I’m trying to gather data (i.e. your opinions) for a serious analysis that I’m doing on the concept of “cheap” in competitive games. It’s going to take some space below to explain exactly what it is I’m doing and what I would like from you, so if you have the time and are willing to put some thought into an interesting psychological/linguistic issue, please keep reading.
First off, let me say that what I am NOT trying to do is discuss whether certain moves are “cheap” or “not cheap.” When it comes to that issue, I am 100% in the Playing to Win camp. In other words, the vast majority of moves and tactics are not cheap, and there is nothing wrong with using them. But despite this undeniable truth about competitive games, it’s still a common event to hear one person calling another cheap - on forums, in online gaming lobbies, and in person. The question I want to ask is, What are the conditions that have to be met in order for one person to call a move or tactic “cheap”?
Some people will say that scrubs make cries of “Cheap!” at random, and will call any tactic that causes them to lose “cheap”. No doubt there are people like this, but I do not think it’s universal. I’m looking for the examples where it isn’t random, where there is something specific about the way a tactic is being used that registers in a person’s mind and elicits a cry of “Cheap!” For example, if you beat someone in SF using nothing but fireballs and they call you cheap, you might think “Bah, this scrub’s just sore about losing. OF COURSE he would call me cheap.” But is that really the case? Would he have called you cheap if you’d beaten him with a more diverse series of moves? Maybe not. So the question is, Why? Why does spamming one move over and over get you called cheap, whereas using a variety of moves to own someone does not? Why is it common for people to call projectile spam “cheap,” but not, say, medium punch spam? Or take an example from Super Smash Bros. I have a friend that I used to play with who doesn’t think spamming any of the moves is cheap, nor does he think that any of the other tactics in the game are cheap (even if they cause him to lose), except for TWO. They are, spiking people to their deaths when they’re knocked off of the stage, and Edge-hogging. These tactics are interesting because they break the pattern of “spamming = cheap”. I don’t have the skill in SSB to spam these moves; if I’m lucky, I successfully score a kill using edge-hogging maybe once a game. Most of the time, I don’t even make it to the ledge before my friend does. And yet something about these 2 situations still cause my friend’s Cheapness Alarm to go off. Again, the question I want to answer here is “Why?” Why did this move in this situation cause a certain player to label the tactic as “cheap?”
So, like I said above, what I’m looking for from you guys is data. I need specific examples from your past or present experience in which you felt something was cheap. It doesn’t matter if your concept of “cheapness” has changed over the years. Probably all of us can remember a time when we said or thought that certain moves were cheap - or if you still think that way now, even better! What I need you to do is get inside your own head and think about the situation and why you felt it was cheap. If the other guy was spamming a move, why did you feel that spamming was cheap? Would spamming any move have been cheap, or only certain moves? Or if there was a cheap tactic that someone used only infrequently, what made that tactic cheap? Can you think of any situations in which it wouldn’t have been cheap? Or to take an extreme example, let’s say you have a friend you play with who calls you cheap every time you beat him. Can you think of a way to win against this person that would NOT cause him to call you cheap? If so, how is that method different from all the others? Basically, what is the pattern behind the word “cheap?”
I just want to mention one little caveat, and that is I’m not looking for examples where people were flagrantly cheating. Cheating is different from whatever people do that gets them called cheap. Cheating is breaking the rules- hitting the other guy’s buttons to mess him up, or using fancy technology in an online game to make only your opponent experience lag. It’s “cheap” that I want to ask about.
And that about sums up my request. The only other thing I’ll say is it would be great if people who comment check back once in a while to see if I’ve asked any questions regarding what you wrote; I imagine it’s going to take a bit of discussion back and forth to get to the bottom of this or to understand everyone’s examples.
I appreciate examples/ideas from any game in any competitive game genre - with the caveat that if you mention a game I’m not familiar with I might have to ask you a lot of questions about it.
That’s all! Thanks everyone, and I look forward to a good discussion. :bgrin: