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The Top 5 Gateway Characters for New Players in Street Fighter 4

Full Oni A-Rank Grind Match Analyses

The Street Fighter's Guide to Smash

Metal Plays Zelda -- The Short(er) Cut

SF4 - The Book of Oni - a quick guide to playing Oni

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Diablo 3 - BELL SPAM Monk - 10 Minute Inferno Act 3 Azmodan Speed Run

Diablo 3 - Monk Tank (Fire) - Act 3 Inferno Farming Tutorial / Guide - 1.0.4

Guild Wars 2 - All You Didn't Want to Know

Diablo 3 - WE DROPPIN' BELLS - How to drop GIANT FREAKING BELLS (Monk tutorial)

The Secret World

Diablo 3 - Monk Tank (Dodge) - Act 2 Inferno Farming Guide

Diablo 3: Monk Dodge/Backlash DPS Act 1 Inferno Video Guide

Diablo 3: Demon Hunter Theory Crafting

Diablo 3: Monk Tank Inferno Butcher Solo Video Guide

Regarding No Gems at Evo 2012 for SFxT

My favorite Skyrim mods and why the Steam Workshop is awesome

PC is not the leading platform?

Crysis 2

Crash 'N The Boys: Street Challenge

Brawl: How to pick up a lot of basics QUICK

Who says video games don't help you?

Brawl: Be diverse, it could win you a tournament

Brawl: A good move at the wrong time is a BAD move

Killing Floor

Brother's in Arms: Hell's Highway

Further anti-MMO Rantings and Quake Live love

Resident Evil 5

Quake Live is Going to Revolutionize PC Gaming

Blizzcon, a first hand experience

Dual Game Review: Braid & Castle Crashers

First Thoughts: Too Human

Metal Gear Solid 4 Review

A Plan to Fix PC Gaming

Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit)

Let's Talk Fighting Games, Let's Talk Smash Bros.

Audiosurf

Crysis

Metroid Prime 3

The Console War and why it's a Joke

Music Articles
Parkway Drive - Atlas

What Mike William's has been up to - from Metal to something entirely different

Ill Niño - Dead New World

Atreyu - Congregation of the Damned

Yoggi's Albums of the Year - 2009 Edition

Marilyn Manson - The High End of Low

Two Tongues

Bleeding Through - Declaration

AmazonMP3.com - The best thing that has ever happened to digital music

Yoggi's Top 2 Albums of 2008

Metallica - Death Magnetic

Nadja - The Bungled and the Botched

36 Crazyfists - The Tide and Its Takers

Noodles - The Best You Never Heard

Say Anything - In Defense of Genre

She Wants Revenge - This is Forever

Akercocke - Antichrist

Agalloch - The White (EP)

Atreyu - Lead Sails, Paper Anchor

All That Remains - The Fall of Ideals

Parkway Dirve - Horizons

Bleed the Sky - Paradigm in Entropy

Mushroomhead - Savior Sorrow

Atreyu - A Deathgrip on Yesterday

Dresdin Dolls - Yes, Virginia

The Angelic Process - Weighing Souls with Sand

The Birthday Massacre - Walking with Strangers

Insomnium - Above the Weeping World

Parkway Drive - Killing with a Smile

Jack Off Jill - Clear Hearts, Grey Flowers

Band Overview: Thrice

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I Love You, Man

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Insulting Religion, by Pat Condell

The Great Jesus Swindle, by Pat Condell

Declare yourself!

"Feminism" is retarded

BALLS!

Taking a game's bad story seriously is freaking stupid

Epicurus and the existence of God and Good & Evil  

Microsoft's Hilarious Attempt to Debunk Internet Explorer "Myths"

Rupert Murdoch is a Moron

Study shows that 20% of all statistics are made up

That one time when I almost killed all of my friends at once

Creationism?

Sara Palin... /sigh

Affliction Brand Clothing is so HARDCORE!!!

Never mosh on asphalt or oogle a trailer whore's tatoo

Take your Windows XP and get a room, jesus

Hooray for Internet Explorer!

The Bible: fiction!

Rawr! Conservative Gay-Phobia!

Intel's "Mistake" (Racism?)

The Night of Debauchery

People who can't take responsibility for their own actions

Expel Dane Cook from the Human Race

A Night of Strange Coincidences and Sexual Tension

Shut Up About Vista Sucking

Marine Recruiters

Uncessarily Inspirational Music for My Everyday Life

Foreign Bodies?

