GBH: Round 1 – Fanfare

Our new contributor Fenton likes fighting games. He’s going to write about why.

Fewer things mean more to people than validation; where a lot of people struggle to find it, gamers have almost unlimited access to it whenever we play games. The proverbial pat on the back is especially meaningful in a fighting game environment where the players engage in short, intense and often challenging games. Fanfare is something often overlooked in fighting games because we take it for granted, but it is something we very much notice when it isn’t there.

One example of a lack of fanfare would be in NetherRealm’s smash-hit Injustice: Gods Among Us, a game that took many by surprise with its in-depth and competitive combat that ends in a lengthy unskippable outro so lacklustre that professional players will forfeit matches just to save time. To add to this problem, Injustice also has a announcer so heartless it may as well be a dial tone, which combined with its long victory screens makes for one of the few but obvious problems with the game.

While I’m hesitant to declare this in my first article, I must confess that I am not a huge fan of Street Fighter – HOWEVER I fully understand why it is so popular amongst fighting game pros and fans alike. The one thing I always give credit to Street Fighter for is making a spectacle of winning. Short but sweet victory poses, an awesome announcer (who is possibly more excited than you are) and immediate options to head into another fight or to change it up. Street Fighter is a game that truly feels like it wants you involved, the announcer constantly comments on the match to keep you engaged and on edge, the background flourishes for finishing with a big move and makes you want to end it with style. Even your character enjoys the win with well animated victory poses.

An interesting case would be any of Midway/NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat fighting games. The series stable of Fatalities adds the unique issue of having possibly the most exciting victories and the very worst. Achieving a Fatality brings a level of excitement in both winner and loser that’s hard to compare, the anticipation of “whats going to happen?!” is an adrenaline rush for everyone involved whilst being a sign of dominance and respect to your opponent. If you fail to achieve a fatality for whatever reason it’s almost more embarrassing to be the winner, even your opponent will be annoyed that you failed to kill them in a stylish way and instead clumsily kneed them in the elbow. I can’t think of another series that has such a unique issue, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I feel as if I picked on Injustice a little bit with this article but it’s exactly because I love it so much that this issue screams out to me. Many of the fighting games I play lately actually do lack exciting fanfare, this doesn’t make those games bad at all but I do wish that creators/developers would think more about how to make winning exciting for everyone, players and viewers alike.

Fenton

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