Improvement in Smash 4 BONUS XV – Game Flow

**If you’re unfamiliar with Smash, this probably isn’t the post for you unless you’re curious. In order to get a full understanding of this, you should be familiar with Smash’s game mechanics and lingo (EX: Forward Air = Fair), specifically the mechanics for Super Smash Bros. Wii U.

I’m sorry for taking so long to post this. It’s been over a month, so let me explain: I was recently offered a partnership for my YouTube channel, so I’ve spent the better part of the past two weeks working very hard to get my channel to be more presentable and get an upload schedule going and all that good stuff. I just didn’t have time to finish this post. Now that I’ve got everything set up, I will be writing more posts again!

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the actual post 🙂

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So! Game Flow. Game Flow is something I like to use when I think about the current state of myself and my opponent during a game. You see, the second the game starts you and your opponent have a state assigned to them. What state that is depends on the character, stage, time left, and percentage, but it’s there right when the match begins and constantly changes throughout. Today’s post will be going over those states individually and how I define them. I’ll also be going over how quickly it can change.

So, game flow is definitely a subjective topic with an objective core. There’s definitely some sort of flow (it’s how you can see momentum rise and fall), but to a lot of players it can mean something different. I see it in 4 distinctive states – advantaged, disadvantaged, neutral, and true neutral.

Let’s go over those.

Advantaged state is a state where you have the advantage. Your opponent is feeling pressured and unsafe, while you feel safe to mount an offense. Sometimes this state flickers by after being hit or during an opponent’s whiffed smash attack or grab. Your goal is to maintain this state for as long as possible and reclaim this state whenever you don’t have it.

Disadvantaged state is the opposite of Advantaged. You’re feeling unsafe, pressured, scared, ans basically don’t feel like you can approach or mount a good offense. You may throw moves out in a panic or in defense, or feel like you need to air dodge or spot dodge to escape a situation. If you’re in this state, get out of it as quickly as possible.

Neutral state is a state where neither you nor your opponent have the advantage or disadvantage. However, in this state, you’re not completely safe. You could easily transition to the Advantaged or Disadvantaged state depending on the decisions you and your opponent make. You could also transition to True Neutral. In this state you’ll feel safe and pressured at the same time, and you’ll be aiming to move from this state to Advantaged or Disadvantaged. Like Advantaged and Disadvantaged, this state can come and go extremely quickly.

True Neutral is a state where neither you nor your opponent have the advantage or disadvantage, and there is no way for either of you to immediately change that. In that specific moment, you feel completely safe, but you don’t feel like you can do anything to create pressure either. This state is incredibly rare. It generally happens at the very beginning of a game and when someone loses a stock. It can happen mid-match in other situations, but generally requires some players to be extremely defensive/campy. Strangely enough, when this state is achieved it generally lasts longer than the others, but not by too much.

Those are the four states of the game as I see it. It’s important to consider when your character and style is in one of these four states, and how it transitions based on the decisions you and your opponent make.

To give you a couple examples:

When Toon Link has the percent lead and the timer is low, he is an in Advantaged state while fighting against non-projectile characters like Donkey Kong/Bowser or against slow characters like King DeDeDe/Luigi, even if they aren’t close to him, because his projectiles generate pressure and the opponent needs to make that up before time runs out.

When crossing up someone with a slow Bair/Forward Tilt, Kirby goes from Neutral to Advantaged due to the pressure he’s generating being behind the opponent instead of in front because they lack access to their jab and grab immediately to prevent him from pushing his Advantage forward.

The ways you can see these transitions are endless. Being aware of them can not only help you make better decisions, but it will help you identify how your opponent might be feeling. Some players may not feel pressure when you think they should and vice-versa, and that can really throw you off. Obviously, this may not be how you see the game, but if you’re looking for a place to start, I hope this helps you.

Just Sayin’

I – Fundamentals
II – A Different Way to Look at Match Ups
III – Attitude
IV – Friendlies
V – Stages
VI – Preparing for a Tournament
VII – Training Regimens
VIII – Character Loyalty

Check out the BONUS series!

IX – The Plateau
X – Practice Methods I
XI – Practice Methods II
XII – Practice Methods III
XIII – At a Tournament
XIV – Practice Methods BONUS IV

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The ebb and flow of Animal Crossing

I wanted to write about Smash today, but I didn’t do the research I wanted to, so I apologize for the late post. Instead, I’m going to write a small little blurb about Animal Crossing.

Two days ago, I got Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, and now I find that I don’t play Animal Crossing: New Leaf anymore. I love the AC series, but there’s one thing about it that always turns me off as I continue to play: there’s not enough to do.

I’ve upgraded my house to almost full completion, have almost 20 public works projects, all but one fossil, most of the fish and bugs, and my Nook store is one away from being the biggest expansion. In every previous AC game I’ve played, I’ve been able to “beat” the game by expanding everything to its maximum size and almost completing the museum (I could never get all those works of art…). And usually, games come out and I play them, but I was pretty rigorous in my routine to play Animal Crossing every single day until I had everything. Unfortunately, doing jobs for villagers, buying and selling stuff, digging for fossils, and farming bells on the island can only go so far. Even with multi player, the most you can do are tours and self-proclaimed fish and bug-catching contests. At some point, it gets boring (it would be helpful to point out that I am no artist, and so I have spent exactly 10 minutes making a flag design, and that’s it. I’m sure artists get way more out of the Able Sisters’ designing than I do).

Inevitably, though, my interest wanes. Everything becomes a little monotonous, and I eventually stop playing. Unlike in MMO‘s, where dev teams are constantly trying to update their game to keep players hooked alongside guilds forming and whatnot, Animal Crossing is a simulation game, so at some point it feels like you’re living life there, and not here. Or it would feel like that if there were more stuff to do. At some point, you only play for 5 minutes a day because there’s really nothing else you want to do in your town.

Now that that tiny complaint is out of the way, has anyone whom has experienced this notice that, after you’ve beaten the new games and have nothing to do, Animal Crossing suddenly becomes addictive again? It’s crazy how there’s almost a tide to my interest in Animal Crossing. Sometimes it’s very high and I enjoy it, and other times it feels like a chore and I eventually stop, only to come back months later with a fresh desire to play.

This is different than with MMO’s, which I tend to play heavily for a month and then stop completely. No, Animal Crossing somehow ropes me back in when I have nothing to do and becomes my new game of choice. There’s no real competitive value to it, no incentive for me to improve my skills (which there is little of) in the game, so why do I keep coming back?

Has anyone else ever felt this way about Animal Crossing?

Also, except a post about Smash or a review of something next Monday!

Just Sayin’.