Why has execution become such an issue in fighting games?

Think back to the 90s. Everyone including your 5 year old little sister could do a sonic boom, tatsu, fireball, psycho crusher etc. Now people are saying these are needless execution barriers to FGs and should be removed. Is it due to the lack of accessible fightsticks or fightpads? Is it a familiarity with the Smash execution system? What do you think?


Rant of random incoming:

Ppl are getting more and more lazy. Everyone want to be Daigo but without putting in the time or effort.

Funnily, real sports dont lower the difficulty for allowing more people. Its like if Messi or Ronaldo had to “not run that fast” so everyone could have a chance.

I watch Football, Basket and any other sport because its inspiring how far these people take the human body and abilities. One want to be like them, or at least, do something of what they do and make them godlike.

That feels good.

Daigo parry feels good to do, even vs CPU. 3rd strike, ST and even A3 reward you for your time and dedication, and eventually, you become good at them. Putting in TIME AND DEDICATION. Youbfeel good when winning doing hard to do/land things.

I hate how a throw or a jab gets hyped nowadays by comentators on streams too, so the low end user think they did something awesome, by just hit a random button. Also, that I am from the arcade era, so I might still prefer my stinky and dirty room full of gangsta playin MVC2 to the polished, almost quirurgical presentation of e sports today.

Not taking away skill from Punk, Tokido, etc but these are mostly old heads from the FGC, save X or Y exception.

Most new games have win buttons or spegials, for the easy win/feel good experience. Sadly, they are bad for measuring SF players skill.

Constant patching also predates the games and players to evolve from hard to escape traps/seemingly op chars.

Sorry for the rant of comments without cohesion. Im tired AF at the moment.


I can only speak for myself. My execution has never been good, but as I get older and my whole body becomes overall slower, it gets harder to do things in games. There are games I used to play that I just can’t anymore (MvC2 is a great example). This has led to a bit of resentment on my part toward fighting games that feel like I am physically incapable of playing them. My solution is to just find the ones I can play, but that resentment lingers.


When people used to talk about difficult execution, it would refer to stuff like fly/un-fly combos, sjc, tight links, buffered negative edge option selects, infinites, etc. (This, subjectively, seems like it spanned for 1994 to 2012 or so.)

It seems now that what is “execution heavy” are fundamental to the genre. Some are the easiest things in the game to do. (E.g. hadoukens, dps, charge moves.) It is strange, because the last two Street Fighters have dumbed down execution as much as possible. Doing a fierce in DP does almost as much damage as a max damage combo.

I’m a little bit perplexed.

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What about Street Fighter where the execution has been consciously augmented to be incredibly easy?

I understand you totally! While my spectrum of fighters werent as demanding as MvC2 speed/execution wise, I find myself gravitating more to older, slower paced ones. Like FF Special etc.

I still play HF, ST, 3s and UMK3 at tip top form tho. But again, I barely can do consistently customs in CvS2 anymore😢

I do have a better vision/view of the plays/strats now. Way better planning and understandign how to approach in those named games. Experience maybe?

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Broadly speaking, as someone who has been here (the fighting game scene) from the beginning - our cultural memory has been lost.

When Street Fighter 2 was king in the arcade, the character moves were not easy when they were new. They took practice, and there was an anxiousness when you plunked down your coin and tried to throw a hadouken for the first time in a match against another human.

Gamers have forgotten that we had to learn how to perform these inputs. That’s not to ignore that as we learned, companies acknowledged that and introduced more challenging inputs - e.g. SNK.

I’m not an execution ace either, and I’m an old, old fart compared to most gamers. Clocking in at 45 Earth orbits around the sun, I am not getting any younger.

However what has changed the most as I age and rotator cuff issues, and cramps become more common is unlike the summer of 1991 - my lab time has dropped substantially.

Back then, I could play several characters in fighting games competently because I’d get good enough to win matches consistently with a character, then move on to a new character for the challenge and so as to not discourage new players in local arcades with my OP Chun Li.

