Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are solely those of the writer, and do not reflect Shoryuken.com as a whole.
With the influx of esports and the ballooning of scenes thanks to sponsors, there has been a sharp uptick in both external and internal interest in specific games. This wave of interest has created a divide between the big games and the smaller ones. A mentality has emerged that “If it isn’t as big as ‘x-game’, it isn’t worth playing.” While this isn’t a harmful line of thought individually, as each person should be entitled to play what they want for whatever reason they choose, this line of logic becomes toxic when it spreads. It stifles communities that are trying to grow. It creates a negative reflection of a scene and forces the scene to deal with that image. In a community that is supposed to be banding together and moving forward as one, this mentality and environment is uncannily good at halting and slowing community growth.
The phrase “dead game” is one spouted constantly, especially when it comes to Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and it’s the most obvious product of this mentality. To get better insight into this, I sat down with IGTUnKnown to get a better idea of how a top player sees such mentalities.
John “Zidiane” Silvia: Could you introduce yourself, please?
Jahi “IGTUnKnown” Skerrit: I’m Jahi. Call me Jay or Unknown. Either works. I’m a Diamond level league player and I play Street Fighter V avidly. I played Skullgirls pretty hard for a few months. I play Mortal Kombat X a bit and I played Ultra Street Fighter IV. I also played Smash 4 at a high level, so I guess I have quite the resume. Through everything I do also pride myself on being well-spoken.
Z: I actually want to talk a bit about the FGC perception of MvC3. How long have you been in that scene, and what’s your opinion on how people perceive it, calling it a dead game?
U: I’ve been a part of the scene since April 2011. People calling it a dead game is something that’s been bothering me for a long time.
Z: What was the first time you remember someone using that phrase? Jokingly or seriously.
U: The first time I remember the game being called dead was in 2014, in an interview by Moons for Eventhubs. Around the same time, it started getting passed around a little more often.
Z: Was this a thing other people were saying, or did you hear it coming from Marvel players too?
U: It was mostly other players saying it in response to very slight drop in numbers from major to major.
Z: What kind of reaction have you seen from Marvel players regarding that label? Have you noticed any change in attitude from people at events who don’t play Marvel?
U: I can’t speak for the masses, but I’ve definitely heard my fair share of down-talking from the people who don’t play the game, and it always confuses me. When you look at the history of a multitude of games, you see that anyone that plays any of the other games has no real room to stand calling Marvel “dead.” No matter what they play, outside of Street Fighter, their game’s life span is a lot shorter and no one (including Marvel players) ever say anything about them.
Z: Where do you think the “dead game” label came from? Not for Marvel specifically, but for any game.
U: Well I guess it comes down to entrants at major events. Just like anything with the masses, once one person says something, and someone else agrees, then it just becomes like a game of telephone, where the message becomes distorted. It’s just wrong and condescending towards whichever scene. It’s really just a mob mentality kind of thing.
Z: Has there been any sort of internal change to the Marvel community that you think came from that term over the past two years?
U: Well, yeah, I sincerely feel like the whole “dead game” thing spreading severely hurt the number of entrants, which directly effects the people that enjoy the game. The more people playing means the more people finding tech and creating content. The spreading of “dead game” is nothing but negative for the Marvel community, and it is nothing but negative for any fighting game community.
Z: How often have you heard the phrase “Marvel is a dead game” since, say, I guess the beginning of the year?
U: Through the efforts of Sam (Persia) with things like Marvel Live, I hear it a lot less than before. The 2016 Evo line up reveal is probably when I started hearing it again, because you know the Twitch chat goes ham with the mobbing.
Z: What is Marvel Live?
U: Persia, along with Kinderparty, SBK, and a few others came together to create this live cast for those dedicated to the Marvel scene. Talking results, bringing on special guests, discussing the next majors, and in general creating a greater future for the game.
Z: Did you have any insight about the phrase “dead game” with other games? Like Street Fighter IV or Skullgirls?
U: SFIV is dead because the successor was released. That’s just a natural thing that’s a part of the community. Just like 3rd Strike into SFIV, just like Marvel 2 into 3. The only game to be brought back from the game and thrive harder than when it was in its prime is Super Smash Bros. Melee. As for SG, if I recall correctly, that game is actually growing in terms of entrants, so that’s just the bad game of telephone going on again.
Z: Did you have any final words on the idea of a “dead game”?
U: A game is really just for the people that like the game. Don’t say it, don’t entertain anyone that says it. Especially as a top player.
At the end of the day, it’s up to each of us to support and move our community forward. A lot of people work really hard to do this, many of them without getting the recognition they deserve for their efforts. The least the rest of us can do is not make their job any harder for them. Don’t perpetuate this harmful mentality, let our community grow when it can without having to fight with people who are supposed to be on their side.