Sitting Centerstage: Mash Over Substance – Part Two

*Enter, stage right* Last time on Dragonba- Excuse me, wrong show. I left off with plenty to digest as I try to get to the root of why the impulse for instant gratification is prevalent in our community. Is the modern day generation to blame or can it be our own national culture at fault?

We know that tier whoring & casual fans transcend time; think of the other superpower in the FGC, Asia or specifically Japan. Examine the fighting games we’re strongest with. USA has Marvel & Smash, however Japan’s strength lies in the end all, Street Fighter. Take it a step further to look at Asia itself and you see domination in Tekken & Street Fighter. On one hand, you have franchises that exemplify well balance, defensive play & patience. On the other hand are broken features, crazy offense & rewards/safety nets for sloppy play. It’s a different emphasis on opposite practices & ideals that reflect onto the games we thrive in within the respective cultures. We all saw The Karate Kid.

The reluctance to broaden our horizon past the cultural boundary gives credence to just how far apart we are in community, philosophy & skill. Where Japan shares everything to the detriment of top players, USA keeps in secret to the detriment of the community. "All for one & one for all" vs. "every man for himself" thought process. That’s not to say no one in the States contributes to the community. It’s that in general the talk is put towards trolling and trash. For the national FGC, being closed minded leaves us out on beautiful new avenues and potential; but it’s the culture that’s embedded in us. Even though I’m typing all of this, I think back to when I was at EVO 2015 and top 8 for Persona 4 was starting. I looked at the brackets on the grand stage screen and saw a top 8 filled with Japanese players, lost interest immediately because there were no US players. I thought to myself ‘this is wack’ and kept it moving, I don’t even remember what I did at that point. Now I’m advocating that players broaden their horizons, so I imagine the people that don’t care or what the stream monsters are spewing…

This is how I usually see the SF size ups go down when it comes to USA vs. Japan.

This factoid isn’t hidden knowledge anymore, but if you examine the Marvel series, it plays just like the so-called ‘anime fighters’. Hence the umbrella term for the sub-genre ‘air dash’ fighter. The borderline xenophobia for games like Blazblue, Under Night in Birth, Skullgirls & the like has put an underground status on them in the States. All the while, if given a proper chance, they’ll showcase the same flash as Marvel. Hell you want offense? Guilty Gear encourages forward movement with meter and punishes excessive backdashes/being lame by taking it away. This is coming from a national treasure in Japan that a select few rave about in the country… maybe we’re not so different after all. There’s definitely ‘old school’ versus ‘new age’ dynamics within other cultures.

So what is it exactly that’s at fault for the flash over substance; our current generation or good ol’ MURICA? Both sides of the coin have very valid points that can’t be denied. Patience is an old man’s game & youth adopts the gung-ho mentality. Thing is, it translates universally because ‘American’ fighters like Mortal Kombat & Killer Instinct don’t have the same high speed pace as Marvel or Melee. Moreover, we have Asian players that are offensive oriented & Americans that are defensive minded. It would seem preference is the deciding factor in a case by case basis, but there’s still a world of difference between the Asian & American FGC. To circle back to the sports parallel, where the US ditched its old pastime for a pass-happy NFL… well, the timeless game of baseball is a huge hit in the land where our beloved fighting games originate.

As I said before, this is an open-ended topic that I wanted to present to you, the reader. I’m not entirely sure if there’s a right or wrong answer here. My intent was to bring about the awareness and see if we can get a concrete explanation. If you ask me, I think it’s a bit of both -- current generational mentality & cultural upbringing -- but pay attention to how you think & how widespread the mindset is and why. Just applying some critical thinking can take us far.

See you next time, ladies & gents. *exits, stage left*

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