Tournament Play, though it has been around for a while, has only recently reached the mainstream spotlight. For some titles, such as StarCraft, the rise to prominence is truly remarkable. The rise of Major League Gaming has made strides to legitimize video games as a sport, and it's not uncommon to see game tournaments awarding cash prizes in the upwards of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
One community which has changed significantly with the rise of e-sports is the Fighting Game Community which, while not quite as prolific as RTS games, shooters or MOBAs has a very dedicated (and long-established) following.
First Generation (1991 - 2000)In the beginning, there was Street Fighter II, and it was good.
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was released in 1991, and was a critical and commercial success. Though fighting games had exist before it, this game was the Genre Popularizer and the Trope Codifier for nearly everything that fighting games possess today. Players from all over showed up with full wallets at their local arcades and took turns beating the crap out of each other to prove who was better. Naturally, people began to ask the question: just who is the BEST?! And thus, the Fighting Game Community took its first steps.
Years prior to the advent of YouTube, gaming competitions were extremely obscure and mostly unofficial events that were solely gamer-driven. In short, if you played the game, and you were good at it, chances were you would go to an arcade (or to someone else's house) to play against someone who was equally skilled or better. The only way to experience better competitive play was to see it and face it in person (or, if you were lucky, on recorded video).
All of this began to change with the internet, starting with message boards. On various disjointed forums, players of any particular game (or sub-sect of games) could meet and compare notes with other players and mutually try to improve. This made it easier to organize gatherings and compare "technology" (gamer jargon for improved playing methods).
In 2000, Shoryuken.com (of course named after the famous Street Fighter attack) was born and became the go-to forum for Street Fighter competitors. Other fighting-game sites were also in use, such as Virtua Fighter.com and the (now-defunct) Soulcalibur.com (both of which were actually founded before SRK), but Shoryken.com in many ways became the "face" of the FGC. The creation of Shoryuken.com can be marked as the end of the "First Generation" of the Fighting Game Community and the beginning of the "Second Generation."
Second Generation (2000 - 2009)With this new hub, the fighting game community quickly began to pool together to create "major" tournaments that would gather the best of the best from all over the country (and the world) in order to compete with each other. The "Evolution Championship Series" (or "Evolution 2K") was created in 2002, evolving from the previous "Battle by the Bay" tournament, and became their flagship event. In the earliest incarnations, BbtB and EVO were Street Fighter-only affairs. This quickly changed in 2003 with the addition of several additional series.
About the same time, video footage of tournament events and combo exhibitions became commonplace. This footage became one of the major ways for players unfamiliar with the FGC to become "hype" for these events; either after watching other players better than them perform amazing feats, or after watching and deciding that they could do better themselves. Many players cite finding "Evo Moment #37", the famous Daigo Umehara parry against Justin Wong, as what introduced them to competitive play. This only grew more pronounced as YouTube began taking off in popularity, with more and more FGC content ready and available for viewing by any interested parties.
However, in the middle of the 00s, the FGC began slowly fading in popularity. There are many factors which have been blamed, but all had a hand to play in it. The dwindling arcade market, the increasing complexity and thus bar of skill required for new players, the (alleged) unfriendliness of experienced players toward newbies, and ultimately, the dwindling of fighting game sales and their subsequent lack of profitability. Of the aforementioned problems, some are subjective, but all created a particularly vicious circle informally referred to as "The Dark Age of Fighting Games".
For several years, fans of fighting games feared their time was coming to an end. What few games that did come onto the market usually failed to find mainstream appeal, and some were even flops in the hardcore scene as well. Even worse, it became increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain the machines that ran these games. Some games were never ported to a console, or even if they were, were not "arcade perfect" or were not available on a next-gen system. Even as new gaming consoles were released, players were still forced to bring old systems and cabinets, controller adapters, and jury-rigged setups to every tournament, and these had a habit of being unreliable. Many of these problems, however, came to an end in 2009. And, ironically, it would come back to Capcom and Street Fighter.
