Hi everybody! Spider Muttons Productions © 2010 is back with our tenth episode. We have a special guest who just happened to pop by Melbourne for a few days. He’s from South Australia, and it’s Mooseking!
Mooseking is one of the community pillars of the South Australia scene and being intricately involved with the Australian gaming scene, has a lot of interesting things to say about fighting games and our community as a whole. We talk about AE, MVC3, Australian video game shows and a lot more.
Thanks to Mooseking for sitting down with us, and even helping to transcribe the interview! One of the reasons that we tried to get this podcast out as fast as possible is because he plugs a tournament called Floodwar on the 12th of March held in Adelaide Uni. Proceeds will go to helping victims of the flood, and be sure to check that out.
Edit: I almost forgot, big thanks to Zerokill for providing the transition from intro to main body of our interview!
Mooseking at Deakin Uni, filmed by Ali at Shadowloo.
Spidercarnage: Hello everyone, we’re here at our fourth recording location; Nando’s across from Box Hill.
Muttonhead: AKA our second studio.
S: Yeah heh. Our second studio’s my car.
M: Yeah, so this is our third studio.
S: That has to be Deakin. And our fourth one is this.
Mooseking: I’ll have to correct you, because we’re across the road from Bluehouse, not Box Hill.
I’m a freaking tourist and I know this town better than you man.
S: It’s true. And speaking of that, today our special guest is Mr. Mooseking from South Australia.
MK: What’s up.
1- S: Mooseking. So do you like Rocky and Bullwinkle?
MK: Bullwinkle? Of course, of course you did. You grew up watching ABC and you see Rocky and Bullwinkle and Roger Ramjet. Stuff like that. But um.
S: Weekday afternoon…
MK: Yeah before 5 o’clock, before all these major cartoons, five minute little shorts would come on? So yeah of course. Of course I love old animation and stuff like that.
But uh, that’s not the basis for my name.
M: So what is the basis for your name?
S: Do you like moose?
MK: Yeah, I do.
M: Do you like to eat moose?
MK: Umm…everyone really goes through- kind of phases in how they call themselves or how they’ve created their…how they want to be known in a gaming community, like their handle?
So for me, for a very long time it was Shadowblade?
And that was named after a Dark Elf assassin in Warhammer. And I was quite happy with that name for a very long time. And then it just kept sounding like I was trying too hard to be cool. Or it just didn’t sound like it reflected who I was.
So it comes down to what you like and…I love animals. And Orang Utan King didn’t sound too awesome?
So you know, my number two favourite animal in the world is the moose. Just because it’s so clumsy looking yet…it’s dangerous. You don’t want to approach a wild moose in the wild.
M: So wait a minute. So is your number one animal an orang utan?
Honda ain’t top tier…
M: Why is your number one favourite animal an orang utan? Do you like ginger ladies?
MK: I do love ginger ladies, but um I dunno. I just like the way they move. They just look so sombre, I guess.
S: Isn’t [the orang utan] the closest ape-like creature to man?
MK: Yeah. I’ve watched a lot of wildlife documentaries and…they just interest me a lot.
M: That’s cool, that’s cool. But wait- so your second favourite animal is the moose.
M: So what do you think of the “moose test”? You know, the test they conduct where they hit the moose with a car.
MK: Oh really? I had no idea what a moose test is.
M: Because you know, a moose has like spindly legs and a really fat body. So when a car hits the moose, normally the legs get broken right away, but the body flies into the windshield and you just die.
MK: Ah really.
S: I’m pretty they don’t do that anymore man.
I’m pretty sure the PETA people will just shut that down!
MK: Man you’re old dude! How long has that been going on for? That sounds like something that would’ve been done in the seventies.
S: I was gonna say sixties, yeah.
MK: Mutton’s an wise old man.
2- S: So you’re an aspiring video game journalist? Why don’t you tell us about the state of the industry in Australia?
MK: Um, it’s difficult to say because it takes a long time to go over everything, up and down, inside and out, what goes on around Australia.
What I can just say is this: that most print genres in Australia is fairly interwoven, everyone knows each other. It’s very well-connected and it’s a little bit easy to get into as well.
From a couple friends that I have back in SA and interstate as well, they got their breaks by write[ing] or posting that they want to write something for an event for some small thing that has to do with video games for Hyper, in the Hyperactive forum online?
And that doesn’t really serve well as an awesome website for Hyper magazine yet it still served…it did a good enough job and still does a good enough job as being a good forum for most of the… I guess video game-savvy clique in Australia.
So that’s how most people get their breaks in the video game [industry]. Other than that, I would say that the video game industry media in Australia for the very most part suffers from token Australianism. In that they would rather point out facts like we love beer, or throw on a thicker Aussie accent or the silly sort of mannerisms that you would associate with a down to earth Australian person.
And they don’t really take their job as…or don’t apply the more serious spin or analytical spin that you would hope to see and expect.
And when you take a look at, and I’m being very general here, Margaret and David at the movies…
S: I love that show.
MK: …Are extremely well respected for their analytical process and breaking down and talking about movies and films. In a very educated way.
And if you take a look at…if you judge other video game shows or other video game podcasts or stuff like this based on that, then you don’t really get that same sort of thing. At least in the mainstream media.
And on the other side of the coin you have the overly hardcore, or the “too niche for their own good”.
S: Aka the fighting game community of Australia.
MK: I wouldn’t go that far because the fighting game community does outreach to others a lot more. They’re a lot more sociable than other communities are.
