Gaming

In this week’s episode, I go on a solo adventure!

When I grew up in the 90s, I learned to play a bunch of old games that were hard as nails. My NES was filled with challenges that gave me the skills I needed to succeed in the dating world.

If you’re a gamer, you have those skills too!

I talk about:

  • my crazy gaming childhood
  • the skills I learned from those games
  • how I use those same gaming skills to win at the hardest game of them all: THE DATING GAME.
  • how you can do the same

Protip: Battletoads is HARD AS NAILS.

Check it out!

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Dating is full of obstacles. Even the best of us have to struggle with them at some point. In my experience, geeks tend to be good at the struggle, because they’re used to encountering obstacles and overcoming them. It comes with the territory when you play hard videogames.

It’s why I believe geeks are so well equipped to overcome obstacles that revolve around dating. You’ve done it thousands of times while playing games, it’s simply a matter of reapplying those skills to the real world.

Sometimes though, I hit an obstacle that requires some really thick elbow grease. Maybe even seems insurmountable. When that happens, I have one childhood memory that I fall back on, one that proved to me beyond all doubt that I have what it takes to win.

It’s my reference point whenever I have a problem I need to tackle, be it approaching another woman after getting rejected really harshly, or figuring out what to text someone new.

It all began with Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.

The Adventure of Link Rami

Over 20 years ago, I played Zelda II as a child, and had a blast… yet I still vividly remember one part of the game that had me pulling my hair out.

Two weeks into the game, after fighting my way through awesome baddies and genius puzzle after puzzle, I entered a village: the Town of Saria. Protip: recognize the name?

It was wonderful… until I was confronted with this piece of shit.

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It was a river that I couldn’t jump across, aka The Gap From Hell™. Even with a running start, it was impossible. This is every platformer’s nightmare.

“But… Nintendo make good games,” I thought. “There must be a proper solution.”

I couldn’t find it. The guy in the green hut by the river said only townsfolk could cross the bridge. I spoke to all the townsfolk, and none of them could help me. I tried exploring nearby villages. I tried different magic spells. I tried going into every house and pressing every button. I tried smearing peanut butter and banana on my chest and invoking a blood ritual to the almighty chicken god to give me a clue.

Nothing worked.

Frustrated to tears, covered in delicious peanut butter and banana, I asked around, hoping one of my friends could help me. Remember, this was back in 1991, before the Internet, and I didn’t have a subscription to Nintendo Power to help me out.

No results.

At this point, most people would’ve quit. To be fair, I almost did.

Then I had another thought: what if I missed something along the way?

Go Everywhere

I woke up the next day, and thought about the problem. If I missed something, then the best way to find it was to backtrack.

Only one solution then: I was going to beat the game by taking it apart, piece by piece.

That meant going through the entire world map, and exploring every single space on there, from beginning to end, until I found a solution.

In case you’re wondering how big that is, here’s the scope of what I was attempting:

z2map

Yep, it’s fucking gigantic. But that didn’t stop me.

I kept a notebook with sketches of every area I went to, and placed an X on every square of the map I visited.

EVERY. SINGLE. SQUARE.

It took days of walking, stopping, fighting random enemies, forgetting to mark an area, backtracking, and what we geeks now know as grinding.

On the 3rd day, like some kind of tired geeky Jesus, I rose from my peanut butter and banana induced sadness and stumbled upon a secret village, one unmarked on the map. Here’s where it was located.

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I walked in, and there was a guy who said:

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And just like that, the river man in the green hut built me a bridge and let me cross the gap.

Hurray!

I did it! All it took was hard work, patience, and the perseverance that only children and people with OCD can muster.

From that point on, and for the rest of my life, anytime I encountered an obstacle that seemed hard to overcome, I referred back to my childhood Zelda II adventure.

What does this have to do with ladies?

For me, there were two things that made meeting women extremely hard: fear of talking to them, and the constant rejection.

You have to talk to a lot of girls, especially at first, in order to practice being social. Knowing what to say, your body language, and all the other good stuff you learn on here, all comes with practice and experience. It ain’t easy.

You also have to get rejected a lot. It comes with the territory. If you’re not getting rejected, you’re not really going after the right kind of girl, or pushing your boundaries. But rejection sucks.

So when I started doing this, the way to power through these two problems was to follow a strict regimen: go out 4 nights a week, for 6 weeks, and talk to 10 groups of women per night. If you do the math, that’s 600 women in 6 weeks.

How the hell was I going to do that?

I knew how. I was going to use that same perseverance that I learned while wandering the Zelda II overworld and drawing a map.

And you can too. Everytime you hit an obstacle with women, remember the hardest game you’ve ever beaten, and realize it was probably harder than what you’re currently facing.

I mean seriously, if you can take down One Reborn from Bloodborne, Ridley from Metroid Prime, or the final boss from Ninja Gaiden, then you can talk to a couple of girls and get a number.

You’re a geek. Dating is a game. You do the math.

This year at EVO 2014, I sponsored the Tekken Casino.10527776_889026581114144_4899894550111110533_n We rented a room at the hotel, and played games on 6 different setups, while also streaming some matches.

While taking a break the first night, I noticed a tiny kid walk into the room, grab some cookies, and then give a player some tips on how to beat Bob.

That same little kid ended up playing a match against Katsuhiro Harada, the creator of the Tekken series, later on that night.