The Random Party at My Cousin Jesse's House

Short Stories
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Clarify

The Ballad of the Wiggly Clan (Pt 2)

The Ballad of the Wiggly Clan (Pt 1)

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Tears

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Truth

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Wind

Fire

Relapse of My Promise

Thine Eyes

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Ode to the Fallen/Remembering

The Passing of Nikolaus

Separating Myself

What I found

Prose / Essays
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America was Founded on Religion, and Other Lies Told to You

A Future not so Far

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Twas the night before Christmas (MMM.com edition)

The Ballad of Will and Kolby

Happy Face Pony

Graphic Art
Oryan - Photoshop Colorization / Shading

Ocean Wallpaper

A Few Signatures

Some Ads and Signage

Tech Articles
Razer Mamba Promises "Gaming Grade Wireless" with a Twist

Blackberry Storm - Overview

Android and the Google Phone

Is that new video card really the best bang for your buck?

Review: Microsoft Zune 2.0 80GB

Early experiences with Windows Vista 64-bit

Review: Toshiba Gigabeat 60GB MP3 Player MES60VK

July 21, 2014, 08:27:30 AM by MetalMusicMan in Street Fighter
My idea is to have a go-to guide / tutorial / resource for Street Fighter beginners and intermediates that is as concise and easily digestible as possible. Hopefully I achieve that and these videos help people Smiley  This took FOREVER! So glad I finally finished it!

The USF4 Guidebook - Part 1: The Basics
The USF4 Guidebook - Part 1: The Basics - Guide / Tutorial

The USF4 Guidebook - Part 2: Intermediate
The USF4 Guidebook - Part 2: Intermediate - Guide / Tutorial

Reddit /r/sf4 post: http://www.reddit.com/r/SF4/comments/2b8rfd/the_usf4_guidebook_parts_1_2_beginner_and/


January 13, 2014, 10:18:07 AM by MetalMusicMan in Creativity
Subreddit /r/WritingPrompts recently posed the question:

"A Man gets to paradise. Unfortunately, Lucifer won the War in Heaven ages ago. What is the man's experience like?"

/u/DrowningDream posted a damn-awesome short story based on that question, I really enjoyed it and I hope you all do too Smiley



Quote from: DrowningDream
"Pizza? I didn't think there'd be pizza in heaven," Jim said.

"Why not? Pizza is the shit," the angel said.

"And cursing. And beer? Is that beer?"

In fact, the table was laid out with all the things Jim loved. Chicken wings, malt whiskey, chilly fries, club sandwiches, those little wieners wrapped in bacon. Over the table hung a cage where two beautiful women danced naked to 90's alternative. The angel saw him gazing.

"You can have them after dinner," he said.

"Are they being punished?" Jim asked. He was a man, through and through, but he didn't like the idea of raping someone in paradise.

"Punished? Is that what you think we do here? They love it. Some women like to party. We don't hold that against them. Cherry there has been welcoming our new guests for two hundred years." The angel leaned close with a knowing smile. "There are no anal fissures in heaven, so go wild."

Jim coughed. "So uh, well . . ." He coughed again. "What are the uh, ground rules?"

"Ground rules?"

"Like, what's the forbidden fruit? What's the catch around here?"

"No catches. The boss doesn't care for rules. Everybody gets in, and everybody gets what they desire. Let's say you were a Christian all your life, well I'd be all shiny and I'd take you on the holy tour, you'd get to look down at hell and pity the damned, that sort of thing. If you're Jim from Tennessee, you get chicken wings and bitches."

"Huh," Jim said. "You know, I never really believed in this place, but I figured, if it was there, it'd be a little more uptight."

"Not since Lucy reclaimed the throne."

"Lucy?"

"Lucifer. He's Lucy now. Or she's Lucy now. We're all a little confused. But hey, more power to him if that's what gets her off."

"Lucifer?! Lucifer is in charge of heaven?"

Jim knocked over his beer in surprise. The angel was laughing heartily.

"Oh, the shock on your faces, it never gets old! Yes, Lucifer fought a last resistance a very long time ago. He crushed the Usurper handily. As the Usurper fell, he passed through earth, and it was in retaliation that he saddled you guys with all those ridiculous books and laws."

