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.

Crisis Averted!

Color me infuriated. I’ve had my fair share of issues with my consoles; my third Xbox 360 stands as a testament to that. I’m not a professional, but I’d like to say I’m good at fixing a number of problems that have dropped onto my plate. It’s never easy, but solving them does leave me feeling a little gratified, that is if it’s a problem that can be fixed in the first place.

“That’s not supposed to happen…”

For a few days, Mass Effect 2 was unplayable for me. After finishing the game as a male Paragon Shepard (and subsequently writing an article about the choices in the series thus far, found here), I thought it would be fun to play through the game again on Insanity as a female Renegade. I was having a blast until I had died for the umpteenth time. While I was reloading like usual, my game had abruptly stopped in the middle of the loading screen, forcing me to power off my Xbox. Each time I tried to start the game again, it would freeze up and have to be manually powered off.

I began to fear the worst. “Is my Xbox going to fail?” “Is this the first symptom of a Red Ring of Death error, or the beginning of a chain of bad occurrences leading to a slew of other problems that would render my system dead as well?” A lot of things flew through my mind; it was tough to stay calm. The idea of troubleshooting a console has steadily evolved from simply blowing on the cartridge of an NES game, to running down a long and tedious list of fixes for our current generation consoles that rival a help manual for a computer. When did it ever become so complicated? Throughout the night and the following two days I began narrowing down the possible causes:

1.       Removing all of the Downloadable Content (Stupid mistake)

2.       Cleaning the disks, even though they were in perfect condition

3.       Contemplating using canned air to dislodge any built up dust inside (REALLY STUPID. Thankfully I didn’t go through with this)

4.       Calling Electronic Arts and wasting about an hour of my time (The technician ended up sending me a knowledge base article on Microsoft’s website for how to get on Xbox Live…..)

5.       Playing another game

After four really dumb ideas, I finally landed on something mildly intelligent! As I said before, when you’re not in the right state of mind, foolish things are bound to occur. I proceeded to find out every other game I bothered to put in worked just fine, so it was only Mass Effect 2 not functioning properly. I tried using a different Gamertag as well, and lo and behold, the game was playable again! Only problem is that since I wasn’t using my primary profile, I didn’t have access to the save files I would be using in the first place. Because of this, I realized that the issue had to be centered on my gamertag.

“What seems to be the problem with your game, sir?”

Of the many problems and glitches people have had to battle with to get this game to work, my case had yet to be brought to Bioware’s attention, and because of that, it lacked an official fix. I was literally on my own, unless there were others in my situation that just haven’t spoken up. I did some digging, and eventually got in contact with other Xbox 360 users that had the same problem.

Upon further investigation, the problem lied within the save files connected to my gamertag. Apparently, if you have “too many” save files, a rare instance occurs where an important save file, like your AutoSave(which brings you right back to the last place the game saved before or after a battle or major plot point) or ChapterSave (which brings you to the beginning of the mission you’re in) can get corrupted. This is very problematic because when Mass Effect 1 or 2 is turned on, it is also readying your most recent save to be loaded immediately. Even though you haven’t actually gone about to manually load the save file in question, this is done for you. If these two files or a save you made on your own are corrupted, the game will freeze when you try to advance past the start screen, which was my problem in the first place.

…How I got this fixed isn’t up for disclosure…

….But nevertheless, I had found that my AutoSave for my female Renegade was 0kb’s. Having no file size essentially makes it corrupt, and obviously fails to load. After rectifying that, I was able to load my game up again, and was subsequently able to play as well.

From what I gathered, there are a number of possible causes to this, but I’m willing to bet that this problem won’t be addressed by Bioware or Electronic Arts. Mass Effect 2 has been out for a year and a month now, and if a major issue like this hasn’t gotten some attention yet, it likely never will. I just hope that when Mass Effect 3 comes out, other gamers like me won’t have to wrestle with the system in order to play.

It’s funny. My reasoning behind preferring console gaming to computer gaming is very simple – I don’t have to pray that my machine can handle a new game, and don’t have to be haunted by the idea of having to invest in new tech in order to keep your machine useful. With a console, I just have to pop it in, sit back o the couch and enjoy. For a few days, I had joined the minority of players afflicted with errors. When you aren’t having problems with your game, people like me are invisible; yet if your game fails to work, then you’ll see other people with problems everywhere you look.