Do you remember how you learned to play your first fighting game?
I’m not talking about the first time you sat down with a buddy and mashed buttons until you got tired and switched to Mario Kart — I’m talking about the time you looked at a fighting game and thought, “Darn it, I want to get good at this.” It probably took you a long time and a lot of hard work, especially if you didn’t have a group of people to play with regularly that were close to your skill level.
Fighting games are beautiful. A good fighting game teaches you about your opponent; a great fighting game teaches you about yourself. But they’re very, very hard to learn — and rarely do we have someone who is willing to take the time out to teach us.
That’s why I wrote a book that teaches you how to play fighting games called From Masher to Master: The Educated Video Game Enthusiast’s Fighting Game Primer (Super Book Edition). In this book, I guide the reader through basic execution and combos, poking and footsies, mixups and mindgames, and other essential fundamentals. It’s kind of like having a friend who is pretty good at Street Fighter sit down and show you the ropes, except you don’t have to worry about boring her with your scrubbiness or buying her a burrito.
Even if you’re already pretty good at fighting games, you could still learn a thing or two! Or maybe you have a friend who you wish would get better; give your friend my book, and you’ll have a brand-new sparring partner!
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Books are great and all, but I’d rather spend money on cool stuff like t-shirts and arcade sticks instead.” Did I mention that this book is a free download? That’s right — it’s available, right here, right now.
Why’d you write a free ebook?
First, I was tired of meeting people who would always say “I want to learn how to play fighting games” in the same way that people usually say “I’ve been meaning to start going to the gym.” Now, whenever anyone tells me that, I can just say, “Hey, read my book! Now you have no excuse.”
Second reason: I want our community to grow. I think that learning to play fighting games are honestly one of the best things that have ever happened to me, and I want more people to share this experience — but they’re so darn hard to learn that it’s hard to get new blood in.
If you read this book and feel like you got something out of it worth paying money for, that’s great! Pay it forward: Subscribe to a fighting game streamer, buy a t-shirt from a community business, buy a copy of your favorite game and give it to someone who wants to get into it. (Or buy me a beer at a tournament, if you must.)
Who are you, anyway?
I’m no top player, but I’ve been around for a while. I started playing fighting games seriously with Capcom vs. SNK 2 back in 2001; I was there for the Daigo Parry (“Evo Moment #37”) in 2004; I’ve lost to a whole bunch of top players in tournaments but haven’t beaten many of them. I’m better at writing about fighting games than I am playing them, though — you may have read my articles on Shoryuken.com, Insert Credit, or a few other places on the Internet. (Maybe you even follow me on Twitter @pattheflip, in which case: I’m sorry.)
Fortunately, I had lots of help putting this together; special shoutouts to Seth Killian and Mike Zaimont for their endless rounds of edits, and Jonathan Kim and Mariel Cartwright for their awesome illustrations!
What’s in the book?
One of the reasons it’s hard to learn how to play fighting games is because there isn’t really a set curriculum or lesson plan. The Primer is basically my way of doing that, and I spend most of the book teaching you how to play a specific character in a specific game: Ryu in Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Street Fighter II Ryu is the Adam of fighting games; learn how to play him, and you’ll learn a set of basic skills that you can adapt to any other fighting game. Here’s a chapter listing:
- Why You Should Learn How To Play Street Fighter
- Everything You Need to Know About Fighting Games
- Beginner Execution
- Simplifying Street Fighter
- Intro to Combos
- Eleven Tips for Not Sucking at Street Fighter
- Don’t Want No Scrubs
- Introducing Street Fighter IV
- The Warrior’s Path
For more information, just download the book for free, right here: From Masher to Master: The Educated Video Game Enthusiast’s Fighting Game Primer