Open Discourse
Friday, April 4, 2008 at 2:40PM
Richard Terrell (KirbyKid)

Fighting games have been on my mind as of late. Some are good. Some are bad. All are similar enough to be classified in the fighting genre. Like all competitive games (I presume), there are websites completely devoted to each game that include information about everything from high level techniques to future tournaments. The problem is, all of these sites are like scattered autonomous islands.

I'm interested in the fighting genre as a whole, yet there isn't any organized or consolidated source to turn to. Let's face it. Books aren't exactly being written and published about the current state of fighting games. The occasional gaming book worth reading that makes it to Barnes & Noble isn't enough.

I dream of a day, or more specifically a website, that can attract authorities from around all strata of gamers and game designers to intelligently tackle current issues. I do realize it is hard enough to ask people to be civil and intelligent while debating anything let alone something as off the academic radar as videogames. But a dream's a dream.

I believe that critics should work to obtain more influence in the gaming community and become authorities in whatever area they specialize in. As far as trying to become an authority myself, I can only do so much. Fighting games are notorious for being so deep that it takes many hours of study to become familiar with the basics. My power time for Brawl is nearing 200 hours on my save file alone, and I'm barely getting a feel for the competitive level play. I'm just now starting to memorize patterns and strategic set ups that involve crunching multi-variable formulas on the fly. In addition to the active metal acuity I'm developing, I'm slowly memorizing an encyclopedia of data about the game. This in itself is more work than many put into any one course in college. Staying competitive in a fighting game is like making a six year commitment of study and practice. This is why it's so important to come together.

So perhaps I'll start small. Hijacking an idea from Corvus Elrod's Blogs of the Round Table, I want to create a space for people to tackle the topics where anyone can contribute in anyway they can. I'll have the particulars ironed out soon, but what I do know is that the information will be organized into another mind map. Imagine the BioShock Discourse but more conversational. I think I'll call this new space "Open Discourse."

This week is all about the elements and structures of design that we depend on or could use to improve our everyday lives outside of Hyrule, Kanto, the Mushroom Kingdom, etc.

Article originally appeared on Critical-Gaming Network (http://critical-gaming.com/).
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