The Euphoria of Fighting Games
The chills and warm feeling in your stomach that comes from watching and playing is what makes fighting games so great, and I can only define it with one word: euphoric.
Fighting games are easily one of the easiest genres in gaming to grab and enjoy with little to no previous experience. It is a community and experience easily accessible to those outside of it, and once they take that first step inwards, the arms of the community embrace them and make them long-time members. This is yet another reason why WePlay is entering the FGC, on top of many people in our organization loving its grassroots nature.
Another unique feature that fighting games offer is the incredible and overwhelming effect it has on the player and spectator. I'm sure everyone knows about arguably the most iconic exchange in FGC history. Of course, I am talking about the sequence at EVO 2004, where Justin Wong and Daigo Umehara fought in the semifinals for Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. I know this sequence is a bit overused, but I truly believe it is deserving of it.
Notice how the crowd absolutely loses their minds at this insane exchange. You could argue that this reaction comes from a deep understanding of what in the hell actually just happened, and you'd be right. Still, I have shown this video to many friends and family members who aren't even gamers. After a brief explanation of what a parry is and why it saved Daigo's life, they immediately recognize the feat and appreciate it. Now, only two people on this planet experienced that from a player perspective rather than a spectator. Imagine how Daigo felt after that? What about JWong? I truly doubt any words do the feelings justice. The chills and warm feeling in your stomach that comes from watching this exchange is what makes fighting games so great, and I can only define it with one word: euphoric.
Euphoric? A bit of an exaggeration, huh?
Often, when I discuss FGC esports or hardcore lab sessions with friends and family outside of the space, they struggle to understand it. It's not their fault, nor can I blame them for not quite gripping it. I truly believe the euphoria we feel when learning a new combo, beating a tough opponent, or even witnessing greatness like the Daigo Parry is something one must experience to understand fully. The viewers that lose their minds at those insane feats feel it too. And, it's easily the best part of the entire experience.
I won't lie; I have never been a hardcore fighting game player that spent countless hours mastering the game with my own hands. I've followed, watched, and analyzed FGs religiously, but I never dove that deep as a player. Sure, I've played all the big titles like MK, SF, Tekken, and Smash, but never in a capacity greater than casually.
That changed recently.
Diving in as a professional and a player
Since the talks of hosting an FGC event have circulated within our company, I have had this unscratchable itch to grind a fighting game. Tekken 7 was my first shot at it, and it was an enjoyable journey. As a Claudio main, few things felt more euphoric than landing my uf4 into a gain/use starburst combo or beating someone online with a higher rank than me. The feeling of getting better each and every day did something for me and seeing how far I had come and could go propelled me forward in all aspects of life. Defeat only inspired me to do better because I knew I could. But, sadly, I didn't stick with it after the initial learning phase. Not to say Tekken 7 isn't a great game, it's arguably the best fighting game out right now, but something was missing for me. I think a great deal of it was that I didn't grow up with Tekken as a kid; therefore, I didn't have much appreciation for who the characters actually were in the grand scheme of the universe. I grew up with MK, so I decided to give that a shot.
Mortal Kombat 11 immediately felt different, not just because it was a 2D fighter instead of 3D, but something hit home with me. I have put more hours into MK11 in a significantly shorter time than I did with Tekken 7. The characters and over-the-top gore was something I loved about the series when I was younger, and revisiting it felt like a return to home. I picked my favorite character from time's past, Liu Kang, immediately jumped into the practice mode, looked up combos on YouTube, and lost myself in learning and experiencing the euphoria of landing tough combos all over again. I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.
I give you all these boring details to further drive home the point that fighting games are an immensely important component in the world of esports and gaming in general. There are few games, much less entire genres, that can appeal to as wide an audience that the FGC does and offer the overwhelming emotions that they invoke. We hope and will do our best to ensure WePlay Dragon Temple harnesses this mystical aspect and give back to the most important part of the FGC; you.