However I don’t want to ignore that as previously mentioned, companies introducing more complex inputs; new game systems were introduced, and at this point - all I can do as a player is acknowledge what systems I appreciate and enjoy, and spend my time focusing on them. Leaving the ones I don’t enjoy behind - e.g. the anime mechanics of Marvel Versus games, or BlazBlue.

As a fan of the genre, I do believe developers need to create products that can appeal to multiple audiences. I do not want to see fighting games fall into the insane niche lane like modern shmups, which no longer have the good clean fun of Gradius, R-Type, and Life Force and skew exclusively toward bullet hell beasts who just play nothing but shmups and enjoy the masochism of memorizing bullet patterns and gaming stress.

Within games there are player archetypes that exist to appeal to different player tastes. The problems can arise when those archetypes are ignored in favor of gaming meta.

To reiterate though, the greatest impact on my enjoyment of the genre as an old head is my lack of lab time. Fighting games ought to exist in a place where your fundamentals, like riding a bicycle, are still viable; and not end up feeling like if you take a week off of the game, you’re falling behind because people are labbing non-stop in the hope of turning playing a fighting game into a career.

Damn I wish Sega would stop hating money and make a new Virtua Fighter. :sob:


When people talk about execution, what are they referring to? Like as a barrier? In SF4 punch into DP did a ton of damage. Normals did a ton of damage. Wake up DP did a ton of damage.

That’s kind of my dislike toward new generation fighting games outside of lack of innovation, which is by making things convenient for new players.

During my time in chess tournaments and challenging other schools back in the late 1990s, I’m glad that the rules haven’t changed to make things easier and still apply today.

However, from the genre, my knowledge, experience, and execution for things are slowly deteriorating as I’m getting older, which I feel that it’s unfortunate. I think it has something more to do with me being at my limit with the genre, because it’s not what it use to be in the 1990s.

I’ve stopped going to fighting game tournaments 18 years ago, but thinking about going now is a waste of transportation and an empty reward, because all that IP talent from fighting game developers are gone and I’m stuck with none of my favorite fighting games surfacing anytime soon.

(I will say that the new Samurai Shodown is decent, but that’s it.)


New SamSho is incredibly solid, and in the lane of fighting game design I dig. Know your character, know your matchup, and have it out. At no point in Samurai Shodown, or Virtua Fighter do I ever feel like I was not versed in the meta game, or incapable of executing on the level of my opponent.

Sort of like chess.

Could you imagine how badly chess would be raked over the coals if it were reviewed by game journalists?

“Same old chess! Nothing innovative. 1/5”


I think companies have made execution an issue when the problem itself never existed in the first place. The most fun games, in my opinion, are the ones that are really easy to get into but hard to master. The simple stuff should be simple, but there should still be depth for high level players to explore and express themselves.

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Correct me if I’m wrong here, but Street Fighter 4 was the first game to address this “issue” in an attempt to broaden the audience.

I agree, with the exception of that bloody Guile super input. I could never consistently pull off the SSF2T Guile super to my embarassment. :sob:

Fortunately Street Fighter 3 addressed this issue by simplifying the super art inputs for every character that wasn’t a grappler.

There does seem to be a pathological willingness to throw good design decisions in the trash with new series entries in attempt to justify the new numbering.

This is the biggest problem with fighting games, and professional gaming in general. Chess, baseball, basketball, hockey, etc. don’t need to introduce new rules every season to justify the new season. It’s an issue for us the players, and also a barrier for entry to anybody interested in watching the games. Not knowing what in the hell is going on makes appreciating what you’re seeing impenetrable.

As a Street Fighter player I was floored by the Daigo vs. Wong match runback. The reality check was in having to explain to non-player friends why that parry sequence was so damned impressive.


Has it? I haven’t played Street Fighter V ever. I wouldn’t know. I heard some shit about one-frame links though?

