Fighting Game/Analysis

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Useful vocabulary and prominent persons in the fighting game community.


Basic Terminology

  • Normal - A basic attack, performed by press a single attack button.
    • Command Normal - An attack performed by pressing an attack button in conjunction with a particular direction.
  • Block - A defensive state that reduces the damage taken from incoming attacks, assumed either by holding a directional input away from the opponent or via a dedicated block button, depending on the game. Blocks usually come in more than one variety, such as "high" and "low," each of which protects against and is vulnerable to different moves, and some games even allow blocking while airborne.
  • Throw - An attack dealt by first grabbing the opponent rather than simply striking them, and ignores their block. Depending on the game, there may be a dedicated throw button, or throws may be performed by pressing two particular attack buttons in conjunction.
    • Throw Tech - The defense against against throws, typically by inputting the same input as the throw quickly after the opponent's throw connects.
    • Command Throw/Command Grab - An alternate type of throw possessed by some characters, performed by a special attack input, and with the directional input frequently being a 360-degree spin. They typically cannot be teched, do more damage than their normal counterparts and/or have some sort of a special effect.
  • Combo - Short for "Combination Attack," this is a series of normal attacks performed back-to-back, usually capped off with a special move and/or super attack. The defining feature of a combo is that the the player being attacked is prevented from returning to a neutral state during its performance.
    • Link combo - A combo where one move's animation must end before another move can be performed.
    • Chain combo - A combo where a move's animation may be interrupted with another move, provided the first attack connects with something.
  • Special Move - A move that requires a command input of two or more directions in length followed by an attack button.
  • Super Move - A special move that also requires that the player expend some or all of their Mana Meter.
  • Charge Move - A move whose command input involves holding ("charging") either a direction on the joystick or button(s) for a brief period of time. This kind of move is most popular in 2D fighters, although it is occasionally seen in 3D fighters (where it more commonly appears as a button charge rather than a joystick charge).
  • Counterattack/Counter Stance - A special move where the character briefly strikes a pose, during which any attack that hits them will be ignored and trigger a retaliating attack. Commonly overridden by supers or throws, and of varying effectiveness against projectiles.
  • Super Armor and Hyper Armor - A move that has the super armor property allows its character take a preset amount of hits or damage during its animation without being interrupted. Moves with a hyper armor property let the character suffer an unlimited amount of damage. Make note that armor properties do not protect the character from taking damage, just from being knocked out of the attack.
    • Armor Breaking Moves - Some attacks can ignore the opponent's move's armored properties.
  • Chip Damage - The largely reduced damage that a character takes from attacks while blocking. In some games, normals do not cause chip damage.
  • Wake Up - The time when a character is rising up off the ground.
  • Double KO - When both characters' health is depleted simultaneously. Whether this counts as a win for both players or a loss for both players varies from game to game, and in the case of the former, how the game handles a double KO in final round of a match will vary as well.

