'This game caters to noobs and is scrub friendly' - a look through FGC history shows it repeating itself

Posted by Jonathan 'Catalyst' Grey • March 14, 2017 at 8:09 p.m. PDT

If you think that the latest Capcom fighting game is catering to newbies and is too scrub friendly — you're not alone.

Actually, you've got over 20 years of similar statements being made by the fighting game community backing you up.

While you might think statements about dumbing down these games and trying to introduce them to a causal audience originated with Street Fighter 4 — many these phrases date back to the 1990s.
To help research this story, I took a deep dive back into the old alt.games.sf2 newsgroup, which was a popular hangout for Capcom fighting game players in the 1990s.

Many of the things said could easily be transposed onto today's titles.

The responses below have only been edited to provide clarity. The sometimes very poor grammar has been kept intact.

Note: The author's names haven't been included in these posts, as some of them are actually well known people in the community, and the point of this story isn't to put anyone on blast, but to show the mindset of some of the players in the mid to late 1990s — and how it reflects what we see now.

Street Fighter Alpha series

"It's because Street Fighter Alpha 2 is for scrubs, and so many players who could never hope to hang with the best in SF2, are now getting 'their turn' to be good, with SFA2's ease of play, particularily because of Custom Combos and their ridiculously easy startup."

"SFA2 has a lot of scrub-friendly features, like the cheaper Alpha Counters."

"Scrubs didn't stand a chance against the top players in [Super Turbo]... much less against the very best."

"I don't mean make it scrub-friendly like the Street Fighter Alpha's designers were thinking. I was thinking about stuff to legitimately add gameplay to the game and balance."

"Did you know Capcom makes two types of games? Games for your average scrub and games for super scrubs. It's true. 'Expert' fighting game players are considered an aberration by the industry, and should mostly be ignored when they contradict the masses."

"[He] hit the nail EXACTLY on the head when he said that Capcom made V-ism and custom combos too powerful to compensate for the fact that the 'super' must be done manually. The average scrub cannot effectively do a V-combo, so they gave the V-combo other abilities to make up for."

"Guard crush is a scrub friendly feature that makes it easy to land level 3 supers. I love watching Ken players get a guy into DANGER and then do a random level 3 that kills. Good thing there's AC..."

"Guard crush, along with these ridiculous juggles, are weak and should be eliminated."

Given the above statements, you'd think that the Street Fighter Alpha series didn't enjoy much time as a tournament game, but both SFA2 and SFA3 had their time in the limelight, and many fans in the FGC still look upon these games with great favor for the joy they provided.

The Vs. games

"Personally, I don't hate [the Vs. games]. I find them fun, but after playing them a while, it rots your brain. Everything chains into everything."

"My point is that the Vs. games are chock-f***ing FULL of scrub-freindly features, the kind of stuff that rewards maneuvers with gains out of proportion to the difficulty with which their executed. THAT'S why they're GARBAGE."

"Scrubs have a hard time doing Supers in pre Vs. SF games because of the double motions it requires and you can see them trying to do it from a mile away."

"The VS games have rotted my brain so badly that I think the game is skillful because I can beat these braindead pixie users. The mere suggestion that the Marvel engine produces strategy anywhere near that of SF is absurd. Stick with Bison posts, Generation M'er..."

"While it's a known fact in this [newsgroup] that the Vs. series is scrub-friendly, my question lies else where."

"Simply put, scrubs do not exist in [Street Fighter 3 2nd Impact]. You may find someone once in a while who can occasionaly parry, turtles, and wiggles the joystick like mad attempting to do a Super. But the fact is, a player of this caliber will never come close to playing a top-flight 2I player. The same cannot be said for the Vs series."

While most of these comments were made made before Marvel vs. Capcom 2 dropped in 2000, you can see that a lot of people thought the Vs. series was total trash and just there to capture casual players.

Perceptions changed over time, but there was a large part of the community that hated these games.

While the Street Fighter 3 series didn't suffer as much from being labeled a scrub game, many people didn't take too kindly to it, at first.

The Street Fighter 3 series

"They bring back chain combos [to Street Fighter 3] which were universally reviled by people who know what they're talking about as scrub tools."

"I like the super jumps, and parries, but these could not make up for the fact SF3 is boring."

"They're are major problems with the parrying system. I think Capcom purposely slowed down SF3 to make parrying a viable option. Given Alpha 3's lightning speed, no non-Alex Valle would be able to parry a thing."

"The biggest complaint I've heard so far is 'I think the SF3 series is boring.'"

"SF3 had every chance. It didn't do well because it was a) boring b) abusive, and c) overhyped."

"Parrying takes some skill, yes... but once you know the skill, you've just lowered the game into something very very boring, since all you'll do is poke and try to avoid being parried yourself."

We don't have to look too far in our past to find recent examples of similar quotes. While the above statements mostly came from the mid to late 1990s, these comments about Street Fighter 4 come from right here on EventHubs, circa 2010.

The Street Fighter 4 series

"Way to cater to the casual fans while ignoring the pleas of the old school players."

"SF4 is so catered to scrubs the game has gotten to be so defensive it actually makes Chun vs Chun in 3rd strike look super offensive."

"SSF4 = scrubfest 2010."

"The most technical thing SF4 has to offer is FADC."

"The whole point is to make the game more user friendly because Capcom can't survive with nothing but whiny, 'hardcore' fans."

"Seriously every time i here 'accessible' and 'casual friendly' i know there gonna have some baby mode bs added. Yea they made it simplier but how many vets either dont play or fantasize about a game where some scrub ken cant get a dp reversal because hes rolling his face across the buttons."

"In 3rd strike you had to be smart to pull off a win against a good player. There was a pary system that was scrub an idiot proof, and ryu was'nt over powered and scrub friendly either..."

"SSF4 is becoming a scrub game, way too noob friendly."

"SF3 Was way more difficult [than SF4] and wasn't scrub friendly."

"No there Capcom is making the game easier. SSF4 AE is gonna be EVEN more scrub friendly."

"It's not a matter of not being able to deal with changes, it's a matter of changes being unnecessary or extreme just to make it scrub-friendly."

It's not all bad of course.

There were many occasions where players in the community correctly evaluated gameplay aspects early on, and predicted if a game would take off or fail, from a competitive standpoint.

Still, if there's one thing we can say for sure, new fighting games from Capcom will often be labeled as "scrub friendly" and catering too much to a casual market.

As many smarter people than me have said, history repeats itself.
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