Artwork #2: Speak Fighter

by | Oct 21, 2021 | Artwork #2: Appropriate, Projects

Requirements for Speak Fighter:
A fighting game (this specific version uses Street Fighter 2 for the SNES)
Two controllers
Four players, these players do not need to know how to play fighting games, it is possibly better if they do not

The players will divide into two teams. One member of the team will be the fighter who uses the controller but is not allowed to see the screen. The other team member will be the coach who can see the screen and gives the fighter information in order to win. The coach and fighter can only give information to each other in coded language. For instance, the coach can say, “you need to do the right thing,” in order to communicate that the player needs to move right, but the coach could not say, “go to the right,” as that makes the information too obvious. I suggest asking for examples of movie genres or television shows before the players compete and using one of the suggestions as a theme for how the players can communicate. For example, players could only be able to communicate as though they were in a western and would need to speak in an accent and use language associated with westerns.

Artist’s Statement:
This piece definitely change a lot from what I had initially intended. My original inspiration was based on a thought I had about how I found that using fighting game terminology to refer to things that had nothing to do with fighting games was incredibly funny. This thought spawned the concept of a fighting game that you played only by speaking, possibly using syllables as a means to simulate frame data or requiring players to complete a full argument to win. This idea proved to be far too abstract and complicated for this project, so I changed the concept a bit. My new goal was to create a fighting game with a verbal component, possibly requiring players to talk to each other while playing or only being able to attack while speaking. I had been watching speedruns of blindfolded Punch-Out!! for the NES which made me want to add a hidden information element to the game. I was also inspired by the boxer/coach relationship present in that game which made me consider adding other players to guide the fighters. Additionally, games such as the version of Tekken where taking damage was simulated using actual pain impacted the thought process for designing this project. This project, however, was intended to be a new way to experience trying to play Street Fighter rather than feeling a more literal impact from having played Tekken. This culminated in the original prototype of the game and also informs the language I use to refer to the players. The coded language was an attempt to maintain a verbal detachment from fighting games where now instead of fighting game terminology would be applied to non-fighting games, non-fighting game terminology would be applied to fighting games. Additionally, the sit down and play environment and improvisation required reminded me of the show Whose Line Is It Anyway. This directly inspired the optional rule to ask for a communication theme for the players to abide by in the same way that the host of the show would. In the final iteration, players and coaches sat facing each other which came about organically, as it was not a requirement for play in any of the rules. This solidified player groups as a team due to the direct contact that they had.

Speak Fighter: The Movie

It’s also worth noting that the players were instructed to speak as though they were in a Marvel movie in the attached video.