Advanced Terminology

  • Baiting - Performing certain movements to try and draw an exploitable move or action from an opponent, and then punishing said action. It's somewhat common for a character to have a feinting variant of one of their special moves for this express purpose.
  • Cancel - Cutting one action's animation short by inputting another action.
    • Attack cancel - The most common type of cancel, and so is just referred to as a "cancelling." Typically, only special and super moves can be cancelled from normals, and only super moves can be cancelled from specials. In games that allow normals to be cancelled into one another, there is usually a similar hierarchy, such a light attack to medium attack to hard attack.
    • Guard cancel - Canceling a blocking animation into an attack or evasive maneuver. May be so useful in some games that a meter cost is attached to performing it.
    • Jump cancel - Is not canceling a jump into something else, but canceling an attack with a jump , allowing one to transition from comboing an opponent with ground attacks to air attacks.
  • Cross up - In games where blocking is done by holding back, landing an attack while jumping over an opponent may force them to quickly readjust their block to the other side. An ambiguous cross up happens when it's difficult to visually judge whether or not the attacker has crossed over the opponent, leaving defense up to mindgames or guesswork.
  • Damage Scaling - As a combo continues, each successive attack receives a decreasing multiplier to its base damage. Some game count a single multi-hit attack as one move for the purpose of scaling.
  • Frames - As in, "frames of animation." Modern fighting games run at sixty frames per second. Every action in a fighting game can be measured by the number of frames, or time, it takes to perform.
    • Start Up - The frames between an attack animation beginning and the attack becoming active.
    • Active - The number of frames of an attack animation where the attack can actually deal damage.
    • Recovery - The remaining frames of an attack animation.
  • Hit Confirm - Using a normal or special to confirm that an unsafe special or super move can hit the opponent before committing any meter to using one and/or risking yourself to be hit afterwards if the move misses or is blocked. If the opening attack connects, then you can safely cancel into the special move or super.
  • Launcher - A move that lifts your opponent into the air. Games that feature these prominently often allow one to immediately jump after the opponent and continue the combo in the air.
  • Meaty - A preemptive strike against an opponent who is still getting up off the floor. The idea is to have the opponent's hitbox overlap with that of your attack. Your opponent's only options become to either block or use a reversal. May also be used to describe hitting an opponent late in the active portion of a move in order to increase the number of frames between the time when you have recovered from your attack and the the time when your opponent recovers from the hit.
  • Negative Edge - In some games, the release of an attack button can activate a special move just as well as pressing it would. It's usually used in combos that require you to press the attack button twice in rapid succession, such as when a normal attack can only be cancelled into a special or super if done early enough.
  • Overhead - An attack that can curve or drop over a crouching opponent's head, going around their guard. As such, they need to be blocked from a standing position. In most games, all jumping attacks function as overheads, though proper positioning may be required.
  • Punish - To hit the opponent when a poorly chosen or missed attack of theirs has left them vulnerable, usually for significant damage as the punisher has a few precious fractions of a second where the punishee is a complete non-threat, allowing for otherwise impractical or risky techniques to connect without worry.
  • Reset - Allowing a combo to end in order to begin a new one, the point being to reset damage scaling. Though intentionally dropping a combo may seem counter-intuitive, players that intentionally go for resets try to set them up in ways that make picking up a new combo more likely than not.
  • Reversal - A special move used after block stun or hit stun, or (most commonly) on wake up. They're typically done with a move that has invincibility on start up to catch the opponent off guard while they're trying to stay on the offensive.
  • Tick - Using a quick attack at close range to force an opponent to block it, and while they're stuck in the block pose, throwing them. This was only really effective in older fighting games, as newer ones either make characters stuck in block animation immune to throws or allow them to escape them much easier than normally. Special throws aren't either affected by it as much or not at all, making it another reason for using them over normal throws for characters that have them.
  • Triangle Jump - The act of jumping and then Air Dashing either down-forward or down-back. This is only doable by characters that have an 8-way Air Dash.
  • Stuff - To beat out an opponent's attack in it's start up frames with a quicker attack of your own. Some games will register this as a "Counter" hit and may reward it by giving the attack a boost to damage or hit stun.

Lingo and Slang

  • Bodied - Beaten by an overwhelming margin.
  • Chicken Wing - The nickname of Fei Long's Rekkukyaku. Commonly attributed to the appearance of the attack's animation, it is also stems from a derisive nickname for the "eagle claw" style of holding an arcade stick.
  • Churning Butter - The act of frantically spinning the the control stick -- probably more times than necessary -- in an attempt to get off a command grab, or even moves that have directional inputs other than circles if you're banking on the game being generous with its input reading.
  • Crosshanded - The act of playing on an arcade stick with your left hand operating the buttons, and your right hand operating the stick instead of the other way around.
  • Dragon Punch - Any special attack in 2D fighting games consisting of an upward rising assault from the input forward, down, down forward, and attack; they are mostly used as anti-air attacks. Named for original localized name of Ryu and Ken's Shoryuken.
  • Dropped The Soap/Dropped The Baby - An exaggerated way of saying someone dropped their combo (messed it up partway through).
  • Evo Moments - Intense and often memetic gameplay occurrences from the annual Evolution Championship Series, the premier fighting game tournament series in the US. The numbers seem to be chosen entirely at random by absolutely no one.
    • Evo Moment #13 - From Evo 2011, Poongko's Seth won against Daigo's Yun with a Perfect victory in the final round. Prior to the match, Poongko had worked up the crowd by removing his jacket and belt, then sloppily downing a whole energy drink.
    • Evo Moment #37 - From Evo 2004, the now infamous comeback from Daigo Umehara's Ken against Justin Wong's Chun-Li in the final round of match one in the loser's bracket finals. With Ken down to just a pixel of health, even chip damage would knock him out. By keeping his distance from Chun-Li, Daigo successfully baited Justin Wong in to attempting to decisively end the match with Chun-Li's Houyokosen super move, a lightning fast 15-hit combo. Daigo proceeded to parry every single hit of the combo -- a daring tactic which would allow him to weather the assault unscathed, but where a single mistake would cost him the match -- and position himself to deliver a super of his own, turning what would've been an easy win for Wong into the most infamous comeback in fighting game history. This moment has been recreated in official material, appearing as one of the trials in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition and at the end of trailer for Ultimate Marvel VS. Capcom 3's Heroes and Heralds mode (with Ryu standing in for Ken).
    • Evo Moment #80 - From Evo 2010, a Street Fighter IV match between Mike Ross and Dr. Chaos for a spot in the Top 8.
  • Exposed - When a glaring weakness in a player's abilities are made apparent by their opponent, such as not knowing an effective way to fight a particular character.
  • Level Up - To improve one's game by playing others and gaining experience against different characters and playstyles. Borrowed from the idea of Character Level.
  • Mexican Uppercut - The crouching heavy punch as usable by some Shotoclones as a makeshift substitute for a proper Shoryuken if the player's execution isn't at the level needed to perform them reliably. Originated in Southern California.
  • Opened Up - To have one's defenses penetrated.
  • Option Select - A technique where one performs their input in such a way that the end result is context sensitive -- the game selects the option that is better for you.
  • Rekka - A special attack that can be extended by repeating its command, typically to a total of three uses. Named after Fei Long's Rekkaken.
  • Salt/Salty - To be angry or irritated, typically over a loss. Actually predates fighting games by several decades, dating back to the 1930s.
  • Umeshoryu - The "psychic dragon punch;" the nickname for Shoryukens and similar moves when used by Daigo Umehara, who's known for his ability to make them connect in high-risk situations with startling reliability.
  • Yomi - The ability to know what your opponent is going to do, either by conditioning your opponent to think the way you want them to or by learning how they already think.