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The Samurai Shodown series always had interesting characters and I migrated over as a substitute to Weaponlord and Golden Axe The Duel. Though I will say that the reason probably that so much of the older FGC likes Samsho is probably because they kept it mostly true to form, similar with the pinnacle of what Street Fighter 2 Hyper Fighting was and had to offer.

Virtua Fighter is definitely my favorite series, because you have no supers or any gimmicks to rely on. Though, I will say that Weaponlord is a close second, because I like that it’s closer to the late 1980s barbarian than anything else and DJames was a legitimate Capcom employee with ambitious ideas for this game. It still rivals the measure of depth and complexity of modern FGs in my opinion. If you ever played Weaponlord, it’s like a reinterpretation of how you saw 2d fighters at the time.


SFV: I think there are almost no 1-frame links. At worst there are 2-framers. Most of the offense is safe enough where you don’t need to know as much frame Data. Lastly, ever character in the game has a target combo.

SFIV: Also Street Fighter 4 had huge damage combos without links. One could be very competitive without 1-frame links. Also, there were huge reversal input windows, input leniency shortcuts, and very traditional bnb combos. The devs bent over backwards to make this game execution lenient. Only a few characters live or die by the 1 frame link.

UMvC3 went from a 6 button game to a 4 button game. 3 button macros, too.

Actually Sf2 had revamped input scheme to make moves come out more reliably, and if you look back there were lots of different ways of tackling the execution barrier. See CvS2 EO analogue input alternative where simplified and original schemes coexisted. I think Sf1 - Sf2 increased time window, sf4 had system where not all inputs needed to register (like 3/4 ) or order need not be canonical. And then simplified inputs like DF,DF P for DP


Excellent point. Although I suspect part of the execution difficulty in SF1 was a design choice given how deadly a hadouken was during a match.

I also vaguely recall other titles in the Alpha era offering options for player assistance (were they the manual and auto options), but I never used them. This was also a bit of a problem as well, because there was a culture of shaming the players who needed to use the input assistance. So I can see why masking it, or embedding it in the game design is also important.

I butt heads with this in GranBlue Fantasy Versus where I have to map a guard button in order to use crossover and evade movements. I’m not a fan of block buttons in 2D fighting games, and really wish they would have just allowed for a directional input / command to perform these movements ala King of Fighters.

That is my baggage though. I need to just play GBFV as GBFV, and not the game I want it to be. Still, I bristle at it. As for whatever reason, the last time I played I could not reliably pull off Ladiva’s ring based super, in a game ostensibly designed for neophyte players, and I can consistently 720 in other games in my sleep. :confounded:

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I think Auto in Alphas refered to Auto guard. Though now I think about it custom combos may have had some input mod for duration of CC. Yeah same here with block buttons. Though I find them more intuitive in 3d fighters. Just used to the back block since forever. Can see how it makes sense though. It means you can move backwards when block would normally be triggered by opposing attack but out of connect range. Also means diff low high block situation in some games. Will PM you about Granblue. I liked the look of the evade stuff and the visuals but never checked it out

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I’d like to see move inputs configurable in a similar way to button mapping. But the idea poses some hurdles. Eg charge durartion/startup. Anyone had thoughts down this line?

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Another thing I do kind of want to mention is that fighting games are one of the only genres of gaming that have a specialized controller anymore. I know a lot of racing game fans use the wheel and pedals, but arcade sticks exist because of the control scheme the genre had ages ago. There’s something to be said for the idea-- not the fact, not even my opinion, but the idea– that a lot of the execution barrier in many fighting games is due to an antiquated control scheme.

I know that me saying this at all raises a few issues of its own, such as “what’s the alternative” and “the complexity of execution permits a complexity in the variety of character attacks.” I think there’s also a case to be made that certain attacks being harder to do makes sense in a way, like how it’s harder to do a standing 360 than it is to do a quarter circle forward but a SPD is more damaging and advantageous than a lot of fireballs. I don’t know, honestly. I have a lot of questions and very few answers. Ha.

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