- Is Tekken a game meant for those who like more challenging content?
- It makes sense that Tekken's vast requirements may not be fun to many
- Are Americans just used to having it easy?
- Maybe Americans hate 3D fighting games
- Can we blame Namco Bandai for not making the game easier?
-First understand that I am making an observation. I am simply stating what I have seen. Whether I am right or not, I leave the topic open for discussion.
- Second is that having an opinion is not a crime and no one should be mistreated for having one. With issues like this, it’s easy to get upset or offended and lose sight, that maybe the point being made is correct, even if you don’t agree.
With that said, I am going to propose the thought that maybe, just mayben Tekken is not gentle enough for Americans. The reason I say “Americans” and not the west, is that I don’t know enough about how the rest of the west view Tekken. When I say Gentle, I mean that Tekken is just too hard for Americans and Americans like things easy.
Now when I use the word easy, that doesn't exactly hold any substance. It is like using the words like Good or Bad and Right or Wrong. They are all subjective. So because trigonometry is hard to me, it doesn't make it so for a mathematician. Subjective words are hard to use when there is no absolute standard to hold them too. So I do understand that because Tekken is not hard for me personally, that doesn't mean it isn't hard to others.
In the case of fighting games, some might even say Street Fighter is too easy. But in reality, at a competitive level, it is far from easy. Saying something is too hard or too easy doesn't always make it so.
So what I am going to do now, is lay a foundation of what I mean when I say Tekken doesn't do well popularity wise in the United States, in comparison to other fighting games, because Americans like to take the easier path.
As of the time of this article, the most current console (Disc version/ Not Revolution) is Tekken Tag Tournament 2. This title holds a roster of 59 characters. And among those characters, I would say a fair guess is that each one of those characters could have anywhere between 70 to 150+ moves.
This all would include the multiple ways to dash forward, back dash, side step and more. In Tekken, getting up from the ground is an entire process in itself, which includes more than 10+ ways of having to do so. Now if you take all of these moves and options, you must then realize that you not only have to learn how to handle your character, but also have a good grasp on your opponent’s character’s moves. Then add in the normal elements of a fighting game in terms of set ups, strategy, frame data, mind games and now you have Tekken being a monstrous challenge for anyone.
As a lover of Tekken myself, I can say that Tekken’s depth is the deepest I have seen of any fighting game as of yet. This to some is a great thing. A fighting game that allows the player to create their own juggle style. Enough options to allow two players to have two completely different play styles.
Tekken allows players to not be held to a standard of only being able to play a certain character a certain way. I would agree that in order to be great at this game, one would have to log hundreds of hours, maybe even thousands in practice mode or against great players just to be able to be considered “good”.
Am I saying that those who play Street Fighter and MVC don’t have to dedicate just as much time to be considered “good”? By no means, no. I am saying that Tekken has a larger amount of information to absorb in comparison. (This claim I will admit is arguable)
Now most of the serious, competitive players would chime in right now and say that, in all actuality most hardcore Tekken players eliminate the majority of moves, because they prove to be of little use or too risky. This significantly reduces the amount of data that a person would have to acquire. And though this is true, you must take into consideration that those top level players both;
A) Know which moves to eliminate and which to keep, in turn they had to research this.
B) These top players also have had to learn what moves their opponent may or may not use. In the end, a massive amount of moves was still needed to be learned.
Could it be possible that Namco Bandai just made a terrible game?
Is it possible that I am being unfair to Americans? After all there are many cultural differences when it comes to how things should be done. Just because it's popular in Asia doesn't mean is "has" to be popular in the United States.
In all fairness, I would say yes. It is possible that Tekken is just a terribly crafted game. But is that what people are genuinely complaining about? In my research, I wanted to learn why it was that Americans did not find favor in Tekken in comparison to the Capcom titles.
Many of the answers rested on the fact that Capcom (Streetfighter, MVC) came before Tekken and that people generally were sticking to their roots. But in many ways this doesn't make much sense. Because when it comes to competitive play, games like BlazBlue, Injustice and even Divekick, all games which came much later, sometimes have had ahigher turn out than Tekken. So the origin theory doesn't entirely hold up.
But there is a second theory that I had. Maybe it's that Americans just don't like 3D fighters. Looking at it, Tekken isn't the only fighter to take such a huge hit in comparison. Soul Calibur, Virtua Fighter, Dead or Alive are the few to be compared. This of course doesn't include a 2.5D fighter , for the play-styles are still 2D (Smash Bros, MVC, MK, etc). And to cover the opposing side, games like DBZ and The Naruto Ninja Storm series, attempt to retain the 2D look, while giving you a 3D playstyle. But yet, the latter of the two types are not respected enough to be put into competitive venues.
So as it looks now, maybe America just doesn't care for 3D fighters. And if this is the case, I have to ask WHY?
I have some theories.
This is where it all starts to come to light. In 2D fighters, the player can enjoy the game while only worrying about X and Y axis. While in 3D fighters, they will have to worry about all three X,Y and Z. Now I am not saying that it is as simple as just being a small difference of having the third axis or not. But what should be taken into consideration is that, that extra axis changes the entire game play.
