[This essay was funded by my generous Patreon supporters. If you liked this and want to see more, please consider joining the crew!]

Boys’ manga battle stories often use combinations of common narrative patterns to get to the action: you have a young, spunky protagonist who stumbles into a world of people who are really good at [activity], where nothing matters but [activity], and while the protagonist knows nothing about [activity] they are placed in a position where they must be the best at [activity]. [Activity] invariably involves some kind of arcane skill mastery that is tested in head-to-head competition…


[People who back my Patreon send me questions sometimes and I like answering them. Please consider joining the crew!]

Hey Pat, remember me? I asked you back in August of last year about how to manage salt. I have gotten a bit better about that, but I still have some roadblocks to overcome before I can shake the salt properly. And I think my biggest roadblock to not letting salt and frustration get to me right now is the topic of this question.

How do I overcome my ego and acknowledge that the other player is simply better than me?


[This essay was funded by my generous Patreon supporters. If you liked this and want to see more, please consider joining the crew!]

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone tell a new player “Don’t play against the CPU, it’ll teach you bad habits!” then I probably wouldn’t bother with the Patreon.

This advice, just like the last essay’s bit on “start out by practicing your fundamentals”, is well-meaning advice that often comes from mid/high-level players who think about all the time they “wasted” playing against the CPU before learning to play competitively and want to…


[People who back my Patreon send me questions sometimes and I like answering them. Please consider joining the crew!]

Hello Patrick,

As a beginner, it sounds really appealing to try as many different games to find what I like (Xrd, +R, SFV, Tekken, SkullGirls, KI,…), but I know that it is better to stick to one in order to learn the fundamentals. So my question is, if I find several games appealing for several different reasons, how do I know which one should spend more time in order to learn fighting games fundamentals? …


[People who back my Patreon send me questions sometimes and I like answering them. Please consider joining the crew!]

Hello Patrick,

After seeing all your posts about the importance of social interaction in fighting games, I have decided to participate in one of my local tournaments.

That would be my first tournament ever, I hope to have lots of fun and to learn a lot!

The problem is that, because I’m pretty new to Fighting Games in general, I can do a fireball motion, the DP input and a couple of simple combos, I know I’m not gonna win the…


[This essay was funded by my generous Patreon supporters. If you liked this and want to see more, please consider joining the crew!]

I hear a lot of people give this as their reason for not playing fighting games. I would like to clarify that no one is fast enough to play fighting games until they play fighting games enough to get fast. But the concept of getting faster feels unfamiliar to people — “mental speed” or “reaction times” get thrown around as though they are the unchangeable determinant of who can be good at fighting games, when that’s obviously…


[This essay was funded by my generous Patreon supporters. If you liked this and want to see more, please consider joining the crew!]

The other day, a friend in a Guilty Gear group mentioned that he was looking into coding bootcamps because he wanted to take his career in a different direction, and I wished him well. I don’t meet many fighting game players in software engineering, but many of my fighting game friends have successfully executed that combo before, and I think that’s in part because the bootcamp methods are fairly compatible with fighting game learning mentalities: Learn these…


[This essay was funded by my generous Patreon supporters. If you liked this and want to see more, please consider joining the crew!]

Normally I treat New Year’s Day as a welcome opportunity to reflect on the work of the last year, sort through what worked and what didn’t, and determine what I’ll do to change course for the next year. However, when I look back on 2020, I don’t think I’d do anything differently. I’m incredibly happy with the work we did.

My office cleared out in early March, about a week or two in advance of NorCal’s regional…


[This essay was funded by my generous Patreon supporters. If you liked this and want to see more, please consider joining the crew!]

People who play fighting games are embarking on their own martial arts journey, but the games themselves don’t provide the tools, people, concepts, or culture needed to sustain our health and motivation through that journey. I’m writing this essay to explain the concept of sparring, and how it’s distinct from serious competitive matches, so that all players old and new can level up their learning mindset.

The limits of fantasy

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