"No shit."

"No shit."



Jim pulled out from long years of habit. To his surprise, he orgasmed a slice of apple pie, complete with a fork and a dapple of cream.

"Sorry," Cherry said. She took a bite and melted with satisfaction. "I really love pie after sex."

"No, that was awesome." Jim was looking in awe at his penis. In Tennessee, whatever came out of it was generally a nuisance. It certainly hadn't been pie.

Cherry laughed. "It takes a little getting used to."

"Yeah, I guess it does."

He lay down on his back with his hands clasped behind his head. While Cherry enjoyed her dessert, he tried to bring the last several hours into focus.

"So, you heard the angel and me talking, right?"

"Sure."

"About Lucy and the resistance and all that?"

"Yeah."

"Is that what he told you?"

"What do you mean?"

Jim had never given these sorts of things much thought, so he had difficulty articulating the funny feeling in his brain. He looked at Cherry's breasts, ran a finger down her back, watched her eat the pie. Paradise . . .

"I mean, if part of this place is hearing what you want to hear, how do you know what's what? How do we know what's true?"

Cherry swallowed and shook her fork. "Oh yeah, the paradox thingy. You know, it's been a long time since I thought about it. You're pretty quick to grab it so fast. It'll bother you for a while, but when you get to live the way you want to live the whole truth thing just kind of goes out the window. I mean, who cares?"

"But, what if what you want is the truth? Like, is there a truth?"

She held up the pie. "This is the fucking truth, honey." The way she said it, he found difficulty finding any fault with it. Still, he was bothered, and he didn't think a person should feel bothered in heaven.

"What if this is really hell? What if somebody really is looking down, pitying us?" he wondered aloud.



The walls began to shake.

"Wow, that really must be bothering you," Cherry said.

"What? Why? What's happening?" Jim was on his feet now. "Is this bad?"

"Lucy's coming. She comes around when the paradox gets to you. Don't worry, she's super nice. Tell her you like her dress."

"What?"

There was a warbling, pixelating whoomf and a beautiful woman stepped out of a hole in the wall. When the hole closed, the room shuddered back to solid.

"Cherry!" the woman exclaimed. "You indigo slut, it's been ages! How are you!"

The two of them hugged. Jim stood naked and speechless.

"This is Jim," Cherry said, after a few more obligatory exchanges. "He's worried about the whole where am I thing."

"Jim." Lucy held out her hand. The nails were painted, the fingers were milk white.

"I - I like your dress," Jim said.

Lucy's laughter was sudden, honest, and contagious. Soon all three of them were laughing. Jim began to feel embarrassed he had been taking things so seriously.

"Well, I do hate these formalities," Lucy said, drawing a card from her blouse, "but there is bureaucracy even here." She handed him the card. "If you ever want to know the truth, just find the address on the card there. They'll fill you in on everything."

"Really?" Jim said, taken aback. "Just like that?"

"Well . . ."

Aha! Jim's head rejoiced. A catch! Finally a damn catch. It eased his mind immensely just knowing there was something up.

"If you go to the truth, you can't come back." Lucy's frown was sexual. Everything about her was sexual.

"You can't come back? Why?"

"I can't tell you that. It's part of the truth."

Jim looked at the card. It was nothing but TRUTH in capital letters, under which read the enticing address, 1 Truth Road.

Lucy's hand was on his arm. He hadn't noticed her approach. When he looked up there was intensity in her eyes. It thrilled him. She spoke softly.

"My advice is always the same. You have an eternity to enjoy yourself. The truth can wait."

He was in her mouth before he knew what was happening. It was pleasure beyond anything he'd ever known. When he finished, and Lucy took her leave, he and Cherry shared the bucket of chicken wings.



It took Jim 376 years to get bored. He stood at 1 Truth Road, thinking it was funny how small the building was.

When he walked in, the man behind the reception desk smiled.

"You seek the truth?" the man said.

"I suppose I do," Jim said.

"If you don't mind, there's a series of questions I'd like to ask you. This is completely optional, but your honest answers help us improve paradise."

Jim shrugged. "Shoot."

"How would you rate your overall experience? These are all one to ten, by the way."

"Ten."

"How helpful was our staff?"

"Ten."

"The weather?"

"Ten."