I had a chance to hang out with his father, Rey Michael Escanio, for an interview. He answered some great questions about teaching his son fighting games, which I’m really pleased to share with you all today.

Rey, how old are you, and when did you start playing fighting games?

I’m 35 right now. My first fighting game was Mortal Kombat 1. I was still a teenager in middle school at the time, 8th or 9th grade. I then played Mortal Kombat II, and stuck with the series til 4. In ’94, I started playing Tekken, and it’s been my favourite game since.

When did you get started with the Fighting Games Community?

Technically around Tekken 3, although the first major I ever travelled to was in Texas for Tekken 4. It was TiT 5.

When did you get married?

She and I were basically friends for years, and started dating in 2003. We were together for a year before we got married, and in November 2005 we had our first child. My oldest son Matthew, aka King Rey Jr.

He’s 8 years old now.

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How did Matthew get into fighting games?

When I had kids, I had no intention of getting them into fighting games. With him it was special because I would practice, or my friends would come over for casuals, and from an early age, he would stop whatever he was doing and come watch. He wouldn’t move until we were done. By the age of 2, around the Tekken 5:DR era, he knew all the characters in the game, and if someone took Mokujin, he could recognize who it was based on the stance.

So when I realized he had that type of memory, I started teaching him movement, blocking, and throwing. When he was 3, I started teaching him strings, and by the time he was 5, he knew enough that I entered him in his first local tournament.

He didn’t win any rounds, but he had a good time. He played casuals after the tournament for about 5 hours, and afterwards, he came up to me and said “hey dad, can you teach me combos?”

I taught him, and a few months later we went to another event, where he won his first round.

What made you guys decide to go to EVO?

This was actually the first EVO for either of us. I haven’t had an opportunity to go until now. Coming into this year, I had planned to take him to EVO, but when they announced it wasn’t going part of the lineup, we were both kinda bummed and decided not to go.

When they announced it was back, we scrambled to make it. I created a Twitter account for my son, and my sister stepped up and made me a deal: if I could get him 200 followers, she would sponsor him to go to EVO. We did it, and we went.

We had a great time.

What about Matthew’s match with Harada?

We were in Tekken Casino, and Michael Murray and Mr Harada were taking questions on stream, when someone in the chat asked if they could see Mr Harada play on stream. They started thinking of who he would fight, and Bronson Tran stepped up and said “there’s an 8-year-old kid dying to play, let’s get him on.”

My son won 2-0, but it was down to the last round each game. He was a bit nervous, and it makes sense. I’ve never been as nervous as I was during EVO, and went 0-2. My son did better than me, he did 1-2. So I know if he was less nervous, and dropped less combos, he would’ve won more against Mr Harada. But he had fun!

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How do you manage your son’s time playing fighting games vs doing other kid stuff?

You have to stay active with your kids. I put my son in baseball, I put him in soccer. He plays lots of organized sports, as well as video games. He plays games at home, but that’s because he’s an honour student. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t allow him to play.

That’s the deal we have, he keeps the grades, and he can play. It also gives me leverage if he acts up, because I take the games away. It means enough to him to straighten his behavior up quick.

But you know, he loves to be outside, he loves to compete, and he gets that from me (laughs).

Do you set a time limit?

As far as the time limits go, I tell my kids, including my 5-year-old daughter, as long as they do their chores, and keep the grades up, I have no time limit on them playing games.

When it’s time to go to bed, they shut it off, when it’s time to eat, they stop and come eat. As long as they follow the rules, and hold up their end of the bargain, I have no issues with them playing games.

I believe games are a way to make people better problem solvers, and help you learn to deal with adversity. When it comes to the competitive side, it also teaches you how to handle losing. It was an issue with my son at first, when he would lose he would go hide under a table.

What did you do to solve that?

You have to kind of explain how to handle those situations, it’s a learning experience. How do you handle a loss, how do you learn from it, how do you go forward. It takes time, especially when kids are young, because they don’t grasp the concept of losing and learning from losing. They just see it as losing, they don’t see the benefits that come from it.

By teaching Matthew to be a more graceful loser, he’ll be a better winner when the time comes, and will be able to handle that situation better as well.

Do you think you’re creating the next generation of games?

Maybe (laughs). The FGC is evolving, and new gamers are appearing every day. My son will be part of that new generation.

Be sure to follow KingReyJr on Twitter, to keep up to date with his progress.

So two weeks ago, I had a tattoo done. It’s an 8-bit tattoo comprised of three Zelda hearts, on my left pectoral. Two full hearts, one half.

Here’s a video of me getting tattooed, filmed by my friend Etienne.

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So the day after the tattoo, I was convinced I’d made the biggest mistake of my life. Thankfully I came to my senses, and realized it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

Best decision of 2014, hands down.

Just don’t tell my mom, k?

I didn’t write a post last week. And this week’s post is 4 days late. Shit. SHIT!

Normally, when I miss a post, I feel bad about it, and try to catch up somehow. It weighs on me, like the Sword of Damocles hanging over my head by a thread, ready to drop at any time and kill me.

But with this post, I had reached a point where I had too many things going on, and something had to give.

I was burning out.

Calvin Is My Hero

When I was a child, I read this passage from Calvin and Hobbes. It changed my life.

Calvin Nothing

He’s right you know. There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want. Sometimes, there isn’t even enough time to do a little bit of nothing.