But you get people who are so involved in their own sort of way of doing things that they forgo that sort of natural exploration and asking questions and being really sociable with what that they do. So it mainly comes from that sort of psychological thing about…we’re like the first generation to come through where there’s been a real change in the tide.
In terms of this medium.
This is a brand spanking new medium. And the audience around it, we’ve taken it from this thing where you would only associate with children as entertainment. Like, base entertainment for kids. To a high-grossing, largely acceptable medium.
S: It’s actually really interesting the way you say that, because the video industry has actually been outselling the movie industry since 2006.
MK: Exactly. And so, I think also one point that really gets on my nerves and has taken Australia a very long time to catch up to, is that you still get people in the media today who would associate gaming, and being a gamer, as being something unsociable or something…taboo. Taboo or that it shouldn’t be approached or done.
S: And it’s also that it’s a waste of time, that people can play these games that actually no good…
M: You don’t get any intellectual…
MK: You don’t get that sort of spin with…you know Triple J or muzos and things like that. Where they have that same level of passion for their medium. But they don’t get chastised for it, in fact it’s celebrated a lot more on stations like Triple J and…
They came around from their passion for indie music and just music in general. And they’ve made their way into the mainstream.
S: Speaking of game journalism, what did you think of Good Game on ABC.
MK: I did an internship with Good Game in 2009. And it…it’s alright. It does what it needs to do in terms of the show, but that’s not…I think it could probably be a bit better, a little bit more critical, and a little less…
Because they’ve branched off now. They’ve got Good Game, Spawn Point, and that’s on ABC3. And they’ve downplayed it a lot more in they review child games and things like that. And they go for that sort of five to fifteen year-old audience.
The Good Game main show hasn’t really stepped it up the other way and gone for an analytical and I guess, mature perspective. And they still have these silly idioms with what they do.
I guess it’s just lost…it’s lost a bit of it’s bite. Since Junglist really lost his position.
S: I thought he left…
MK: No he didn’t leave voluntarily. It was a whole big fiasco and I’m not really gonna get into that. But let’s not take anything away from what Stephanie Bendixsen does. But um, yeah.
I watch that when I can, but it really doesn’t pop out to myself or to other video game journalists as that must-watch show. Or let’s see what they think on this. And it’s very much video game journalism for the more average person who doesn’t really have an idea of what video games are.
S: Personally, I lost interest once Junglist left. Because I used to watch it fairly regularly because I actually used to watch the…there was an old video game show in Australia in 94 which used to review Genesis and SNES games…god I can’t remember the name of it. Something power. (The Zone.)
Yeah. And for some reason I dunno, I was looking for something, Australia never had too many video game review shows and then I stumbled across Good Game in like 2000 and…
MK: Good Game started when ABC2 popped up and Janet Carr the producer of Good Game brought it to ABC2, and really when digital television was taking off, they thought hey, let’s get in the ground floor here. We can probably do some really, really good work.
And establishing video games considering their allocation and with the digital medium, Gen Y and video games in general play well with podcasts, they play well with internet-savvy talk and things like that.
So when digital television rounded out, and they’re going to go the alternative route, it makes sense to go for a video game show.
And in that same launch period as well they had Thursday night dedicated to cult anime and stuff like that.
S: That’s right, they did too.
MK: And I don’t think that’s running anymore. But um, yep.
S: It seems that all the good things in TV tend to die off.
3- M: So, what are your thoughts on fighting game commentary? In general.
MK: In general?
MK: Are we talking Australia, or worldwide?
MK: Worldwide? I think everyone has their taste in what they enjoy with commentary. And what I would like to see happen in terms of commentary, not just locally but internationally as well.
Is people taking this step up and actually looking at how you have broadcasters break down sport. Like take Denis Committee and Bruce Abernethy for the AFL. They really work well together and really break down what’s happening as well as call it when they need to.
And they still have the wide appropriate level of banter in between. So you’ve got some people who can’t…who are too analytical and don’t have enough personality in their voices behind what they’re doing. Then you have others who have too much personality and no real grasp on keeping their eye on the prize when it comes to breaking down a game or commentating on what needs to be commentated on.
And this can be fixed with practice and it’s stuff I actually do work on myself. And that’s; take a look back at what you say and kind of put it in the back of your mind of how you can have a different response to something or how you can come up with a different talk point for what somebody’s doing.
You know, in certain situations. You know, it’s gonna be a work in progress over the years. But I think Seth Killian is doing a fantastic job whenever he commentates.
As long as he has someone with him, otherwise his voice gets a little bit dull.
I think Keits does a very good job when it comes to the versus series. Skisonic I think is unbelievable because he can actually do play-by-play for Marvel 2.
S: Heheh. Which is…
M: Requires incredible speed!
MK: Yeah, yeah.
S: I think James Chen is also quite good.
MK: Yeah, J-Chen does a very good job. Because he has that personality, that flair, and that passion behind his voice. That when you listen to him, he’s not afraid to be excited for stuff. And that’s what you want. You want to be…
You want a broadcaster or a commentator to have that excitement. Because it’s infectious. When you listen to it. And the key is not to get too excited that you have a Juicebox Abel-gasm. And you lose control of the ability to talk.
That’s nothing against Juicebox, because it’s something that you need to work on. And you know, talking…I did teams for Shadowloo Showdown. And doing play-by-play or not even play-by-play but commentating. You know, ten games or something like that.
It wears you out, very very quickly.
Like, consistently having to think on your feet to come up with something, to what’s going on in a 3 minute match. Where you can have a large amount- you can break down a 3 minute match and expand it out to twenty minutes or something. In terms of every single play that goes on there. So you know, it’s not easy to get into. And it’s not easy in terms of development afterwards.