Third Generation (2009 - ????; possibly 2017/2018)In 2009, after positive reception to Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting on Xbox Live Arcade, Capcom announced the development of Street Fighter IV. As this was the first new Street Fighter title in over a decade (not including various crossover fighters), the FGC highly anticipated the new game—particularly when it was announced that the game would be highly modeled after the most-popular Street Fighter II and not the Alpha or III series. This meant that both old-school players and new players would be able to play on fairly equal terms.
Street Fighter IV was a tremendous success and is credited with resuscitating the FGC almost overnight, creating a new boom of fighting game popularity in The Seventh Generation. Thanks not only to a welcoming community but extremely successful marketing and support from Capcom, SFIV took the fighting game world by storm and became the new de facto main event for most major tourneys. It also brought an influx of new players and Fighting Game aficionados into the mix, and has explosively increased the number of competitors. It has even brought players who had retired from the community back into the fold.
The FGC has rolled with this new momentum and has expanded its curriculum to include new tournaments, including more Majors and local events as well as live-streams to allow fans to watch these events in real time and hear commentary which explains the matches as they happen. Sponsorship became a reality starting in 2010 with franchises like Evil Geniuses, Broken Tier, Mad Catz, and others paying players for free advertising. Daigo Umehara, a legendary Japanese player pictured above, even makes a living by Beta Testing games and merely stating that he likes it!
Not everything is well in this new community, however. As mentioned before, other events such as Major League Gaming have outpaced the FGC's growth. While not necessarily less demanding, MLG games have a larger fanbase to pool from as most of them also come from series which benefit from a robust single-player campaign. Also, it has been noted that many of these games cater to PC gamers as well as those with a higher level of income due to the expense to play them at a competitive level. Thus, the model which has worked for MLG does not carry over easily to the FGC, which although doing well, has yet to reach its potential.
Further, the FGC is still very much a "boys club" and remains crass, rude, and boorish at times. Turn on any popular tournament stream and it's likely that you will hear something not suitable for small children of the faint of heart. Female fighting gamers, though increasing in number, are still fairly rare. This has led to accusations of sexism and harassment from more outspoken and vulgar members of the community, most notably on the controversial Cross Assault reality web series.
The years 2011 and 2012, in particular, saw a resurgence of the fighting game genre, with the release of several new titles: Soulcalibur V, The King of Fighters XIII, Mortal Kombat 9, (Ultimate) Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Tekken 6, Skullgirls, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, Street Fighter X Tekken, and many, many more.
Fourth Generation (hypothetical; 2017/2018 - ????)YouTuber Maximilian Dood made the case that the next generation of fighting games has already begun and, ironically, is due to the decline of Capcom-made games (just like the Second Generation was).
If accurate, then the hypothetical new era began sometime between 2017-2018 with the release (and subsequent failure) of Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. During that time, other games such as Tekken 7, Dragon Ball Fighter Z and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate rose to prominence. As a result, the Marvel series was completely absent from EVO for the first time ever in 2018, and even Street Fighter was replaced as the marquee event in 2019.
A few hallmarks of this era include the use of Discord and its various messaging servers as the new hub for players to share information, and increased concerns about the stagnation of fighting games in mechanics and content. In 2019, YouTuber Sajam made an an infamous video calling out fighting game developers for scaling back on essential features such as good online netcode, in-depth training features, and other vital content.
Another significant development during this time was the increasing globalization of fighting game competition, most notably punctuated by Pakistan rising as the dominant scene in the Tekken community (led by Arslan Ash) overthrowing Korea, who had been dominant for nearly two decades. In the Street Fighter community, the Dominican Republic also arose as a significant threat, with MenaRD leading the charge. And in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mexico's MKLeo quickly arose as the fighter to beat, taking several tournaments and putting on a clinic to clutch a bracket reset and win the Grand Finals at EVO.
2020 was an unprecedented year for all of mankind, and it was no exception for the FGC. Amidst the chaos of the COVID-19 Pandemic, several tournaments cancelled competition altogether. Some attempted to continue with online play, to mixed results and reception. In particular, EVO 2020 was reorganized in April as an online-only event and restructured its tournaments to prioritize games with good online netcode (making the aforementioned issues even more substantial), however in June, the event was cancelled altogether amidst allegations made toward EVO President Joey "MrWizard" Cuellar, who was forced to step down. Around the same time, many, many other high level players were banned indefinitely from events based on statements made online or past actions. Of particular note, the Smash Bros. community was rocked by accusations that several high-level players had inappropriate contact with minors.
