Learn How to Play Fighting Games with Our Free Beginner’s Guide eBook!

By on July 7, 2014 at 9:01 am
Introducing Shoryuken.com's beginner's guide to fighting games, From Masher to Master: The Educated Video Game Enthusiast's Fighting Game Primer (Super Book Edition)

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.

Introducing Shoryuken.com's beginner's guide to fighting games, From Masher to Master: The Educated Video Game Enthusiast's Fighting Game Primer (Super Book Edition)

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?

Two reasons.

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:

  1. Why You Should Learn How To Play Street Fighter
  2. Everything You Need to Know About Fighting Games
  3. Beginner Execution
  4. Simplifying Street Fighter
  5. Intro to Combos
  6. Eleven Tips for Not Sucking at Street Fighter
  7. Don’t Want No Scrubs
  8. Introducing Street Fighter IV
  9. The Warrior’s Path

Fighting Game Primer

Send me a FREE copy of From Masher to Master: The Educated Video Game Enthusiast’s Fighting Game Primer!

  • Always great to have more reading material out there! I’ll will definitely add this on my site. Congratulations!

  • EA575

    Thank you for this ;_;

    This should be a big help for newcomers.

  • whisper2053

    Useful for all skill levels, and a great way to easily spread the knowledge to others.


    It’d be nice to see something like this (with the focus/emphasis) for fans of non-SF titles/series. Definitely not a dig on the author, but more of a ‘hello to the Fighter community…please?’ request.

    • SavingPrincess

      I see what you’re saying, but SF allows some very basic concepts in their most basic form that can be applied to other games.

      At the most, I think there should be one for 3D fighters & 2D fighters. However, even 3D fighters like Tekken and SoulCalibur have things like footsies, hitboxes, etc.

      • Dreiko

        There should be an airdasher/cancel-combo specific chapter and a 3Dgame specific chapter at the very minimum if this guide wants to claim the ability of teaching fighters. That it isn’t basically is like saying only sf matters.

        • I definitely think there is room for revisions but for what it is, its a very good start.

        • Pete Q.

          I see your point about wanting to teach the other fighting games as well, but you can’t deny that Street Fighter is the most popular and easiest game to start with, so it makes sense to start with that.

          Also, knowing how to play SF gives you a great foundation for all fighting games. I can’t imagine someone who’s completely new to fighting games starting off with an airdasher / cancel combo type of fighter.

          • Dreiko

            Well, I kinda did! Been a casual all my life but by the time the first blazblue came out something in it made me decide to get serious. I could do simple stuff like input moves already but all that fundamental stuff one needs to know to compete and win money (which I now do with BB) I learned there. I did play sf4 vanilla but as soon as ct came out I dropped it. I tried ultra a bit recently and just from those airdasher fundamentals I could keep up. Links were still an issue but Gouken can do damage without em so it’s ok.

            Anyways, my point is, fine, teach sf fundamentals but why do you need a specidic sf4 chapter too? SF2 fundamentals apply! The time spent teaching sf4-specific stuff would be better spent teaching airdasher fundamentals instead. My main issue really is that the naming is not sincere, the goal is teaching SF over teaching fighters in general.

          • Pete Q.

            I think the author chose to teach SF4 cause it’s literally the most popular fighting game in the world right now. So if a new player learned how to play SF, they have a decent chance of finding a local scene that plays SF as well.

            Look at the past 5 years of EVO. What game has been there every time and has had the most competitors? SF4. There hasn’t been one consistent “Anime” game, unless you count MvC3 as one of the “airdasher / cancel-combo” fighters.

            Bottom line, it’s not that the anime games don’t matter, it’s just that, if you’re teaching a brand new player how to play fighting games, then you should start them with the fighting game that’s both the easiest to understand and has the most players. It’s just common sense in my opinion.

            Simple solution to this problem really is, if you feel that airdasher games are being neglected, why not write your own primer on them to help bring in more new players?

          • Dreiko

            It still doesn’t deal with the issue of the naming of the book carrying a pretty simple inference that no other game matters. The title is disingenuous. It doesn’t aim at teaching you fighting games (plural) just the one popular fighting game which then you can use as a stepping stone and go learn the others through some other book.

            If the book was titled “First step towards learning fighting games: Grandad Street Fighter” nobody would have an issue. My issue isn’t the lack of airdasher teachings, it’s the attitude permeating this creation which treats anything not SF as negligible.

          • Pete Q.

            Unless you’re a hardcore fighting game player, than the differences between Street Fighter, Tekken, Virtua Fighter, DoA, Persona, BlazBlue, and every other fighting game ARE neglible cause the uneducated people are just mashing buttons in ALL of them.

            To the vast majority of gamers, the term “fighting game” is synonymous with Street Fighter. Learning how to play the game that everyone knows will teach them how to find the depth in the other games.

            This book isn’t discrediting all the other fighters. It’s trying to teach new players how to truly appreciate one game so that they can see the depth behind all fighting games.

