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The Joy of Button Mashing in Fighting Games

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Fighting games are a genre that I absolutely love to watch and am fascinated by, but have zero skill in when it comes to actually playing them. It’s not because fighting games are necessarily difficult; I came of age in the “screw you, figure it out” NES era so my cred is solid. Furthermore, right now I could probably drive from one end of Vice City to the other blindfolded, so my in-game memory is good.

When it comes to this genre however, there’s just some kind of block that takes over; I just can’t be bothered to learn, practice, or remember the many moves that are available to the player, so instead I just wing it. I’ve learned to accept and embrace my role as a button masher in fighting games.


Let’s start here. The Street Fighter series is to fighting games as StarCraft is to RTS; the most popular title in its respective genre and the go-to competitive measuring stick. The other, lesser-known similarity between Street Fighter and StarCraft is that I greatly enjoy playing both titles while having absolutely no measurable skill with either. That being said, this series is actually somewhat accessible for most people for a couple of reasons. First, the move list for each character is relatively short and easy to remember. Second, if you’re like me you choose a character like E. Honda or Chun Li and DOMINATE:

Me. Dominating.

Me. Dominating.

I beat my friend so many times with the Hundred Hand Slap that it was ridiculous. Eventually though, I learned that it only works for a little while before somebody comes along who can do one of those fancy fireball moves, and then it’s time to move onto something else. So after leaving Street Fighter behind, I explored the world in search of fighting games that appealed to my particular skillset, and was overjoyed to discover Nintendo’s contributions to the genre.

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