I was just at Game Crazy earlier this evening, and in that time I managed to strike up a conversation with the security officer that tends to drop by every now and then. He’s an avid gamer himself and is always willing to talk it up about gaming or play a game with us at one of the various console stations located in the store. Anyway, I had my first real in-depth conversation with him today, and what he had to say to me about how he actually goes about gaming on a certain level was very intriguing to me. I would like to share our conversation with you!
He first asked me how I performed in the afternoon’s Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament. Not exactly proud of how I did, I simply said I was knocked out in the quarterfinals of the 16 man tournament. Then I told him I lost to the same guy that beat me in the Double Dash tournament the week before. The thing that annoyed me the most about that though is I knew how I needed to beat him, I just didn’t nail down the strategy soon enough. I was actually Sheik like I always am when playing the game and the other fellow was Samus. He’s probably the best Samus player I’ve ever seen, although I knew I could take him because of two things. One, he used the same attacking routine: shoulder charge, leg sweep, missile, beam charge. Second, my best friend tends to use her every time he plays the game with me, so I pretty much knew what Samus could do to put the most damage on me.
The sad thing is all the matches were based on four stock lives, and at one point in my match with this guy, I was up three lives to two. But the little punk decided the need to “edge guard” so I couldn’t get back on the ground solidly enough to get him back in the Final Destination stage, so I ended up losing when we both had one life left.
Having said that to the security officer, he offered me his insight on how to really know how to compete against friends or complete strangers in games just like that. Whether it may be Super Smash Bros. Melee, Soul Calibur II, Halo, Geist, Mortal Kombat, his ideas can really be applied to any kind of competitive game!
To directly quote him, “I really look at games like those on the actual level of how the consoles, controllers and games themselves are actually designed. If you can understand how the console and controller actually utilizes the game’s programming, you can become virtually unbeatable in games that are highly competitive on the multiplayer level. Most games have three to four main buttons that you use to compete against people in multiplayer matches. You have your face buttons as well as the shoulder triggers. But in regards to actually attacking, normally only three or four buttons are used on a regular basis.”
After that little explanation, he then went into detail about how he thinks you should interpret how computer characters as well as your environments work with you in playing the actual game.
“No game, console or controller will ever be perfect, it’s impossible. The logic and design behind anything like that dealing with electronics are only as intelligently usable as the persons that made them. If you can’t interpret how the computer actually utilizes its own programming, you will never be good at playing other people. There’s a difference between a human using a controller to use a character and the actual game using a computer controlled character. A human has to use a controller, and the console actually has to take the time to interpret the actions of your hands in accordance to the buttons and such. You can only be as fast in the game with regards to how good you are with the actual controller. Computers do not have to worry about that. They don’t have to press any buttons, they only utilize the gameplay mechanics they were programmed with, and can do it as fast or routinely as they wish.”
“In all reality, the absolute best way to make yourself the best player of a game that has multiplayer features is to play the computer. If you can really figure out how the computer reacts to you, how it works on its own and how it utilizes your environment, you can become unstoppable.”
In that, he used an example of how he’s become as good as he really is in Halo 2′s multiplayer. I’ve actually seen him play and he’s REALLY good. He doesn’t even camp, he’s just trained himself in just how I explained from his direct statements.
“You see, if you can understand how the computer reacts to whatever you do at any time, you can understand how humans will do just the same. In Halo 2, I actually took the time to go through every map available, played against a bot and experimented with every single weapon available in the game. I familiarized myself with what kind of damage each weapon does, and how much damage each does in regards to what parts of your opponents’ body that you actually hit.”
With that comes how the actual distance you have between yourself and your opponents also affects how you will end up playing human people.
“There are really three zones of action that will always be visible when playing some kind of multiplayer game. You have zone one, which is virtually your face-to-face combat. You have zone two, which is moderate distance which requires mid-range attacks. Then you have zone three, which basically encompasses a good three or more steps before you actually become face-to-face with your opponents. In most fighting games, it is absolutely essential to learn how those zones work. For instance, in Soul Calibur II, a game that I like to use Mitsurugi a lot, that is very easily applied. Now this is the XBox version so do bear with me with the controls. A lot of the time when fighting a human player, they will tend to immediately run after you. This is how you can avoid having to remember those insane ten button combos. If you have someone come after you like that, simply use a long range attack to counter that. You also want to be sure that if you use a short combo that may use three attacks in a row, to not actually always use that third attack. If you only use two, you will not only allow yourself to defend against a possible counter, but you can also give yourself to change up whatever you’re doing incase your opponent does something you don’t expect. Blocking is also a big part of the game, so not finishing a combo will allow you much faster recovery time in doing something quickly afterwards.”
So in other words, he’s saying that if you can really master just how the computer utilizes the game’s programming and whatnot to fight you, you can really become a master against human players. Once you learn just how the game can actually work with a computer, you will learn how a human will more than likely use it as well to compete against you. So to put it simply, if you know the game, you will have a much better chance at knowing your friends and strangers, and beat them!
I personally will use this theory myself and see just how right he may be about this, because I’ve honestly never thought about approaching like that before. I think he really is onto something with that theory of his, and I will apply that to future tournaments that I attend that deal with games of all kinds that have multiplayer features!