          • Dreiko

            I just disagree about that. May be my personal experience anecdotes getting in the way or I was a “hardcore casual” in my casual days but the fact remains that I always was very aware of difference in all those games while at the same time not being at all competitive in any of them. I’d just play tekken dbz budokai and maybe some soul calobur badly with my school friends or something like that for a good 10 years . Never knowing anything about the deep stuff I now know. It still didn’t prevent me from realizing the differences between games and while I didn’t know combos or look up information I very much did not just randomly mash buttons either.

            What do you call that? I was a casual but a casual who knew most of the systems and all of the moves in every game just no actual strategies or combos or mindgames or what invincibility or buffering or any of those concepts. I think most people looking to benefits from a book like this would fit my profile.

          • shotoclone

            First off, i want to say that BB is an amazing series…and good on you for learning its intricacies. I never got deep into the BB/Guilty Gear series and i kick myself in the ass every time for it.

            Regarding your concerns with this article, i for one think that we should be grateful that we even got this much out of someone for free. I was expecting some type of price tag with this much content. Secondly id like to ask…did you read it all from front to back ? I only ask cause there were some issues addressed in regards to other fighters besides classic SF.

            Lastly, id like to say (pointing out the elephant in the room) SF was the alpha, and is currently the omega. It paved the way for so many others. And even revived the fighting game genre with sf4 in the 00’s. I remember the first time i saw one in the arcade around 91/92…i was probably 11 or 12. I picked ryu, some other kid picked blanka…and he handed my ass to me. It was love at frst sight.

            After that came mortal kombat, and also SNK games like fatale fury/KOF/ samurai showdown. I witnessed all of their initial entries. Hell…i remember riding around listing to the first KI soundtrack. The first time i played vitua fighters (my friends loved it) i didnt. The first time i played tekken, or SoulCalibur…all on a not so perfect arcade stick,LOL.

            But when you had that conversation at school “which ones better random fighting game or….” it always came back to SF as a base of comparison. Other game makers such as ed Boon (MK) and the makers of tekken, ciited SF2 as one of their major sources of inspiration.

            Skipping all that delicious history, would have been a bigger mistake than anything. If we skipped around as we liked, then maybe wed skip out on important things. Its like a film buff starting with the matrix, and not looking at old classics such as Schindler’s List.

            Again, its possible…but not probable.

            BTW: The site we are having this discussion on…its called shoryuken.com. Think about it 😉

  • Exy

    This is a nice sentiment, but I found the first five pages incredibly intimidating and wanted to stop reading immediately.

    Looking at the acknowledgements, it’s obvious to me why it was.

    • shotoclone

      sorry….commented to the wrong guy…LOL

  • Jason Slade

    I couldn’t even get though the introduction. Is it really necessary to go on an 8 page rant before you even get to the part where you give any advice at all?

    This is a guide to teach somebody how to play a video game, not your personal soap box.

    • Exy

      It’s his book, so it kind of is his personal soapbox.

      That said, what I’m sure was supposed to be an extension of sympathy to people who couldn’t understand fighting games came off to me as chastisement to people who were either not smart enough to understand fighting games on their first try or were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s as the author says — veteran players have no empathy for inexperienced players, because they’re too busy “making the game as miserable as possible for the other person.”

    • Gordon

      So some dude writes a book about what he feels is important about Street Fighter.

      Some other guy feels this isn’t the best place for the first guy to talk about what they want to talk about, in regards to Street Fighter.

      If you have any other hot opinions to share hit me up! I’m on Twitter!

      • Jason Slade

        Well excuse me for giving my opinion on something.

        There is a hell of a lot of fluff in that first 8 pages that is totally unnecessary. Just a lot of beating around the bush. The objective of your first page should be to pull the reader in and make them want to continue, not bore the crap out of them.

        • JasinWalraven

          I don’t give a shit what your opinion on what is “unnecessary” If you lack the ability to simply glance at the opening sentence of a paragraph and see if the paragraph is worth reading it is your fault that you suck at reading and still read word by word like a 2nd Grader

        • shadowind

          Have you always been this cranky?

          • JasinWalraven

            no, it was a bad day that day 🙁

    • shotoclone

      A book, is the PERFECT soapbox. Its THE platform for your opinion, well paced or not.

  • CharmingRogue

    Everything about the fundamentals and basics is in here. If you grasp these concepts and master them, you will go very far.

  • RunningWild1984

    It was good up until Street Fighter 4.

  • Michael Gacillos O’Hair

    “1. Why You Should Learn How To Play [Fighting Games]”

    urggggggh! The world isn’t just Street Fighter…

    • ivanchu77

      That´s when i stopped reading

    • Moses

      The world isn’t just Street Fighter, but every fighting game played today borrowed a heck of a lot from it. If you understand Street Fighter, you have the tools to understand every other fighting game.

