The Toxicity of the Fighting Game Community

fighting games, Guilty Gear, Street Fighter, Summer Jam, Laser Time

It seems that once again, the fighting game community has shown its true colours: a culture full of poisonous personalities and abrasive actions that scare most, if not all new comers. Full of elitism and aggression, the FGC showed why it’s so hard to get into fighting games recently. For guys like me who love fighting games and the FGC, that’s a huge bummer.

Summer Jam is a Philadelphia based major fighting game tournament where all sorts of games both new and old are played. From Blazblue to Street Fighter II, if you play fighting games, chances are your game was being played somewhere. Hell, even a Pokemon and Gears of War tourney happened. The point being: if you play competitive console games, come to this tournament to compete, get better, and have a good time. One  game on offer was Guilty Gear.

Guilty Gear is seen in the FGC as one of the hardest games to get into because of both its high execution level and long history. So when a newcomer who has only ever played offline comes around, it’s no surprise when he gets destroyed. But when a community taunts you, demoralizes you, and generally doesn’t acknowledge your presence, how are you supposed to grow? This was the situation that relative newbie Sloth Facts faced at Summer Jam.

Sloth Facts was playing in the Guilty Gear tourney and was given a match on stream against a veteran player.

Now the matches were pretty one sided, anybody could see that, and Sloth Facts didn’t take a round. What makes that match cringeworthy is what Sloth Facts’ opponent does. A random select at the character screen, a run up taunt into dragon punch, and just playing an abnormal way. His opponent genuinely does not care on any level for Sloth Facts, and his play reflected that. It was as if he was being told to leave because he was not welcome. So he did just that. After Summer Jam, Sloth Facts went to Twitter and ask.fm and told the world he was done with Guilty Gear.

“Got treated like a complete joke. Validated that treatment by failing to even take a round. So I was completely demoralized. I never got good, and I was never going to get good… I was certainly never gonna reach a point where I felt welcome near a GG setup.”

So why does this all matter? The FGC has had many an incident where players were treated poorly and left in the cold by their more experienced contemporaries. It’s not strange for this type of thing to happen. While it may not be strange, it matters, because for the first time in my time being a part of the FGC, someone has publically left because of their poor treatment. That scares me. I’m not saying the dark ages of fighting games are about to return because one guy said “Fuck it! I’m out.” But  to me, the idea that anybody could be forced to leave because they don’t feel welcome is wrong.

The Fighting Game Community may be the single most inclusive gaming community out there. Doesn’t matter if you’re straight, gay, bi, trans, white, black, asian, Chilian, Canadian, Japanese, Christian, Jewish, Muslim–all that stuff doesn’t matter. If you like fighting games, that’s ALL that matters. It’s all that should matter. Because of this, the best become elitist and stop caring for those below them. If you aren’t getting better, then what’s the point of playing?

Now, I could write a whole book with that last phrase, but that would help nothing. No, I’m writing this article because I love the FGC–playing games, watching streams, meeting new people, and just generally enjoying this big, dumb thing I love with amazing personalities. It’s honestly changed my life for the better and helped shaped who I am today, and I want to see it grow so it can keep getting bigger and dumber. And that’s why it sucks to see guys like Sloth Facts get screwed over the way he did.  That the FGC isn’t ready to grow.

We’re still childish and self-centered, and while there are a lot of people out there trying to change it, it’s clear it’ll be a while before we can find that balance of competition and fun.

Article by contributor BBWoggle.

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23 thoughts on “The Toxicity of the Fighting Game Community

  1. Eh, this isn’t an issue dedicated to the FGC, it’s an issue right the way throughout gaming, but particularly in the competitive scene.
    Let’s be honest, if the worst a player has to deal with is their opponent fighting with one hand behind their back so-to-speak, that’s a long way from the kind of shit that goes down at FPS and MOBA tournaments. I’m not for a second suggesting it’s acceptable or something that should be tolerated (or heaven forbid, encouraged), but it’s also quite a long way from the biggest problem the competitive gaming scene has.
    However, until tournament organizers are willing to tackle toxic players head-on and say “no, fuck you, this is not how you behave towards other people in a friendly environment”, this sort of thing is just the tip of a very large and very ugly iceberg.

  2. There’s for sure a lot of…old school thinking when it comes to the FGC. I’ve never seen something like this happen but I can totally see it being done. I would say that Canada cup also went down recently and while I didn’t watch all of it most of it was pretty positive and even the finalists huged it out at the end. But then again those were mostly pro players.

    I hope the community gets better about this. We’re technically still pretty small and it’s odd watching other competitive scenes turn into giants into a span of years while the FGC is still in slowish growth.

  3. This article’s ridiculous. The FGC is awful because someone got beat so bad they quit, so they should be more sensitive to new players? Fuck that. The FGC isn’t for new players, it’s for experts and enthusiasts, no one who is in anyway ‘new’ should be at the tournament.

    SlothFacts tried to step up and got beat the fuck down because he couldn’t stand it. His opponent was better then him in every respect and he wasn’t even playing at his best, and we should feel bad because he’s upset? Fuck that. The FGC isn’t his hugbox, it’s a tournament scene where the best face of, and SlothFacts didn’t deserve a real fight.

    The FGC community didn’t do shit. SlothFacts played like a chump, he got beat like a chump, and rather than taking his loss with grace he quit and left the FGC. If that’s your definition of “Toxic and abusive” you need to get your priorities in check, and write an article when someone sends SlothFacts a dead animal.

