How to Beat the Scrub Out of You

Every fighting game match has the same outcome – someone wins and their opponent is the loser. By and large this is how things go, and very rarely will there ever be a draw. This is objectively true, but for every new fighting game people flock to, a staggering percentage of the player base has historically had trouble with understanding this fact. If you’ve been fervently playing Marvel vs. Capcom 3 like I have, your inbox that’s probably full of hate mail can verify that you’ve also come across this special type of player; perhaps you’re one of them yourself. I’m talking about the Scrub.

What is this Scrub you speak of?

For those of you who don’t know what a Scrub is, it’s the type of player (although not limited to fighting games, but this is where they flock to) that feels the need to take things a step further with their opponent after they’ve lost a match. Whatever tactic that was used to win will immediately be scrutinized; it was “cheap”, they used too many projectiles, they didn’t “fight like a real player,” they too chickenshit to get up close, their team was just so much better than the loser’s; the list of complaints go on and on. The sad thing is that each and every point of argument is so steeped in stupidity and rage that it cannot be taken seriously.

Because of the reasons I stated above, I venture to say that the only type of match a scrub would really enjoy would be one that doesn’t suffer from those “flaws.” Further, I imagine this fight would be perfectly balanced, so to speak. Perhaps it’ll go something like this: He does a number of tricks and really injures you, and you return the favor with your own arsenal of moves, while explosions are going off in the background and both of your fan clubs are hopelessly cheering you two on. But in the end, he wins, because he’s supposed to. If he doesn’t, then there’s something wrong. The perfectly scripted encounter is supposed to go his way because nothing else matters as long as the scrub wins. No matter how ridiculous a match goes, a scrub will never ever complain if they win in the end. If they lost, then they’ll suddenly feel violated, and the verbal insults fly in every direction. The truth is, anything goes. There is no code of honor when it comes to a fighting game. There’s no perfect way a fight is supposed to go, and that’s never going to change. You deal with it, and you focus on getting better. If you can’t do that, it’s best to stop playing for your own sake.

“If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough…”

I know what it’s like. Over my years of playing fighting games I too have suffered so many losses that I’ve had no other reaction than blind rage. I would let my anger cloud my better judgment, leading me to make more mistakes. As a result, I was also more susceptible to falling for the same traps and the same attacks over and over. For example in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, whenever you get blasted by Doctor Doom’s beam attack your character falls to the floor. If you’re not immediately blocking, you’ll roll up, only to get blasted again. If I don’t wise up, why should my opponent do anything different?

It takes a certain type of mindset to play fighting games. Have you heard of the phrase “when you get knocked down, you gotta’ get back up?” well, I’ve never seen that idea apply more to anything than a fighting game. If you don’t start playing with the frame of mind that losing is an occupational hazard that will happen more than you’d like, you’re going to destroy yourself. The one thing that divides a scrub and a regular player (not even professionals) is that when a regular player loses a match, he or she doesn’t dive right into playing the blame game. Regardless of how the loss happened, a player that can rise above is taking notes. They are watching and analyzing how they are losing, and will promptly GO BACK TO PRACTICE MODE to iron out those kinks.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is unfortunately synonymous with a lot of scrubby debates, but I can definitely sympathize with them. I’ve gotten spanked by Sentinel more times than I can count. In fact, on the second day of playing online, I got so depressed from losing that I didn’t want to cover this game anymore. Every character has the potential to defeat every other character; it just takes a lot of effort and experimentation to find out what combination works for you. When all else fails, you just might have a bad matchup. In that case, take note of it, and move on.

But I’m so lost don’t know where to begin…

If you decide to play a game like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, you have to consider the fact that you’re going to lose. You’re going to lose often. The best way to deal with this is to pay a lot of attention to how the match is going. What strategies is your opponent using? Are you able to overcome them with your own style? If you’re losing a lot to a general playing style like ‘keepaway,’ where the opponent does everything in his or her power to keep you pinned with projectiles and other attacks to force you in the corner, use characters who excel at ‘rushdown’, who can bring a lot of pain when their right in the oppositions face. This is pretty rudimentary, but still effective, especially if you haven’t considered this. By really learning your characters and the characters that you’re facing online, you should start to develop strategies to beat them. Of course, it may be hard to think of all of this on your own, but remember, this is the internet! Go to message boards, watch technique videos, read a strategy guide! There’s a mountain of resources out there made for people trying to get better. Use them!