But with practice, just like with anything. So long as you are aware of trying to increase your vocabulary and increase your point of thought from Hey this is something cool to say to the words coming out of your mouth. You need to be able to have that sort of thought to voice really come out fast and work on that. I think that’s the main thing to work on for fighting games. And the other one is to have general insight that can play not just to the hardcore, but can be picked up on by anyone.
So you know, I think that might come with segments at the beginning of the cast or video before, where someone might break down what they’re looking for. And similar to what they do with AFL and say let’s take a look at this matchup. What’s going to go here.
You might talk about; hey let’s take a little look at who’s to watch in this tournament. Let’s see what their stats are, let’s also take a look at other tournaments, what they’ve done wrong. Break down their real go-to moves.
But for that you need a team behind you. To have the general analytical breakdown of what’s happening, and then the voice to be the front for that team. And which is really what commentary is. It’s not just a one-man or two-man team.
It’s a very, very large, involved process. So, when you watch live streams and you see like Gootecks chime in…
I don’t know if you guys watched the super hype match of the century between Neo versus Clockwork.
M: Yeah I did.
But that was some of my favourite commentary. Mainly because you had Justin chime in with fantastic insight as to what’s happening. And I think Justin’s commentary also did Clockwork in a little bit. Because when he said…
S: Neo should stop running away.
MK: No, not Neo [should stop running away]. [He said], here’s a tip that only I know about Clockwork or something like that, that he only blocks high.
And then one or two matches after that, Neo started landing all these combos from low hits. So I think someone was paying attention to the live stream and messaged Neo.
S: But that’s also one important thing about commentary as well, so you don’t actually give out information like that. Because it’s… it’s good to a certain point, but you don’t want to give…
MK: This is the difference for it: when you’re commentating for a live stream, for an audience. If you take a look at EVO, they have a live stage commentator. And off to the side they have their stream commentator in terms of Keits, Skisonic etc etc. So, the live commentators’ role is to keep the audience entertained. And have the hype and enthusiasm, the oh my god what’s going on, blah blah blah. And you can have the more analytical process behind on the live stream, which isn’t going to interfere with the players and the players aren’t going to be able to listen to it and say hang on, he’s right. That person is doing it!
Because there needs to be that barrier between play and commentary. So, developing that from here and there I think for Australia, because we’re…the Australian community is new to doing solid commentary. And what I was saying before about video game journalism, if you can really pull away from Australian mannerisms and things like that. And you’re talking and really go for you know, what needs to be done in terms of breaking somebody down and talking about something, rather than focus on the fact that you’re Australian and then use that as your selling point, make sure you have the skills to be a fantastic commentator, and then afterwards there’s a point; hey that guy’s Australian. Not Australia first, commentary second. Commentary first, Australia second.
Get the job done first, and then bring it whatever flavour you need to on top of that, and weave it into your talk. That’s what I think is better.
4- M: So why Gen in Street Fighter IV?
MK: Um, for me… I started out in SFIV with Ryu.
S: Just like everyone else.
MK: I know right?
I come from a pad background…I’ve been playing fighting games since I was like five. But, the thing about Adelaide it was never really easy for someone out in the suburbs who was young to go into town and go, hey let’s play at the arcade and spend lots of money and play with other people.
So I had my brother and I had local friends with who I used to play Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and things like that. And when I had consoles like the Saturn and Dreamcast which has all these arcade perfect ports and [which] I love to this day.
But I had no one to play with. So eventually when you’re a kid, you’ve got…or during the early nineties. You have after-school care these vacation care programs and things like this. Where you’d meet up and someone might have a Genesis or a SNES or something like that. And you might play Street Fighter with him.
And as a kid, I was always the guy that was to be beaten, that had the twenty five something thing. But I never advanced my game beyond that. Beyond me being like seven, eight, nine.
And the games changed over the years, and I didn’t really put in the time to really learn the aspect of every single game. It was just, hey cool. Look at what I can do. I can do a frickin’ level 3 A-ism combo or something like that.
S: I know exactly where you’re coming from.
MK: So when SFIV dropped around, I was like oh my god, oh my god, thank god fighting games are back. But when I actually started looking at the people online, I started thinking to myself, why aren’t I playing in similar ways to that, how come I’m being beaten by this.
And that’s where I took my first steps going; I have to try out stick. Because I don’t have the flawless input on pad, and sticks seem to be the go in terms of tournament and things like that.
So when that happened and I invested time, I thought to myself what characters really suit my sort of thought (process) And before I played SFIV, I played Virtua Fighter 5 and I’m still involved to some extent with Virtua Fighter right now but without a console release for Final Showdown, it’s just heartbreaking to tell you the truth, what’s gone on the past couple of years with Sega and Virtua Fighter.
S: Sega in general.
MK: In VF, when you learn a character, and work out and learning and mastering your character. Each character has a hundred and ten plus moves, or something like that. So, I went from this complex sort of game to Street Fighter which is, when you count the state of everyone’s high lows, medium punch and light punch thing you’ve got maybe…sixty [moves]?
And for me that wasn’t enough. I wanted more in my sort of repertoire to be able to use. It’s just unfortunate even though Gen has that, and that was [his] immediate appeal to me; that he can be tricky, I can mix it up with my stances and do sort of cool shit.
But then Capcom didn’t really think about it thoroughly enough, and [in] Vanilla he had a lot of solid Mantis combos which is his punch stance. Which is his medium kick hands, medium kick hands loops.