      • Michael Gacillos O’Hair

        And yet there’s a disconnect between Street Fighter and Virtua Fighter or other 3D games like DoA and Tekken. Additionally, before it there were other games that SF2 built upon. Yae Ar Kung Fu.
        Good article on pre-SF2 fighting games: http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/fighters/fighters.htm

        • Wxrds

          Yet all Tekken, DOA is essentially SF with no emphasis on fireballs, but with an emphasis of a 3d space and footsies(to a degree).

          SF should be a stepping stone for people who want learn FGs in general

          • Dreiko

            Thus the book ought to be called “The first step towards learning fighting games: grandad sf” or something. Anything else is as though no other fighter matters.

    • Guest

      I agree with the book that Street Fighter II, being the first real fighting game and the one from which all games today derive from, is a good place to start to learn fundamentals. But I want to hear the perspective of someone who got their start in any other game and managed to find the same kind of success he did.

      • JasinWalraven

        Then write your own book.

    • There are just too many concepts that borrow from Street Fighter to just say insert random fighter here. Even when I used King of Fighters to explain certain terms, I still had to go back to Street Fighter because most of the game mechanics are from..Street Fighter.

      You can argue that Virtua Fighter and Street Fighter have some very big differences but ultimately, it all comes back to Street Fighter because Street Fighter birthed the fighting games genre. Yes games like Yier and Karate Champ came before but when it comes to everything that made the genre what it is today ,it has to go back to Street Fighter.

      That is why I can’t every really complain about there being to much Street Fighter cause you just have to respect the Godfather, even if it isn’t your favorite fighting game.

    • shotoclone

      Street fighter was the beginning of fighting games as we know it bro. Thats a fact. There were other fighters before SF2 (sf1 being one of them) but you dont hear people talking much about street fighter 1, or those other games, do you ?

      Even Ed boon and the makers of tekken, openly admitted that they were heavily influenced by SF during the development of their initial games. Freakin kazuyas move list was basically a carbon copies of ryus (sans fireball). Paul pheonix…ken with guiles hair. And so on…

      I honestly dont need to do this. SF was, is…so influential on the modern fighting game community its not even funny. Like a pheonix, It (SF4) practically brought the FGC out of its near death. I was there, 11 years old the first time i saw a SF2 aracde cabinet back in 91. I was there when it was revised, and a bunch of game makers/creators were cheering with utter delight. And then theres the diagho moment…SF3 third strike…chunli vs ken…daigho vs wong… One of the greatest fighting games, and moment of all time.

      It deserves a huge mention, and all teh respect and hype around it. That doesnt mean that other fighters, and fighting fans cant co-exist with it. Hell..i was a competitive TTT, and SC2 player forever. Still dont mean i cant respect my roots bro.

  • OhYouDontSayThat

    Thanks for the free download, I’ll check this out

  • TiredOcean

    Why and how is Patrick Miller so fucking based? Great work man, I’ll be plugging this shit everywhere.

  • deABREU

    LOVE the iniciative! downloaded and waiting to start reading.
    do you plan on releasing a mobi/epub version? I’d love to be able to throw this on my kindle and read whenever

  • Bruno Mais

    SRK is pure LOVE! Bless!

  • officer gumshoe

    this gonna be a gud readin’ Thanks! im very bad at these kind of games so this is probably going to be useful.

  • TheWetWorks

    1. Dont get hit
    2. Hit them a lot

  • Gonbebe

    I think to an absolute beginner this book might be a little intimidating, but to a novice trying to get better it is super helpful. When I first started playing all I cared about was doing combos, if I had read something like this initially my mind would’ve been on the right track.

    • shotoclone

      I have the opposite problem. I started at the beginning…Sf2 arcade in the mall days, and now have alot of bad habits. Not wanting to commit to combo training is one of them. I like to get the jist of things and move on. My fundamentals are solid, and so is my strategy…i can super cancel, two-in-ones no prob. But when i drop a large combo string (the kind that starts with well timed jabs and such)…every time, a little but of my heart just sinks.

      Games like SF vs Tekken, TTT, even KI are easy for me to pull long complicated combos. But in SF4…those long, flashy type combos are hard to come by for me. Cant pull of a cammy-esque vortex thingie for the life of me.

      Maybe i should just practice more, or maybe i am too old and suborn, to really clean up my mistakes over the years.

      • Gonbebe

        As you say, good execution just comes down to time and dedication to practice. SF4 in particular basically requires you to learn how to plink 1f links for optimal damage with most characters (unnecessary barrier imo). Practice enough though and it becomes second nature.

        Nonetheless, fundamentals are way more important in the long run. Any nutjob can learn a combo, not everyone can play smart. That is why I am not a fan of combo-centric games such as MvC3, Skullgirls etc. As Yipes would call them games of GTH (get-the-hit).

  • Dreiko

    It was all fine until I read the chapter names. Now I feel cheated. This book treats fighting games as all just being SF. You don’t want people to get into them, just into SF. If someone tries to apply lessons about SF in a game like Blazblue for example they’ll be alienated. I hoped there’d be a chapter for airdashers, a chapter for 3D fighters, one for smash even. Such a lost chance. If you’re already explaining sf2 fundamentals WHY do you need a whole sf4 chapter too? Why couldn’t that be an “All the other awesome games you should be able to play!” chapter too?