My life is busy. I write for my blog, I go to the gym, I cook, I work fulltime, I play fighting games, I work on getting my book published, I clean my apartment.

And that was just yesterday.

Basically, I have no free time. Ever.

And it comes at a price.

When I have too much stuff going on, I spread myself thin. Things start falling apart. I don’t eat as healthy, or take care of myself, or spend as much time with my friends. I let many things fall by the wayside.

When you’re too busy, when there are too many things going on in your life, you make room for the most urgent ones by dropping the ones that you can live without.

Which is horrible, because oftentimes the most urgent things aren’t the most important ones.

Like when you miss your best friend’s birthday because you have a deadline.

My Cups Analogy

I think of it like this:

The things going on in your life are cups.

You are the water.

By choosing to have many cups, you are spreading the water very thinly across them. For a cup to have more water, another must have less.

The problem with life is there are infinite cups. But there’s only a limited amount of water. There’s only a limited amount of you.

Cups

So why didn’t I write a post last week? Because another cup needed filling more.

I’ve been playing the harp on and off for about 8 years now. Last year, after injuring my shoulder, I stopped playing the harp completely. I recovered after months of physio, but I stayed away from my music, because I was too busy.

About a month ago, a friend asked me to play at a charity benefit this past weekend. I had just over 3 weeks to practice and create enough music for 20 minutes.

Rather than say “no, I’m out of practice”, I used this opportunity to get back into it. I added another cup to my collection.

So I practiced every day. In fact, I practiced harder than I ever have in my life. It was beautiful, and fun, and exhausting.

But it was too much. By adding this practice on top of my already full schedule, I had to take away from another cup. I ended up emptying out my writing cup, and missing a blog post, and not writing my book proposal.

Cup2

Notice the nothing cup is still empty. With so many cups that need filling, who has time for nothing anymore?

Why Nothing Is Important

I am a ashamed to say that it’s been ages since I did nothing. I don’t remember the last time I had an evening where I had no plans, where I would come home, plop my ass in front of the TV, order some food and chill out.

Why? Because I don’t allow myself downtime. There’s always work to be done.

Wanna watch TV? I could, but that’s time that I could use to practice my harp, or write a blog post, or work on my book proposal, or fix my curtain rack, or stretch my aching shoulder and do some physio, or… you get the idea.

Worse still, on the rare occasions where I do get downtime? I feel guilty. That never ending to-do list looms over my head, and makes me feel like shit, if I’m not constantly checking stuff off it.

The part I had forgotten, was this: there’s always going to be more work to be done, even when you’re done.

You don’t finish a checklist and then say “whoopee, let’s roll baby, no more work forever!”. For most people, I’ll wager you never finish the list. You get close, then expand it again by adding 10 new items.

And it takes its toll on you mentally. By always having something to do, by always having unfinished business and items to check off your list, you get tired.

Even when I’m supposed to be relaxing, I’m worrying about getting stuff done. When I’m working, I’m worrying even more. All that mental energy that gets sucked away, makes me perform worse at everything.

Empty Out The Cups

Here’s my pattern. I work hard, fill up my schedule to the max. I spread myself thin, and run myself ragged.

I end up with too many cups, and not enough water. Then I pour the water from all the not-urgent cups into the most urgent one. I do that one thing the best, and shove everything else aside.

Then I burn out. I fall apart for a few days, where I don’t want to do anything, or I get sick, because my body tells me to stop this stupidity.

And I end up accomplishing much less than if I had balanced things out.

What saddens me, is the first cup that I chuck is the “nothing” cup. I never do nothing. Calvin, and the little boy inside of me, would be ashamed.

I wasn’t even aware it was a problem until I read Play It Away, a book by Charlie Hoehn on curing anxiety. Charlie pointed out that I wasn’t playing enough. Worse still, when I played, instead of feeling good, I felt guilty. And that’s so wrong on so many levels.

After reading his stuff, I decided to do something about it.

I decided to take a day, and do nothing.

Thank Baby Mario for Office Space

Sunday evening. 6pm. I was home, alone, tired. I had a blog post to write. I had dishes that needed doing. I had a full basket of laundry. My shoulders were tense and needed some physio exercises and stretching. My fridge was empty, I had to do groceries.

6:10pm. Shit. Ten minutes of worrying, and wasted mental energy, and I still haven’t done any of that stuff. I’d better… wait.

It can all wait.

The world isn’t going to end if I don’t write a blog post. I’ll survive without groceries this one night.

I took a deep breath then.

You know what I did?

Nothing office space

Yep.

I did nothing. I ordered a chicken salad with avocados, turned on Netflix, and watched The Clone Wars cartoons for a few hours (thanks JR for the recommendation!).

And it was glorious.

I didn’t think about anything, except watch Jedi do backflips and wield lightsabers, and imagine myself taking down an army of droids with The Force.

I went to bed at 10pm, relaxed and happy.

When I woke up Monday morning, I was so ready to kick ass. For the first time in weeks, I felt like I had a full night’s sleep, and actually felt rested.

I had some oatmeal, moseyed on down to the gym, and pushed like a maniac. Quick shower, then I was off to the office, where I had one of the most productive days ever.

Who knew a little bit of nothing one night, could mean a lot of good somethings the next day?

