Click "Sleep" for a dark background.
Click "sleep" again if text isn't dark.



Good Game episode 2

Episode 2! I'm getting faster at the whole process.
Here’s the plan, we are going to start at the top of the survey and work our way down. If you haven’t filled it out and you want too, the link is still active. Take it now, and you can see how your responses compare to the results.

*do the person behind the camera goes to fill out survey transition*

The first thing that I asked in the survey is ‘Which game is better?” When playing any game it’s natural for us to compare it to games of our past. In one way or another we formulate our opinion.  So before getting into anything specific, I wanted to know your preference.

*show the graph*
*show the the break down of the casual/tournament/brawl/melee*

*use the white boards and some stick figure/kirby doodles*

I believe our opinions are very important especially when we consider what’s fun and what’s not. Whether our opinions are formed from accurate perceptions or otherwise, we use them on a daily basis to make plenty of decisions. But when it comes to discussing video games with others, there are only two places for our opinions. One is the beginning of a conversation, and the other is the end. My reasoning? An opinion is a great place to start by expressing where you stand on an issue. But from that point, to communicate on the same page or on the same level, it’s important to be able to talk about a game objectively. It’s only with a clear language that we can carefully examine the complicated interworkings of game design to help understand and explain how we were influenced to form our opinions in the first place. To end a conversation in a GG, we have to figure out not that we have different opinions and ideas, but why.

*scene change focus on Richard*

Ask just about any tournament level fighting game competitor what’s important in a fighting game and they’ll probably answer with something along the lines of ... a high skill ceiling, depth, complexity, and balance. While all of these qualities are important, I don’t think any of these gamers picked the games they love by such a criteria. My theory is, whatever game your friends are playing, whatever game already has a competitive scene, or whatever game looks cool are the things that start us on our way to fandom. From there we either trust the game series, the developers, or just stick with the game we’ve been playing for years.

Perhaps you need a bit more convincing. Let’s call our local game shop and see how they respond to these questions.

*Scene change, walking around with the phone with a set camera. Jump cuts*
  1. I’m looking for a fighter with a really high skill ceiling because I don’t want to be able to max it out too easily.
  2. The game also has to be really deep. Is that deeper than Street Fighter IV?
  3. Ok, but is that game very complex? More complex than Pokemon Heart Gold?
  4. Is it balanced? Cause that’s a deal breaker.

The take away is we all think these qualities are important *skill, depth, complexity, balance* , yet we don’t have a good way of measuring them let alone any idea of what our limits are. I’m willing to bet that we don’t have any hard limits. Which is kind of funny when you think about how adamantly some of us will argue for these points. I think it’s safe to say that skill, depth, complexity, and balance are a large part of what contributes to our enjoyment of competitive gaming. Examining these elements more closely will bring us key insight to our thoughts and opinions. So let’s take a closer look at question 3 of the survey.

*Show the survey print*
*show the results graph*
*voice over*

Question 3 states, which game takes more skill to play on a tournament level? Seems like a simple enough question. Many gamers talk about skill all the time. Yet the responses from the survey are all over the place. For one, many saw fit to declare or define their own personal definitions of what skill is. This is a great move because it helps put us on the same page. This way the communication won’t get hung up on the dictionary level... meaning a discrepancy in definitions.
  • I think this question is kinda nonsense.Skill is what makes you win at a game. Melee skill is simply whatever makes you win at Melee, and Brawl skill is simply whatever makes you win at Brawl. Obviously Melee is a more pure test of Melee skill than Brawl, and the inverse is also true. We might talk about how interesting the skills are (and personally, I find Brawl skill more interesting than Melee skill, though both are pretty interesting), but if we're simply talking about quantity of skill, it's an unreasonable comparison. A-
  • people are really, really dumb about the distinction between the two games. they need to take a chill pill and realize that they are overall just DIFFERENT, and require different skills and different applications of those skills. j
  • Basically, the one that takes longer to learn takes more skill. F
  • Skill is being able to win despite the flaws of my character. Anyone should be able to win with any character if they're good enough, J
  • For the purpose of this survey I am defining skill as difficulty in the sense that it's more difficult to get hits thus the overall skill needed to get those crucial hits must go up. Z
  • The amount of skill it takes to be good at a game is largely a factor of how many people are playing it. A-
  • ~Skill is being able to learn a character, and reach a point to where you can tell someone is either using them professionally or unprofessionally. S

*Scene back on Richard. Do the tripple TV set up in living room running Melee/Brawl/ SSF4/ and then throw in a violin*

Some felt that the very idea of comparing the skill of one game to another is ridiculous and or impossible. I completely disagree. Not only is it reasonable to compare the skill required to play Melee versus Brawl, but it’s not out of the question to compare the skill between Smash and Street Fighter. For that matter it’s not impossible to compare the skill it takes to play Smash versus a Violin solo. *play a bit of violin* Trust me, we’ll get there. But first we need to break down skill into smaller universal parts.

