Hey everybody. This isn’t my usual thing, but since there seems to be somewhat of a demand for these sorts of things, I figured I’d try my hand at a writeup of sorts on an issue that’s been bugging me of late. There seems to be a mindset of “Competitive vs Casuals” floating around this and other sites as of late when it comes to the FGC. I decided to add my thoughts to the mix, take them for what you will.
Dumbing down a game for “Casuals”
Some argue that having games with obtuse, hard to grasp mechanics isolates players from enjoying a game. I do not believe this to be true however. When a game is built with balanced, fair (competitive) mechanics in mind, the game is more enjoyable to everyone involved. The “casuals” still understand and play the game, while the more competitive crowd gets enjoyment from optimizing strategies and playstyles.
Take away this depth, however, and the competitive crowd is left out in the cold. With no hidden layers of depth, replayability, competition, and overall enjoyment level for the competitive player is undermined significantly. Depth and solid game mechanics do NOT (despite what some would have you believe) preclude the “casual” player from enjoying the game however. So what harm are these layers of depth to the game as a whole?
Now, I know what you may be thinking. “Jigglypuff, my friends all say that Street Fighter combos are too hard! How can you say that this isn’t prohibitively difficult?” Well, the thing about fighting games (moreso than any genre) is that players that want to advance to the next level have to have the want to, the desire to level up. What many of these “casual” players don’t seem to understand is that it’s not the “difficulty” of the combos that are driving them away, because all that takes is a little practice. The main problem is much more deep rooted than anything to do with fighting games.
The problem is that we live in an instant gratification society. Don’t want to spend 30 seconds toasting a Pop Tart? Toss that thing in the microwave for seven seconds! Don’t have time to read a newspaper? Just hop on Yahoo News for a few seconds! Fighting games, however, have no quick, easy answers. It takes time and dedication to master, and there’s no substitute for experience.
Elitist attitudes drive the “casuals” away
This one is tricky. While it is true to an extent that sometimes fighting game players can be a bit salty towards the new blood, there’s also the fact that those selfsame “ellitist” players have put in the work to get where they’re at. A lot of times, the newer players will come with questions that have been asked a billion times in a billion threads and there are easy answers available to most of their questions if they will but take the time to find them.
This isn’t to totally excuse the “OGs” from blame in the situation either. While it might be tempting to tear this 09er retard apart, remember that these guys, like it or not, are the future. With a bit of guidance, one of those 09ers might just become the next Wolfkrone. I believe it’s our responsibility (I use that term a little loosely here) to be helpful to the newcomers as much as we can.
That doesn’t mean that we should let retarded threads and such keep piling up. You know what though? Instead of posting “YOU RETARDED SCRUB YOU DON’T KNOW THAT LEARN TO PLAY” or something similar, there’s always the option to link them to a thread where they’ll find the answers they seek. Also, there’s the Report button for when things really get out of hand.
I don’t believe the differences between the “casuals” and the “competitives” are so great that we can’t coexist with one another. We should all be working towards making this community as inclusive and helpful as possible. This isn’t to say that we should just roll over and let the new guys come in here and do as they please either, but with a little bit of correction and guidance most of those “casuals” can become productive members of the community. I know, because I was one when I joined. We just have to let 'em know that getting good takes work, that’s all.