Later in the year, the Smash community was embroiled in another controversy — this time involving two "Cease and Desist" orders from Nintendo, for online Melee and Ultimate tournaments, respectively. The Melee C&D was sent due to the tournament's use of Slippi, a mod that made online play possible on the game (which was released before online play became widespread). This spawned the use of the #FreeMelee hashtag on social media, and also caused Nintendo to shut down its own live stream of a Splatoon 2 tournament, after the hashtag repeatedly appeared in the stream chat. The second C&D shut down a collegiate esports event for Ultimate, which Nintendo claimed to be planning their own events for.
These events yet again sparked conversation about the increasing corporatization of the FGC — for many, it served as a wake-up call that Nintendo, Capcom, Namco or any other publisher could shut down events for these games (with Melee proving that even older titles were far from safe). This fear was even furthered in early 2021 when it was announced that EVO had been jointly-acquired by Sony and RTS. While staff were quick to announce that all gaming platforms would be welcome at EVO, players still had mixed reactions to their largest tournament now becoming a corporate property, feeling that (even if only gradual and not immediate) this would cause a massive culture shift in the FGC scene.
A comprehensive list of fighting game streams and streamers can be found here.
- USA West Coast
- USA East Coast
- Super Smash Bros. Community Streams
- Event/Tournament Streams
- Official Game Developer Streams
Evo and other Major TournamentsThe 2019 Evolution Championship Series was held August 2-4, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. For the first time ever, Street Fighter was supplanted as the marquee event by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The winner of each respective tournament were crowned "Evolution World Champion" until the next tournament.
- Official games:
- Soulcalibur VI: BNE|Yuttoto - Japan (Voldo)
- Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st]: WP|ClearLampO - Japan (Byakuya)
- Dragon Ball Fighter Z: CO|GO1 - Japan (Bardock/SSJ Goku/Kid Goku)
- Samurai Shodown: Infiltration - South Korea (Genjuro)
- Mortal Kombat 11: FOX|SonicFox - United States (Cassie Cage)
- BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle: GRV|Shinku - United States (Ruby/Yang)
- Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition: Red Bull Hx|Bonchan - Japan (Karin, Sagat)
- Tekken 7: vSlash|Arslan Ash - Pakistan (Kazumi, Geese)
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: FOX|MVG|MkLeo - Mexico (Joker)
- Side tournaments:
- Arcana Heart 3:
- Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium: Coates|D44Bas - Japan (A-Groove: Blanka, Vega, M. Bison)
- BlazBlue: Central Fiction: Yutta - Japan (Es)
- Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax: Ignition:
- Garou: Mark of the Wolves: Aaru - Japan (Hokutomaru)
- Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2: CATPION|Deb - Canada (Sol)
- Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R:
- Fist of the North Star:
- The King of Fighters XIV: E.T. - Taiwan (Blue Mary, Oswald, Shun'ei | Blue Mary, Clark, Shun'ei)
- Koihime Enbu:
- Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite:
- Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code:
- Million Arthur Arcana Blood:
- Persona 4: Arena Ultimax:
- Pokkén Tournament:
- Project Justice: Ratio - Japan (Roy/Edge/Hyo)
- Project M:
- Sailor Moon S: NCN|Kaelan Ramos - United States (Sailor Mars)
- Super Street Fighter II Turbo: Nakano Sagat - Japan (Chun-Li)
- Street Fighter III Third Strike:
- Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo:
- Super Smash Bros. Melee: Liquid|Hungrybox - United States (Jigglypuff)
- Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars:
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3: JoeyD - United States (Zero/Doom/Vergil)
- Ultra Street Fighter IV: Rise | Smug - United States (Dudley)
- Vampire Savior: Wanta-Ren - Japan (Lord Raptor)
- Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown:
