Timmy, Johnny, Spike, Melvin, and Vorthos
These are character psychographics made to model Magic: The Gathering Players
Melvin vs Vorthos:
A Melvin article (meet a melvin):
Given this I thought it would be interesting to apply these psychographics to the fighting game community. As Mark Rosewater explains in the links above, Timmy/Johnny/Spike is the dimension of why you play the game, while Melvin/Vorthos is the dimension of how you evaluate the game.
Timmy in a fighting game is someone who likes to experience something. Timmy likes to play straight forward, fun characters. Juggernaut in MSH is a great Timmy character. What do you do with juggernaut? jump around, and HEADCRUSH! It’s fun! Timmy is the guy that, when he has the super charged, and you are low on life, will make sure to finish you with that super, so that he gets the big flash. Timmy is playing for the thrill of big hits, big damage, big super effects. Timmy doesn’t mind losing, as long as he gets to do his thing. Timmy hates playing against O. Sagat in ST, because he never even gets to do anything.
Johnny in a fighting game is someone who wants to express something. Johnny wants to play oddball characters and win. Johnny is the guy that combos nash’s neutral standing forward->super in SFA1 because that’s harder than cr. forward. Johnny picks Cammy to show that he can beat Ryu. Johnny wants to be recognized for what he can do with a character. Johnny picks Cody in SFA3 because he’s attracted to the dodge mechanic. Johnny likes the wierd characters, with highly situational moves, and he likes to play those characters to show what he can express with them. Johnny plays the infinite combo, even if it’s twice as hard to do as the 100% damage combo.
Spike in a fighting game is someone who wants to prove something. Spike wants to win, pure and simple. Spike learns the combos not because they are fun, but because they are effective. When you are dizzy with little life left, Spike does the simple 2 in 1 instead of a jump in combo because there’s a greater chance of mistakes doing a jump in combo. Spike picks the top tier characters, because he wants to win. Spike didn’t play Dictator in Super because he was garbage, and then picked him up in Super Turbo where he’s great. If Spike goes on a 50 game win streak, but feels like he lost the 50th game because of a mistake, he walks away unhappy.
I think a Melvin in fighting games is someone who is interested in the mechanics of the game. T. Akiba is a great example. I would say James Chen is also a Melvin. Melvins want to dissect the game, understand its very nature, and discuss why wolverine’s 15 hit chain didn’t hit a bounced cyclops after his second throw. When melvin hears that Zangief takes 26% less damage than Ryu from Cammy’s crouching jab, his immediate reaction is “cool! I wonder if we can repeat this test a thousand times with each attack in the game!”.
Melvin stays up at night trying to figure out the longest possible combo in Cvs2, and then he uses input captures on MAME to prove it. Melvin wants to know what the minimal set of inputs is actually required to do a walk up 720 in ST. He doesn’t care if anyone can actually pull it off in a real game, he just wants to know if it CAN be done.
Vorthos in a fighting game is someone who enjoys the flavor of the game. The art, the characters, the overall design package. Vorthos likes Marvel Super Heroes’s Captain America over Marvel vs Street Fighter’s Cap because the former’s shield is more “Captainish”. Vorthos is upset when someone picks Dark Grey Chun li in Super Turbo because that’s a damn ugly color, and everyone knows Chun Li should only be picked in Pink, Yellow, Green, or Lavender – GOSH (Napoleon Dynamite voice). Vorthos’s favorite SamSho game is Samurai Shodown 1, because Galford’s music is so great. Vorthos has Galford’s music as his ring tone, except when it’s Ken’s stage (when his mom calls). Vorthos plays Galford because he has a puppy, and he can say “hey poppy!”.
With that said, I thought it would be fun to analyze myself. What do I like? Why do I play? How do I evaluate the game?
There’s a big Timmy element in me. In Super, I picked T Hawk. Why? Because he’s a HUGE INDIAN! He hits hard! I like hitting with the 360. If I played 10 games, lost 9, but won my tenth with my T. Hawk Touch of Doom, I’d walk away happy. This is about as Timmy as you can get. In SFA1/2, I played Sodom. Why? Because he was big! He hits hard! However, there’s also a big Spike element in me. I want to win. I played Sodom at B3, but Chun Li at B2 a year later, because, I knew the game had evolved and that Sodom was no longer a competitive character. In Super Turbo, I have Claw as my “back pocket” tournament character even though I prefer playing Chun Li. When it’s time to win, I just want to win. And I’ll play whatever I have to play to win. That’s very Spike.
So I’m a Timmy/Spike. I’m not really a Johnny. Although I like coming up with my own unique strategies, I’m just as happy learning from other players or improving upon a well known one. Being unique isn’t where I get my kicks. One might think that a T. Hawk player is pretty Johnny, but I don’t play Hawk to prove that I can win with lower tier characters. I play Hawk because he’s huge, hits hard, and fun.
What can I say, I’m a Vorthos! Although I love to read about the mechanics of a game, and I learn the mechanics, I do it because of my Spike nature. I’m interested in learning damage differentials so that I can win, not so much out of inherent interest. But flavor? Aah, that’s a different story. I’m very compelled by flavor. SF3 might be the best game ever made, but I’ll never touch it, because I think the graphics are ugly and pixellized. I care about a game’s overall package. I’m making a home arcade with COTA and XMEN, not because they are good games, but because they are beautiful games. I was upset when I heard Guile’s menacing “SONIC BOOM” in HF turn into a pipsqueak “sonic boom?” in Super. I like the backgrounds, the stage music, and the quality of the art in the games that I like. My favorite games, ST, COTA, MSH, and Samurai Shodown, all have that quality.
So in the end, I’m a (Timmy/Spike)-Vorthos. Whew!