"The event center?"

"Ten."

"The wi-fi?"

"You know what, just put me down for ten on everything."

The man nodded knowingly. It took him a good five minutes to fill in all the tens, and Jim was glad he made the request.

"If you don't mind my asking, if everything is a ten, why leave?" the man asked.

"I could go for a few sevens."

"Fair enough. Just go down that hall, and you're looking for the second door on the right. Good luck."

He found the room easily enough. It was smaller than the main lobby, but with the same setup. It was mostly white, and there was a man behind a desk and a single chair in front of it. Jim blinked a few times. It was the same man.

"Take a seat."

"You're the same guy," Jim said.

"I run things around here. Go ahead, sit down. Alright, so before we proceed I have to make sure you understand this all correctly. For starters, once you find out the truth, you know that you can't go back?"

"I do."

"And you know that you're leaving of your own free will, that you aren't compelled in any way to leave?"

"Well, I can only assume that, really."

"Good enough. And the last thing, you're aware that billions of souls are perfectly happy to be happy in spite of the paradox?"

"I am."

"Great. Now, as for the truth. For the last 376 years, you have been living in paradise, and paradise is awesome."

That's all he said. He said it as if that was all that needed saying. For the first time in a long time, Jim was angry.

"That's not enough," he said through clenched teeth.

"I'm afraid it never is." The man nodded.

"What about God? The Devil? Heaven and Hell and right versus wrong? Who runs this place? Where is it?"

"Oh. Really? That's not even part of the paradox. God and the Devil are the same thing, and this where people go when they die. That's all pretty much obvious."

"But, but . . ." Had he made a mistake coming here? He suddenly wanted nothing more than to step back into the orgy's oblivion. "But what about, I mean, who's right?"

The man spread his hands. His face was brutally sincere. "If you can't ask a meaningful question I can't help you," he said.

Jim was speechless. He had no idea what question to ask. All those years, the chicken, the women, the booze, he always just figured the truth was sitting here on a silver platter, waiting for him. God and the Devil are the same person? What kind of truth was that?

"The exit is through that door," the man said.

It was a plain door.

"What's on the other side?"

"I have no idea."

"What??! This is 1 Truth Road! I'm giving up Paradise for this. The fuck you don't know what's on the other end of a goddamn door!"

"I never went through it."

"Then you don't know the truth!"

"I told you the truth."

"What about the door?"

"That's where you leave."

"What's behind it?"

"I don't have a clue."

"Jesus Christ!"

"Not really."

Jim went to the door and threw it open. Before he went in, he looked back one last time.

"At least give me this. What's the point of this place? 1 Truth Road. It sure as hell ain't the truth."

The man shrugged. "It wouldn't be paradise with you moping around."

Jim fell through the door.


January 07, 2014, 03:51:38 PM by MetalMusicMan in Street Fighter
Pretty awesome stuff from Necro Phagos, his program lets you build combos and then set audio to specific buttons so you can learn the timing of combos via audio ques.  You can even save your combos as .cmb files so you can upload them for others to use!  All you need to get started is a copy of Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition 2012 for PC and then his small 300kb program.

Download the program here, and here are some Oni Combos that I made.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cgYgKf4dFY" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cgYgKf4dFY</a>

Quote from: Necro Phagos
I hope the video explained everything okay. If the program somehow acts weirdly check again if you have configured your sf keyboard1 settings the way the video explained.

Troubleshooting:
Some people have problems getting it to work. This will be improved in further version but until now I'll have you know the following info.

the program doesn't measure time but instead uses the internal framecounter of sf4. which means the program won't work when. sf is not running, sf is not inside a match or training, sf is paused and saddly also when the graphic setting for stage quality is set to low (it somehow moves around some internal memory stuff)


Via Necro Phagos from /r/SF4 on Reddit.


January 03, 2014, 11:33:15 PM by MetalMusicMan in Gaming
Let's Play Black Mesa - Part 5: The Return
Let's Play Black Mesa - Part 5: The Return


Let's Play Black Mesa - Part 6: Peters, you son of a bitch!
Let's Play Black Mesa - Part 6: Peters, you son of a bitch!