It introduces an entire world of options. Some of these options are side stepping, Wake-up gameplay and environment elements. Depending on the environment that is being fought in, the players have to know their distance to a specific wall, they have to know how close they will be coming towards a game changing obstacle. The game is no long an issue of avoiding your opponent and their projectiles, but strategically placing yourself in the right spots, or avoid being put in the wrong ones. Unlike 2D fighters, the levels are not always balanced or symmetrical.
Does this mean that the 2D fighter doesn't have to take into account of their location or their environment or even a wake-up game? No, that is not what I am saying. In 2D fighters, character location is also important for a successful run, especially with a variety of characters who either benefit or suffer because of it. Unlike 3D fighters, 2D fighters have to worry about gamplay that goes higher than the characters heads. As characters jump and even fly off the screen, knowing how to react is a challenge in itself. But, in reality it is still two axis.
What I am saying is that, in a way, there might be more that the 3D fighter has on its plate to worry about.
In Soul Calibur, their movement game is outrageous in comparison to a 2D fighter. The movement options consist of a radial of degrees. The community has developed a direction system of 1-9 on the keypad known as 8-way run (5 being center), just to be able to communicate how best to perform moves. This means that any one ability executions could completely change based on which of the 8(9) directions the player chooses. But, alas I am not here to talk about the difficulties of Soul Calibur.
What do players say about Tekken?
The majority of the time, the answer is "Too complex" or to put it another way "Too much" to do in order to be considered good. You don't play Tekken you study it. As stated above, I gave some good examples of why players find it unappealing.
But my question is this, why is it unappealing?
To clarify, why is it that something that is so deep, so detailed and so expressive, such a bad thing?
Now don't get me wrong, I am not so disconnected from society that I don't understand how something being made easier or less complex isn't a good thing. But I am seeing a trend in video games lately, where the games themselves are becoming easier and shorter.
I'm sure anyone who was raised with Nintendo and Sega could testify that games today are far less complex and shorter than the older titles we grew up with.
None of use really liked the Racing part of BattleToads, but we kept trying over and over, until we could at least beat it once. And yet we find that we as a people seem to complain more about today's games, than we have ever done in the past.
Have we as a people of Gamers forgotten the value of complex games with a deep core of diversity? Have we been slowly moving towards the easier, quick gratification type of content? Have we all acquired the mentality that if something is too hard, requires too much time, it isn't as much fun unless it allows us to quickly immerse ourselves with little to no effort?
This is a case where simplicity seems to work well. I cannot complain about this game, for it works. But none the less, it does lead people into a less complex world.
Does this mean that having fun is a crime? Something to be shunned because some one had a great idea that just happens to also be simple? Again, I say no. In fact I prefer my life to be easy. I don't want to walk to work, I'd rather drive. I don't feel like having to dive into a complex game when coming home from work when I am tired. I want something fast and easy to immediately jump into.
The problem that I am having is the depth of a fighting game is being ignored on the grounds of a lack of simplicity.
Everything about these games scream hard. These games among some other hard titles where hits with Gamers. Players enjoy the challenges and difficult tasks of progression right before almost breaking their controllers against the wall. So this is a clear sign that Americans can in fact embrace very difficult games. Although the levels of difficulty are different, while one set of games are difficult to progress, the other being difficult to learn prior to being effective in a fight. There is still a level of difficulty embraced.
I want to say that there are too many factors to simply say it is all about difficulty, even if I feel strongly that this is the case. Some players have never liked 3D fighters, some find Tekken boring to watch and just had no interest in learning it. Some may have never been introduced to the title or have any friends who play it.
Or maybe Namco Bandai did a terrible job at making the title easier to understand and pick up for newcomers. Not having any knowledge of secret moves like the Electric Wind God Fist , the art of Dashing (forward and back) or frame data and how to use it properly is a world of a difference between someone who is just trying out the game for the first time and some one who has been playing for years. Obviously that logic applies to anyone playing any game with years worth of advanced knowledge. But the problem here is that Tekken suffers from helping new players get to that point.
In order for new players to find this path, they would have to rely on random internet searches or community players. But will it ever get to that point?
Let's say a new player tries to play a match online. They get in, and ends up getting juggled and bounded for the first five games. That player never knew what they did wrong. They had no clue what their mistake
While if you were playing Street Fighter, you got hit in the face with a foot or a fireball. The player is not entirely left confused on what they did wrong. "I got his in the face with a fireball. I either need to block, fire my own or jump over." Problem solving is self evident.
At this point can Tekken ever win back the hearts of America in comparison to Capcom or 2D titles? Is this a problem for the fighting game community to fix? Is there anything Namco Bandai could do to change this?
I personally hope so. I am hands down a Tekken player. I have been playing for years and intend on playing it for many more. But because I love the game doesn't mean I cannot criticize it. It is an awful thing when you love a fighting game so much, but have no one else to play it with. I don't want Tekken to be easier, I want Namco Bandai to figure out how to entice Americans to embrace its versatility.
My question is "How?"
Or maybe you think that there is something I am missing? Let's talk about it.