of humor, but when I look out and observe that contemporary works inspired by previous successes are ubiquitously either failed attempts to reboot someone else's property or aweless, uninsightful satires, I have to conclude that by and large no one cares or understands what previously existed.

Thank goodness Doom is supposed to be good.