Today, I was following some of the recent news in the fighting game community and notice something that has been growing in the back of my mind for some time. Before I even attempted to sit down and write something, I did talk about this topic with some of the locals in the fighting game community myself. I’ve heard somewhat of mix reviews. But overall, I think most kind of agreed with my concerns.
You see, over the past couple of months–well, maybe a year–I’ve seen the fighting game community become something great. Sure, it gets better every year, but I really think it’s taking off lately. There is a lot of good things happening and I hope it only gets better. On the other hand, the one thing I’ve noticed that prompted me to write this was with the actual coverage of the overall community. It seems we have some good outlets out there for the fighting game community. Every year, much like the community, they are growing too. Things are getting more refined and more robust. The way things should be to be honest. Yet, there is still that community coverage that’s missing from a lot of outlets amplifying the community.
What I mean is that when you look at the overall coverage of the fighting game scene, you only see a handful of people getting featured and mentions. These are normally your handful of contenders in the competitive scene. People like the Justin Wong’s, the Filipino Champ’s and the Perfect Legend’s. You know, the people doing great things in the eyes of the thousands of fans watching their every move. But, what about everyone else? What’s going down in Kansas? What about Alaska? Are there scenes out there somewhere? Who are the killers of the world? Where the hell are they hiding? They come out of nowhere wielding unused characters like M.O.D.O.K and show us how small we really are overall.
Now, before I bite off more than I can chew. Let me explain a few things to everyone simply because it can be misinterpreted.
Coverage of the contenders in the competitive scene is good. People need to highlight those beasts. It helps keep them motivated to keep playing the game and it helps keep us attracted to watching them playing that game. What I think is lacking from what is already a good thing is more coverage over the community. You know, the fans and the potential contenders of EVO 2013+. There are a lot of small-to-medium sized, maybe even larger scenes out there. Some of which we will never know unless we dig deep into the various outlets where we can find the everyday people talking about where they play. Actual raw content on a lot of the community is what I feel is really lacking.
To somewhat explain what I mean, there was a regional tournament that happened just the other week in North Carolina called, “Rock’em Sock’em“. Just saying that in your mind, “tournament in North Carolina” doesn’t really relate. It’s like two really bad foods being put together because no one actually talks about North Carolina’s scene at all. Moving on, the tournament had UVG Noel Brown and BT Dieminion come out to play among many other decent players in the area. The coverage on the tournament was pretty much non-existent even though FR Roach King took first in UMvC3 with Noel trailing behind in second and Dieminion back in 4th.
Another way to explain what I mean is just the general lack of coverage outside the pro’s who travel out to many events. It’s not exactly dry or non-existent for the community to be covered, but it’s lacking a great deal in the various media outlets that support the community. You don’t find many highlights on the various scenes on say Shoryuken or CrossCounterTv for example. You also don’t find much outside the major fighting game hubs like the West Coast or Japan and so forth in another example. It’s actually very rare you find any coverage on the community in various other examples too.
It’s Not Intentional (I hope)
To be fair, it’s not uncommon for the general happenings around the world to slip through the cracks. I don’t think the lack of coverage is intentional. When you look at other games or scenes, especially eSports, it’s hard to see the community highlights in those areas too. But on the otherhand, those are pretty large communities overall. The amount of players in other areas of gaming are pretty vast in comparison to the fighting game community. They also operate in very different forms as well. For example, the fighting game community is more reclusive and tight-knit where working together is very important for growth. The amount of players coming in are not the same as the amount of players for say, StarCraft or League of Legends. Thus, attracting new players and keeping them sticky to the competitive scene is more important in the fighting game community than relying on just the game to continue cycling in new faces all the time like in the eSports community.
It’s also hard to get that coverage up due to the limited amount of resources available to some outlets. You can’t expect everyone to fly out to every decent event and cover what’s going on. Those that are covered are normally close to home or done by someone like Level|Up who know what they are doing. Outlets rely on those guys to create the content from the events they either attend or host. Others who try to do the same, may not have as equal or of quality when doing their events to make the cut or generate enough hype to be covered. So, they generally slip though the cracks and missed by the mass audience.
That’s not to say there are no good avenues and tools to utilize to get that coverage either. Looking at Shoryuken again, they offer some great avenues and tools for anyone to utilize. They do have a platform for event promotions, foundations to meet other fighting game fans in your area and generally do their best to support who they can when they can. Lots of various avenues and lots of people are using them every day to get things done.
However, that’s just what’s under the surface. You have to dig for a good portion of the overall community. It’s very hard as a unknown to go up and get featured or mentioned on these various outlets in their main feeds. For example, I never knew North Carolina had a scene until I went up to purchase a stick from a local GameStop. A worker selling me the stick told me they do their own version of Wednesday Night Fights every week up at the local Champs. They’ve only started promoting the event on Facebook and the Shoryuken forums.
Like many others, I don’t troll those forums daily. But, I do troll the main feeds where the bulk of the content is generated. If they were highlighted elsewhere, especially CrossCounterTv (which I watch all the time during my lunch), then I might have found them sooner if they were existing before that meetup. Now I attend most Wednesday’s with other locals in North Carolina as the group known as Tierless Heroes supports their scene that may never be heard outside of the forums on Shoryuken.
To end this crazy long article, I should talk about some solutions.
It’s wrong to rant about something constructively and not provide some insight on what can be done to fix what I’m ranting about. The best suggestion I have is to start covering more of the other scenes around the world. Start exploring what’s near your scene and what’s near their scenes. Almost every scene has a few heads running things. They should be easy to target and easy to generate something from what they are doing in their areas. Expose those scenes, those heads, and get them active in the bigger picture. The more the world comes together, the better the outcome I swear. That’s what the fighting game community is all about to me. A close community standing by each other and keep things alive.
Another thing to do if you’re working with a media outlet is to look at what you’re doing already. If you are covering the community, then look at how you can emphasize on what you already doing. It won’t hurt your viewer base I swear. Highlighting those fans, those followers, has proven to be standard in almost every community out there. It’s what keeps people attached to what you are offering.
If you don’t highlight the community outside of the major competitors and news surrounding those competitors, then look to work it into what you’re doing already. Look at new features that bring people together. Pull them on your site, pull them on your shows and get them talking about what they are doing. It will inspire others to do the same and keep those guys active in doing what they are doing in their areas regardless if they generate the next Justin Wong or Perfect Legend from their scene. They still feed you with bringing in more people into the overall community and keeps them happy.
But, that’s just coming from me. I can’t consume all the content out there today, which is a very good thing. At the end of the day, I’m just a fan like everyone else.