Of course, I’ve been busy every night since then, and life’s been hectic. It’s not easy getting rid of patterns, and I do still have many cups to fill. Or many cups to empty out, I haven’t decided yet.

However, this Sunday night, I have a date with my new best friend: NOTHING.

I’m not good at this nothing business yet, but I’m thinking, with a bit of practice, I’ll get better at it.

And maybe, in doing so, get better at everything else as well.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I usually write two types of articles: the ones that helps geeks get better with women, and the ones that help geeks get better at fighting games.

Although I’ve drawn parallels between fighting games and meeting women before, today I’m going to try something a little different.

Today’s post is about learning a skill that is useful for getting better at both winning at fighting games, and improving with the ladies. I know, it sounds farfetched.

All I ask is that you make it to the end of this post before judging. Then, agree or disagree, leave a comment.

Getting Better

It all started in the nightclubs. I would go out with my wingmen, night after night, week after week, and crash and burn with the ladies. In fact, the first 3 weeks, I went out 4 nights a week, approached 25 women a night, bringing it to a total of 300 women.

I didn’t get a single phone number during this time, yet I was incredibly happy to go out, and even happier at the end of every night. I’d see my friends get numbers, makeout with girls, and even once take a girl home. I got nothing.

So why was I so happy? How did I keep such a positive outlook?

The secret, my dear geek, was in the fact that I was slowly improving.

I knew this, because every night after going out, my wingmen and I would do a recap of the night’s events.

It involved asking everyone how their night went, and then having them answer 3 key questions:

1. What did I do right?

2. What did I do wrong?

3. What am I going to work on for next time?

I’m going to break them down more thoroughly, I just wanted you to have that list so you could easily copy/paste it somewhere.

Improvement

The Method To Improve With Ladies

1. What did I do right?

This is the easiest one to answer. I would think of something I did, where a woman responded positively, and boom, done. It’s best to start with this, so the exercise begins on a positive note. Helps with the critique I’m about to give myself.

2. What did I do wrong?

This is where it gets difficult. You need to be completely honest about all the things that you did wrong. The more you list, the better it is, as it gives you an idea of where you need to put the most work. It’s also useful for later on, when you start improving, as you can come back to earlier weeks and see how far you’ve come.

In my case, I did nearly everything wrong for the first few weeks. I’d approach women correctly, then mess up a joke, talk too fast, forget my posture, not touch, and never get a number.

3. What am I going to work on for next time?

This is the best part of the exercise. By listing a whole bunch of bad stuff in section 2, you have plenty of things to choose from. My recommendation? Pick only one thing that you must work on as a priority for next time, and perhaps a secondary one to be fixed if you find you master the first one very quickly. From my own example list, I would probably have chosen to speak slower as priority, and fix my posture as a secondary thing.

Don’t try to go for the big ones right away! Sometimes you need a small victory to help you gain confidence for a big one.

It’s Not My Fault People Don’t Appreciate My Bestness

In all my years of trying to improve, be it with women, at fighting games, or other aspect of my life that involved other people, I found the biggest barrier was always my ego.

I would self-sabotage by blaming it on someone else. For instance, when I lost at Tekken or Street Fighter, I would often rationalize it with excuses. My belief was that I was definitely the better player, but something else got in the way.

This happens very often. Many players are convinced they are more skillful, the opponent only won because “his character is broken”, or “my controller isn’t working properly”, or “he just spammed me with stupid moves”, or “I could’ve won, I didn’t put the effort in”, or “an alien stole my powers and touched me in the bad place, so I don’t feel so good.”

I would make up excuses, and still lose.

When you go out and meet women, it’s hard to make excuses. You’re confronted with the reality of the situation immediately.

Let’s say you have a new opening line you want to try. You walk up to a girl, and give them the Robin Williams line, which you’re sure is going to work: “hey baby, were your parents retarded? Because you sure are special.”

They laugh at you, think it’s hilarious, then walk away. You try again. Another fail. You try a third time. Fail again.

At this point, unless you’ve got some kind of super in-denial mode, you know it doesn’t work. Your opening line sucks, because reality tells you so. It’s hard to make excuses then, and even harder for you to believe your own excuses.

badline1 badline2

How Does This Translate to Fighting Games?

Simple. In fighting games, similar to the pickup line that doesn’t work, if you lose to an opponent, it means your game style or strategy just doesn’t work.

Denying he’s better than you won’t change the reality of the situation: he won and you didn’t. That means he played better than you did, or chose better characters, or had better mixups. Whatever it is, whatever he’s doing, he’s doing it better than you, because he’s winning and you’re not.

Your attitude of not taking responsibility for losing works against you, for one good reason: it’s not going to get you any closer to beating him the next time you play.

But if you accept that you lost, and push your ego aside, and maybe go through the 3-step process… You’ll probably become a champion.

One Last Thing

Here’s one last tidbit you can add to your arsenal, that will make you even better. When you lose to a player over and over again, rather than get frustrated, push your ego aside, and do one simple thing: ask him how he’s beating you.

If he’s really a good player, he’ll tell you, because you understanding how his strategies work will allow you to create counter-strats, which will then give him more of a challenge, and make him a better player overall.

I learned this the hard way when I played my buddy Renato at Street Fighter 4. He beat me down for a year straight, but with persistence, and constantly asking him how he beat me, we’re now pretty even.