Then they took that out, and tried to bring back improved fundamentals for Gen. And they fucked up hard.
MK: They gave his crane stance some good tools and some better working on his normals. And then they took away…they overkilled his game for Mantis and…It really just…it really just frustrates me because it just boiled my blood to the point to a point where I actually couldn’t cohesively talk about it without raging behind Capcom’s logic behind the nerfs of Gen.
But um, yeah that serves as the fundamental of why I like to play Gen. I just like the trickery that he has and the large amount of moves he has in IV. And he plays similar to a shoto as well…he’s got a DP.
He’s got the fast input press of say [Chun]. And then he’s got charge moves in terms of dives and rolls. So you know, he’s a jack of all trades but master of none.
M: So speaking of the dives, how do you get out of the vertical ceiling dive.
MK: Vertical Oga you either beat before I get to the wall…
M: What if you’re knocked down?
MK: Say if I knock you down from sweep or Ultra? Block.
That’s it. Because if you dash either way, a Gen can pick it and change the Oga’s direction and catch you.
M: No, if he’s trying to chip me out, and he knocks me down…
M: So I can dash out of it.
S: You can dash out of it.
MK: Wake-up dash, yeah.
MK: I think that’s only when you tech-[on wake up]. If you’re hit by an untechable knockdown, you might eat that chip damage. In that case you have to roll the dice and do an EX something or something that can be FADCed or something has invincibility on your startup. But even then…Oga’s recovery…
Unless…yeah. It’s difficult. But um, likely it’s gonna be chip. So if I beat you with Super into Ultra and you have a tiny bit of life. I can just go Oga drop in. And chip you out.
M: So what do I do? I just have to…EX out of it?
MK: You play Ryu right?
M: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
MK: Honestly it’s gonna be EX DP or something like that.
M: But that means I’m gonna whiff and you’re gonna…punish me.
MK: Yeah. Either way. Honestly it comes to the point if the Gen player times it right; you can’t get out of it.
S: It even beats Dee Jay’s EX Up kicks.
M: Really? I thought nothing beats that move.
S: No it does. Because he hits me right on of the head. In my vulnerable hitbox. I’m not sure about AE, but in Super, definitely.
M: Okay. Damn.
S: Sadface. More reasons why Dee Jay sucks!
5- M: So you’ve mentioned wanting to go live in Japan someday? Teach English there…so do you want to talk about that a little bit?
MK: Well I deferred from my degree at University, which is a double degree in journalism and international studies. And it’s kind of been a long pursuit of mine to learn Japanese.
And not just learn it but you know, find a way of applying it in day to day life. And you’re really gonna get that in Australia so…
You can earn big money from teaching English for a few years in Japan. And that’s what I’d like to do and to go over there and just immerse myself in somewhere different, somewhere where you can throw yourself in and really see what you’ve made of. In terms of trying to find your way around and re-establish yourself outside of what you’re used to.
S: Outside your comfort zone, basically.
MK: Yeah. So that’s pretty much my real ambition. To go there. Is to really see what I can do and um, enjoy myself.
M: Okay. Are you gonna play any Street Fighter when you’re over there?
MK: Yeah definitely dude.
S: Of course!
M: But what if you get stuck in like out in the boonies. And you can’t play in the city arcades.
MK: I’ll take a train or whatever it is. I’ll make sure that at least once a weekend or something I’ll fly into or go to a capital city.
S: Unlike Australia, they actually have pretty decent public transport.
6- M: Speaking of Gen, what do you think of characters having different maximum healths?
MK: I think it’s…
M: What’s your opinion of that.
MK: Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure in Virtua Fighter everyone has the same amount of health.
M: It’s like Tekken right? Yeah.
MK: It’s just that the heavier characters do more damage and the light characters do less. And in Street Fighter it works. To a certain degree it does. It’s just…you have to able to give those light characters an option to either A: have something to get out, which in Vanilla was Gen’s EX Oga having full on invincibility…Which a lot of people think is overpowered but it’s just like teleport in the fact that if you know it’s coming, you can move back a little bit and then punish it.
But Capcom obviously thought different and removed it altogether.
And then they gave him a shitty DP which you know, doesn’t do anything.
M: It’s hard…it’s hard to option select.
MK: Gen has the same amount of health as Akuma. And Akuma has teleport, Akuma has…
S: Ridiculous mixups.
MK:… FADCs, he’s got demon flips…he’s got just about anything he needs to get out of a situation, and yet…Gen doesn’t have anything.
And I think Capcom have favouritism in terms of their character balancing. And it just frustrates me that there can be some lower characters that don’t have the options that they need to to justify having that low health. I think Capcom’s balance or their approach to doing lighter characters or something is…if he’s old, he has to be frail.
They take a look at a stereotypical character or they take a look at what would happen in an anime, it’s like yeah, take a look at this character. He’s gonna be powerful. He’s gonna be a Ninja. But he has to have low health. Because he eats one or two hits, so long. And that’s it.
They don’t really…they don’t put enough thought into some characters I think.
S: Yeah, definitely.
I think also in certain terms, you have certain characters who bleed way too much, and then you have…and because they both have very little life, they also have very low damage. So you get characters like Honda who somehow ended up having both. Fairly high health and fairly high damage.
M: Or Vanilla Sagat.
S: Or Vanilla Sagat.
MK: But yeah you trade mobility, except Honda has EX headbutt which gets him where he needs to go. And Sagat had Kara tiger knee.
M: Kara everything.
MK: Kara everything that you need to do. Which really fixed Sagat, what really limited Sagat in the previous versions of Street Fighter titles. In that he didn’t have the movement, but he could turtle and he could also zone.
