I’m not smoking anything.
The japanese are beating us in every other game except MvC2 because we have a much larger scene for MvC2, and they have a much MUCH larger scene for every other fighting game.
If I’m wrong, what do you attribute to our success at MvC2? And our pretty utter crappyness in everything else comparatively? The short answer is: MvC2 has a very concentrated playerbase, and Japan has no MvC2 scene, and we do.
Why do we completely suck compared to japan in XX? Because most americans who actually DO play XX play a scrubby Sol/Faust/Dizzy/Johnny, and the people who are actually serious about playing are VERY scattered. Like what…30-50 or so serious EC players who live anywhere from an hour to 10 hours or more away? 30-50 on WC and 20-30 in Texas? That’s less than one japanese Arcade’s competition. That’s 100 serious players spread across a huge continent, not 1 small island. All of us, regardless of how serious we are about the game, are leaps and fathoms and miles and miles worse than the japanese at XX.
We don’t have the quality, or the amount of competition we need to be as good at the game. Even if I practiced my face off with the best on EC and WC for 3 months straight, the average japanese guy who was into #R would wipe the floor with me. He wouldn’t even need to be all that passionate about it. If we had as much competition available as they did, I guarantee you we would be much closer in skill. It’s the lack of competition, not the seriousness of our players. Everyone likes a specific fighting game a lot, but practicing in training mode will only get you so far, as will watching matches. Playing a matchup a lot is much better practice than watching matches of it and practicing in training mode. And if you’re truly dedicated, you can still get very good by doing training mode. But does anyone who relies on training mode and match vids+a friend who is extremely good at the game stand a realistic chance against the average japanese in #R? No.
My last point is, even if you had a friend who was very into fighting games and serious and passionate about it, you will not get as good as the japanese. Me and my friend have been practicing and playing XX practically since the game came out, very close to the release date. I can now say that I am very adept in 3 matchups. 3 matchups out of 20. I have a very good knowledge/experience in about 7 more matchups, and there are about 10 characters who I know nothing about beyond match videos. If someone played I-No against me, you can bet I’d be in serious trouble on defense. I know plenty about I-No, and I’ve seen plenty of her matches, but reacting to her tactics is entirely new to me.
The simple fact is: If you want to become a master, you need lots of people to play. You’d need at least 10 solid friends at the fighting game you’re into, and they’d have to play more than 1 team/character. The more competition you have, the better player you will wind up being. Being passionate just means you will practice against those people often. I don’t think the U.S. is missing passion. We’re missing players. If I had access to 30 people who played XX within one hour of me, and they were ALWAYS available to play when I was, I would be playing the game at least 3 times a week all day long. But I can’t. That simple.