originals\ Mar 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Pokken Tournament is what the fighting game genre needs

Just not on the console it needed to be on

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Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom Character Selection Screen

This is a catch 22, as the core audience wants as big a roster as it can get. Long time members of the FGC have been building their roster knowledge up for multiple entries or even generations. If you started fighting games with Street Fighter 2, you had 17(?) characters to learn, and over time more were gradually introduced, easing you into learning them. However, as an outsider looking in, huge rosters are intimidating, and veterans of the genre don't realize this.

Long time members of the FGC often take for granted their experience with common fighting game tropes and mechanics, which makes learning subsequent new characters or games easier because of the wealth of knowledge they can draw upon. Watch the Super Best Friends do their Friday Night Fisticuffs shows when they play unfamiliar fighting games, and you'll see them inform each other of things like motions and functions of attacks, and within the episode they'll become exponentially better at the game. They won't be winning any tourneys within an hour of picking up the controls, but they'll be able to body just about any casual that comes along. That's not something a beginner can do.

Beginners take much longer to learn things, and that's a huge problem with the genre.

As games have become larger, more grandiose, and further reaching through online connections, it's becoming more difficult for casuals to justify a full retail price fighting game. Back in the day, a few CGI cutscenes in Tekken was all the reward you needed for a full price tag, because they were new and interesting at the time. Considering the content size of today's games, like The Witcher 3 or Far Cry 4, no one's going to pay $60 to beat up a handful of AI opponents and be rewarded with a story cutscene at the end, which is exactly what a typical fighting game becomes to casuals when they realize competing online without significant time put into the training room isn't a realistic expectation.

As much as the FGC loves their top level play, they have to realize that casuals are needed to support a fighting game, because games don't grow on trees or descend from the heavens, no matter what some may say about Third Strike. It's all about the money, and as the fighting games become larger and more awesome, they're also becoming more insulated from the casual market. Meaning less money for the games the FGC loves, and that potential Daigo's and Justin Wong's of the future are undiscovered because they never picked up a fighting game and found their calling.

Some of you reading this may have jumped into fighting games with something like Ultra Street Fighter IV and see this article as whining. You dove in and became a competent fighting game player, so if these casuals want to enjoy the game, they should have to take their lumps too, right? Well congrats on being a particularly determined individual, or a masochist. If we were all like you, the whole world would be skilled at karate, be able to break dance, and justify their purchase of Street Fighter V.

But the whole world isn't like you Mr. Snowflake, most people give up on something when they absolutely suck at the beginning.

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About The Author
James Wynne GameZone's freelance color commentator. Obsessed with recapturing the magic of 90's gaming. Find me on twitter @JamesAdamWynne, or check out my attempts to recreate 90's gaming magazines.
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