And that’s what a good Sagat is.
A good Sagat will zone and will know how to keep you out. But you know, you deserve to be punished once you get in.
S: He’ll tiger shot you to oblivion.
MK: That’s why he has that sorta health, he doesn’t have an answer for everything. But he can force a reset or he can push you back to where you can go “Alright, I’ve taken a little bit of damage but let’s see what we’ve got here” and force a reset. But Gen doesn’t have that. Once you’re in on gen he’s screwed, anyone with a long arc, like a tall vertical one will fuck Gen up hard. And that’s Chun and that’s um, Chun and Bison specifically because their air game beats out Gen so there’s no real way to go about it. But um, anyone who has ambiguous sort of crossups, Gen doesn’t really have, even if he has an autocorrect DP it’s still…it’s later than other ones, it doesn’t really work the same way as Cammy or Ryu.
S: What’s Gen’s DP’s startup?
M: Isn’t it 4 frames?
S: No, it’s higher than that.
MK: It’s higher than that. Honestly off the top of my head I don’t know. It changes per light, medium, heavy and EX. (Mutton’s note: EX Gekiro is 7 frames of startup.)
M: What’s his EX’s startup. Do you know?
MK: I think it’s two.
M & S: Nah it can’t be two.
M: It should be 4 or 5 I think. I’m not so sure I’ll check it.
MK: Hrmm, It depends. I’ve been beaten out by before by well angled and timed slides by Rose and Guy or whiffed with an EX DP but I think that’s more with having no hitbox…
MK: …on the ground. And another property which frustrates me with Gen’s DP is rather than being a traditional one. They gave it more properties like Balrog. There’s thought behind it where… If you approach Balrog and he’s on wakeup, you can do crouching short or crouching Jab and beat him out before the headbutt comes out.
M: But not EX headbutt.
MK: Right, but not EX.
M: But your options catches my shorts as well.
MK: It does, except. This is what frustrates me is Ryu and any other shoto with a meaty sorta medium punch, will completely beat out even if it late, will beat out Gen’s DP.
M: Even EX?
MK: Not EX. But Gen doesn’t build enough meter to say “Hey, I need to burn meter.” In Vanilla he had the massive meter gain. So he was able to do EX’s and stuff like that. In Super, he’s got nothing that builds meter to the point where he can say “I can use a lot of EX” He’s not like Sakura where you can do a lot of block strings with Tatsus and stuff. His hands has pushback, so. A lot of pushback. A lot more than it did in Vanilla. And you know, bread and butter combo’s which worked in Vanilla don’t work in Super because of tweaks to either his kicks or his hands so..
S: You’d think in AE that they’d give him something back, not the Oga but the hands combo at least.
MK: We’ve… I’ve been pretty vocal on SRK about the changes to Gen and while some think it’s ok, I think it’s a quick fix to you know….. obviously Gen was further down on the development process and you know, they had time constraints on their hands so they had to figure out something to really do.
And I think they gave band-aid to a gaping wound, in giving him target combos and that’s not really what we wanted at all. It adds a nice little bit of damage and adds a little bit of meter gain on our combos but the DP is still broken and his Mantis jump arc is, you know. In Vanilla he had a much more horizontal jump arc.
M: That thing was like a missile, it was so hard to anti-air.
MK: Yeah, it was like Abel’s one in where it was ambiguous and you could get in on charge characters like Guile and Chun Li and you know, Bison. It was a fantastic tool in not just providing an ambiguous cross up but establishing Mantis game. And they changed it (In Super) to a Vega, a Bison. Jump arc. Where you know, it’s this freakin’ high, this vert… and they didn’t change the animations to suit it. So you still had these animations for a much more horizontal jump arc. But out of place in this giant vertical one. So you’ve got no ambiguous [cross ups]. You’ve got no safe jumps.
S: You can literally see the crossup coming.
MK: You can see it coming a mile away and there’s no moves to hide it otherwise. And that is the most frustrating thing. Is that jump arc is proof enough that they haven’t thought about Gen to a point where you know, he can be fixed. And they come back and they say. “Well we don’t have anyone that plays Gen at Capcom so you know, tough luck”. And you know the counter poke I have and the Gen community has for it is that for the past, for nearly 4 years now, we’ve been developing guides on SRK and there’s this thread now that’s like 80 pages long (it’s actually 40ish pages) where on the front page you can see the basics of what everyone wanted for Gen’s arcade changes. And, I don’t know. It seems like Capcom US does a fantastic job in listening to the community and then Capcom Japan shafts all the good work that umm…
S: I think it has a lot to do with character popularity in Japan. Because no one in Japan also plays Dee Jay.
MK: I think its not so much popularity I think it’s more what Capcom thinks. I don’t think Capcom aims for overall balance. Like SEGA does with Virtua Fighter. Like they don’t aspire to have a flat level tier list. In that, the bottom tier if played well enough will be able to compete solidly with a high tier. They want a broken game with super low tier characters because you still have these people that love playing a low tier character and the challenges that come with it and then you got people who don’t really have it in them to use a low tier as their main so they’re more comfortable to use someone who has those options.
M: I don’t think SSFIV has a super low tier. And I play Hakan. I think it’s much more balanced.
MK: I think it’s much more balanced that previous Street Fighters but it is still, not balanced enough or they don’t really do the right things here or there.
S: I think overall you have… I think it’s probably the most balanced Street Figher in terms of that anybody can beat anyone. But the problem that…
MK: I don’t think anybody can beat anyone. I think there’s a lot of characters that have matchups that are suicide.