But that doesn’t stop me from asking him questions. He began playing me with Ryu recently, and was doing all kinds of fireball traps which kept beating me.

I realized I was losing because I had no idea how fireball mindgames work (I’m a Tekken player, after all). So I asked him how he does it, and last night he gave me a comprehensive, 20 minute explanation of fireball mixups.

I then used that advice to come up with a counter to his techniques. This, in turn, led to him coming up with more advanced techniques to beat my counters.

See how sharing information made us both better?

Alright, I think my point is clear.

Be sure to use this technique to improve at fighting games, women, and anything else you want to improve on. I’ll do it too, let’s recap at the end of the night 😀

fireball1 fireball2

Space Invaders

Agree that getting better with women, and being good at fighting games, can both be improved with this 3-step system? Disagree? Fight me in the comments! Hint: use CAPS, they’re overpowered.

A while back, I read a post on Facebook by Brett Navarro, aka Psychochronic, a well-known player in the Canadian fighting games community. In it, he expressed 10 major philosophies he follows as part of the FGC. They’re pretty opinionated, and they make for an interesting read, so he agreed to let me repost them here. I tried to edit as little as possible, so don’t be surprised if it reads like a Facebook post. To know more about Brett, you can find him on Facebook.

1) “I want my presence to look like an invasion.”

You need to do something to ensure that you stand out, be it your gameplay, looks, mannerisms, etc…You need to be a character sometimes (both in-game and outside of the game) and that’s how people will remember you. There are certain things that certain people do that separate them from the rest and that’s what makes them unique. Nobody cares about the person that’s all timid, silent, despondent, exclusive, isolated and clique-ish. I might as well call you a standoffish princess.

2) “Before you become a bus monster, you must first become a commute monster.”

Now granted that some people don’t have access to cars or even a license, commuting (public transportation) is your only option to get around. With commuting, you can understand time-tables, routes and maps easier, you analyze your timing within segments (early/late) and as a result, your travel mentality gets increased. If you can go from point A-B in let’s say two hours on a frequent basis, that same two hours will look like 20 minutes. This is why in long bus trips to majors, I never complain about the ride. If you can go through x hours on a plane, a bus (or car) shouldn’t be a problem.

2 bus monster

3) “If you realize every time you ask your home scene for help you’re ignored or rejected, you figure it out on your own.”

Do you really need to rely on someone, or your precious clique, to get you around the scene and hold your hand at all times? I say the word “clique” very harshly because there are people that can’t survive in the scene as an individual, hence “separation anxiety”. Tell me, what’s going to happen when none of that will be there for you? Are you going to give up or ask another group for help like a scavenger? Why rely on anyone if you know deep down inside your heart you can achieve so much on your own. If high-school kids can find their way to majors without asking their home scene for help, nobody else should have an excuse.

4) “Majors are about socializing.”

Going to a major, you’re meeting people you see on streams every week or month, get the chance to fight playstyles you haven’t seen yet, and have a fun time as you would at home with your scene. These are people you don’t see everyday, even the smallest piece of knowledge is enough to increase your metagame. I mean, we’re all sharing the same interest, playing a game on a competitive level with players that travel from x parts of the world. You have Facebook or Twitter for a reason, might as well use it to network with the scene.

If you’re gonna go to a major with the sole intention of only playing casuals or tournament matches, not talking to others, not asking advice and only hanging out with the same friends you see at home every week, you’re doing two things wrong: you’re wasting your time, and you’re potentially robbing someone else’s opportunity to level up. I might as well say that you’re unapproachable.

4 socializing

5) “Enjoy and appreciate what’s being presented to you.”

Not all majors are the same, every major has a different atmosphere and presentation, and that’s what makes it fun.

Here are a few examples so you’ll understand:
–Final Round is like another EVO, with Tekken being more important than usual
–Season’s Beatings’ main emphasis is exhibitions and team battles, spanning back to MvC2
–CEO is a wrestling-themed battleground with finalists getting their own entrance music before playing
–Keits’ has perfectly scheduled pools and Mystery Game all in a carnival-themed environment
–Big-E’s is where all games can happen, from classics (A2, A3, 3S) to poverty (Eternal Champions, Golden Axe)
–Canada Cup’s main draw is the prestigious SSF4 5v5 with internationals in attendance
–Evolution is the mother of all events with 40+ countries in 6+ games

And those points above are “major mentionables”, but in terms of “common mentionables”, not all majors have trophies, medals, top 8/16/32 payouts, arcade cabinets, merchandise booths, raffles, multiple streams, 720p+ quality, off-stream recording stations, salty suites, etc…I think you get the point.

6) “If you live in a region that has competition and you’re not taking advantage of it, you’re purposely trapping yourself in a bubble.”

For years on an occasional/selective basis, as an attempt to grow the scene, I’ve tried to help online warriors, forum lurkers, underground groups and even stream monsters get active in their local scene, but there’s always some excuse which prevents them from getting out. This clearly shows that you’re easily intimidated. This is an issue that applies to every community, and it’s been like that for years.

All these people who pump in hours of online matches or sessions with their hidden underground group but won’t show up for a local event (or travelling to a neighboring city) with real competition? Not only does this potentially stunt the growth of a scene, but it shows laziness and demotivation to you or your group as a whole…and you say you wanna get better?

7) “It’s not what you do with the prize, it’s what you do with your win.”