- Windjammers: WF | Pyrotek - France (L. Biaggi)
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Singles: PG | Marss - United States (Zero Suit Samus)
- Doubles: Rogue | Light (Fox) (United States) & PG | Marss (Zero Suit Samus, Snake) (United States)
- Super Smash Bros. Melee Singles: Zain - United States (Marth)
- Doubles: MVG | Mew2King (Sheik) (United States) & PG | Plup (Fox) (United States)
- Super Smash Bros. Singles: Shihman - United States (Yoshi, Captain Falcon, Pikachu, Fox)
- Doubles: Shihman (Pikachu) (United States) & LETSGO (Pikachu) (United States)
Capcom Cup 2019 note
- 1st Place: iDom (Laura, Poison)
- 2nd Place: REC|Punk (Karin, Chun-Li, Cammy)
- 3rd Place: NVD|Phenom (Karin, Necalli)
- 4th Place: Mago (Karin, Cammy)
- 5th Place: Rohto|Tokido (Akuma), CYG BST|Fuudo (R. Mika, Birdie)
- 7th Place: Liquid|Nemo (Urien), YOG|Machabo (Necalli)
- 9th Place: UYU|OilKing (Rashid), Mouz|Problem X (M. Bison), RZR|Xian (Ibuki), Liquid|John Takeuchi (Rashid)
- 13th Place: CYG BST|Infexious (Zeku), RB|Luffy (R. Mika), Talon|HotDog29 (M. Bison), Kachitagari|Moke (Rashid)
- 17th Place: NASR|AngryBird (Ibuki, Zeku), CYG BST|Daigo Umehara (Guile), NASR|BigBird (Rashid), RISE|Smug (G, Balrog), RB|Gachikun (Rashid), FAV|Sako (Menat), Victrix|Momochi (Kolin, Lucia), NuckleDu (G, Guile)
- 25th Place: RES|Zenith (Menat), UYU|NL (Akuma), CO|Dogura (M. Bison), UYU|JB (Rashid), RB|Bonchan (Karin), SB|801 Strider (G), AK|Kichipa-mu (Zangief), FD|Fujimura (Ibuki)
Tekken World Tour Finals 2019 note
- 1st Place: THY|Chikurin (Geese, Akuma)
- 2nd Place: Fate|Ulsan (Kazumi, Bob)
- 3rd Place: ROX Dragons|Knee (Paul, Steve, Bryan)
- 4th Place: Radiance RB|Anakin (Jack-7)
- 5th Place: UYU|Double (Law), YAMASA|Nobi (Dragunov)
- 7th Place: UYU|LowHigh (Shaheen), JDCR (Dragunov)
Tropes Common To This Community
- The Ace: Now has its own page. Here.
- Always Someone Better:
- Japan, for many, many years to the USA. Reasons being that their communities are much more tight-knit, while the USA is too large of a place for optimal ease of travel.
- For a long time, Korea was this to everyone else for the Tekken scene. As of the tail end of The New '10s, Pakistan rose to prominence and subsequently became this for Korea.
- It's a bit of a meme that this is still the case back home for any player that manages to win at the world championship level.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: A LOT of competitors act like this towards each other, especially if they have the skills the back it up. It either paints them in a negative light or is entertaining it its own right.
- Button Mashing: The "desperation" form of the trope is highly discouraged by the community. In some instances (like, for example, getting free from a dizzy), it's normal and necessary.
- Cavalier Competitor: Although far less common than the Spirited Competitor, there are many. In particular, they're the players who pick characters/teams "because they're fun" and not simply because they're more likely to win with them. These are the types of players that tend to appear in local/weekly tournaments more than regionals/majors. As such, the widespread community may not hear of them often, but they're likely to be a hometown hero.
- Celebrity Endorsement:
- The sponsorship phenomenon that has taken off since 2010.
- Most live streams are sponsored by a number of companies, as well. Usually companies that make apparel, accessories or peripherals for gamers.
- Popular Apex fighting game community was endorsed by Nintendo in 2015.
- Challenge Gamer: Hell yeah. Kind of necessary when everyone's competing against each other to be the best.
- Character Tiers: To be expected in any game. Disputes about tiers range from mid disagreement to vitriolic, but patches and notes tend to move characters around quite a bit for any game made since the seventh generation of game consoles or so.
- Combat by Champion: Whenever the top player from one region/nation plays the top player from another. In particular, some tournaments have 5v5 team battles or "Money Matches" to proclaim one region officially better than another.
