There have been a lot of back and forth messages about making games more casual friendly to appeal to the masses, but what exactly does that mean?
Let’s take a look at Super Turbo (Original). Compared to present fighting games, there isn’t too many game engine oriented options (such counters, alpha counters, EX moves, air blocking, etc…), and while it may seem basic, that is far from the truth, but it is basic enough to where casual players can just play it without worrying about the game engine (except maybe for supers and tech throwing). The game is harder than most games to get out the moves, but with the high damage and the quick pace, casuals probably wouldn’t worry about getting off the moves, rather than just finishing off their opponent by whatever they know, or are able to do.
Let’s take a look at the Alpha series (specifically Alpha 2 and Alpha 3). The inputs in those games for getting off moves are more lenient than ST, but not to the point where you would unintentionally get out other moves that overlap. For Alpha 2, you can smack three buttons (2 punches/kicks and 1 punch/kick), or you can smack all of them, then you can mash buttons and see instant results and a high combo counter. Alpha 3 is somewhat different, but the results are still similar.
Let’s take a look at Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, the inputs in this game are probably a little bit more lenient than the Alpha series in terms of getting off moves. This is a game that casuals would love, they can pick a character, roll the joystick or d-pad around, press buttons, and see instant results (huge beams, fast pace, big combos). They can super jump by pressing down up (or by pressing two kicks), dash by tapping back or forward twice (or by pressing two punches), call out an assist by pressing one button, do a magic series, etc. You can even do a triple team super and get a 100+ combo, what casual player wouldn’t like that? Very few.
But, you will almost never, (and by almost, I mean you would have to be Powerball lucky), see a casual player beat a high level player in their respective game, and that should never happen in these types of games (or any fighting game, for that matter). A casual players goal and a high level players goal towards the game are different, the casual player just wants to play some matches, do some moves with success, beat the computer, play against friends and have a good time. The high level player wants to win tournaments, they are usually competing against the best, to be the best. If the casual player and high level player ever face off, then the high level player should win, 100/100 (unless the high level player fools around, and even then, it might still be 100/100). Of course the casual player is going to be frustrated, a lot of that is due to the high level player just being better, but also a difference in philosophies.
So what exactly is the justification on making games more friendly to casual players? If they can do the moves, beat the computer, and play some matches against friends and have fun, isn’t that good enough? Is the casual player supposed to beat a high level player (and when I say high level, I mean a world class player)? If the companies can strike a balance without hindering the game, that is fine, but I would prefer less games where I get a move out that I didn’t intend to do, or comeback mechanics that do huge amounts of damage (K-Groove is cool, though).