Choosing a character stands out as the most important decision one can make when beginning to learn a fighting game. For veteran players, the choice will likely revolve
around their preferred play style. Like zoning? Play the zoner. Like grabbin’ dudes? Play the grappler. Simple.
For novices, though, the decision isn’t only difficult, but can also prove very time consuming. Without any real idea of how the characters play, or even what the various styles of play are to begin with, new players often choose a character that they find visually appealing and then allow that character to shape them. In many ways, character selection is an exercise in self-discovery.
When I came back to the fighting genre–specifically Super Street Fighter 4–I spent a good deal of time playing several characters before settling on Ibuki. I tried zoners and grapplers, rushdown and turtlers, all without really understanding the depth of strategy surrounding such styles of play. A few characters proved more fun than others: Chun-Li, Blanka, Rose, but none of them felt “right.” After months of constant main-switching, I finally decided to give Ibuki a fair chance. Her command run and target combos felt so good that I forgot the rest of the roster existed. My plan every match revolved around getting in, running through my opponent, doing target combo four and then repeating. Suddenly I could do a combo! A real combo! It wasn’t technical at all, it didn’t do much damage, but it connected four hits. Four hits without three of them coming from a special move. I was a bad ass.
Once my friends figured out my amateur command run “mixups,” I had to learn how to actually play Ibuki–a task much more difficult than figuring out how to follow a quarter circle forward with a kick button. I hit up SRK and Eventhubs, I talked to some people at a small local tournament and I scoured youtube. The amount of information that I found overwhelmed me. Everywhere I looked, people spoke in terms I’d never heard and hailed Ibuki as a technically difficult character to play. I became discouraged…
until I stumbled across this video:
Nearly two years ago, that video inspired me to attempt to bring to life an Ibuki as crisp as Sakonoko’s, a goal which I have yet to achieve–a seemingly impossible goal, but one toward which I still stride. And I hope that through the coming months I can use this blog not only as a means to share my take on various fighting games, but also as a tool to assist me in reaching that goal.