- Complacent Gaming Syndrome: This was called That Damn Ken at some point for a reason. (Although, that strictly came from the Xbox Live community rather than the FGC.)
- Abridged Arena Array: Mostly within the Super Smash Bros. community, due to Smash having stages of various size with a number of hazards, unlike most fighting games where the only difference between stages is the appearance. While rare, it does happen in other games as well, such as Street Fighter V where 4 stages are banned.
- Default Setting Syndrome: Kind of necessary to make sure everyone plays the same rules.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: There are many examples of players whom faced each other for either money, pride, or both in an exhibition match, only for the match to be one sided, humiliating the loser. The most brutal example happened in late summer of 2015 during Summer Jam 9. Perfect Legend faced SonicFox in a first of ten match, after Perfect Legend told anybody who'll listen that he was better than SonicFox, despite already losing matches to them many times before in Mortal Kombat X. During the match, SonicFox's Kitana beat Perfect Legend's Kung Lao, 10-0. But it only got worse for Perfect Legend. SonicFox then got a mic to call Perfect Legend out on making excuses for the times in the past that Fox beat him, and asked what Legend's excuse was going to be after this 10-0. Legend then said that while Fox is indeed great, he could beat Fox's Erron Black. SonicFox agreed to another 3-out-of-5 match with Erron Black immediately afterwards. SonicFox won again, 3-0. Thus, Perfect Legend became the first person in the FGC to lose a grudge match, 0-13. Perfect Legend has yet to live this down and has earned the fandom nickname Perfect 13gend.
- Determinator: This is really the only way for anyone to get far in the fighting game scene. Everyone suffers countless humbling defeats, but only those with the mental fortitude to look past the obvious negativity and see opportunities to grow can keep going.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Prominent Dragon Ball FighterZ player Derek "Nakkiel" Bruscas note is sometimes mistaken for a woman. This interview will convince you that he's not one.
- Earn Your Fun: Standard advice given to any newbie is those early, frustrating losses and difficult execution curves are normal for everyone. Getting better at competing will take you beyond the basic game and open up the "true game," which is deeper and more rewarding. Not to mention the perks, accolades, and money that comes with being one of the Aces mentioned above.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: LowTierGod; A tall, muscular, charismatic man that was promoted at the beginning of 2014 as a top online player that could dominate with Street Fighter IV characters whom ranked low on the tier list (hence the name). However, after his major hype of becoming a pro tournament player, LowTierGod proved to be no competition for seasoned pros, or tourney beginners like himself. The lowest point came during the summer of 2014, when LTG was given a chance to prove himself on Wednesday Night Fights thanks to Alex Valle. During his appearances, LowTierGod would either get completely dominated, or win one match and then get dominated. Then, LTG got into a feud with retired player and former EVO World Champion Viscant, who called LowTierGod a fraud. The two settled their beef during a best-of-ten grudge match on Wednesday Night Fights. LTG lost 10-6, and the trash talk Viscant gave to LowTierGod immediately afterward became a much-talked-about highlight of that year. LowTierGod's reputation never recovered, and he's largely been viewed since his loss to Viscant as a joke. His true nadir came in 2020, when Capcom handed him a lifetime ban from all Capcom-sponsored competitive events after he hurled homophobic and transphobic slurs at Christina "CeroBlast" Tran after quitting a match with her on stream.
- Fighting Your Friend: Considering what the community is focusing on, playing against your friend in a tournament setting and eliminating them is entirely possible. There's even been a few instances of family fighting each other, including brother versus brother, and rarely, father versus son.
- Fountain of Memes: Now has its own page here.
- Grandfather Clause: Many of the traits of the community are things which subsist from the old arcade days, as well as the early days of Shoryuken.com.
- House Rules:
- During the "Third Generation" of the FGC, the practice of different tournaments, arcades or regions having their own individual tournament rules has declined. Especially since the FGC has semi-officially become a "league" of sorts, and companies like Capcom now run their own tournament series. In the early days, however, you could have a character that was banned in one region but not anywhere else. An example would be Hilde in Soulcalibur IV who was on-and-off banned in various tournaments until a permanent ban finally stuck.