*keep playing violin*
*Voice over*

Notice how the following responses from the survey give us some important categories to consider.  I’ve bolded the key words.
  • Skill is measured by one's ability to utilize his knowledge of a given criteria to his advantage while also adapting to an opponent's own skill. H
  • Skill to me is the ability to make the best decisions to your scenario quickly and being consistent with techniques and your abilities to make those decisions. C
  • Skill is taking aspects of a game and practicing it to better your chances of winning. Skill vs Skill is more prevalent in melee because you can counter camping with skill. b
  • it is inaccurate to say one takes more skill than the other. ppl try just as hard at each game. R
  • I define "skill" as the ability to do something well. It is a measure of both physical and mental competence. a
  • There are different variations of "skill," to begin with. To quote from a source I sadly cannot recall, you basically have technicality, tacticity, and tenacity. Technicality is the ability to perform tedious or frame-tight actions or sequences of actions, while tacticity is the ability to form strategies and plan ahead, react off of what your opponent has been known to do or what you think he will do; this is your mental ability basically. And tenacity is the ability to consistently do both of these when you need to be able to do so. D
  • Melee enables players to use a wider range of personal strengths. Intelligence, knowledge, speed, precision, awareness, and reaction. You can use either a combination of all of these attributes, or an exaggerated aptitude of a few of these attributes to compete at the highest level in a variety of different ways. T
  • In terms of the "raw skill" needed to play each game, its more or less incomparable. Melee clearly requires more time to learn the technical aspect of the game, Brawl requires more "thinking" and is more mentally taxing. A
  • There is a reason I'm answering Brawl for this. My definition of skill is firstly and definitely, mindgames and secondly, game knowledge. T

*new scene*

See what I mean about gamers having good instincts? As a whole, the smash community has a really good idea of what skill is. But no one person gave a response with the full picture. So allow me.

*Voice over*
*at the piano*

One important thing to keep in mind when considering how much skill it takes to perform an action is how your own experiences and skills shapes your perception. In some ways, when you’re good at something, you tend to view similar lower level tasks as being really easy. *show sheet music from beginners and advance* Similarly, when you have a lack of some type of skill, it’s possible view even a “simple” task as being extremely difficult.  So what we need is a system that breaks down skill into categories that can be measured objectively. So I’ve created the DKART system.

*show images of Descartes*

As a pun on  René Descartes' "Cognito ergo sum/I think, therefore I am," the DKART system is rooted in the fundamental concept of video gaming. Being a uniquely interactive medium, players have the power to influence the game state/presentation/art form. This act of influencing is our agency. To act we must use some facet or combination of our skills. Therefore, we can express the idea of self hood or agency in a virtual environment as, "I DKART, therefore I am."

*use white board*

DKART is an acronym for the 5 core types of skill. Dexterity. Knowledge. Adaptation. Reflex. and Timing. Each core type contains about 6 subtypes giving us everything we need to compare a Vivaldi piece to playing Pit in Brawl. First up we have...

*scene change*
*use the laptop and B.E.S games/graphs/images*
*cut in quick shots of various activities/hobbies showing off the skill facet*

Dexterity. Speed. Control. Harmony. Efficiency. Stamina. Power.

Dexterity the skill of action.
Speed is rapidly repeating the same input or how quickly one can execute a sequence of inputs. Control mainly applies to analog actions/inputs and it measures how accurately one can execute to varying degrees. Harmony is a measure of how the physical act of executing one input/motion affects the potential to execute another. This is mainly a measure of one’s coordination and body awareness. Efficiency measures how one’s technique minimizes effort and maximizes execution.  Stamina is a measure of one’s overall energy. And power is a measure of strength. For video games, power is sub category that mainly applies to motion controls.  
  • There’s no denying that Melee requires more tech skill, but that really doesn’t matter much. At a top level it generally comes down to the same thing, just being smarter. For me personally, however, I find that Melee is harder to play due to it being much, much faster paced. I just can’t handle how much faster Melee is, so to compensate I generally play really slow characters (such as Jiggs). t
  • it is easier to have pro-level techskill in brawl, fewer actions per minute, etc. R
  • I should say some characters in Brawl are actually pretty technical, like Ice Climbers and Peach. I spent more time learning some of Brawl Peach's techniques than I did a lot of staple Melee Fox techniques like waveshining, shdl, shffling(but certain things like multishining/shine out of shield are on a way harder level). I will say this though: short hopping with melee fox is harder than 50% of brawls metagame. S

Myth 2.1 Melee requires more dexterity (technical) skill than Brawl.

Dexterity is what many smashers mean when they talk about technical ability. According to the survey, about 95-99% of smashers agree that Melee takes more technical skill than Brawl. I’m not so sure. So let’s consider all the sub categories of Dexterity.

Sure Melee Fox, Falco, and Falcon take a lot of speed to play at a high level, but they’re the extreme examples. Outside of this group the speed of inputs drops precipitously. Unfortunately, when most smashers think Melee, they probably have a match up with Fox/Falco as one of the characters in mind. These fast characters certainly don’t make up the majority of the melee experience even though they dominate the tournament scene.

In Brawl there are plenty of characters that take a lot of speed dexterity skills to play at a high level just like the fast Melee characters. For a simple example there are  “button mashing” moves. Pikachu’s jab, Ness’ dtilt, Pit’s Angle Ring, and MK’s Mach tornado are a few examples of moves that get better/more versatile with a high speed execution. Then there’s characters like Sonic who not only has a button mashing spin dash move but a special move set that features a lot of cancels. You can cancel the spin dash into a shield, a jump, and then attack with the push of a few buttons. In fact, a good Sonic or Diddy player can take a lot of speed dexterity just like fast Melee characters. B reversing, glide tossing, and DACUS are advanced techniques all require quick fingers. And this isn’t even considering other facets of Dexterity skill like control, stamina, and harmony.

Looping up to 4 arrows while fighting intelligently takes a lot of control as a “technical” Pit player. Because one facet of Dexteritiy skill isn’t necessarily harder than the others, we can consider arrow looping as an example that makes Pit and Brawl highly technical. If you’re only thinking in terms of SHUFFLing and shine canceling to determine how technical Melee is, you’re missing the bigger picture. So until we look very closely at how all the characters play at a high level from each game, the only thing we can conclude at this point in regards to myth 2.1 is that both games take a lot of dexterity skills to play at a high level.
« Good Game episode 2 part 2 | Main | Good Game episode 1 »

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>