I got this from the “King of Chinatown” documentary, and this point holds merit. You happen to win an event (let’s say a local), or happen to place high enough to the point that you’ve became mentionable, what happens after that? I don’t care what you do with your prize or what you purchase with your winnings, the real effect is the aftermath, and I’ve seen both directions go by.

You can “prove your legitimacy and be a contender.” I’ve seen people win or place high enough to ensure that they’re motivated for the next event. This shows hunger and passion as you yourself wanna consistently maintain your top spot, knowing full well the competition will be hunting you down. You’ll level up due to the amount of pressure coming after you then you go on from there.

OR

You can “disappear and your win don’t mean shit.” I’ve seen people win and simply disappear without a trace, never to be found again, relegated back to online or their underground group. Nobody cares about the person that luckily happens to steam-roll the competition then leaves. I don’t care what excuse you got, this shows that not only was your placing a fluke but you’ve also wasted everyone’s time. Everyone is clearly looking to see how you’ll perform at the next event and should you not prove yourself after your supposed “fluke victory”, then you are considered a fraud that can’t redeem yourself. A clear indication of “wasted talent, one-hit wonder, 15 minutes of fame, etc…”

8)  “Try to have a checklist of goals and achievements.”

What is your purpose in this scene? Obviously to get better and learn from your mistakes as well as defeating your opponent constantly, am I right? Having a checklist of goals and achievements to cross out gives a form of drive and motivation, and also, you wanna try to have the best experience possible. Everyone has different reasons for having fun and checklists of what they wanna achieve and why they’re in the scene, but we all share a goal: push yourself to the limit and get better. Try to have that constant drive, whether it’s being better than someone, proving a clique wrong, knowing your capabilities, constant travel, etc…show the scene that you belong here.

If your only intention is to meet up every week and shake hands (and playing friendlies) rather than focusing on your game, I dunno what to say…maybe competitive level isn’t your cup of tea.

8 goals and achievements

9) “The internet is an important resource, make use of it.”

If you feel for some reason that playing with your scene is not enough to help you level up, the internet has vast amount of resources to help you out. People these days should feel lucky, as back in the day, tournaments were on DVD and we had to wait x months rather than watching on a stream. You also went to the arcade to practice as console was inferior (and there was no online mode). Now, you have Youtube for combo, match and tutorial videos, forums for matchup analysis and combo transcriptions and offline matchmaking, online for the resource of playing 24/7, training mode and its robust amount of options, Facebook for gathering and networking, Twitter for instantaneous updates, etc…

Having trouble in a certain matchup or intrigued by a specific combo? Search it up!

10) “America is the land of exposure and you wanna make a name for yourself, travelling to the States is the logical next step. You don’t have a choice.”

Please bear in mind that I’m saying this (as every other point listed) from a Canadian perspective. The Capcom community is huge, but we don’t have the volume of players that America does. The constant amount of activity that goes on in the States, it’s like there’s almost a major every month. The level of skill that goes on, it’s like the weekly tournaments mean something. Nobody cares about wins at local tournaments here. This is why I hassle people into getting their passports, America is the land of competition and exposure. And I say exposure not only referring to the number viewers on stream, but also all these scenes from  20+ different areas all in one location. Let’s say that you’re the best player in your region or city, it really doesn’t mean anything if you don’t step out of your home scene, right?

If you think you can make a name for yourself in the scene and not travel abroad, I have a two things to say:
–you have never travelled to the States for a tournament.
–you lack an open mind as there’s way more to the scene than just your home.

So there you have it folks, ten philosophies I follow in the FGC which can lead to “happiness and satisfaction!”

I just hope whoever reads these ten points happens to get their eyes opened.

IMG_0138I’ve just returned from a road trip to Toronto, which is about 500km away from where I live.

My friends and I drove down on Friday night, competed in fighting game tournaments all weekend, and returned Sunday night, safe and sound.

It was awesome! We told stupid jokes and stories, saw our friends, met new people, and most of all, played a ton of games. While there, I met a bunch of young Tekken players, from the new generation, who are all learning to play.

Man, that’s exciting.

Discovering I’m Old

This weekend, at the fighting games tournament in Toronto, I was surprised to discover I was considered OG, an acronym for Original Gangster.

An OG player, in the fighting games community, is someone who has been around the scene for a long time, and is usually considered a strong player.

Believe it or not, I was happy they called me that. It was like getting an award, a badge of recognition after long years of hard work play. I was proud to talk to the new players, teach them old strategies, tell them what to work on to improve, and encourage them to keep it up and have fun.

It’s like being a veteran olympic athlete, coaching new recruits on how to be faster, stronger, and smarter.

I also realized something hilarious: I was old, for a fighting games player. Better still, my whole generation is getting old.

Those of us that grew up with Street Fighter II, that first generation of gamers that founded fighting games communities? We’re all at least in our 30’s.

We’re all adult gamers.

Realizing I’m An Adult Gamer

I’m 29 years old. A lot of my friends are moving in with their partners, in committed relationships, getting married, or having babies…

They’re taking big steps forwards in their lives. Scary steps, that in my mind I equate with adults.

Side note: funny that concept, “adult”. Technically, I am one, but I don’t really feel like one. Most of the time, I feel like a big kid who’s been dealt a great hand in life, and at any moment, some adult figure is going to show up and take it away.

Luckily, many of my married friends are still playing games, and still doing the things they (and I) love.