- The most famous example is Old Sagat, who was "soft-banned" note in Japan but allowed in the U.S. Alex Valle once told a story about defeating Daigo at an early EVO with Old Sagat and later, at dinner, tauntingly asking Daigo why he was so "free." After his translator finished, Daigo (who spoke almost no English at the time) answered by making Tiger Shot motions with his fists and then looking Valle in the eye and saying: "Cheap."
- Even in the modern day, there are a few issues which are still controversial and vary from tournament to tournament. For example, accidental pauses or stick/pad failure. In most "high stakes" tournaments, a pause/failure is counted as an automatic round win for the other person, regardless of what anyone wants. In less "corporate" tournaments, the other player can choose whether or not to take the round. However, at IFC Yipes's "Curleh Mustache," pause/failure means nothing. It being his tournament, and Yipes being the kind of guy he is, he will never award anyone a round for something so "lame."
- Other "minor" house rules of this type include whether or not coaching is allowed, how long Organizers will wait before disqualifying a tardy player, what punishments exist for late registration, whether or not people are allowed on the stage, taking breaks between games, and more.
- Just Here for Godzilla: Many fighting games can't be bothered with the plot, and a common argument against this being rectified is that the FGC doesn't care what the plot is, anyway.
- Never My Fault: An accusation often thrown at the American scene when offering up reasons that they continually lose to East Asian (particularly Japanese and Korean) players. For example, PR Balrog stated in 2014 that American players don't "play for quality" or work to help other players like the East Asian scenes. Other players, like Alex Valle, feel differently and state that American players help each other all the time, and that complainers simply don't want to put in the work.
- Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: The size of the United States may have resulted in niche fighting game communities becoming too small outside of Street Fighter (or any Capcom-fighting game) and Super Smash Bros., both of which have been big in the U.S. Japan, due to its small size allowing for easy travel and tighter communities, have more frequent arcade scenes for a larger variety of games that are thriving still to this day (thus some people state that there's too much of a bias leaning towards Capcom-based games and glossing over others), and as a result the few number of Japanese players who do actually travel to the US for any major competitions just outright dominate the competition due to the said Japanese communities producing overall better players both online and offline.
- No True Scotsman: Expect to see many arguments over whether some games count as "true" fighting games. This was commonly levied against the Super Smash Bros. community prior to EVO 2013, to the point that SSB was rarely featured at an event, and even SSB players often think of themselves as a completely separate community. Fortunately, this has begun to die down, in large part due to Super Smash Bros. Melee's run at EVO 2013. Nowadays, Melee, Project M, Smash 4 (later Ultimate), and even some Brawl events are featured at both weekly and major tournament events with their fellow fighters.
- Player Archetypes: Uses a rather different listing than what the trope itself states. Some types overlap, and some players specialize in only one.
- "Turtle"/"Lame"/"Camp": Playing incredibly safe and low-risk. Turtlers often attempt to bait the opponent into making mistakes so that they can move in for a quick punish before going back to playing defense. They either gradually grind the opponent down or wait until a specific condition (such as Time Over) gives them the win. Maintaining a life lead and meter advantage are crucial to their strategy. Often derided as "boring" or "cheap", but still considered valid.
- "Rushdown": Using heavy offense to defeat an enemy quickly and decisively, often including multiple angles or methods of attack to force split-second guessing or indefensible scenarios upon the opponent. The opponent is thus defeated before they ever have a chance to fight back. What type of offense qualifies as "rushdown" is debated, but it usually involves at least a small amount of risk. Usually considered very exciting to watch, though touch-of-death rushdown characters who are known for extremely long combos that are difficult to escape from are seldom liked. Similarly, a form of rushdown called "set play" is similarly disliked because it relies upon defeating an enemy with tactics that could be easily beaten if the opponent had more time to adjust; "set play" is considered unfun to play against because it doesn't settle who the "better" player is—only who most guessed correctly within a set time frame.
