Old school FGC v New: Haven't We Had Enough?
Was the old school FGC better than the new one? Does it even matter at this point?
Over the weekend, the argument of which FGC was better: old school or new school resurfaced again. This is not the first time the argument would be cropping up with each side throwing out points as to why they are better than the other. This is not unique to the FGC as the argument rages on every facet of society from music, to sports, to politics and life in general. Were rock and metal better in the old days than what we hear now? Were the football players of old better than today's bunch? Are the preceding generations better and more organized than the youth of today? The answer, well, it's complicated.
Things really seemed to heat up with Alex Valle weighed in on the argument stating that in the arcade era, players were forced to develop their skills with persistence and hunger, something that he claims the current generation lacks. This caused a huge controversy with some people on his side, and others adamant that the old ways of doing things are no longer effective.
Too bad most of you were not in the arcade era to see how hyper competitive it was. The games were harder & the information was self made. You have the info now, games have shortcuts for execution, & mechanics help disadvantaged players. Wonder why we had more killers then...— Alex Valle ➡️⬇️↘️+🏡 (@TheAlexValle) October 31, 2020
A case for the old school FGC
While speaking to a tournament organizer recently, we spoke on the topic of today's gamers and if they are better than the older generation. He believed that today's gamers are spoilt and are quick to throw down the controller in frustration. Back in the days of the arcade, every game was like a money match as you ran the risk of losing your coin if you suffered defeat. Therefore, there was more at stake, which arguably raised the competitive spirit of the time. However, with the advent of patches, players can simply throw a tantrum and force the developers to buff or nerf a character. In the old days, if a character was 'broken,' people found creative solutions around them, but nowadays, people just complain until the character is nerfed. When looking through the responses Valle was getting, someone pointed out that even back then, there was no double elimination, which meant that if you lost a game, you were going home. According to this commented, this meant that players weren't allowed to slip up even once. We've seen something similar with this year's CPT tournaments, which have space for only one winner and have therefore seen some heavyweights have to sit out the Capcom cup.
Proponents of these viewpoints have a valid case as it seems there are fewer people willing to put in the work to be very good. Also, since games are now generally easier to play and more accessible, you could argue that it is harder to stand out as a good player as the odds that a hundred other people have the same knowledge you do is high. But the new school also has a couple of really valid points.
A case for the new school FGC
Yes, knowledge is now easily accessible, and there is a tonne of how-tos and guides on the internet to put your through and save you the time that would normally have gone into practice; however, simply having the knowledge isn't all there is to being a good player. Implementing what you have read or learned is also quite important, and not everyone can pull it off. Also, more gamers increase the chances of finding good players, as more people are likely to want to further their knowledge. On top of that, not every OG gamer agrees that games are easier as an old tweet from Tokido resurfaced, where he stated that he thinks games are harder and that he beat one of the top players of Samurai Showdown with a single button.
Also, to the point of new-age gamers being spoilt, it could be argued that they are simply more demanding of a more balanced game that is accessible to a large number of people. So, if a character is broken, that's the developers' mistake, and the consumer should not have to suffer because the devs got their balancing act wrong. The result of the increased scrutiny is that games that even start out as terrible can be rounded out and refined till they become good. Street Fighter V is a great example of a game that was terrible at launch, but with the help of patches and other tweaks, is now a decent game.
Tokido: “It was super easy to win in the past. CVS2 or even the beginning of SFIV. I beat one of the best player using only one button in SamSho. Games were broken, huge gap between strong and weak characters, not that many people really work hard to win tournament back then”— HiFight(ハイファイト) (@HiFightTH) November 27, 2019
A tired argument
The old school v new school FGC is not a new topic, but it is a rather pointless one as the argument ends up being circular. The reality is that there is no reason to compare any generation of gamers because the surrounding circumstances are different. Back in the day, games took a lot longer before coming out, so odds were that the game was damn near perfect at launch. However, with gaming companies looking to make as much money as possible from a demanding consumer base, games are a lot more likely to come out incomplete, which makes the complaints and the need for patches a lot more necessary.
Also, player bases are growing, which means there are now more people in the community than ever before, and gaming is no longer reserved for geeks or nerds. This means that there are more people to communicate, learn, and experience fighting games with, and at the end of the day, isn't that all anyone wants?