    • Gordon

      There isn’t much about other fighting games that was not in some way lifted from the original design philosophy of Street Fighter.

      Teaching Street Fighter is like teaching someone about harmonies and chords. Once they learn this they can go on to make whatever music they want – but it’s important to know what’s underneath it all.

      SF is a really great game for new players to pick up; outside of the fact that it’s taught just utterly terribly by the game itself.

      • RunningWild1984

        Since when is it a games job to teach players how to play at a competitive level?

        • Jason Slade

          Well the thing is that Street Fighter doesn’t teach you how to play it even at a beginner level.

          You look at competitive games in other genres like Starcraft, they structure the single player intentionally to gradually introduce new units one by one and design the levels specifically to show you how their special abilities work.

          SF4 just throws you into the ring with an AI and expects you to just figure it out on your own.

        • Gordon

          It’s not the game’s job at all, but it really doesn’t hurt to teach the person the absolute basics. SF4 literally does not tell you, at all, what a FADC is, or why you’d use one.

          It also doesn’t talk about: links, chains, hitstun, invincible frames/states, or how long to charge a charge move, etc. This is all real basic stuff, but it’s basic because the only people “left” playing fighting games, are the ones who really muscled down and started googling or asking questions.

          We don’t want to turn every player into some lazy LoL-class “gamer”, but at the same time SF4 could teach the brand-new player ANY of the basics (think Skullgirl’s tutorial), and the game as a whole would be stronger.

      • Dreiko

        The naming of it is the issue. This book basically says “fighting games = SF, nothing else matters”. There’s no mention of other kinds of music or of sf being a building block and part of a greter whole. It’s just all-encompassing. Learn sf, done, you now know fighting games. That’s it. That’s what the issue is. All this does is make anything not SF seem irrelevant or somehow bad or weird or somehow “other” for not being like sf since clearly SF is the way fighting games are defined.

        Someone expecting piano chords and scales to apply to playing the drums in the same way will be lost. Sure, classical training helps and their piano lessons will imbue em with a sense of rhythm but they’re gonna need a whole other host of additional skills if they’re to ever be considered as knowing how to play the drums. By implying that if you know SF you know “fighting games” you’re marginalizing and otherizing a great number of games which have significant additional information that is integral for their successful playing.

        No, knowing SF is just a FIRST STEP, that is all. If you think otherwise you’ve never put any significant time in an airdasher or a 3D fighter.

    • Jason Slade

      I agree. Especially the part in chapter 6 where it gives you the “#1 tip for getting good at fighting games – Don’t Jump” which really only applies to Street Fighter 2 and Street Fighter 4 and some of their direct imitators like Killer Instinct.

      Doesn’t even really apply to all street fighter games, Street Fighter 3 you can air parry, or CvS2 cause C and K groove can air block, or KOF (shot hop all day), doesn’t apply to games where you can air block like Blazblue, Marvel, Skullgirls, Arcana Heart, Guilty Gear, Melty Blood, Aquapaza, Persona 4 Arena….

      Honestly would have been better to just call the guide what it is – a Street Fighter guide.

      • 7/11 Truther

        “Short hop all day” Try that in any KOF that isn’t XIII, you’ll get annihilated lol.

    • k.b.a.

      I wonder if you combine every single iteration of every street fighter to every iteration of every other big name 2d fighter which has more titles. this is strictly the old vs new. SF having been around for 25 years has allowed plenty of time for many people to develop the mentality of the fighter. Blazblue is how old exactly? And even then most of what is applied in blazblue is apes from guilty gear is some respect no? Why even mention that game really. That’d be like someone complaining that their isn’t a killer instinct chapter in this book. Because that franchise has 3 entries and depending on how you look at it, is less that a year old. But SF basics still apply.
      How anyone can get mad at a primarily SF player for writing a primarily SF book is bit beyond me. And this is just me personally, but I feel anyone addressing the issue is by no means intentionally slapping specs and norvil for the amazing work they’ve done with guilty bits and airdash academy. Series’ which dont really address street fighter kof or vf much because they’re worlds apart, but that’s ok and no one throws a shitstorm about it.

      • Dreiko

        Norvil doesn’t claim to be teaching you “fighting games” in his vids. He claims t be teaching GG.

        The one and only issue is the claim that this is a book about “fighting games” in general.

        No, this is a book about SF. If they had CALLED it as such nobody would have an issue.

        Finally, BB being the spiritual successor of GG, one could argue you can combine their history for a pool of teachable fundamentals. GG itself has had enough versions to rival sf since 1998 and BB has had 6 different versions too in the span of the last 5 years.