- "Random"/"UOP" (Unorganized Player): Uses unorthodox or unrefined methods of play to confuse players who have practiced basic strategy to the point of muscle memory. The more you've practiced to make your fighting style refined and polished, the harder it is to fight a UOP (pronounced "YAHP"), thus giving an edge against "skilled" players. There is no risk that they won't take. Often derided as a scrub, though most UOPs usually acknowledge the superior skill of the opponent while some truly do possess real technical skill. Their major weaknesses go hand-in-hand with their strengths; while their lack of polish makes them unpredictable, it can also screw them over, be it missed inputs, flubbed strings, glaring holes in offense or defense that skilled players can pick apart after some trial and error, or just a general tendency to do stupidly reckless or poorly-conceived things that are not Crazy Enough to Work. Furthermore, characters with extremely high skill floors, unforgiving mechanics, or who demand high levels of execution have historically been a poor match for UOPs, which limits the pool of characters that they can comfortably play.
- "Execution Monster/Training Mode Monster": A player who has an extraordinarily high level of technical skill and has a greater arsenal of options at their disposal because they can do almost anything. Difficult, but Awesome is their bread-and-butter. Any hit leads to an optimized combo, resulting in huge damage and (in some games) instant death. Every attack their opponent tries can be countered. On paper, they are perfect. However, their major weakness is their own bar of technical execution—becoming frustrated with an opponent, having an "off day," or dropping difficult maneuvers at the worst moment makes them a sitting duck for a player that can capitalize on their mistakes with easy but effective punishes. UOPs, predictably, can also be problematic for similar reasons - when you're used to playing against other people who have spent countless hours training, you can generally get a good read on them, but people who don't play by the "rules" or do things that they aren't supposed to do as per standard competitive logic can easily trip you up and throw you off your game.
- The Reliable One: Unanimously agreed by the entire FGC to be Victor "Spooky" Fontanez, the man behind the Team Sp00ky stream. Affectionately referred to as "the hardest-working man in the business", Spooky has worked for several years now to provide high-quality streaming and recorded matches to the FGC. He's mentioned that it's tiresome, thankless work, and he frequently pays for expenses out of his own pocket whenever sponsors or donations won't cut it. He works majors, minors, regionals and weeklies with very few days off. It's easily safe to say that Spooky has pioneered the way fighting game tournaments streams are done.
- Scrub: Perhaps one of the most (in)famous uses of the term comes from David Sirlin's Playing to Win article, which defined the player as someone who will always complain about losing to something "unfair."
- Shotoclone: Any character with a projectile and an upward attack (Hurricane Kick optional) will invariably be considered a "shoto."
- Some Dexterity Required: The longer a game is competitive, the more it will fall under this trope. Eventually, to stand a chance even against intermediate players, you will need to pass the execution barrier. This can be daunting for new players. However, as pro gaming has taken off and more players have joined the scene, anyone with the dedication can learn to train their muscle memory. It just takes time and a love for the game.
- Spirited Competitor: The entire community, more or less.
- Stop Being Stereotypical:
- In the last few years, the FGC has began policing its own more. For example, as a part of "geek culture," it's been common to see gamers with poor manners, hygiene and social skills do some uncomfortable, offensive, or annoying things. Becoming more and more mainstream has forced much of the community to clean up its act, although many complaints are still levied. One of the more prominent examples of this was Big House 4 having a stank bouncer to refuse entry to particularly foul-smelling or unkempt attendees. Another example occurred in 2020, when Low Tier God and CeroBlast were both banned from EVO and several other majors for making bigoted remarks note ; James Chen, in particular, has stated that for the community to grow up, all of its members have to speak up against these types of incidents.
- In 2014, PR Balrog had an interview which berated the U.S. members of the FGC for not doing enough to help each other and grow together. PR Balrog said that Japanese players play for "quality," not just results, where each player is encouraged to refine their play to become better, even if what they do is currently working. By comparison, American players tend to be seen as Competition Freaks, maintaining an "every man for himself" attitude where they're encouraged to see all of their opponents (regardless of where they're from) as indifferent rivals.
- "Stop Having Fun" Guys:
- Commonly levied against the community itself due to some condescension from its ranks. Woe to any pro player wannabe who picks low-tier characters, incorporates "useless" attacks, or uses a Difficult, but Awesome character but sticks with easier (and sub-optimal) moves. You will often hear complaints from professionals that their attack, character, or strategy is "bad" or "worthless", even if they're simply average. For example, KaneBlueRiver was often called a "lucky fraud" after winning EVO 2015 using a mid-tier team (with high synergy), and those accusations didn't die down until he won several consecutive majors afterward.