Notable Creators and Promoters

  • Katsuhiro Harada - Producer of the Tekken series.
  • Mike "Mike Z" Zaimont - Lead programmer and battle designer of Skullgirls. Has a strong tournament history in Guilty Gear, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, and BlazBlue, with a penchant for playing grapple characters.
  • David "Low Strong" Sirlin - A game designer known for skills in Competitive Balance and games that strive for it. His blog is full of thoughtful and insightful articles on such matters.
  • Seth Killian - Capcom's Online & Community Advisor. A former competitive Street Fighter player, he stopped played at tournament level once trying to juggle his Capcom-related duties with staying competitive hindered his ability to do either. He has a PhD in Philosophy and, debatably more impressive, a Street Fighter character named after him.
  • Yoshinori Ono - Producer of Street Fighter IV and many other Capcom games. Is well-known for his tendency to tease fans.
  • Daisuke Ishiwatari - Creator, character designer, music composer, and participating voice actor for the Guilty Gear series as well as the composer for BlazBlue. Is a huge fan of Queen, and takes plenty of cues from heavy metal for his compositions.

Notable Players

  • Daigo "The Beast" Umehara - An extremely accomplished player of 2D fighting games, best known for his play in Street Fighter, particularly his use of Ken and Ryu, to the point of being regarded as one of the best -- if not the best -- Street Fighter players in the world. He currently holds the world record for "most successful player in major tournaments of Street Fighter" in Guinness World Records.
  • Justin "Marvelous" Wong - That guy who got bodied by Daigo back in '04. Is somewhat less well known for the wide variety of games he's done well in -- between 2004 and 2010, he placed in the Top 8 in at least two Evo tournaments every year; in four of those seven years he made Top 8 in at least three events; and in 2004, he placed Top 8 in four events. Has his own well-known comeback, against Yipes in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 at Evo 2007, and holds the world record for Mv C 2 single-player.
  • Noah Solis - Placed in the top 48 in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 at Evo 2011. He's eight years old. Also plays a pretty mean M. Bison in Street Fighter IV.
  • Poongko "The Machine" - A Street Fighter and King of Fighters player, known for exhibiting the precise knowledge and execution necessary to dominate with Seth.
  • Yipes - A Marvel Vs. Capcom player who has popularized more catchphrases than most people can even remember, such as the infamous "Mahvel, baby!" video.
  • Ryan "Gootecks" Gutierrez & Mike "Mike Ross" Ross - 2 guys who came up strong during the SFIV era, placing highly at US & international tournaments. Also started their own web series.
  • Tokido - Known variously as "The Murder Face" or "The Ice Man", Tokido is one of the "Five Gods of 2D" in Japan, yet he has also won tournaments in 3D fighters like Tekken, and even in games HE'S NOT KNOWN FOR PLAYING (e.g. his tournament wins in Mv C 3 & BlazBlue).
  • MOV - A player famous for his exceptional skill in Japan, and also has some unbelievable comebacks. PV video here.
  • Kuroda - Known in the 3rd Strike community as "the true god". MOV once claimed that if the world's 3rd Strike players could be given "levels" of understanding of the game, MOV himself would be at Lv.7, Momochi (another great player) is Lv.3, and the rest of the world (including the famous Daigo) is at Lv.0-1. Kuroda? Level 100.