While growing up, I idolized how well my brother played fighting games. Mortal Kombat II, Killer Instinct, and Street Fighter II were way too tough for me, but seeing Phil take on M. Bison and come out victorious, or somehow land Killer Combo after Killer Combo in KI was like watching a professional basketball player land 3-pointers one after another. I’d try my hand at the games, and while I did develop some skill (even enough in some games to overcome my brother/rival), I was never able to get where I wanted to get. And after a couple of decades I’ve added even more games to that list of games I wish I were better at. So here they are, and in no particular order, the video games I wish I were better at.
I can vividly recall playing the original Killer Instinct on the SNES with my brother, and having him try to teach me some basic combos with Orchid using the SNES Advantage controller. I got those combos down, and was able to derive skills from that basic lesson to other characters and other games entirely, but my skills in Rareware’s fighting game ended there. The newest version is exclusive to the Xbox One, which I still haven’t played, and I can only assume I’ll be just as poor at that game as the first two. The Killer Instinct games are among the only games I know I cannot beat my brother. That jerk.
League of Legends
League of Legends is nothing short of a phenomenon in gaming. The MOBA genre has cropped up in ESPN, mutli-million dollar tournaments are held worldwide each year, and if you’re not a fan of LOL you can also try the equally popular DOTA 2, Heroes of the Storm, or any of the handful of others. For me, though, I haven’t bothered getting into them. It’s not that I don’t like MOBA’s, in fact it’s far from it: multiple characters, team based mechanics, and heavy RPG elements are everything I’d want in a game. But now that there’s such a huge following I don’t even know if I want to start. I’d be so unskilled I’d get ridiculed for sure. And I’m not about to do that. Instead I’ll just pass on these amazing games. At least for the time being.
Super Smash Bros.
I was a huge fan of the Super Smash Bros series when it first came out. My friends and I would play the original N64 game constantly after school and during the weekends. And Melee was one of the reasons I truly wanted a GameCube. I had some extensive skills in the GameCube game, easily overpowering all my friends and even winning a local 50-man tournament with Link. But once the game took off competitively and especially after Brawl came out on Wii, I lost touch with the competitive side. Now with the online matches of the Wii U and 3DS versions, my lackluster skill is on display for the whole world. The worst part about this is the fandom of my friends: everyone who plays multiplayer is insanely competitive. No one seems to just want to play to have fun and slap each other silly anymore. It’s all about wave dashing, tier fighting, and no items. And I scoff at this change. Scoff most foul!
When Demon’s Souls released on PS3 back in 2009 I gave it a shot and was completely taken aback by how challenging it was. Unforgiving might be the better term. I died, like many a gamer, quite a lot. And after overcoming the first boss I decided the game wasn’t for me. Then a really strange thing happened: a bunch of sequels were made! And people were in love with them, calling Dark Souls and Dark Souls II some of the greatest games of the generation. And here I was hating on the game because it threw me to the dogs and never looked back. With the previous entries here I at least have a passing interest in playing them to get better, but with the Souls games I don’t even want to try because I know what it’ll mean getting into.
Another game that has become a worldwide sensation, StarCraft II is a strategy game by Blizzard. I played and greatly enjoyed the first game, and consider its predecessor the WarCraft series as some of the greatest games I’ve every played. That being said, I never played StarCraft II. I think when it came out I just didn’t have time so it bypassed me. And on top of that, while playing the original StarCraft way late into its life, I had my ass handed to me on a plate playing online. I mean handed to me: I lost so handily you’d think it was my purpose in life. To that extent, I’m afraid to even start playing SC2. Hell, even the single player frightens me. One of these days, perhaps closer to StarCraft III, I’ll give this one a go.
Mortal Kombat X
I used to fancy myself an MK enthusiast. During it’s peak in the 90s, I was able to run a killer Scorpion in MKII, a decent Cyrax in UMK3, and a pretty solid Reptile in MK4. Then, when the series shifted away from the arcades, I started to stray away as well. In 2009 when Mortal Kombat released and teased a game similar to the mechanics of MKII, I was on board. And while the game delivered on most all those promises of playing like the older games, I wasn’t where I wanted to be in terms of skills. Now Mortal Kombat X is out, and I feel even more washed up than before. I don’t feel like I need to be good at these games, I just feel like I want to be good at them in case I need to show off my skills in some situation. Nothing’s more lame than a poor Scorpion player.
Ultra Street Fighter IV
There’s a trend here for sure: Games have later sequels that I don’t have as much time to dedicate to and I wish I did. While I was never too great at Street Fighter II, I did fancy myself pretty good at SFIII as well as the Capcom vs. series and maybe even Alpha 3. Then Street Fighter IV dropped, and I developed a fairly decent Ken all things considered (I was in my third year of college). Sadly though, I wasn’t able to hang on to that skill for long, as after a few months players were able to get way better at the game and leave me in dust. The pinnacle came when I was defeated decidedly by a friend who was just learning the game. I was broken, defeated, destroyed, and there was no going back. That being said, I’m hyped for Street Fighter V. Hopefully it’ll be a new starting point for me to get good at the game.
Any First-Person Shooter
Don’t get me wrong here: I’m good at many an FPS. Seeing as there are dozens of new, competitive First-Person Shooters released every year however, I can’t keep up. That, and I kind of despise the rise of the FPS, the prominence of Call of Duty and the like, and how stale the genre has gotten. When the shooter genre was rising in the late 90s/early 00s I was there in the thick of it, loving me some GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Halo, and even Team Fortress 2 on PC. But after years of constant releases and a diverse palette for games, I couldn’t justify playing nothing but FPSs, so I jumped onto new, different games while the world seemed obsessed with headshots. If I had more skill though, I’d love to jump back into the old days of dominating folks, surrounded by the immediate joy of getting a kill streak, grabbing a shotgun, or joining a team with way more skill than the other. Kind of makes this list come full circle, doesn’t it?
There you have it, a small collection of games I wish I were better at playing. Some of them competitive in nature, some not. What games would you put on your list? Let me know in the comments below so we can share in our sadness.