        • JasinWalraven

          you can learn the basics of fighting games from SF2, the author dose not owe it to you to include what game you like, and why are you getting so upset at a book that is free, and you are not the intended audience. The audience is beginners, and beginners should be playing SF and not Air Dashers, ,

          • Dreiko

            As an ex-beginner who begun the competitive journey with Blazblue I can definitively say you’re wrong about that last part based on my current success.

            That’s not the point though, the point is the attitude permeating this is one of SF being the definitive fighting game and that if you know sf you know fighting games in general. If that were the case why do people who do well in sf consistently find games like GG too complex or weird. Clearly the notion of sf being enough to make you know fighting games (plural) is either not sincere or arrogantly dismissing of a good number of very different games.

            If the book simply stated it’s goal rather than pretend it’s teaching you fighters beyond SF there’d be no issue here and nobody would complain.

          • shotoclone

            No one is saying you cant get good at fighters with games other than sf. You are good at BB…great ! Perhaps you are exceptional. You muscled through it…and overcame obstacles alot of others cant. But something tells me you werent a complete casual, know nothing scrub before you picked up BB. Ehhh…Icould be wrong, but i doubt it !

            If i sat down my 30 year old wife in front of blazblue…shes be lost. I actually introduced her to SC3 before we married, and also DOA3…and she took to it like a duck to water. I put her infront of SF2, and she froze. She hates 2d fighters…period.

            But if you ask me, in a perfect world…id take her back with me to those old arcade days, and teach her fundamentals on Sf2 arcade cabinet. Its like…learning to drive stick in your fathers classic hatchback, then transition to say a speedier car, like a nice corvette or a speedier honda…then maybe go RX8/Acura/ GT….and so on, and so forth. Baby steps…

            But this isnt about being an average, or slightly above average player. This is about becoming beastly ! What better way then starting at the beginning? You can even use emulators to simulate the evolution over the years. The FGC as an E-Sport, is in a unique place (unlike other sports). You have guys in their 302-40s that were there at ground zero.

            Its great advice. You dont have to claim SF as the best. Just as the basis. just like A house needs a good foundation.

          • Dreiko

            As far as airdasher fighters go BB was my first. I had casual but lengthy tekken experience and played various anime games sich as dbz budokai which aren’t really the same skillset but they did cultivate my competitive spirit. When I look back at myself, barring inputs, I knew NOTHING. Like, really, zero. I may have had a sense for stuff but that’s not what’s stopping established sf players from grasping a game like BB. I just liked the game so I played a lot and I ended up becoming good enough to now win money at our Socal tourneys every week. I don’t care for bragging here but yes, I know this e-sport mentality. Just BB alone was enough to enable me to win hundreds of dollars. You don’t need sf to learn these things.

            Clearly this is an environment of fans of sf so they’re gonna show favor for it and that’s fine. I just would prefer the pretence of teaching someone sf being equivalent to teaching em fighting games to be dropped. Learning SF is not the basis. It’s ONE of the potential basis that are all equivalent! Only from a sf-centric veiw does it not become so. I can list you a dozen bad habits that sf fundamentals would cause to someone trying to learn fighters from an airdasher-centric perspective. Doesn’t mean sf fundamentals are bad, just equally incomplete by themselves as a means of learning fighting games in general (learning fighting games as in, all of em, not just sf and sf-like ones)

    • JasinWalraven

      How much work should someone do in a free book? You also totally missed the purpose of the author. Getting someone who knows almost nothing about fighters and giving them a foundation. SF is the perfect place to start.

  • James Myers

    I am very interested in reading the book. I, too want to see the community grow. I was introduced to the competitive fighting game scene about four years ago and had no idea something so cool even existed. The following week I picked up my first arcade stick. The SSFIV SE, lol. I have been HOOKED ever since. There really aren’t too many structured means of learning how to play fighting games. UltraDavid and Chen’s tutorials on Youtube helped me alot. Shout out to them! Anyways, thanks alot for offering something so valuable to the fighting game community. 🙂

  • fire lion

    Very interesting. but I would be served better if you just told me the most over powered character to play with

  • Антон Пятаков

    we’ll teach you to play fighting games!..
    …and by fighting games we mean Street Fighter. Four.

  • Charles

    Love the idea of it, but is there any chance of the book being put out in epub format? I’d love to be able to read it on my ereader, but it does a terrible job with converting pdf files.

  • BlackMasamune

    Yep, the SF Community is really hurting for players.

  • Joshua Kirchmer

    I appreciate someone taking the time to write all this stuff down in one comprehensive place, but in my experience, it exemplifies the reason why the community is hurting for “new blood”.

    When the game is defined as “making it miserable for the other guy”, that doesn’t exactly breed a welcoming community… and it’s the reason why I fail to enjoy going to any sort of tourney. Hell, I used to go to Salty Cupcakes until Mike Z himself insulted me for playing like a newbie…

    On that note, if anyone in LA wants to hang out and play fighting games, hit me up.