It gives me hope, because I’m never going to stop being a gamer.

Adult Gamer: OGs and New Gen

Adult Gamer: Ryu And Ken Discuss Constipation

One of the things that exasperates my parents is the fact that I have never stopped playing videogames. In my early twenties, it seemed acceptable to them for me to play Tekken for hours on end every week.

I wasn’t a full adult then: I was a student, working part-time, which meant I wasn’t “mature enough” to need to stop playing games. After I graduated though, and was working full-time, both of my parents had an odd time dealing with my gaming habits.

“You are still playing Tek-Kan?” they would ask.

“Yes I am!” I would proudly reply.

To non-gamers, “videogames” seem like such an odd pastime for an adult. These are children’s games, to be played by the young, and the ones with large imaginations. And for an adult to leave his home and travel 500km with friends to play in and win a videogames tournament? Unfathomable.

Adults don’t play games: they read, and go to Home Depot, and work, and have drinks, and expensive dinners, and socialize, and do all those silly things that adults do.

Yeah right.

I’ve been playing videogames since I was 4 years old. I started playing games before I could even read, or form coherent sentences. Gaming has been a part of my life for basically all of my life. Do you really think I’m going to stop now, because my age has hit a certain number?

Of course not.

Accepting My Hobby

When I was a child, I played videogames because I was always sick, and it was the closest thing I could get to an adventure while sitting in my living room wheezing and coughing.

When I was in my teens, I got into fighting games because it was a fun hobby you could share with your buddies.

When I was in my early twenties, I played a lot of fighting games for two reasons: the strong urge to compete, and because I didn’t like spending much money.

See, if you purchase a copy of Tekken or Street Fighter, you can play that one game with your friends for months on end: it’s actually a really cost-effective way to have fun. You only pay for the game once, and can then enjoy it for as long as you have friends. It’s the perfect pastime for a university student that wants to be cheap.

And now? Well, now I play games with my buddies because I still love to compete, and also because, on a deeper level, it’s what I do. I don’t question it anymore: it’s a part of who I am.

Of course, it’s not the all-consuming thing it was when I was younger: I do have other priorities, like work, fitness, cooking, blogging, dating, etc. But it’s still something that I enjoy doing regularly.

What Do You Do For Fun?

One of the most disturbing things I’ve noticed about other adults is that many of them don’t have hobbies.

“What do you do for fun?” I ask.

“Oh, you know, go out for drinks with friends, watch movies, hang out…” they reply.

Huh. Those are some of the most generic things I’ve ever heard.

What about something you’re passionate about? Something that drives you? Something you can do, that’s not work?

Sure, we all work, and later on will possibly have a family and kids and so much less free time… But I feel like we should all have something outside of our “main lives”, that we can can accomplish for ourselves.

Not for money, or for the future, or for family… something selfish. Something just for me.

You should have one too. Try Yoga if you want to get fit, or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu if you want to get strong. Try chess if you want to work your mind, or sky diving if you want to get crazy. Try volleyball if you want to compete with a team, or squash if you prefer 1-on-1.

Whatever you do, don’t stay home every day and do nothing. Because one day, you’re going to wake up, and realize you’ve spent the last 30 years on work or your family, and when those things are gone? If you get fired, or your kids move out? You have nothing.

As for me, I’ll always have my fighting games community. I’ll always have the games I grew up with and the gamers I competed with. And I’ll always have the drive to beat your ass at one more game.

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After the popular article I wrote on How To Be Good At Tekken, I’ve had many players email and message me asking how to build a Tekken Flowchart. I responded to a few, and decided to compile the info into a post and share it with all of you.

Why do I need a Tekken Flowchart?

My favorite part of playing Tekken is how open-ended the game is. There’s no one way to play it: you can turtle, you can space, you can be aggressive, and you can be a mix of those elements. This is also what makes the game difficult: given how many play styles are available, it’s tricky to cover all the options, and predict how your opponent is going to play.

The game is also very momentum based. I always like to say that the player with the most confidence is probably going to win.

This is where the Tekken Flowchart comes in. A flowchart always makes you confident and secure, because you always have a plan.

Why are flowcharts so important though?

There are three main reasons.

minimateyoshi

First, if you put your opponent in a certain situation that could be beneficial to you, you want to know all your options so you take maximum advantage of the situation. For instance, if you get a knockdown where he’s face down, head towards you, you want to know which moves you have, and which of your opponent’s escape options they cover.

Then you won’t hesitate, you’ll just choose one option and go with it. This speed of thought will also keep the pressure up, and won’t let your opponent get away.

Second, a Tekken Flowchart is strong when you run out of ideas, or are in a high pressure situation, where your mind goes blank. For example, if you’re in a tournament, you’re going to miss combos and such because of the stress. You may even start to panic, and wonder what to do.

At that point, you run a flowchart, by trying to land a flowchart starter, and then move into autopilot. All of a sudden, your opponent is doing all the thinking, when all you’re really doing is going through motions you’ve rehearsed before. You’ll relax, feel less pressure, and free your mind up to start thinking about other things during the match.

Third, knowing all the options in flowchart situations means you’ll be able to focus 100% on the mixup, and how to break your opponent. The mental pressure is diverted from you and lands squarely upon your opponent’s shoulders.