If you ever feel like you’re not getting where you want to be, go back into the lab. Keep experimenting, and come up with new strategies. Perfect your team and work on any weaknesses you have, or are learning about based on how you’re losing. The time you put into practicing will reflect on your overall skill. While spending ten or more hours a day like professionals do when they’re preparing to compete in tournaments may not suit you, find out what works best for your situation, And watch as you start to rack in some wins.

Here’s a couple links that can get you started if you feel like you want to improve your game:

http://wiki.shoryuken.com/Marvel_vs_Capcom_3

–          Shoryuken.com’s comprehensive “hyper guide” details EVERYTHING you need to know about Marvel vs. Capcom 3. While there’s a lot of material to sort out here, so my advice is to read a couple pages, and practice what you’ve learned. Once you feel like you’ve gotten a few things down, go back and read more. The front page also has video walkthroughs explaining each character’s strengths so you can start putting together your dream team.

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/995376-marvel-vs-capcom-3-fate-of-two-worlds

–          I’ve always made it a point to visit GameFAQ’s forums for every game I cover as a second resource. While this community is not strictly composed of fighting game enthusiasts like Shoryuken, I’ve found a couple of good discussions here as well.

http://shoryuken.com/f340/

–          If you wanted a more focused discussion about an individual character, this is the place to go. I usually go here when I want more information about a character that catches my interest after watching the introductory videos found on the first link above.

Good luck, and remember not to get discouraged if you lose.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds Reviewed!

Hey readers, in case you haven’t caught the link on Facebook, Twitter or your email if you subscribed, my review for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is posted. Check it at the link below, I hope you enjoy it!

https://9999hitpoints.wordpress.com/reviews/review-marvel-vs-capcom-3-fate-of-two-worlds/

As always, I’m looking for any and all sorts of feedback. Have any questions, comments, suggestions? Don’t hesitate to post something in the discussion box below!

I’ll be working on my follow up article(s) now that the review is done, staying busy until my next game, Dissidia Final Fantasy 2 is released.

It’s Been a Year Already?

It’s a calm night. I look to my fireplace altar, my college’s newspaper, and sometimes, Google. These are a few sources, but they’re all places where you can go to see what I’ve done. While it hasn’t been a drop in the bucket compared to the professionals of this field, I’d like to think I’ve made a great start. Somewhere out there, my words have touched someone else. I’m not saying that I’ve given a spiraling depressed person some hope for life, but in the span of a year, I would like to think I’ve done something nice. To me, it’s something important.

This month marks an anniversary of sorts. I’ve been pursuing video game writing for a year now! It really doesn’t feel like it, but it has been a great ride so far.

The duties of an aspiring video game journalist are always as tough as they want them to be. One could occasionally write game reviews, and just be satisfied with quietly submitting their work onto a blog like this. If that isn’t fulfilling enough, they could kick it into high gear; suddenly, they would be cycling through an endless queue of titles, playing and reviewing from sunshine till moonlight. Of course, people in my position aren’t being paid for doing the same bread and butter things that actual gaming websites and publications pay their staff for, and that’s okay. If you’re like me, you’re also a college student, and have a job to top that off. More often than not, it’s going to be difficult juggling two important responsibilities like those with a time consuming hobby. Nobody ever said it would be easy, but doing this for a year has definitely helped me grow not only as a writer, but as a lover of video games.

What have you learned in one year?

Writing about games has introduced me to a new sphere of knowledge in this field. I always had a relatively small view of the gaming industry – A select few entities were covering the entire scene. In a nutshell, I simply thought the scene was like this: Publishers and developers worked on the games themselves, while a couple of publications had the magazine aspect of covering games taken care of, and the rare but beautiful G4TV (when it actually has video game-related programming) occupied the airwaves, giving a face to the coverage. Anything in between previously didn’t exist to me.