S: Uhh that’s…
M: It’s still nothing compared to the matchups in ST right, which are true 8-2 matchups.
S: The thing with ST matchups is that, because of the high damage you can still win. Like Geif Vs Dee jay in theory can be said that it’s 7-3 / 8-2 but once Gief gets in I’m fucked. It’s 2 SPD’s. Death. That’s the problem with Street Fighter IV is that it takes so much longer to kill anyone.
S: In SF IV to me I think it just boils down to just normals. Because certain things beat out other things so if your character doesn’t have better normals than the other characters then you usually tend to lose.
MK: I think it’s the most frustrating of the Street Fighter series to date, in that. Tech’s just seem… the way you can just do assist tech.Down back light kick kara into throw so you can option select teching a grab. It takes that sorta challenge out of it. And the start up. The much slower start up, on normals so that if you have those lightning fast reactions for stuff it doesn’t work. You have to be thinking a lot more ahead, so you don’t really have a safe guard. So if you have that sorta *click* reaction for that sorta shit at the last minute.
S: I miss whiffing normals to bait stuff out.
MK: It can still happen it’s but it’s not, yeah.
S: When I throw something out to try and..
MK: It’s too defensive. In my mind. But from playing like 3 days of AE. It just doesn’t feel as defensive.
S: I think Arcade Edition is just a huge improvement overall area.
M: Yeah, my character got nerfed. Heheh.
S: Yeah, but he didn’t get nerfed to the point where he’s not unplayable.
MK: And it wasn’t one of those what the fuck nerfs like abel. Abel I think deserved to be brought down a peg but you know, Capcom don’t really have subtlety in mind when they do something. It’s not like a slight change here for the entire cast to try and rebalance the tier list, you just have this mind boggling stuff, “that things broken, lets change it five ways”.
M: Let’s call Haggar with the nerf hammer.
S: I think they got Guile right though, Guile went from Vanilla in being quite bad to stupidly powerful.
MK: I didn’t think Guile was that ultimately bad in Vanilla he had the damage and he still had the ability to zone well. It’s just his Sonic Boom was too slow. I don’t think they adjusted that well for super but I think it’s a lot more better in AE.
S: He takes a lot more skill in AE.
MK: you know, the skill required for Flash Kick FADC ~ Sonic Hurricane, which is not an easy thing to do, does waay too little damage.
M: But you have to consider the fact that Guile can zone the shit out of a lot of matchups, and you give him a good FADC, it’s kind of too powerful against some characters who can only get in once or twice a match, and when he gets meter. He’s safe. I mean not…
MK: The meter reduction was fine for me, yeah. But I still think if you are to the point where you can go Flash Kick FADC and learn that sorta high end combo there should be that just reward for learning a high end combo, in having a suitable amount of damage and something to be done in a repertoire, and not to be outlawed because its way too low.
7- M: Ok I mean, you played AE for three days, so you played AE so how many Yuns did you play? Heheh.
MK: I played……….. ONE! Akira’s.
M & MK: Akira’s Yun.
MK: And I didn’t even know it was Akira and it frustrates me because I dropped like 4 games. I got him down to the last round on him like so many times. I just thought, man this is awesome.
But Gen as a character has the options to beat out dive kicks, which is fine for me because his standing medium punch in mantis does a fantastic job against those characters that have those low sorta fast jump ins, jump in arcs. So for Yang and for Yun not so much rufus, because Rufus has a much more odd hitbox about him. But Yang and Yun can be kept out by Gen pretty solidly and Gen’s got the tools to really, with an improved standing High kick can keep the distance between Yang’s rekka’s and Yun’s sorta…whats his punch?
S: Lunge Punch.
MK: Yeah. Lunge Punch.
M: Lunge Punch, don’t you mean God Punch.
MK: I think that does way too much, that EX lunge punch to normal lunge punch it seems around the 200…umm around the 250 mark.
M: What about EX dash punch into ultra, full screen. Safe.
S: I thought that’s like lunge punch, I thought the other one was the fireball one.
MK: That’s Yohou I think, Yohou. Yohou’s the push. I dunno I think Yun, yeah. I play a character that has a 5-5 match up so I can’t say much. But I can say is that he definitely seems powerful. He’s not, I don’t think he’s as bad as Fei long. I think Fei Long is easily the highest ranked person in the game.
MK: And you know, I was playing with Ali, Combomaniac. And he was like “Hey check out what they gave him in AE,” and you know, there it is. A sweep off a standing jab and I’m like “Why the hell did he need this on top of his already high tier game he already had.”
M: Isn’t it funny that back in Vanilla you need a FADC Ultra to be top tier. But in this game, Fei Long still doesn’t have it and he’s still the best.
MK: He’s got awesome startup on his rekkas, he’s got the zoning tools to really keep them out and when they are in there he has burn kick FADC backwards and it’s safe. So, he’s safe all round he’s got safe normals he’s got frame traps and everything in the book that he needs to, to really do well so if you’re picking up Fei and you’re losing, you’re doing something wrong.
M: Heh, it’s funny because I was playing Combomaniac yesterday and he was playing a Balrog and I said “is that a bad matc?” And he looked at me and said, “ There are no bad matchups for Fei Long.”
S & M: (Laughs)
MK: Yeah that’s true.
S: So you’re from South Australia.
8- S: So why don’t you tell me a little about the scene out in South Australia.
MK: Out in South Australia?! You say it like it’s dingo woop woop out in no where.