December 01, 2013, 05:39:59 PM by MetalMusicMan in Music
Insomnium released a new single with some instrumental bonus tracks and it's awesome!  Stoked for the new album, One For Sorrow was amazing so I'm ready for the next chapter Smiley

Insomnium - Ephemeral - Full EP


November 26, 2013, 09:25:44 AM by MetalMusicMan in Creativity
The Diablo II: Lord of Destruction Ladder is resetting TODAY!  If you've been hankering for loot, why not fireup the best loot grinder of all time and make a character on the freshly reset ladder?  For those unaware, Battle.net Ladders force everyone to create a new character from scratch and remove all existing characters from the server.  This means no existing items / economy, so trading is much more fresh and fun Smiley


http://i.imgur.com/OOA8QzF.jpg
Here's a sweet Logical Fallacies wallpaper from /u/HastyUsernameChoice. He's also got a website where you can download a free vector file for printing or order a print for $20.


"Nightblade" is a really awesome collection of Skyrim screenshots that tells a pretty cool narrative.  /u/granpappy is a photographer and it really comes through in his screenshots.


September 02, 2013, 04:38:03 PM by MetalMusicMan in Street Fighter
This is probably the best documentary on Street Fighter and ALL of its aspects that I've come across.  It covers the competitive side, the casual side, art, the game history, development, cosplay, collectors, you name it.  Really great stuff.

I Am Street Fighter - 25th Anniversary Documentary


September 02, 2013, 03:40:50 PM by MetalMusicMan in Street Fighter
SF4 PC - FT10 vs Engravings (Vega)

Regarding the weird/abrupt starting point of the video: About 20 seconds into the first game, my OBS got disconnected from Twitch and I think my internet cut out for a second because the game lagged really hard. Because of this, the Twitch archive got segmented into 2 pieces. I didn't really see a point to uploading the first part since all it had was 5-10 minutes of waiting for the set to begin.

Other than that, everything went very smoothly throughout the set with no technical issues Smiley  Good games to Engravings, it was a blast!

Engravings's Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ENGRVSGaming



Engravings just uploaded his side of the FT10:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-vqgEwNWoU" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-vqgEwNWoU</a>


August 25, 2013, 03:36:06 PM by MetalMusicMan in Street Fighter
Crosscounter.tv recently had an overhaul, and it looks like all of the articles have been lost or are down at least for now. I've archived the article that I wrote for new players below.

- MetalMusicMan



http://www.metalmusicman.com/files/pictures/sf4-gateway-article/banner.jpg


One of the hardest things about picking up a fighting game is the beginning. Many players linger in the beginning stages of their competitive understanding of a game for months, even years. Some players spend their entire competitive gaming experiences jumping from title to title looking for a game that fits them, while never truly transitioning beyond a beginner’s level of understanding in any of the games that they try out. A lack of intelligence or comprehension isn’t what holds these players back, but rather, direction.

Despite its popularity, Street Fighter 4 is no exception.  Even though the game has been out since 2008, many players are still stuck in a rut and struggling to understand the basics of the game.  There are countless written guides, video tutorials, and archives of tournament footage available, yet many players still struggle… how can this be?

With any matured competitive game, the wealth of information available and the average level of understanding in the community can actually be a hindrance to new players at first; they are literally overwhelmed by all of the information that gets thrown at them and they become bewildered and unsure of which information is practical for them at their current level of understanding. Without being certain of which direction to pursue, players often end up in an endless loop of trying new techniques or characters and quickly dropping them when they don’t work out, moving on to the next character or strategy in hopes that it will make more sense.

The way out of this rut is to find the most basic and fundamental aspects of a game and stick with them. Once a basic understanding of a game’s fundamentals has been established, players can graduate and branch out into more diverse territories. Attaining this understanding generally boils down to one thing: defense. Despite this, it’s safe to say that most players prefer offense to defense. Offense is usually very visually flashy, which understandably makes it more appealing. But to make offense work, a player must know how to open the opponent up and expose weaknesses, which requires an intricate understanding of defense. Thus, a player cannot properly aggress if they don’t first know how to defend. Simple, defensive play is often thought of as “boring” or “unskilled”, which causes many new players to overlook it and gravitate towards flashier, more offensive characters. While desiring to play a complex and aggressive character is a fine goal, it’s a very poor starting point. Nonetheless, many new players don’t want to spend the time to learn a basic character first, and would rather jump right into the character that they think is coolest or most interesting.

