Fighting Game Jargon Buster: A noobs guide to learning everything from the basics to advanced principles and understanding of fighting games.
Welcome to the FGJB – Fighting Game Jargon Buster!
Throughout the coming weeks we will go from the simplest of concepts and techniques that a one armed marmoset wearing a boxing glove could perform, to in depth mechanics and functions of the most popular fighting games that will soon have you putting your friends into a game related shame spiral due to your channeling Daigo ‘the beast’ Umehara. (search for EVO moment 37 if you don’t believe me!)
Lets just start from the top!
Current level: one armed boxing marmoset.
There are a few standard button set-ups when looking at fighting games, but if we just concentrate on two systems that are used, they are the 6 button system and the 4 button system. Simple enough right? Right!
6 and 4 Button systems
The most famous 6 button system fighting game that is still being played would be Ultra Street Fighter 4. the 6 button system simply means that there are two sets of three attack buttons, they would usually be referred to as light, medium and heavy one set being punches, the other kicks.
The 4 button system is used most famously in Mortal Kombat, these are two sets of two attack buttons, they are usually referred to as weak and heavy, one set being punches and the other kicks. NOTE certain 4 button systems can also be referred to as 1,2,3 and 4 for ease of explanation for different systems.
Blocking and the left hand/thumb
The left hand, or thumb depending on if you play on pad or stick (pros and cons of each will be explained in a further FGJB) are predominantly used to control the movement of the selected character. Forward, back, up, down etc. You get it cause you’re all intelligent people here.
In many fighting games, holding back (away from opponent) will automatically put your character into a blocking state, other games will need you to hold a button to block. Don’t underestimate the power of blocking! You’d be harder to get into than a high security prison atop castle Grayskull guarded by Optimus Prime!
This is performed simply by holding up on the d pad/ thumb stick/ arcade stick. There are three jump states to be aware of, diagonal back jump, diagonal forward jump and jumping straight up, also known as a neutral jump. We will look more in depth regarding the jump tactics in another FGJB. Please don’t jump around constantly cause it’s really not a good tactic and you will make me look bad, okay?
Ducking, or what is more commonly known as crouching is performed by holding diagonally down back, diagonally down forward or just down. It is highly recommended to hold down back when crouching in 90% of situations as many games have a crouch block function when holding diagonally down back. The other 10% you’ll have to figure out for yourself…Nah I’m just kidding we’ll look at that later.
Dashing is performed by pressing forward or back twice in quick succession, can be used to pressure opponents or get out of pretty damn sticky situations.
Attacks and blocks with the addition of the left hand
When combining the left and right hand we introduce the next part of our fighting development. There are 4 main types of attack, these are high, mid, low and overhead. With each of these types of attack, the attacker has to hold a certain button or combination of a button and a direction.
For example a standing medium punch may be a mid whereas holding forward and heavy punch may be an overhead and down back heavy kick is usually always a low, these are all to be blocked differently. To successfully block a low attack you will have to perform a crouch block, to successfully block an overhead you will have to perform a standing block and when blocking a mid, you can block by holding either stand block or crouch block. It may look tricky right now but with a bit of practise you’ll see them coming, easier to read than the tiger who came to tea. (Everyone has read that book right?)
Generic move commands
In fighting games, there are a lot of things that crossover, one being inputs to perform character specific moves. These are composed of half circles (HCF, half circle forward HCB, half circle back) quarter circles (QCF, quarter circle forward, QCB quarter circle back) QCF punch is the command for the world renown HADOUKEN! other command inputs include back forwards and 360’s (a full circle on the directional pad).
Understanding combo lists
Now we know the basics its time to look at simple combos mainly to understand how to read combo lists.
If we look at a corner combo for Raiden from MKX. Without the simplified description it looks like this: (don’t worry if this looks bonkers hard, it kinda is, I’m just using it for an example so chill your tits!)
Hold back and heavy punch, hold back and heavy punch, hold back and weak punch then press heavy kick, quarter circle forward and heavy punch, hold back and weak punch then weak kick, quarter circle back and press weak kick, hold back weak punch then heavy kick, quarter circle forward heavy punch.
Now here is the same combo with the short hand combo list.
B2 – B2 – B14 – QCF2 – B13 – QCB3 – B14 – QCF2.
Now isn’t that much easier to digest! Yes Dave, it is.
Cheers guys for reading the first FGJB, next time we will go more in depth, looking at game specific functions and some new mechanics, also the first list of fighting game vocab, a few choice words and phrases used in the fighting game community, be it for informational purposes, or just interesting colloquialisms.
Example: ‘He’s salty cause that Cammy was Godlike, she bodied him like he was free! He had no wakeup options cause she was crowding him, all he could do was turtle, so OP!’
You have now officially levelled up to: Red Panda trying to beat the Guinness world record for continuous head spins.
Welcome to the wonderful world of the fighting games – see you in a week for the next exciting installment of FGJB!
If you have any questions or requests hit us up in the comments below.