    • Dreiko

      It’s not actually like that, you do realize right? It’s jokingly done. Sure some guy raging like a baby may be funny but people aren’t just trying to literally ruin the time others have. That phrasing is more of a euphemism. What he really means is that you wanna play so we’ll that your foe will have a bad time. The point is the playing well, not the causing negative feelings.

      Not being used to the air around competition can make it seem hostile but it’s just barbaric teasing and jokes. People are used to others not minding or even enjoying the shit talk so they just do it without thinking and it sometimes will scare off someone not used to it.

      • Exy

        Euphemism or not, verbiage like that has absolutely no place in a book that is supposed to ease new people into this environment. How is the intended audience supposed to realize that the torture they’re reading about is just the parlance the “guys” use all the time and not the kind of hazing they’re trying desperately to escape?

        • Joshua Kirchmer

          you’ve hit the nail on the head, Excel.

          I’m no stranger to trash talk, I do it a TON when I’m playing, but there is a line between trash talk and outright cutting down someone. I played Melee a ton in college and the tourney we had in-house were filled with trash, but it was never anything in the league of what I’ve gotten at ones in Cali.

          I’m in a kinda catch-22 where I love playing fighting games (albeit not extremely well), but don’t have any friends out here to play with, so I go to events to make some and get pummeled as a scrub and generally disregarded. And then people like the author wonder why no one is attracted to the community..shruggggsss

    • HellMuT

      “When the game is defined as “making it miserable for the other guy”, that doesn’t exactly breed a welcoming community”

      Couldn’t the same be said for any competitive game?

      • Joshua Kirchmer

        The same COULD be said, but don’t you agree that among all ‘competitive gaming’ (sticking strictly with video games here), the FGC is constantly branded as the ‘worst’ in this sense? I think it has to do with the lack of any ‘team’ based mentality.. most other games have that dynamic to provide support, but the FGC is overwhelmingly individualistic, “every man for himself”.

      • I’ve never heard anyone say that chess is all about making your opponent miserable.

        • Garrett Jones

          Then you haven’t seen/heard enough from IMs/GMs.

    • Exy

      Regarding your tournament experience, you have my sincerest condolences. The people who insist that tournaments are for “everyone” are in the company of those who want nothing more than for everyone under them to be miserable all the time. I have it bad enough here in the worst coast, so I can only imagine what it’s like at the source.

    • Michael Zaimont

      Oh? What did I say?

      • Joshua Kirchmer

        It was a while ago so I don’t recall verbatim, but I was playing Parasoul “wrong”, probably because I was trying to rushdown a Peacock who knew what they were doing. I was taken aback by how there wasn’t any advice, just something to the effect of “you’re doing it wrong!”

        I really enjoy playing SG (obviously). Actually Salty has been the most welcoming of any event I’ve attended, but that moment stuck with me.

        If I can get to another Salty (it’s Fridays now, right?) and I see ya, we can high-five and you can tell me my Parasoul still sucks =P

    • Cristopher Vidor

      everyone kinda hate weak players. people play games to do amazing things and break limits, but if you’re an adult and you suck you’ll be treated like a special kid. it’s a fucking game, what’s so hard? fucking play it right. inspire higher ambitions instead of pulling people down. what people get more upset about is that most of ppl who are bad could be good, but they’re lazy, so it’s like bad players are pulling people down (being weak players) on purpose, and that piss of people. that’s the true no one will tell you.

      • Dan_Y

        Or, you know… maybe you take your video games too seriously. If someone sucks at a game, maybe they’re just not that good at video games but still have fun with the atmosphere and view it as entertainment.

        Your train of thought would be correct if everyone who ever played a fighting game was unemployed. In the real world? Most people would think you’re completely crazy and probably a jerk.

      • Ish Sha

        It’s just a game. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter that much. The reason play it is to have fun. Let’s face it, fighting games are known for being complicated and hard. Just because you can moves a character and perform moves doesn’t mean you can play the game. Then you throw in the elitist mentality and you end up with a recipe for self sabotage

  • HellMuT

    Now write a book on how to get people into ANIME.

    • 7/11 Truther

      Anime is scary because when I DP, that mother****** has the audacity to block it and punish while in the air!

    • k.b.a.

      Impossible. If they aren’t familiar with the original ip in video, book, other game form nah. Unless someone just likes tropes.
      I take it all back to each their own. I’ll pass on bb all day, but I’m down for p4, cc, sg, gg, and uni

  • Richard N

    The FGC always has something to complain about.

  • Vsin

    Ugh, the quick skim tells me that this is just like a math textbook: obtusely complicated to people who don’t already know what’s going on, yet an extremely helpful reference guide for people who already understand everything. I mean seriously, frame data and “invisible” hit/hurtboxes on THE SECOND PAGE OF THE FIRST CHAPTER? Yikes.

    I think this needs to get boiled down a LOT further. As in, treat your audience like infants boiled down.