This thought process is something akin to trying to learn to ride a bike without first using training wheels. While training wheels aren’t very cool and may seem to limit what the bike can do, trying to learn to ride a bike without them would take far longer and the experience would be a discouraging trip filled with numerous and painful falls along the way. Wouldn’t it be easier to just use the training wheels for a short time? That way, a person could establish a basic level of understanding and context for what to expect in the future. In much the same way, beginner players can more quickly and easily establish an overall understanding of the game through defensive characters than through offensive characters.

With all of that in mind, The Top 5 Gateway Characters for New Players in Street Fighter 4 will lean towards defensive and fundamental characters. While there are some input-style characters that strongly showcase these ideals, charge style characters are the embodiment of composed play*. They’re a great way to train a new player’s defense and composure while ensuring that they gain an active understanding of what’s going on. Charge characters pull the focus away from “doing special moves and combos” and shift it towards a more intuitive view of what the player needs to do to succeed and improve.

*Input-style Character: a character whose special moves are performed by pressing a sequence of directions on the d-pad or joystick, then pressing an attack button.  For example, Ryu’s “Hadouken” or “Fireball” is performed with the following input sequence: Down, Down-Forward, Forward, Punch.

*Charge-style Character: a character whose special moves are performed by holding a given direction for ~2 seconds, then pressing another direction and an attack button simultaneously.  For example, Guile’s “Sonic Boom” or “Fireball” is performed the following way: hold Back for ~2 seconds, then press Forward and Punch simultaneously.



http://www.metalmusicman.com/files/pictures/sf4-gateway-article/guile-top-5-gateway-sf4.png


#1 – Guile

Guile is perhaps the most basic character of all. With only two special moves to remember, a player can focus almost entirely on studying the opponent and reacting appropriately.

http://www.metalmusicman.com/files/pictures/sf4-gateway-article/guile-sonic-boom.jpg
Holding back to charge for a Sonic Boom automatically trains the player to default to a neutral state of blocking, which is one of the most basic and important elements of Street Fighter. The Sonic Boom itself is a simple and visually intuitive projectile; its quick recovery means that players will be able to focus more on utilizing the projectile to take up space and less on worrying about being jumped-in on after shooting it out. This confidence boost is important as it gives the player freedom to experiment and learn other things with a comfort zone to fall back on.

http://www.metalmusicman.com/files/pictures/sf4-gateway-article/guile-anti-air.jpg
Guile’s Sonic Boom projectile spam quickly and naturally leads to establishing an anti-air game, which is another pillar of Street Fighter. Once a player familiarizes themselves with Guile’s Crouching Hard Punch, they will quickly learn the basics of anti-airs to stop would-be jumpers from getting in on them.

Flash Kick (Light Kick or EX Version) is a solid reversal with good invincibility. The down-charge requirement—coupled with the fact that players will already be holding down-back to block—trains them to attempt blocking first and assess the situation before recklessly “spamming” a punishable  reversal such as Shoryuken, a poor habit that many players pick up from starting out with a traditional “Shoto” such as Ryu or Ken.

Finally, Guile has virtually no requirement for combos at all. At most, the player will want to learn a basic two-hit combo; a special cancel such as Crouching Medium Punch into Flash Kick or Sonic Boom will cover that. Beyond that, the most complicated thing that they will need is a basic string. Luckily, Guile players can simply use Crouching Light Kick (or Crouching Light Punch) in sequence, as it is a chain or “rapid fire” attack that requires virtually no mastery of timing to complete.

Perhaps the only minor issue that Guile can give new players is differentiating between his “command normals” or “unique attacks”. There can be some confusion over buttons changing depending on whether back or forward is held while they are pressed. Generally this isn’t an issue at all, but if this causes the new player a significant hassle they can of course try a different starting character.