Building A Tekken Flowchart

The first step to building a Tekken flowchart is to find a flowchart starter. To do this, make a list of all your character’s moves that do one of the following:
-knock down on hit or counterhit. Example: Armor King’s f+2,1
-give you large amounts of frame advantage on block/hit. Example: Lili’s f,f+3
-put opponent in an awkward position where you can dodge his move and punish. Example: Yoshi’s 3~4

Next, for each of those, make a list of all the opponent’s options.

If he’s standing, usually he can:
-sidestep
-block
-backdash
-crouch
-press a button

If he’s knocked down, usually he can:
-stay down
-get up straight
-backroll
-sideroll
-get up kick low
-get up kick mid

Phew. That was long.

Finally, the most important stage, you need to figure out which moves of yours will beat out these options, by going into practice mode (see video below). Remember, it’s better to find moves that cover multiple options, so you don’t have to guess as much.

Let’s take an example of each kind of flowchart to make them more concrete. I’m going to use Armor King in all examples, because he has all three, and his moves are easily recognizable.

Example 1: The Knockdown

With Armor King, an easy knockdown flowchart starter is f+2,1 on hit or CH. It’s a strong mid that knocks down on any hit, but is very punishable (opponent can crouch and launch the second hit), so only use it to whiff punish, or if you’re SURE your opponent is going to eat it.

So, f+2.1. The opponent gets knocked down. The flowchart begins. My next move is:

-3+4. It beats most get up options, including kicks, get up straight, and tag. If the opponent does one of those options, he gets floated, and I followup with BT d+2, crouch cancel d+2 B! into a juggle. If he stays down, it does ground damage, and he enters the next flowchart, where he’s at Armor King’s feet.

or

-Sidewalk. This will avoid the Tag Crash if your opponent has rage, and you can juggle him in the back for crazy damage.

or

-I do dash 3+4. It beats the backroll option, and leads to the same juggle as before.

Here’s a brief video of how it works: you’ll notice the 3+4 beats most options, and I make an adjustment for the backroll with a dash, because it whiffs.

Basically, for you to create something similar, you would need to do what I did, and go through each escape option in practice mode, then come up with a creative solution for every one.

Example 2: The Frame Trap

The Frame Trap is one of the most important setups in Tekken. It’s a bit complex and mathematical, but I’ll try to break it down.

To start a frame trap, your opponent either blocks a move, or eats a move, that puts you on plus frames. This is the number of frames that’s added to your opponent’s next move. You follow up the plus frames with a move that’s quicker than your opponent’s fastest option (their fastest is usually a 10-frame jab).

Example: Armor King lands f,f,n,2.

Armor King gets +6.

If the opponent uses a 10-frame jab afterwards, it will take his 10-frame jab 16 frames to come out. Why? Because Armor King is at +6.

Simple math: 10frame jab + AK 6 frame advantage = 16 frames.

This means that Armor King can do any move that’s 15 frames or less, and his opponent still can’t cut through. That includes slow mids, and grabs.

So the flowchart here is to take advantage of the frame advantage. You want to either continue with another move that gives you plus frames, or you want to start a mixup, by incorporating grabs, mids, and lows.

Watch the following videos to see it in action.

f,f,n,2 frame trap part 1

f,f,n,2 frame trap part 2

Example 3: The Weird Dodgy Moves

This option is the most complex and difficult one to pull off. It relies on spacing, predicting your opponent’s next move, and often a high risk/high reward gamble on your part.

The flowchart starter is a move that puts the opponent in an awkward position. Your options then all involve Sidestepping or Backdashing your opponent’s next move out of this awkward situation. Once you’ve trained your opponent to do nothing, you can just do the flowchart starter again, and put him back into your mixup.

With Armor King, the prime example is d+2. When the opponent blocks d+2, you’re at -2, and you’re both in full crouch. If you both mash a WS+4, the fastest option, they’ll win, due to your negative frames.

What you want to do then, is do a d+2 at max range. This will allow you to move, and avoid whatever button the opponent presses. This is where the prediction comes in.

If the opponent does a ws+4, you can backdash and Dark Upper as a whiff punish. If the opponent does nothing, you do another d+2, and put them back in the same mixup.

However, certain characters like Lars have a WS+2 that goes really far, and catches Armor King’s backdash. In this case, you need to sidestep and whiff punish. Beware! It’s risky, because there is no blocking during a sidestep. If the opponent anticipates which direction you’re going, they can launch punish you for it.

The End… or the Beginning?

That’s all I’ve got for you today folks. Be sure to go into practice mode and try some of these options out. Remember, a flowchart isn’t the only solution to Tekken. There are many other factors, including confidence, tempo, spacing, and mind games.

A flowchart is just a great place to start, and will make all other options easier.

Two weeks ago, I posted a survey online about my site. To give you all extra incentive to fill it out, I offered to put the names of everyone who responded into a hat, and draw a winner to receive a $50 Amazon gift card.

Well folks, that day has finally come. Blue Ken, my fearless partner in crime, took it upon himself to referee my work. Here’s how it went down:

survey2survey3survey4survey5survey6survey7survey8survey9survey10survey11survey12survey13survey14survey15survey16

Meanwhile, in the hat...

Meanwhile, in the hat…

 

survey18survey19survey20survey21survey22survey23survey24survey25

 

Congrats Seth and Krysti! I’ll be emailing you soon with details and your prizes!