    Chapter 1 should not be Chapter 1. There’s so much jargon dumping that you’ll scare off prospective newcomers within a few pages – you even admit as much at the start of Chapter 3! Shove that over to Chapter 11 or something. “But you need to know that stuff!” Not that early on, you don’t. Promote Chapters 2, 3 and 4, and put more emphasis on just “Hit people, don’t get hit yourself” to start.

    Actually, scratch that – the entire book spends FAR too much time trying to dump information and then assumes the reader still remembers all that when they turn the page. It’s like throwing a 7th grader into 3rd year post-sec with nothing but a cram session.

    I’m not super experienced at fighting games or writing books, but this is the outline I’d rather use:

    – Life bars, special bars, movement, hitstun, and the “I touched the stick!” basics (avoid hitboxes entirely!)
    – Blocking. This early on. Still no hitbox data here, but High/Mid/Low is necessary.
    – Safe and meaty moves. Introduce hitboxes, but NOT hurtboxes. Possibly earlier than Blocking, or merge the sections.
    – The ABC, LMH of combos. Literally. The semi-mash crap combos, with a fireball on on top. Introduce special moves here.
    – Spacing and footsies. Now introduce hurtboxes.
    – Mixups with advanced blocking.
    – Actual combos, bread and butter.

    Even that would be pretty damn complicated, but at least it wouldn’t be [as much of] a brick wall.

    • Exy

      I’d go further and not talk about offense at all in the first third of the book. Memorizing hitboxes and framedata and what each button does and whatever else won’t be any help at all without the knowledge of how to survive.

  • Espoir

    Thank yooouuuu!! BlazBlue is so complicated and I’m a noob, so this will help 😀

  • Piccoro

    Thank you for this.

  • Matt Crane

    Thank you so much for putting this together and offering it for free! As a player who is still trying to learn solid fundamentals, I really appreciate this.

  • Guilherme Fickel

    I’ve only read a small portion of the ebook but it’s really well written so far. Congrats to Pat for taking the time (probably dozens of working hours….) to make this! I’m sure it will help a lot of newcomers.

    Just 2 small comments:
    1) You talk about “making the game as miserable as possible to the other person”. I agree with this, but perhaps just explain it a little more so that it’s not seen too much in a negative light. I believe this is true for every competitive activity.
    2) First word of page 15: it is written “hurtbox” but I believe it should be “hitbox”. It is important to get those terms right to not confuse the reader.

  • Just what I needed, when I needed it! Thank you!

  • Wulfsten

    I appreciate that this is free, and appreciate the work that went into it, but this book fails on a couple of levels:

    1) As a book intended for newcomers to fighting games, it was an unequivocally terrible decision to base 80% of it around SF2. There is almost zero chance that a newcomer to the FGC will have started with SF2. The whole guide should have been written from the perspective of a newcomer to USF4, or at least UMvC3. This is fairly basic, and it almost ruins the whole guide.

    2) The format of a book is self-indulgent and unnecessary for the most part. Sirlin’s excellent guide to winning (which this book admirably links to) is shorter, more economical with its content, and yet much richer in its insights. This book has a whole lot of irrelevant waffling, and misses important opportunities for multimedia improvements, like embedding match videos, or gifs showing move animations.

    3) The book straddles uncomfortably the line between providing technical knowledge on how to actually input moves and more esoteric concepts about not being a scrub. It needs more focus and a clearer and more joined up structure.

    4) The tone of the book is a little insufferable and condescending, and including “homework assignments” was a terrible idea.

    Overall, primers like this would work better if they focused on actual narrative, and engaged new players in that instead of dry, textbook-like material. A lot of people first get into the FGC because of things like Gootecks and Mike Ross, or because they see a dramatic blow-up like Poongko beating Daigo. This is not the way to do it.

    • C4

      1) Learning SF2 is like the first 2 chords when you learn to play guitar.

      • Wulfsten

        Hmm I don’t think I agree. I think learning SF2 is like telling your teacher you want to learn English, and being given Chaucer to read. Yes, it’s fundamental, and influential, and “the original”, but I think it’s mind-bogglingly weird and alienating to a new player. There’s no reason you can’t learn starting with SF4.

        • C4

          Well, SF4 is a special case. It has very similar move palette and timing.

          But when you start with SF2 it’s easy to branch into games like BlazBlue or Guilty Gear and you can reuse many basic skills or even do that in some of the 3D fighting games. MvC or SFxT wouldn’t be a good starting point if you ask me. They are much more confusing and cluttered.

  • Reason Wielder

    Great reading, although the part about facing cheap moves and that one should figure out how to beat them is nice but sometimes as in the case of Marvel vs Capcom 2, it became so boring because everyone had to play with Cable,Storm and Magneto and do the same thing again and again if you wanted to win, so in that case there’s no other word for that way of playing than “cheap”, and it drives people away from the game.

  • Chai Chien Liang

    Will read through it and see what I can learn, just picked up Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition during the Steam Summer Sale and could sure use the help

  • Dale

    Thanks a lot for this!

