[ENG] Why Windjammers is the epitome of a competitive game

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[ENG] Why Windjammers is the epitome of a competitive game

Message  Beru le Sam 7 Fév 2015 - 3:04

Why Windjammers is the epitome of a competitive game

1/ What would make people think that this game is devoid of competitive potential? Why is Windjammers always absent from the big competitive gaming events?

2/ What makes Windjammers a particularly competitive game?

1/ It’s not a fighting game, and it’s old: competitive gaming – which began to rise in popularity 7 years ago with the release of Street Fighter IV – is mainly focused on fighting games, as well as some recent non-fighting games (e.g. Pokémon, FIFA, etc.).

It’s well-known, but not widely available: for the longest time, Windjammers was an arcade and Neo-Geo (MVS, AES and CD) exclusive. As those systems never enjoyed massive, sustained success – unlike games like Super Mario Kart on the more affordable home consoles, or Counter-Strike on the PC – the game never managed to gain a structured community.

It’s mostly considered a fun casual game: the lack of wide availability meant that people would play the game in a more laid back fashion. This might have led people to wrongly assume that Windjammers was a casual game, but this kind of reasoning comes from a confusion between the means and type of distribution, and the gameplay structure of the game proper.
Additionally, the unique, yet very evocative theme of the game (i.e. a summer holiday game about throwing a Frisbee) gives an even stronger sense that it was specifically designed to be a shallow distraction.
Whatever the developers’ intentions were as far as gameplay depth (or lack thereof) is concerned, the same question could be asked about other games, such as Super Street Fighter II Turbo; that didn’t keep those from being played competitively nonetheless.

2/ There are several requirements for a video game to have competitive potential. Windjammers has them all in spades.
No random factor: aside from a few rare glitches during matches, every in-game situation can be handled and won in Windjammers. In other words, there is no such thing as randomness. To my [NDT: our?] knowledge, no other one-on-one game can boast such a feature, as every offensive or defensive scenario imaginable can be countered.

Player skill and dexterity are key: this means that the game is purely a matter of skill vs skill – testing both your general knowledge of the game, and your ability to make split-second decisions; dexterity and knowledge determine who wins, a rare feat among versus-type games that is the sign of a high level of quality.

Fast pace and unpredictability: the speed of the gameplay puts human reaction times to a real test – the game seems exceptionally well-made in this regard; the outcome of a match can never be predicted between two equally-skilled players, because of the small range of strategies at your disposal and the very low number of points per set.

Approachability and multiple levels of play: because its rules and moves are so intuitive, Windjammers may look like a very basic game that novices will immediately understand. However, there are also many levels of play, from casual to very high-level, which is definitely a plus from a competitive standpoint.

For all those reasons, Windjammers shows undeniable competitive qualities.

It is obvious to me (us?) that Windjammers has a lot of potential for competitive play, but the preconceived notions about the game that I mentioned above have held it back. It’s been met with much enthusiasm at various conventions and events (e.g. Japan Expo, TGS, Stunfest, Midwest Gaming Classic…). What’s missing is clearly not competition, but visibility on the competitive scene.

We hope that our modest community will remedy that problem; seeing the game show up in a major tournament, even a single one, would already be a big step forward!


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Date d'inscription : 01/02/2015

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