Artwork #2: Spam Fighter

by | Oct 21, 2016 | Artwork #2: Appropriate

Fighting games are some of the most competitive games out there, as such, there are a bunch of implicit rules in place in order to keep the competition fair and exclusive to “pros”. What I mean by that is that these rules require an intense understanding of the game’s mechanics, and any player that is trying to learn the ropes is ostracized. One of these rules involves the action of “Spamming”, or repeatedly using a strong move to gain an advantage instead of utilizing combos or other tools. Spamming is looked down upon in numerous fighting game communities, but nowhere is it more widely used than in the Street Fighter series. That’s where the idea for this project stemmed. I looked at the game “Street Fighter II”, arguably the most well-known of the series, and thought: “What would happen if all you could fight with was projectiles?” So, I recreated the code as best as I could and left only projectile attacks for the players. I made only one hit be the win condition for the project because the projectiles consistently collide and destroy each other as they do in the real game, and having to repeatedly hit the opponent without colliding with another projectile could get a bit tedious.

From the start, I wanted to do a digital project for this assignment, so my first theorized approach to appropriation was taking assets from a previously made game and reusing them in a different context, similar to Cory Arcangel’s “Super Mario Clouds”. I remembered seeing a play-through of the indie game “DiveKick”, a fighting game where all you could do was jump and kick and one hit was all it took to win, and I wondered how I could do something similar in a way that fit the theme of the assignment. I knew that limiting to a physical attack would be too obvious for this project, I needed to limit gameplay to a move that isn’t supposed to be used every 5 seconds. Projectiles came to me pretty quickly, and I knew Street Fighter would be relatively easy to recreate in a Unity Engine, and I completed the first prototype in about 2 days.

Play-testing for this project occurred over two sessions. For the first session in a class, I had the two players sit down and read the instructions before playing. They appeared to have fun during the session, though they were a bit confused by the controls the first couple of rounds they played. They got the hang of it, and reception was overall positive saying how they enjoyed the fact that the only move you could do was projectiles. Of course, the two were not avid fighting game players, so how effective it would be on more experienced players was still up in the air. The second session was with two more “hardcore” fighting game players, I explained the rules and they began play. They too caught on to the controls quickly, and got very competitive over it, yelling expletives at each other and hastily trying to be the fastest button pushers. It reminded me of a real competition for Super Smash Brothers I’d participate in during my Freshman year. Overall, I think it captured the idea behind my project quite well, as the players were able to have fun despite the constant spamming. There was no elitism over “the right way to play”, there was just two players trying to win, and that’s all competition’s supposed to be about.



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