Welcome to the FGC: The World of Competitive Fighting Games

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What’s up, scrubs? I’m here to give you an introduction to the fighting game community, competitive gaming’s (don’t call it an esport!) most close-knit and passionate group of players. I’ll show you some of the FGC’s most entertaining games, competitors, and webshows. Hold on to your fightsticks!

Games

Unlike other competitive communities, the FGC is spread out over a ton of different games, each with their own unique art styles, mechanics, and fandoms. Those in the FGC often have strong loyalties to certain games, and finding the one that appeals to you is just a matter of taste.

Street Fighter: A perennial classic of fighting games, Capcom’s Street Fighter series appeals to wide swath of the FGC. Currently in an edition called Super Street Fiighter 4: Arcade Edition (updating toUltra this year), SF’s iconic characters and slower, more strategic gameplay offer a lot to newcomers of the genre. This is the fighting game, the one that spawned all others, so you’ll find a lot of passionate fans and experienced veterans with plenty of insightful analysis to give. Some major competitors in theSF scene include Daigo Umehara, Infiltration, and Justin Wong, along with dozens of other dedicated fighters.

Marvel vs. Capcom: When’s Mahvel? This series is fast-paced, flashy, and full of well-known characters from multiple IPs. MvC (currently in the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 edition) is another powerhouse of the FGC. With its breakneck pace and seemingly endless combos, MvC can be a little difficult for newcomers to watch, but its fandom is one of the goofiest and most boisterous in the FGC, and serves as a great introduction to behavior of the community. MvC’s most notorious player is hands down ChrisG, but others like Flocker and Justin Wong are equally strong competitors.

Super Smash Bros.: Ah, Smash, the FGC’s red-headed step child. Often derided for its non-traditional gameplay and relatively poor balance, Smash has nevertheless carved out its own place in the FGC. Due to balance issues, most of the competitive Smash community currently plays on Super Smash Bros. Melee, rather than the newer Brawl, though the Project M mod and an upcoming new Smashgame slated for release this year promise some additional balancing. Smash appeals to variety of players who don’t necessarily identify with the FGC. It’s platforming style of play set it apart from other games, but its ever evolving strategy and nostalgia-inducing characters should offer a lot to fighting game newbies. Smash’s most well-known player is most certainly Mango, though with the game’s recent introduction to the Evo Championship Series, more competitors will likely make a name for themselves.

Air dashers: This is actually a category that encompasses quite a few games. Named for their aerial-based mechanics, air dashers generally feature gorgeous anime graphics. Notable air dashers includeGuilty Gear, BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, and many others. These games are full of beautiful animations, cinematic special moves, and bizarre characters, providing a visual treat for newcomers and veterans of the FGC alike. It should be noted that the aforementioned Marvel vs. Capcom series is also often classified as an air dasher, as it features much of the same mechanics and over the top aesthetic. Notable air dasher players include Lord Knight and BananaKen.

Others: Like I said before, the FGC follows a huge number of games, many more than I could fit in this article, and any one of them might bring you more viewing please than some of the more popular games listed above. If traditional 2D fighters are your thing you might check out King of Fighters, Darkstalkers, or Skullgirls. If you want a more modern 3D experience, try out Tekken, Virtua Fighter, orSoul Caliber. And if you’re in the mood for something really different, look up the hilarious (and surprisingly strategic) Divekick. All of these games and more enjoy regular play and coverage in the FGC, so feel free to search around and find something you can really get into watching.

Who and What to Watch

Gootecks and Mike Ross are always up for an adventure.

Much like esports, the FGC has a large and visible presence online and in real life, ranging from guys casually playing on their Let’s Play channels, to huge worldwide tournaments. I’m going to give you a quick rundown on prominent people and shows to get you introduced to watching fighting games.

Daigo “The Beast” Umehara: The world famous zen master of Street Fighter, for many years Daigo was considered the absolute best fighting game player in the world. While his presence has diminished somewhat in recent years, his legend lives on in his many highlight and tournament videos. Daigo’s shining moment comes from Evo 2004, the infamous “Evo Moment #37.” Faced with imminent defeat at the hands of a young Justin Wong, Daigo executed a complex and precise series of parries to overcome and defeat his opponent. Just listen to the crowd in the video and you’ll understand what FGC hype is all about.

Team Spooky: Founded by the king of streaming, Victor “Spooky” Fontanez, Team Spooky is the place to watch fighting games. Check out their Twitch.tv channel as well as their YouTube channel for tons of fighting game streams, videos, highlights, and more.

Gootecks and Mike Ross: Each an FGC celebrity in their own right, I list these two guys together for one simple reason: Excellent Adventures. This webseries follows Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez and his endlessly nicknamed pal Mike “Mike Ross” Ross, alongside countless FGC members, as they take to the internet and deliver Street Fighter beatdowns over Xbox Live. If you’re looking to get into the FGC at all you should give this show a shot.

The Sw1tcher: Okay, so these guys are more well-known for their “Two Best Friends Play” series. Still, the guys behind The Sw1tcher have a solid fighting game background, and often delve into the genre in a more casual manner. Check out their Fighterpedia series for some fighting game history,Scrublords for some…less popular fighting games, or Friday Night Fisticuffs for fun, casual sets between friends. Give them a watch if you want to see fighting games without all the intensity and drama of the FGC proper.

So there it is, guys. Hopefully I’ve given you the tools to enter the fast and furious world of the FGC. Whether you’re in it for the hype of tournament play or for the fun and hilarity of streams and videos, I’m sure there’s something here for you to love. See you on the other side!


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