Similar Alternatives: Chun Li, Dee Jay

http://www.metalmusicman.com/files/pictures/sf4-gateway-article/bison-top-5-gateway-sf4.png


#2 – M. Bison (Dictator)

While M. Bison’s various special moves can be slightly daunting to keep track of for a new player, a very solid and respectable strategy can be made out of only a few small elements of the character’s gameplay. Bison’s walk speed is very good, which means that the player will be able to effortlessly position themselves and develop a good sense of spacing without thinking about it. His walk speed also means that his throws are easier to implement, and throwing is something that many new players overlook.

http://www.metalmusicman.com/files/pictures/sf4-gateway-article/m-bison-stand-hk.jpg
His normal attacks are very good (in particular Standing Hard Kick, Standing Medium Kick, and Crouching Light Kick) and many of them serve multiple purposes at once. This is particularly evident in Standing Hard Kick being a good anti-air and spacing tool all at once which simplifies and combines two core-concepts for a new player, boiling the neutral game down to one button at certain ranges.

http://www.metalmusicman.com/files/pictures/sf4-gateway-article/m-bison-scissor.jpg
The Light Kick version of Bison’s Scissor Kick (also known as Knee Press) is really the only special move that a new player will have to learn initially. The move is safe on block and a great pressure tool. While learning to special cancel into it is obviously useful, the move is also very effective when used on its own, which keeps things simple. From there, the player just needs to learn to utilize M. Bison’s various reversals/escapes (Teleport, EX Devil’s Reverse, EX Psycho Crusher) and they will find themselves out of pressure situations and back into the neutral game where they are comfortable.

M. Bison’s jump-arc and jump-height are exaggerated and floaty, making him very vulnerable to anti-airs. This is actually a good thing, though, as it trains the player not to jump at an early stage. Jumping haphazardly is a flaw that many new players exhibit, so Bison’s poor jump arc/height can actually help train the player to have a more solid, ground-based play style at an early stage in their development.

Perhaps the biggest negative effect of a new player picking up M. Bison is that they can become reliant upon the character’s numerous escapes—most of which are not sufficiently countered until higher levels of play. If they try to transition to a different character, they may find themselves overwhelmed when knocked down or aggressed by their opponent, as they are used to having the familiar safety blanket of M. Bison’s escapes.

There’s also the issue of M. Bison’s lack of a close-range crouching anti air; where most characters have a solid Crouching Hard Punch attack that works well as an anti-air, M. Bison’s Crouching Hard Punch is too slow to be used practically. Thankfully, this hole in the character’s gameplay isn’t a huge issue as M. Bison’s excellent mobility lets the player keep opponents just out of reach where they can comfortably anti-air with Standing Round House.

Similar Alternatives: Balrog (Boxer), Blanka, Vega

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#3 – Balrog (Boxer)

Balrog is only slightly more complicated than M. Bison (Dictator), and mostly only because of the numerous variations of his basic Dash Straight or Dash Upper attacks. Luckily, new players really don’t need to concern themselves with the existence of those variations at first. As long as the player gets familiar with Balrog’s Dash Straight and Headbutt special attacks, they’ll have a solid basis to work from and can build around Balrog’s amazing normal attack game from there.

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Balrog’s Crouching Light Punch is arguably the best in the game, and it will train players to use a fast attack that applies pressure and can combo into itself as a chain or “rapid fire” attack, which is very easy. The Light Punches also set up a good throw game for Balrog, as he can decide to walk forward and throw at any point. His Crouching Hard Kick has excellent range and speed, and it teaches the player to low-block check his opponent, preventing them from easily walking forward or backwards.

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Using little more than Balrog’s Standing/Crouching Light Punch, Dash Punch special move, Crouching Hard Kick, and throws will create a very effective game plan that will allow players to harass their opponents with attacks while still maintaining a relatively safe distance; an important lesson in spacing.

Balrog also has two very solid anti-air normals in Standing Medium Punch and Crouching Hard Punch. Both attacks easily hit opponents out of the air and can be done on reaction without too much guesswork.

Finally, Balrog’s lack of a crossup jumping attack may be seen as a hindrance at first, but it will teach players not to rampantly and randomly jump over their opponents. This forces the player to learn how to maintain and abuse good positioning, which is a much more solid strategy than randomly jumping and hoping for the best.

Perhaps the only negative to learning Balrog is his poor focus attack and his susceptibility to focus attacks. The character’s armor breaking attacks are underpowered compared to most and he also lacks multi-hit attacks. This leads to Balrog being susceptible to the opponent harassing him by focusing and counter-attacking, so players who stick with Balrog may develop an understanding of the focus system slower than they would if they used other characters.

