The Fighting Game Diaries: I’m (Not) Having Fun

This blog is fast becoming the Strive blog. I’m meant to be doing the end of year list and all of that, but I keep playing Strive and I want to continue writing about Strive, so here we are. I’m still playing in the Tower with Baiken, and when I go to the Park I’m messing around with different characters. Let’s start with the Tower.

When I last talked about the Tower I had got to the eighth floor, which I thought was too high for me, and I had got a bit lucky. I think I was right as after that I went down to seven, and then down to six before returning to seven and then going back down to six before returning to seven. All of this is to say that I have plateaued.

I’m going to focus on the final fall from and return to seven. Because it encompasses the whole process. I got off to a good start – won like 7 out of 9 or something like that. Then I went on a skid and before I knew it I was on the verge of being demoted. And then I chose to fight a Nagoriyuki – good job me.

Back to six. After fighting another Baiken who was far, far better than me I wallowed for a bit. Then I did something – I got on with it. Yes, I’m back at six. But moping about being at six was not going to solve anything at all. I know that I can get past floor six so let’s do it. Again, I went on a tear and this time, I saw it through. I got the promotion and since then I’ve been thinking about what to do next. Bouncing between six and seven isn’t something I want to keep doing. Eventually, I would like to advance. So, what to do?

I do want to focus on the good thing – I encountered a setback, and I overcame it. That’s good – while I’m not where I want to be I did make sure that I did not moan and bitch and say so and so match up needs nerfing – I got on with it and achieved something. Good stuff.

Now though? I suspect it’s time to hit the replay booth and look at those matches that got me sent down. What went wrong? What didn’t I do? What should I have done? Where am I deficient? What did the opponent do that I did not counter? In the midst of this I should also point out things I do well – some positivity in what will be a sea of negativity won’t go amiss. I also think I’ll need to take notes – it’s going to be hard remembering everything otherwise.

I do want to reinforce that I am having fun amidst all of this. Learning new things and overcoming new challenges is fun. And when I do get better, all of this will have contributed to this.

Let’s head off to the park. Whenever I try a new character in Strive, I go to the park and start pressing buttons. I do take a look at the move list, but I try to get right in there and see what it feels like to fight people. I’ve done this with Baiken (now my main), Testament (only once but fun), Potemkin (didn’t go great, admittedly) Goldlewis Dickinson (lots of losing but fun – nailing a Behemoth Typhoon is one of gamings great satisfactions) and Bridget. Let’s focus on Bridget.

Bridget (level 1) fought a level 82 Testament (1 – 10), a level 72 Axel (3 – 8) and a level 32 Baiken (5 – 2) in one session. After this I went to bed. Except I could not sleep. Not because of anything bad, because I was so excited about playing as Bridget. It’s a long time since a game made me feel like that – so excited I could not sleep. Even running a bare bones Bridget move set was a blast.

A few days later I played against a level 1 Ramlethal and went 5 – 0. I’m pretty sure the other person was brand new – a level 1, floor 5 no badges. It was weird being the one in the park who was in control and winning. And seeing mistakes that I used to (okay, still do from time to time) make. Mashing on wake up, trying to mash out of pressure – when Bridget’s Yo-yo is shooting from two miles away that is tricky. Getting caught from the air a lot – seeing that stuff from the other side was eye opening. I hope that person keeps playing – the journey is rewarding, and towards the end of the set (I had to leave for Christmas dinner), they were picking up on stuff.

After glancing at the move set before I did all of this, and what I remembered over time were the basics (normals and command normals). In addition, I remembered how to throw the yo-yo forwards and upwards – I forgot which did damage on the way out and the way in though. Beyond that, I forgot how to Blanka ball. I forgot to Kick Start my Heart. At least consistently. It came out every once in a while. I forgot both Supers. I forgot to Dragon Punch. I essentially forgot most things aside from the basics. And I still had fun, and considering who I was up against, managed to sneak in wins and close rounds.

Bridget is different from Baiken in a lot of ways, both mechanically and stylistically. Bridget’s attack range is much longer than that of Baiken – Kabari can only dream of having the range of Bridget’s Yo-yo. Bridget (gender dysphoria crisis aside) is much more easier going than Baiken. Just look at the idle animations – Bridget’s vibing. Pure vibing. Baiken is forward facing, constantly expecting a scuffle. It’s fun seeing the difference between them – I’ve not got a proper second character, but I’m digging Bridget more and more. She feels like a good complement to Baiken. Also has an absolute banger of a song. That counts for a lot.

Also, her butt slam attack is hilarious.


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