- PR Balrog has noted that most non-Japanese players only play to win, and they also openly deride anyone who doesn't do the same (plus anyone else who otherwise supports "the casuals"). Maximilian Dood, who happens to be an above-average (but not tournament-level) fighting game player often advocating for more casuals in the FGC, uses a piece of hate mail he received online as a talking point for why he thinks the FGC has the mentality it does. In a nutshell, Max argues it came from 1990s cutthroat arcade culture, where playing to win was a necessity, lest a bunch of quarters/tokens were wasted. One could also argue that the mentality is a result of wrongfully assuming that all casuals are the toxic type that will always blame everyone other than themselves if they can't advance in a fighting game. The naturally-high skill barrier just to play even a little competently only serves to reinforce this mentality.
- The word "accessibility" is arguably the biggest Berserk Button within the FGC. Expect to see someone doing the textual equivalent of frothing at the mouth and adamant gatekeeping whenever it's brought up. This is mostly "justified" by the aforementioned Scrub mentality and also due to the fact that the most accessible fighting games tend to get no respect due to their "style over substance" nature, often exchanging gameplay depth for self-referential Fanservice. There are legitimate, well thought out arguments against accessibility, but they're few and far between, with the FGC preferring to treat anyone who isn't a Competition Freak some variety of stupid.
- Taught by Experience: Tends to come up a lot in matches between new players and older ones. Of note is the October 2014 Ultra Street Fighter IV grudge match between Viscant and Low Tier God. The consensus from the community was that Low Tier God has much greater technical skill and ability than Viscant, but Viscant merely outplayed him with better Street Fighter fundamentals which can only come from years of experience. Other players known to have better experience than ability include Alex Valle, Sanford Kelly, Mike Ross, HugS, and Mew2King.
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
- Every single new game, patch, or re-release gets this at some point.
- Deliberately defied with Ultra Street Fighter IV. Capcom Community Manager, Peter "Combofiend" Rosas, specifically stated that the reason players can pick any past or present version of an SF4 character in Ultra is to avoid this trope. You can't complain about your character being changed if you can play whatever version of them you want. However, after the release of the final build of Ultra, "Version Selection" was never declared Tournament Legal for most major events. Thus, this complaint still stands with some characters.
- Tier-Induced Scrappy: Look at the page image for that trope. This community is largely responsible for just about every character ending up on those lists — high-tier, low-tier, or otherwise.
- Unsportsmanlike Gloating: The "popoff" — a charismatic display of celebration after winning a match — is rather common in the FGC, and even celebrated in some circles. It is possible to take it too far, but generally speaking, a well-done popoff tends to make a victory more memorable to both the competitor and the audience.
- Vitriolic Best Buds:
- Pretty much describes most rivalries. In particular, the East Coast and West Coast are particularly harsh toward each other. SoCal vs. NorCal is also a notable rivalry. However, they will opt for some Teeth-Clenched Teamwork when facing off against "outsiders." For example, Nor and SoCal will team up to fight the Midwest and East Coast. The various coasts will team up to fight Mexico and Canada. The Americas will team up to fight Europe. And the entire "West" will team up against Japanese (or Korean) players.
- As Mexico rose in notability in the scene, a similar effect happened. There was also USA vs. The World at Seasons Beatings 2012.
- And once Canada finally shook off the "free" jokes...
- You Fight Like a Cow: Zig-zagged. It largely depends on the scene the players are from.
- In U.S. competition, trash-talk is considered healthy and encouraging, especially in the Marvel vs. Capcom community. Players often even make whole wrestling-style promos to berate their opponents or rival factions. Even then, this is only true to a certain degree. People whose trash talk is overly rude, obnoxious, offensive, personal, or mean-spirited (especially when coupled with consistent bad attitudes, poor sportsmanship, or poor conduct on social media) will quickly become disliked by the FGC, and may very well get called out if they cross the line.
- Averted, to a degree, in Japan. The Japanese player community allegedly considers it rude and distasteful to trash talk to another player's face. However, G.I.F.T. still applies on message boards and chat forums.