What dawned on me was the legion of hopefuls that looked on at these lucky people who have the privilege of making a living being surrounded and working within the gaming industry. It was something I couldn’t fathom. By delving deeper into the communities of various video game publications such as 1UP.com, I saw many people just like me – people with dreams of working in the industry. Whether that may be as a competitive gamer, in art, programming, or writing, I started to see how dense and complex this industry I grew up alongside truly was. As a friend of mine took his first step as an art intern at a video game publication, I started to believe that it was possible. I also was inspired by another good friend whose designs were picked up to be the basis of an iPhone game. People close to me were making things happen! I began to see that it was possible to break into this world and work in it as well. Most importantly, I started believing that a pipe dream such as “working in the video game industry” actually had potential to be made true.

What have you accomplished thus far?

At the time of this article, I’ve reviewed six games. Each title has brought me great joy in covering because I’ve not only played through them like everyone else does, I went the extra mile in analyzing what makes them good, or bad. My reviews are my pride and joy, and my experience in doing them has helped me develop as a writer. Rogue writers such as me have to also make sure their stuff is getting out to readers, and for me, this has manifested in the formation of the Facebook Like page I dedicated to this blog. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s another way that I can forward my stuff out for people in the vast social network to see.

For those of you that I’ve continually pestered in conversation to check out my blog, thank you so much for actually coming here and seeing what I’m doing.

I have tried my hand at contributing my work to video game blog sites (1UP.com, specifically) as well. I enjoyed sharing my writing with other like-minded people, and while I was doing it, it was a blast. Unfortunately I have stopped posting my work there a few months ago. I would love to start doing this again at 1UP or another place, when I’m able to make the time commitment in keeping up with another website that for the most part already accomplishes what I do here.

What do you plan to do next?

So where do I go from here? In short, I’ll keep plugging away. Like I said before, my blog stands between the two main demands of my time: work, and school. Both of these will definitely remain fixtures in my life, but despite that, they’ll never keep me down and out for too long. If I ever go a while without posting something new, just know my mind is constantly bouncing to this blog.

In terms of content, I would love to start writing a number of different types of articles in addition to what I’m already doing. Here are a couple ideas I’ve either been mulling around in my head, or have been suggested to try:

1.       More articles about the industry

2.       More interviews

3.       Nostalgia pieces

4.       Covering events such as E3 (this will be the hardest, but we’ll see!)

5.       Persuasive arguments

6.       Videos / Podcasts

7.       Getting my work published in a magazine

I’d love to hear from you guys. Despite the fact that I started this blog for my own use, each comment and every morsel of feedback help me so much. I strongly encourage all of you to take that small effort to write back to me. This could be a comment at the end of my posts, on the links I post via Facebook, or as a private message. Any way you think is necessary, I want to hear what you guys have to say! Do you want to see me review a certain game? Let me know! Was I incorrect in judging a game; too harsh or too lenient? Let’s talk about it. Responding and holding an ongoing dialogue with readers is what keeps writers doing what they do, and for me, I wholeheartedly agree with that.

Writing about video games is my ticket to accomplish my dream of working in the gaming industry. With that said, I want to thank all of you again for supporting me by coming to my page here and seeing what I’ve got to say. There are a number of websites and publications that do what I do and much more, and knowing that you guys make the time to check out what one person is doing really means a lot. Thank you all!

Here’s to another year!

Facebook Page Launched!

Trying to get your writing noticed on the internet requires a LOT of legwork. Over the past few months I’ve been reposting my stuff through my personal Facebook page, as well as a number of directory sites like Digg and StumbleUpon. I’ve gotten a lot of exposure that way, but in terms of looking more “professional,” I’ve still been falling short. In hopes to fix that, I’ve made my own Facebook Like Page! You know, those random “Likes” that people click and get flooded on their friends’ News Feed.

I’m still learning how to get it working the way I want, so stay tuned, hopefully I can put a Like box here on my blog here, we’ll see. Anyway, if you’re interested in the link, go here!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hit-Points-Video-Game-Blog/107172122678880

Spread the word!