Similar Alternatives: M. Bison (Dictator), E. Honda, Vega

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#4 – Ryu

Perhaps the most influential and important character to learn is Ryu; the archetype of every character, the original basis by which nearly every character in every fighting game was built upon. Ryu has all of the tools a player could ever want in a character, with the ability to be molded to the player’s own style and excel at just about anything. Ryu can be played defensively, offensively, low risk, high risk, patiently, aggressively, or any combination of all of the above, at will.

Though input-style characters are generally a bit more difficult for a new player than charge-style, Ryu’s special move inputs remain relatively simple for the most part. Players should become competent with the Hadouken (Fireball) and Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (Hurricane Kick) motions relatively easily, while the Shoryuken (Dragon Punch) motion usually proves to be somewhat difficult for newcomers.

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Ryu’s fireball game is excellent and allows the player to do much of what Guile does with Sonic Booms, but without having to worry about charge. The downside is that the fireballs take a bit longer to animate, which means that Ryu is slightly more vulnerable to characters jumping in, so Ryu players need to be more cautious with their fireballs than they would with Guile’s Sonic Booms. Still, many players will likely find the freedom of input more than worthwhile.

As with any projectile-based character, throwing fireballs will cause the opponent to want to jump over them. Luckily, Ryu has a fantastic anti-air normal in Crouching Hard Punch (only slightly worse than Guile’s). More importantly, Ryu has the most powerful and feared anti-air in the game: his momentarily invincible special attack, “Shoryuken (Dragon Punch)”. Still, it can be difficult for a new player to pull off the input for a Shoryuken on reaction to an opponent jumping, so they may need to fall back on Crouching Hard Punch for a time.

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Like the characters mentioned previously in this guide, Ryu can be played with only a minor emphasis on combos. His Crouching Medium Kick is an excellent move for a variety of purposes, most notably that it has great range and priority while also being special cancellable; new players will get a lot of mileage out of using the simple combo of Crouching Medium Kick into Fireball. Crouching Jab is fast and can effortlessly combo into itself as it is a chain/”rapid fire” attack. Ryu can use Standing or Crouching Hard Punch to special cancel into Hurricane Kick or Dragon Punch for a simple, high damage punish after blocking an opponent’s punishable reversal (Flash Kick, for example).

Besides the relatively higher difficulty of being an input character, the main downside to a new player learning Ryu is that players will quickly notice how powerful his Shoryuken can be and they will almost certainly develop a propensity to use it haphazardly. While the Shoryuken is very powerful (in fact, invincible) when the attack comes out, if the opponent blocks the attack it leaves the player extremely vulnerable. Players may find themselves paying less attention to their decision-making process and instead just doing Shoryuken when they are under pressure. This will cause them to pay less attention to their opponent and what’s going on in the match and can hamper the knowledge that they absorb in the long-term.

Similar Alternatives: see below…

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#5 – All the characters you learn by learning Ryu

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Perhaps the biggest positive to learning Ryu is that a player will almost automatically be able to pick up and explore several other characters that are based on Ryu’s design. While none of these characters are as straightforward as the others on this list, most of them aren’t terribly difficult and can be easily transitioned to once a player has Ryu as a foundation. While Ryu may or may not be the best first choice for a new player, there’s no debating that everyone should learn the basics of how to play him as soon as possible.

Once a player learns Ryu, they can decide to stick with him or to venture out and try a character that more prominently emphasizes one of the many potential play styles that Ryu embodies.

  • Ken and Oni are both relatively simple characters to play, with Ken being a more aggressive take on Ryu and Oni being a more tool-based and hit-confirm-oriented variant of the general Shoto archetype.

  • Akuma has a fantastic runaway game and his air fireballs are a great spacing utility. Though the character is generally considered very difficult to play at a high level, he’s not too much harder than Ryu to pick up and go to at an entry level.

  • Evil Ryu is essentially a merger of Ryu and Akuma with a diminished hit-confirm game but a highly explosive damage potential rooted in Ryu’s solid fundamentals.  His combos will prove to be extremely difficult for a new player, however.

  • Sagat trades Ryu’s more versatile normal moves for higher damaging attacks, a stronger fireball game via two types of fireballs (a high and a low), and farther reaching normals such as his commanding Standing Hard Kick.

That does it for The Top 5 Gateway Characters for New Players in Street Fighter 4. Who did you start out with? Who are you going to be recommending to your new friends when they decide to get into Street Fighter 4? Sound off in the comments below!



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