A Journey Begins (or It's Not Easy Being Green)

After spending a year mooching around Tokyo (student exchange programmes are splendid:tup: ), and occasionally popping into its marvellous arcades and getting my informed-but-woefully-inept peformance punished fairly frequently on a variety of fighting games, mostly 3S and T5 (i.e I know why I kept getting wasted, but failed to learn from my mistakes), I resolved upon my return to the UK to undertake the following task: get myself up to a level of comptence on my games of choice so that when I return (fopefully for good) to Japan, I can walk into pretty much any arcade and be confident in the knowledge that I can hold my own. A pretty tall order, I suppose, but I’m a simple man with few ambitions, so I figured I owed it to myself to try and see this one through.

To that end, I’ve nabbed a copy of SFAE for the 'Box, am in the process of scraping the cash together for a decent custom Sanwa stick, and, with a pal of mine, am in the process of setting up what I hope will be a fruitful 3S bootcamp chez moi, to get ourselves from 3S fans to 3S contenders against experienced Japanese competition. And of course an important part of this process is information gathering, hence this lengthy post.

Some background: my friend and I have been mucking around with SF since the SNES days (when we were both 11 years old, now both 24), but only recently started to play with anything like regularity. For 2 years or so, we’ve sparred on CvS2, without either of us really improving much (I’m under the impression that our basic execution is more consistent than previously, but we always make the same mistakes and punish/get punished accordingly to the best of our limited abilities). Now we’ve got a home version of 3S, I decided it would be a good time to seriously step thing up several gears and become the kind of players we’ve always dreamed of becoming.
Both he and I are shameless Shoto plebians, always have been: him Ryu, me Ken. (Though occasionally my mate will plump for the 'Geef and try and catch me with SPDs, when he’s feeling cocky; I in turn will occasionally bring Gouki out and try and air-hado him into submission) Forgive us, for we are simple creatures, set in our ways etc…:rolleyes: But we desire to rise above our previous ‘efforts’.

Our progress so far - there’s several problems of course, the biggest one I think being the ‘randomness’ of our playstyles that surely marks us out as the novices we are: one round I’ll comfortably pummel my partner with c.MK-Hado combos, but then I’ll lose my momentum utterly and make so many hopeless errors that victory is stripped from me; in another my friend’s ability to pull of that crucial ShinSRK eludes him utterly and I finish the bout with a lucky c.HK. Don’t even get me started on our ropey parrying. Mindgames? How about our classic ‘Ryu in one corner, Ken in the other, both close to death, seconds ticking by while we try to work out how best to end this comical standoff’? There is no plan, no strategy, to any of our bouts; at best, I would call it ‘The Path of Hit and Hope’.
But some of our flaws run even deeper - I for instance find it exceedingly difficult to get my brain working, consitently, fast enough to even pull off a DP anti-air - my reaction times seem hopelessly quagmired. And the run-speed of the Xbox version of 3S causes me no end of trauma. I hope it’s not a case of my genetics letting me down (that would be crushingly depressing)…
Clearly this can’t continue. But how to remedy our months, nay, years of ingrained stupidity that have got us in the sorry state we’re in, and emerge as what SRK forumites would comfortably call decent players? Is it a case of pulling a Yoda and ‘unlearning what we have learned’?

This is where I hope you, the gentlemen of SRK, can shed some light on the matter. How do your get your minds working quick enough to see the opportunities for decisive punishing, to parry ALL of that Ryu SA1, to keep up that pressure, to even formulate a solid strategy? They say practice makes perfect, but if you’re not polishing the right stuff, isn’t is a case of hitting one’s head against a brickwall?
I realise this whole post’s flow is a little woolly, but any useful suggestions/input would be greatly appreciated. We’ve read the FAQs, the movelists, the combo lists, the framedata - useful literature of course, we’re well versed in the language of the 3S community, but actually making it work…
Do you have similar tales of woe that you overcame? How did you go about it? Any bizarre tips from outside the box that made the difference in the end?

Thanks for your time!

Your post is way longer than it needs to be, but basically the only way you’ll know you’re on the right track is to keep playing people, and see what works and what doesn’t.

You say you know why you lose, but don’t do anything about it despite that.
Why not just… do something about it? Lol. For example, if you’re losing because you’re being too aggressive, then calm down and re-think your strategy. Don’t just try something really bizarre and random in the hopes that it’ll work. It’s not about winning at that particular moment in time, it’s about having a good strategy for winning the next time too.

Keep in mind though, just because your strategy works on one person/character, doesn’t mean it’ll work on others. It’s all about learning to read your opponent, and then acting according to what they like to do/don’t like to do. When I say strategy though, I mean that you need to know how certain characters are played generally. Urien for example is going to try and keep you in the corner with Aegis traps, and he can juggle you off his anti-air fireball, so you’re going to want to avoid getting into those kinds of situations.

Long story short, you seem to know exactly what you need to improve on. Nothing we say is really going to help you. The only person who can help you nail that DP timing, or rush-down string is you. If you can’t hit DP’s in time, get yourself into training or VS, and have someone jump in on you repeatedly while you practice the motion.

Get your execution down pat first, then start playing people and work on your thinking skills. You shouldn’t be sitting there trying to do moves. If you’re doing that, then you’ve already lost. You really have to think about things outside of the match. This guy has a habit of dashing forward and throwing after jumping straight up? Then watch for it next time and punish him for being predictable.

I’m surprised you have trouble timing things in 3S though. It’s a very very slow game in comparison to most fighters.

i won t be able to say this without looking like a stuck up prick, so i ll just say it

know whats required to beat your competition, but keep in mind what the “better” play is for the situation(s), the guaranteed safest way to dish it out for every scenario and how a better player would deal against it.

before thinking in terms of one fighter versus another, or ryu vs. ken, or your mind vs. your opponent’s, think of it like understanding matrix (yes, the movie. I’m serious). Think in terms of pixel vs pixel; understand the game’s engine.

Also, try to seek out competition that is at your level or slightly higher. it probably won’t benefit you as much to play against people that are too far above or below you