MK: I know for you guys on the east coast, Adelaide doesn’t exactly pop up as a go to destination. But what I’ll say about the South Australian community is that we’re not an established community. We lost, for those who don’t know.
Is that arcades were outlawed by the Adelaide City Council for being unseemly or you know… just not desired as a establishment for where it is. And you know, meeting people after SF4 came out, I’ve met about 4 or 5 people that used to play there back in the CBD days and they’re still friends today, you know they’re good, they’re close friends.
And I really want an Arcade in the CBD just as a solid meet point to keep a community focal point. But we don’t really have that, what we have is the Adelaide Uni video game society which is EVAC and that currently serves as the meet point for the Street Fighter and the competitive players. But ummm, it’s dropped off a bit since AE came out and this is where it really hurts having an arcade release.
It’s great for the arcade industry to have this lifeline again with a high profile game so easily accessible but for the communities that were founded in SF4 that don’t have that access to it… They’re starting to die off. And it’s starting to hurt a lot.
Like Marvel’s come around but you know Marvel is not everyone’s cup of tea, and everyone wants to keep playing and for those who were stepping up and looking to go on a competitive scene even nationwide or even had that thought in the back of their head that they might have fun competing interstate and playing and if they know that their competition has about 8 months ahead of competitive play?
They are gonna be pretty frustrated by the time they get to sit down and play it. So it’s understandable why people drop off when they don’t have access to this, and in terms of our numbers you know I say we average around 20 competitive players and in terms of local week by week meetup it’s about anywhere between 5-10.
We used to have tournaments monthly which used to bring people out of the woodwork and come and play they considered that you know, justification for coming into the CBD and playing Street Fighter. But without those going around at the moment, people have dropped off and we still know people are still playing Street Fighter in Adelaide, South Australia. It just, they just don’t seem as interested to come in and level up in the face of not having Arcade Edition. For them, it’s playing the same people on a dated game. For everything that could make it fresh again, we don’t have access to that right now and we’re suffering because of it.
I don’t think we’re alone. I think there would have to be other fledgling communities formed around the world that don’t have access to AE. I was talking to Yeb the…
M & S: The former Gen player.
MK: Yeah, although he picked it back up recently, even though he doesn’t have access to AE. And he’s saying the same thing, he has concerns in his local community but they have that sort of natural enthusiasm and hype that you know, bravado and buoyancy about what they do. And for them meeting up and playing even if it’s not the latest version they don’t care. They’ll just laugh and have a good time and you know, point jokes at each other.
I think we’re a little more competitive to the core in our gameplay here in terms of Australia in terms of sport and in terms of competition, is that if you are putting in that time and effort you want to be able to do that on the same level as other people, you want that sort of fair-balanced aspect to it.
And yeah you know, the Adelaide community at the moment is struggling a little bit. Hopefully if any of them listen to this podcast right now you know, I’m still there every single week at EVAC I’ll bring my gear and my lag-free screen, my X box, my TE sticks I’ll bring everything when I can and you know try and keep that interest going for anyone that wants to play and still wants to learn.
And considering we’re not Melbourne or we’re not Sydney. We don’t have this establishment of super high tier well educated players we have maybe 5 or 6 people who know the run down, that know the vast history of fighting games and know the mechanics and the mind games that go into it and that can tolerate losing and can tolerate being beaten down here or there and still have that drive and edge to really better ourselves to really come back and to play again.
I don’t know if it’s Gen Y or the recent generation, but a lot of them don’t have that competitive backbone about them? And if they are beaten down they’re not gonna approach a person and say, “Hey listen, can you help me out? I wanna know what I’m doing wrong, I wanna get better.”
S: I don’t think it’s even that, I think it is also the rise of casual gaming.
MK: Yeah, that as well. And that fighting games are like RPG’s in the point that you really need to invest your time to get through it. Yet unlike and RPG where you might invest 40 or 50 hours you get to the end of it, this one…
S: It’s a very long process.
MK: Yeah this is a very long-arse process, to establish yourself. It iss like an actual sport. It’s an E-sport you know, you can’t just waltz in and go “Hey, I’m top of the class here, everyone kneel before me.”
S: I think also one of the thing is, because most of these guys have started on consoles, you don’t pay for your game. While most of the people who play in the arcades you pay a dollar, you want to play your best and you wanna learn why you lost.
MK: Yeah, and that’s why I love playing in the arcades. I felt more at home in Melbourne and playing at Bluehouse and playing next to you guys at the Deakin Uni meetup was because you guys were competitive about it. You guys had that natural sort of flair for wanting to compete with one another.
9- S: So you also mentioned Marvel, so what do you think of Marvel 3 then? It’s still new, it’s still fresh.
MK: Even though it’s fresh and new I can already see it’s been built not in the way… where you can have these high end exploits are the way to go. You’ve got 99 seconds and this is what you see when you start out with Marvel; is that “Time over.” You know you’re not gonna get that damage out. And then you take a look at the high end of Marvel and then you see these people doing snapbacks forcing someone in to an infinite loop like with Magneto and etcera etcera. Yet there’s not that in Marvel 3.
What’s in Marvel 3 is high damage, and easy access to the high damage. So easy access for comebacks and easy access to really feel like you’re powerful or you’re skilled. So I think, I’ve only played it maybe 3 or 4 hours, maybe a little bit longer than that. But my immediate impression on this game is it’s fun to play and I love it. You know, I’ll thrash it out to my hearts content, but even with the perpetual deep end that might come about? I still get this feeling that you’ll have more sigh moments like, “Oh my god. Sentinel, there he goes. He’s activated X-factor. There he goes. 100% health combo.” Or Dark Phoenix in my case. “Hey I’m gonna annihilate you. Touch of death combo.”
