Being part of the fighting game community and having internet access, it happens to all of us from time to time. We all get sucked into heated forum arguments about which character is superior in head-to-head battle.
Instead of playing the matchup in real time for twenty minutes, we sit around debating every possible move and its flowchart of counters for hours. This bizarre turn-based text RPG version of Street Fighter is such a common activity that we’ve coined a name for it: Theory Fighter.
The whole idea behind it is that breaking down the risks and rewards of each action helps both sides understand the matchup better. Furthermore, it highlights a character’s problem areas and directs the community’s attention toward finding new solutions. Lastly, it helps us develop a more nuanced and sophisticated tier structure.
However, the curse of theory fighter is that it almost always devolves into trite internet arguments. Both sides quickly forget they share a collective goal, common courtesy goes out the window, and everyone tries to win at all costs.
Of course, “winning” a round of theory fighter doesn’t get you any closer to winning an actual match. Nor has there ever been a theory fighter tournament held at Evo.
It’s alright to indulge occasionally, but the moment you detect stress or irritation, do yourself a favor and drop it. If you ever feel the desire to win a theory fighter argument solely for the sake of winning, you’ve probably gone too far.
Personally, i think theory fighter is a waste of time; or at least more trouble than it’s worth. At the end of the day, there are no shortcuts to fundamentals and there is no substitute for real match experience.
If you have trouble against Vega, you can learn much more from an hour of playing against a strong Vega player than from arguing with the same player for an hour. Obviously you have to concentrate and think harder to adjust from mistakes in real time, but that’s the only path to cultivating the most important skill of all: adaptation.