To figure out how I was going to approach this project, I did a test run interview with a Draglade player known as Ragnell. As a highly ranked player on the Draglade leaderboards and a top ranked player from a online Draglade community, Ragnell was an ideal participant. This particular interview accompanied several versus matches via Nintendo's wifi connection. Because he lives in New York and the Draglade servers aren't the smoothest, the gameplay was inconsistent to say the least. Despite this fact, I still got a feel for his play style and high level battles in Draglade.
If you've gotten to this point wondering what Draglade is, don't feel bad. Draglade is a fighting game for the Nintendo DS from Atlus. Without getting too much into the structure of the game, it plays like a combination of Street Fighter and Smash Brothers. It is, so far, the best Fighting game on the Nintendo DS and is interesting enough to be included with the rest of the heavy weight console fighters in this Open Discourse.
The game shines in its balance and variety. Supporting only four characters in online battles (one for speed, strength, melee combat, and a balance type) the designers made things easy for themselves. With each character players can customize a deck of six projectiles or special moves called bullets. Also, each player has a super move consisting of a string of musical weapon strikes that are completely customizable in rhythm and note values. I've fought a battle with my Mario theme versus the Zelda theme. It was epic to say the least.
I wanted to know what Ragnell thought of the game. And he supplied details of the online community, overpowered moves in the game, glitches, and other tips all of which I'll include in the Discourse. After the easy questions, I asked more game design oriented questions. I asked Ragnell what he would change about the game and why. I wanted to know if Ragnell felt that any part of the game was unnecessary. I wanted him to step aside and consider Draglade form a critical point of view instead of just from a player's or a fan's.
I've been slowly collecting topics and issues and interesting questions that would be ideal for an Open Discourse on Fighting Games to address. The first topic will be all about yomi. Are yomi layers the essence of fighting games? If yomi layers can be created with as few moves and other game elements as possible, does a fighter really need anything else?
Sirlin.net has an excellent definition and examples of Yomi. But, I'd like to supplement Sirlin's article with an example that I think everyone can relate to. Presenting the yomi layers of Striped Shirt versus Jacked Boy in "Shoulder Tapping."
What's this? The cunning same shoulder approach counters the classic opposite turn counter! It's as if Striped Shirt countered himself.
My word! The cunning same shoulder approach is beaten by simply turning around in an ordinary fashion. This brings us right back to the beginning where the infamous tap the wrong shoulder technique would come in handy.
It is cycles like this that fighting games thrive on. Go on, try it with your friends. Because there's always a counter for each move the interplay will move in a cycle making the fun and the mix ups endless.
So for this Open Discourse, I want to know where the yomi is in other fighters, how they feel about it, and if such fighters need anything else. If you play a fighter, feel free to contribute via this blog or by email.