Insert Credit’s “The Educated Gentleperson’s Fighting Game Primer”

By on January 15, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Thanks to the subtle nuances and multitude of layers attached to even the most basic fighting games, jumping into the genre can be a daunting task. In an effort to alleviate some of the stress, Patrick Miller over at Insert Credit wrote up a new article titled “The Educated Gentleperson’s Fighting Game Primer,” which takes around ten seconds of gameplay from a Ryu mirror in Super Turbo and breaks it down into bite-sized and easily understandable chunks. In this way, he hopes to impart some of the major concepts of fighters in a similar fashion to how he learned years ago. There are also notes on training and a quick lesson on the anatomy of a fighter for the uninitiated.

If you’re new to the scene and unsure of what to do next in your learning process or have a friend who wants to check out your hobby for themselves, definitely give this piece a few minutes of your time. Hell, give it a read even if you’re neither of those things! Anyone with a love for fighters is sure to find something interesting to chew on here.

We’ve included the video and a short excerpt from the article below, but be sure to visit Insert Credit to read the entire thing.

Ryu’s fireball and dragon punch are two very interesting attacks (so interesting, in fact, that they basically gave birth to the fighting game genre); we’ll begin by looking the fireball up close. As an attack, the fireball has a fairly high amount of startup time before it turns into a hurtbox. Once it is out, Ryu has to wait for a little bit before he can move freely, and then he can move and attack at will. Depending on which punch button the Ryu player uses to perform the fireball, the fireball’s hitbox could be only halfway across the screen or almost all the way across by the time he recovers. Once Ryu recovers from throwing the fireball, he basically has the ground-half of the screen covered; the opponent can either get hit by it (leaving him in a short amount of stun and taking a bit of damage), block it (leaving him in marginally less stun and taking a small amount of damage), respond with a fireball of his own to cancel it out (resulting in no stun or damage for anyone), or jump over it,avoiding the fireball entirely. Essentially, throwing a fireball means putting yourself at risk in the immediate moment (by performing an attack with a long startup period) in order to gain an advantage once it’s out and covering a whole bunch of screen space.

So Player 1 threw a fireball at Player 2. How is Player 2 supposed to find the best option available to him? Well, we’ll start by looking for the ideal outcome: Player 2 wants to avoid taking damage or being stunned, because both of those outcomes would make it harder for Player 2 to defeat Player 1. That means that Player 2 can either respond with a fireball to cancel out Player 1′s fireball, or jump over it to avoid it completely.

Now, at the beginning of Phase 1, Player 2 is standing about 1/2 to 2/3rds of a screen-length away from Player 1. At this range, it would probably take Player 2 too much time to a) realize that Player 1 is throwing a fireball, b) decide to throw a fireball, and c) successfully execute the fireball motion in order to cancel the first fireball out. If Player 2 tried to do this, he’d probably end up getting hit by the first fireball before his own fireball had arrived on screen, or maybe he’d successfully cancel it, but would still be a little bit behind Player 1, because Player 2 started his fireball after Player 1, meaning Player 2 will recover after Player 1 — which leaves Player 1 with time to follow the fireball up with something else, like walking up to Player 2 and hitting him, or throwing another fireball. So Player 2 decides to jump at Player 1 and hit him with a jumping Roundhouse kick.

Unfortunately, this is where the Second Interesting Move In Fighting Games comes in: The Dragon Punch. The dragon punch is basically the anti-fireball; where the fireball sacrifices the present for the future, the DP borrows against the future in favor of RIGHT FUCKING NOW. Upon completing the DP motion, Player 1 is invincible for the beginning of the move; within a few frames, he absolutely owns the space occupied around his fist. Once that fist connects with his opponent, it sends the poor victim into a “knockdown” state, where he can’t do anything until Ryu stands up. Of course, the DP has plenty of recovery time; as soon as Ryu is on his way down, he is open to whatever world of pain his waiting opponent has prepared, if the opponent managed to block or dodge the dragon punch.

Source: Insert Credit

  • NyuBomber

    Absolutely beautiful idea. I hope they continue!

  • video game liker

    Instead of “Fighting games,” I think they meant to say “Street Fighter 2”

    • PJ

      …and if you had actually read the article you would see this could be applied to almost any fighting game, and goes over important aspects/mechanics of the game like the meta, the basics behind options, anti-airs, countering moves, or how hitboxes work for example. These things can be completely foreign to new players to the genre.

      • video game liker

        The damn article itself states “This primer has been devoted to breaking Street Fighter down to its fundamental game design elements in order to make it easier to figure out what the heck you’re supposed to be doing and when the heck you’re supposed to be doing it — basically, giving you the tools to understand how the game works.” I’m not saying it does a bad job of helping someone who is trying to play Street Fighter 2. That’s fine, because Street Fighter 2 is a great place to start, but someone trying to play nearly any other fighting game (3d games come to mind, they are mentioned only in a blurb) or even certain matches in very similar games (Seth SF4 comes to mind), I would think, would be baffled. What if someone was trying to learn MVC3 with this guide? It tells you to never jump up-forward. I mean, that’s just a part of the screen you need to use a lot in that game. The best advice in this guide is to go look up stuff on the internet. I actually think this article would stand to gain by framing it as a primer for Street Fighter 2 from the beginning instead of only bringing up that this is mostly applicable to Street Fighter 2 three quarters of the way in.

        • congratulations, you’ve missed the point!

          street fighter 2 and its very core fundamentals teach you the most important things you need to know in any fighting game, and that’s what this is aimed at: teaching you basic fundamentals in a game where fundamentals are the most important thing.

  • Beb0p

    Land a move and avoid moves, that’s all I do in fighting games.

    • DukeMagus

       and still, there’s so many unique matches to see… simple concepts can grow a lot

  • Paul S

    “If people call you cheap for throwing, throw them out of your house —
    anyone who plays a fighting game should have gotten out of that mindset
    at least 15 years ago.”


  • Ugh, can’t read the article…background is all black.

    • EzequielAlvarez

      right click > inspect element

  • walter

    Super Street Fighter 2 turbo the real Old School