To the uninitiated, fighting game matches don’t make a whole lot of sense.
Sure, there’s usually two guys* beating the piss out of each other until one gets knocked out or, in some cases, brutally murdered.
But beyond that, almost everything is obscure. Top level players usually spend more time spazzing out their characters and throwing punches into thin air than actually applying force to their opponents’ vital organs. Seemingly pointless moves get used repeatedly, while the cool, flashy tricks are rarely seen.
It would take eons to explain (though if anyone is interested, I’ll try**), but the superfically random movements all have purpose. Each player is attempting to get his or her character into an ideal range while keeping the enemy’s avatar out of its zone, so to speak. Whiffed moves may be used to build special meter, bait a response from the opponent, or force one’s foe into a less advantageous place on the board. Players may even be using “random” elements of movement or attack to hide their button and directional inputs while they buffer a preemptive counter.
It’s like chess you play with your mind.
All of these elements and more are at work in this excellent First to Five match between Online Tony (Seth) and Snake Eyez (Zangief). Both players are certainly at the top of their game. Online Tony is known worldwide as a top Seth player, having placed admirably in too many events to count. It should go without saying that his execution and mind games are exceptional.
I hadn’t personally heard of Snake Eyez before watching this tense battle, but it’s obvious he has skills that far exceed raw technical prowess. People familiar with tier lists know the Zangief-Seth matchup is an uphill battle for Capcom’s gargantuan grappler, and Snake Eyez pulls out more than a few clutch moves to repeatedly swing the balance of the fight back into his favor.
I won’t spoil the ending, but the length of the video alone should indicate there’s quite a large amount of back-and-forth between Online Tony and Snake Eyez. Those who consider themselves Super Street Fighter IV connoisseurs would be remiss to skip watching at least part of this FT5 series.
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* Or women. Unmitigated violence is an equal opportunity offense.