  • Chris Pavlas

    I would argue that MOBA’s, like LoL, take more training and time commitment than any fighting game. On top of that, it requires solid team work. So why is a game like LoL pulling in 100k daily streams and huge tourneys throughout the year? Maybe the real problem is the game difficulty, but something bigger.

    • Dan_Y

      Professionalism. In my mind, thats the biggest reason right there. That’s how I got into league was a few friends of mine showing me LCS videos and being utterly amazed by how much effort went into making it and how indepth they went into making people understand concepts and making you excited for what was happening.

      On the other hand, I’ve watched fighting game tournaments and been surprised/ashamed by the conduct of either the players or the commentators a good number of times. I mean, I guess thats what people want out of it but I would be embarrassed to have a streaming event just in case something happens where I would either have to try to explain or justify what went on.

      Highlights for me include an Evo Party where I believe it was Yipes kept calling the same player Captain Mexico. People who didn’t know who he was kept asking “So, is this guy racist or something?” Very awkward time.

      • Thanks RTD

        Yeah that’s probably an after hours stream your referencing from the wording you used (“EVO party”) but granted there is a cavalier way of how fighting games are represented though there is also a middle ground wherein both styles do co-exist. There’s David and James-style commentary that can be very “professional” (which to me is a very nebulous term in this case since the term you’re looking for might be something else) and then there’s Yipes more off-the-cuff style, that is also very entertaining.

        I don’t think professionalism is the bottleneck here. Heck, if that were the case then how come FPS tournaments aren’t blowing up to LoL numbers? A lot of the tournament streams for FPS pretty much have a similar tone when it comes to commentary of SC2, LoL, or Dota 2 streams. Why isn’t that genre blowing up with viewers? I doubt it’s because, it’s not as “professional” as LoL. There’s more to it than just that.

        The discussion we’re having in this reply thread is pretty much off-topic anyways but I would’ve liked a bit of Patrick’s input in here as well since he’s a much better word smith than I. Hehe! 😀

  • 6810

    So, is it just me or does chapter 1 not only read like (to the point of being nearly identical) but also have similar screenshots to an article on Tim Rogers’ Insert Credit blog a few years ago (which at the moment seems to down… that’s pobably coincidence thouhgh).

    Sure, I know a lot of this discussion is going over familiar ground but it looks disturbingly similar, moreso because the work on Rogers’ site goes unrecognised…

    • Patrick Miller

      That was my article! Insert Credit isn’t Tim’s site, FYI. He is one of a few writers there; the EIC is Brandon Sheffield.

  • Un panameño mas 2

    excellent beginner tutorial, it show a clean perspective on how to approach fighting games, specially for street fighter…it would be nice a second part (some kind of series) with more advance topics (setups, mind game, yomi, etc) jejeje…

  • Ale Gerbes

    Very nice read and good job…. Need a spanish version of this to share it with my friends…

  • Ish Sha

    The topics covered were pretty interesting I would have to say. But the only issue I have is with the first and last chapters. Fighting games are just a form of entertainment at the end of the day. You can’t really compare them with actual martial arts, which serve a greater purpose than the limits given in a game. Sounds to me he’s trying to elevate them to some kind of status they just don’t have (and likely never will).

  • ticklefist

    Thanks guys. I’ll take every resource I can get 🙂

  • Frediak

    A good read for understanding 2D fighting games.

  • TruKuu

    I am already pretty familiar with fighting games because I have played them for years and done tons of research and practice on the technical aspects of many of my favorite titles, but I have a friend that is wanting to start a local Pocket Fighter/Super Gem Fighter scene with me who is inexperienced in the genre. Would this book be a good place to start?

    I thought I should mention he has his heart set on being a Zangief player in the aforementioned game.

  • wiredfixer

    I was very surprised when i see this.

    Im just a begginner in this world of fightning games and my first official tournament was in Thunderstruck 2014 in MTY Mexico.

    I want to use my free time in this hobbie, doing streams, helping my friends to organize events and the most important part: Play a Fightning game 😀

    Thanks for all!!

  • odbj

    Is there an audiobook version of this out there by chance? XD

  • Harlan Hikaru Fox

    Another large barrier to entry seems to be this : If you’re a US-based player, and you don’t live in California or the NY/NJ area, you just aren’t going to be finding other players (allowing that online is useless because lag).

  • Harrison

    Nice, BUT how about a version of this in regard to 3D fighters (Tekken, Virtual Fighter, DoA, Soulcalibur)?

    It would also be wise to add an “online vs offline” play section to the guide.

  • TOGOpuff

    would you mind if i translate this book to portuguese (giving you the proper credits) and spread it around brazil ? We desperately need this kind of material !

  • Alexander Heimonen

    I’ve been playing SF for a few years and recently discovered this book, read it in one day! It’s really well written and enjoyable to read, I will definiately recommend it to friends who are starting out!

  • joseloclown

    cuando en español????

  • joseloclown

    spanish pleaseeeeeeee

  • #@rs#@

    a guide for KOF pleeezzz