If shopping on Amazon has taught us anything, it’s that people love sifting through reviews before deciding to plunk down their hard earned cash. And, still, there’s those of us wild enough to throw the caution of a 2.5 star rated product to the wind and order anyway.
What separates these two individuals? More disposable income? Doubtful. It’s more likely to do with how they approach situations.
After all, someone way smarter than me said, “how you do anything, is how you do everything.”
This approach style is very similar to how people approach learning new skillsets. And, can often be the reason why most quit before they even really get started…
Do you remember the last time you started learning something new?
Did you research and plan before you started? Or, did you just dive right in and learn along the way?
We can call these two types of beginning learners, the analytical and the purely present or impulsive.
First, let’s take a look at the analytical player in terms of fighting games. New game drops, new characters are here… what does the analytical player do first? Load up the game? Nah…that’s too impulsive.
They go to Grandmaster YouTube of course. An abundant resource of edutainment to help drive them towards a decision because after all…they want to make the “right” decision.
The analytical player starts by going down a rabbit hole, researching the mechanics of the game, watching matches, and soaking in knowledge about “how to choose a main”.
Along the way, their mind is flooded with options, techniques, and combos.
Once they finally get in the game with an array of information swirling, do they go straight into a match? Fat chance. Most likely, they’re hitting tutorial mode to get their foundation skills 101 before ever setting foot on the digital battleground.
What about the impulsive or purely present player?
Well, they may start off with some YouTube videos too, but once they see something cool…they’re ready to jump in and execute no matter how hard of a technique or combination that was for a beginner.
Game loads…do they go to tutorial mode first? Ha, only if the game forces them. Otherwise, they’re heading right into Arcade mode to battle against the CPU or, if they truly laugh at caution while swiping away the yellow tape lazily blocking their entrance, they go right to online battles.
They pick that character they thought looked super cool, set away at hitting buttons against their digital opponent, and just start figuring out what to do. An impulsive player is purely reactionary to the stimulus on the screen. The more buttons the better.
Ok, but which of these two learning methods is better?
The answer…I’m sure you could have seen this coming a mile away, it’s both.
Both of these beginner players have one thing in common in the beginning (and sometimes for a lifetime of playing…), they’re both going to be mashers.
Mashers just hit buttons and hit a lot of them. But, what causes someone to mash?
Well, panic could be one issue… But, panic sets in because you’re unfamiliar with what to do. Here’s how that looks in the eyes of each type of player:
The analytical person is overwhelmed by the sheer options available to them. They’re not comfortable yet with how to execute most of those techniques Grandmaster YouTube tried to show them. So, the default? Let’s hit some buttons…better than not hitting buttons, right? 😬
The purely present player doesn’t have to worry about all the options because they haven’t learned about them yet. Instead, they see that their opponent is doing things: setting up attacks, throwing out fireballs, and chaining moves together. What’s the best response? Surely, not to block…more buttons!
Okay, so both can have their cons…But, what are the pros and how do we find a happy medium?
Well, it revolves around keeping things simple and knowing what your goal is.
If your goal is just to play, by all means…hop in and hit buttons.
If your goal is to learn and improve…well you should still hop in and hit buttons, but maybe before you do, you go to practice mode and hit buttons there first.
Maybe, after playing a match, you think about some of the moves you performed or saw, and want to learn how to be more consistent with those… So back to practice mode, and perform that move, 10…20…30 times.
Practice mode isn’t the most glamorous aspect of fighting games, but it is where we get to overcome the panic, refine our execution, and learn more about how we ourselves play the game.
So at the end of the day, whichever type of beginning gamer you are, just remember one thing.
Being either analytical or purely present is just fine. Just don’t forget to try the other side of the coin every once in a while.
If you overwhelm yourself with options, you may shy away from playing. And, if you never learn the options or consequences, you may also find yourself growing frustrated and then not playing.
No matter your approach, find solace in the other style of learning. You may find you learn more from stepping outside your comfort zone.