How to get into fighting games for the first time

Tips for beginners!

6 mins read
Capcom Fighting Collection Nintendo Switch Review

Without a doubt, the fighting game genre is the most intimidating to get into for the first time. It’s a genre that people take seriously and fiercely, and while they can be incredibly friendly, they can easily forget what it’s like to be new and overwhelmed by the technical nature of these games.

So here’s a quick and easy guide to help you get into the genre for the first time. Keep these ten things in mind and you’ll find yourself enjoying the process of learning the genre in no time.

Understand the Genre: The first thing you need to understand is what makes a fighting game a fighting game. The genre is actually pretty simple. Fighting games are a thrilling genre that combines fast-paced action with quick (very quick) strategic thinking. Whether you’re a complete novice or coming from other gaming genres, the world of fighting games offers a unique and rewarding experience. These games typically involve one-on-one combat between characters, each with their own set of moves and abilities.

Choose Your Game: Now that you know what to expect, it’s time to try one. There are an overwhelming number of fighting games out there, but the best to start with are one of Super Smash Bros (if you like Nintendo characters), Mortal Kombat (for the violence), Dead or Alive (if you like very, very pretty girls and looking at their underwear) and Street Fighter (the iconic arcade experience). For now, keep the other fighting games in mind, but come back to them later. They tend to be more complex and overwhelming for the new player.

Basic Controls: Fighting games have a reputation for being complex, but that’s only a half truth. The basic controls of these games are very simple. Begin your fighting game journey by keeping it simple and learning basic movements like walking, crouching, and jumping. Familiarise yourself with punch and kick buttons, as these are often the foundation for more advanced techniques.

Training Mode: Almost every fighting game includes a training mode. This is a really important space in the game. Take advantage of this feature to practice your basic moves, and then later, once you’re more comfortable, also the combos, and special attacks. Training mode allows you to hone your skills in a controlled environment without the pressure of an actual match. Most training modes feature “enemies” that don’t even attack back, giving you a perfectly relaxed space to simply practice.

Character Selection: One of the big things about fighting games is that every character is different. So, experiment with different characters to find one that suits your preferred playstyle. Some characters are faster, while others are more powerful or have unique abilities. Trying out different characters will also help you understand their strengths and weaknesses, both for playing as and playing against. Once you’ve found one you like (and it is okay to choose the prettiest girl!) then work on mastering them before trying the other characters. That way you can see yourself getting really good at one character first.

Learn the Terminology: Fighting game communities use specific terminology. It’s a process to learn it all, but familiarise yourself with terms like “frame data,” “hit confirm,” and “punish” to better understand discussions and guides related to the game.

Kasumi (Dead or Alive series) swimsuit screenshot

Mastering Combos: Combos are sequences of attacks strung together to create powerful and damaging moves. Start with simple combos and gradually work your way up to more complex ones. Combos are a crucial aspect of mastering a fighting game, but they require practice to execute consistently.

Defence is Key: While learning offensive techniques is essential, understanding defence is equally important. Practice blocking, dodging, and counter-attacking to become a well-rounded player. Knowing when to defend and when to strike is a fundamental skill in any fighting game. Simply going all out with the attack is called “button mashing” and most serious fighting game players can easily defeat that.

Embrace the Community: Joining the fighting game community can enhance your experience. Attend local events, participate in online forums, and watch high-level gameplay. Engaging with the community not only provides valuable insights but can also lead to new friendships and gaming partners.

Learn Patience and Perseverance: Finally, mastering fighting games takes time and dedication. Don’t be discouraged by losses; instead, view them as opportunities to learn and improve. As you progress, you’ll discover the satisfaction that comes with executing intricate combos, outsmarting opponents, and becoming a skilled participant in the vibrant world of fighting games.

Most importantly of all, enjoy the process! Becoming skilled at fighting games feels really good, and with enough practice you might even win some money on the competitive circuit!

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