To me, it’s immediately fun but you know, I have issues on this in that I don’t see it becoming the same staple as Marvel 2 was for the versus series. If they balanced it and brought back that snapback stuff, maybe toned down the damage from the 100% extra damage from a level 3 X factor and they brought it back to like 60 or 70% instead, then you’ll have much more of a fight on your hands.
To beat down 2 characters and leave them with one, that takes skill, and you deserve to be on the up. You don’t deserve to have someone just increase their damage by 100% tod have a cheap arse comeback. It should be, if you’ve done the work you deserve to be rewarded you don’t deserve for you’re opponent to activate the win button!
S: But you see I think that was the point.
M: But you have your own win button.
MK: Yeah, true but that shouldn’t be it. That shouldn’t be your coup de grace; you know your saving grace. Your skill should be your saving grace and not just to go “My back’s against the wall *bing* I’m going to activate this.”
S: I think the thing why they did that was in Marvel 2 if you lost a character or 2 characters it was basically game over.
S: It was like losing a limb in a fight.
MK: It is, and it should be like that. That’s what Marvel is; it’s not like KoF where you can get a little health back at the end of each round if you do well with one character. You deserve to have that limb taken off so you deserve to be crippled in a way.
And the whole thing about Marvel is building a team that is cohesive in a way with your assists and with the way that they play with each other and back each other up. So you need to have that kind of mind set and stratagems to really do well. So if you lose one you should be at a disadvantage and it doesn’t feel like there’s that sort of disadvantage to it. It feels very very. …
It feels Capcom of late, it feels safe. You know. It just feels like.. It feels like even if you’ve got 3 characters up and they’ve activate X-factor. You’ve got [to] turtle, and you need to be defensive until that X-factor runs out.
S: The game basically slows down.
MK: Otherwise if you go guns blazing against that character who’s got level 3 X-factor, you’re gonna lose one character, two character, then you’re gonna bring out your third and activate your X-factor and it suddenly becomes who can get in the two hits the quickest. So that’s my immediate impression. But on the other hand there looks like there is fun to be had in Marvel 3.
S: I think that the game still has a fair bit of time to grow but I’m already seeing certain strategies against X-factor. You build meter and if they activate X factor you keep them in block stun. Even if they don’t take damage they use 3 or 4 meters.
MK: That’s very much what I got from Toxy, I didn’t get to play Carnage and apparently Carnage is better. But if you’re on X-factor you need to have an awesome run away game but my own theory on countering X factor is to turtle and to really have a good defence for the high-low block.
S: I think in this game defence is gonna be a hell of a lot more important because of the high damage you’re gonna need a lot more.
MK: It’s not just the high damage, so many characters have teleport. Where in Marvel 2 I think it was only Strider who had that teleport. Apart from like Dhalsim and Akuma and things like that. Strider had that really, really…
MK: Ambiguous, you’re fucked teleport. And Phoenix has that. You know Spencer has it. Dante has it. Dormammu sort of has it.
M: How is it ambiguous. You only appear behind him as Dante.
MK: But if you’ve got them in block stun with say Doom’s missile assist or something like that? You suddenly put, or if you have Sentinels stuff coming in..You’ve got, you’re forcing someone, depending on your timing to make a 50/50 guess at whether or not that first hit is gonna be left or right.
So depending on your timing with the first Sentinel hit, I think this is what I found with Toxy. Toxy kept saying you, no you just need to block where I am. And I was doing that and anticipating where he was with Spencer(Wesker) and the Sentinel assist that the first Sentinel assist would always get me and start off a long string of combos. So near the end I started going, “Alright. I’m going to block the first Sentinel assist right and then switch it to where Spencer is.”
S: To where he’s gonna be.
MK: To where Spencer (Wesker) is. And it’s that sort of game there, that’s really, really powerful and the characters that have teleport I think are going to be very, very strong.
S: Also not to mention that if they come straight on top of you ,you have the guessing game whether the assist is gonna hit you first or they’re gonna hit you first. And if they don’t hit you, they can also delay the hit so they can throw you…it just becomes this huge mix-up game. It’s just a nightmare, basically.
M: It’s not just teleports, what about the dashing characters. You know, the X-23 and Wolverine dashes.
MK: Universal air dash not being in, I like.
MK: I don’t know, It’s hard to say. Really. I think dashing is less… You know, Marvel 2 is all about movement you know. If you’re standing still you’re fucked. You need to know how to dash, tri-dash, to wave dash all this sort of stuff.
S: In this game not so much.
MK: In this game you’re still gonna need it but Tri-dashes aren’t as strong. (Mutton’s note: I think he means Tri-jump.)
S: Yeah definitely. Because they can only hit from the top of their jumping arcs.
10- S:So got any shout outs?
MK: Mmmm, alright not so much a shoutout… but to anyone who’s listening to this that’s in South Australia: there’s going to be a tournament at Adelaide Uni on the 12th of March.
I think it’s called Floodwar and it’s going to be a round robin tournament for newcomers to be able to play one and other without being knocked out.
And we’re raising money for the Queensland Premier’s flood appeal so all proceeds from this tournament will go towards raising funds for the flood victims and there’ll be prizes and stuff donated from local businesses and trophies etcera etcera. So 12th of March, and I think it’ll be at the Harry Medlin Rooms at Adelaide University or wherever EVAC can be held, so Union Cinema I think as well. One of those two.
S: Very cool.
S: Thank you very much.
MK: No problem guys, Thanks a lot.