    1. I think the point wasn’t that someone called it quits, but moreso the behavior of the opponent. I don’t like the fact that he quit just for losing either, but it doesn’t really help our case if other players are being assholes. HOWEVER, there are assholes out there, like any community, but it’s been the exact opposite with my local scene. I was absolute trash when I started playing with them and everybody was super helpful, gave me honest advice, and helped me get astronomically better in the span just a few months. Furthermore, the more acidic players and bad behavior comes from big players putting on a face for the crowd. It’s less about the FGC and more about how public faces will play the role of a villain or “face” for the sake of getting people excited. There’s also shitty stream monsters, and those are terrible, but local scenes with local players tend to be generally friendly atmospheres.

      I strongly disagree with your comment on the FGC being just for experienced players. I think I’d specify that tournaments, while should be encouraged to attend, should be warned that it’s fierce competition. But the scene in general should be welcoming to all kinds of players, it shouldn’t matter how good you are or how much you know if you’re willing to get good and learn with other players. Playing in a box by yourself with just shitty online play isn’t the right way to experience fighters.

      1. The problem is SlothFacts doesn’t want to get better, he lost his first round and lost it bad and then bowed out. You didn’t do that, you stuck it out and were welcomed with open arms. No one shove SlothFacts out of the community he left from a bad loss and as I said, his opponent was barely trying. If SlothFacts were worth his salt (and he has oh so much of it) he could have turned it to his advantage. Even if eh couldn’t, he could’ve gotten better, he could have been a really strong underdog player who people got behind, but he didn’t. He bitched out, and this article is trying to make a point that the community is bad for it.

        Fuck that. If you want to join a community, you have to take steps, you don’t just get to announce it and be accepted.

  4. I don’t see the huge issue with this. He saw the reality of his skill in that game compared better players, decided he wasn’t going to work to improve at the game any more, and ran home to social media to vent his frustrations about losing.
    I more blame the game than the skilled player for the lack of inclusiveness.
    At this point it’s not worth trying to become the best player in the world at Guilty Gear, because the fun/work ratio would be terrible. Letting something like showboating in a video game hurt your feelings, though, sounds like screwing yourself over, but that’s just my opinion.
    I’ve been around adversarial/competitive multiplayer long enough to not be easily offended by such things. I wouldn’t call the better player “toxic,” a word that is generally overused in multiplayer games, and I certainly wouldn’t link it to an entire community in this context.
    But no, lets just label large groups of multifaceted people as mean ol baddies and not discuss anything meaningful, because the Internet needs more of that.

  5. There is definitely something to be said about how players treat newcomers, but I feel like that’s mostly just online play and how a lot of new players will think that it’s a substitute for playing offline.

    But I don’t think that the FGC’s “true colors” is a nature of abuse and toxicity. This is a notion that I wish people would be more specific about. To me it feels like the streaming culture of the FGC can be very unwelcoming. Every time I see anyone mention bad behavior it’s always something that happened on a stream, or in a stream chat, or by a commentator. People who let all the excitement and competitive nature get to them on a stage, will act like complete jackasses for the sake of entertaining the viewing audience. I don’t believe this is exactly right, and mostly stems from the fact that top players can sometimes get so used to people praising them that they get big egos and let their social ineptitude turn them into dumbasses, and then you just have regular dumbasses. But this feels like its far from the FGC.

    For every asshole, or unwelcoming player that I’ve had the displeasure of playing with, I’ve met 10 helpful, fun players.

  6. If I gave up on a game just because someone else was better than me, I wouldn’t have anything left to play. Except Telltale games because they basically play themselves.

  7. Um… This is a rather weak article. For such a damning headline that makes it sound like there is so much wrong with a certain community, it focuses on only one single issue, and said issue feels like a very small thing to begin with.

    I watched the entire video, and sure, the expert player obviously was just toying around with the other player, but at no point did I see actual abuse to Sloth facts, as in, foul language thrown at him or being booed or something. Honestly, as far as competition goes, this feels pretty damn tame compared to how people get treated on a daily basis on say, almost any competitive FPS even if it’s a casual, and not professional level like this was.

    And seriously, if you’re entire basis to critique a community is the way they treat the rookies or the unskilled… Then why are you focusing only on the FGC? The grand majority of competitive communities about ANYTHING are like that, and not just in gaming sports, board games, show business. It’s a human condition, not a problem exclusive to one single community.

    Now, I’m not saying that the FGC may be blameless, I’m not really into that scene anyway. But if they behavior overall is deplorable, then this article still does a very poor job in explaining why. It’s like making an article about how Kim Jong Un is a terrible person, and criticizing him about how the looks and dresses and nothing else. Kim Jong un is in fact a terrible person, but said article would make a terrible case for it.

    1. I’m kinda opposite end of that where the only scene I know is the FGC so I only really spoke from that perspective. I’m also a player who is very much like slothfacts and I sympathized with his situation a lot, so in the heat of the moment I got a little too damming with my language. I do really regret letting that sorta stuff get in the way the article cause I do believe that this topic in the FGC is worth talking about but just from a much more balanced perspective. With that said I feel the comparison of other “e-sports” to the FGC is a lot like apples and oranges. The FGC is tiny, but is slowly trying to grow, but there is a risk of stinting that growth with activity like this happening. Stuff like MOBAs and FPS’ are already huge and from my perspective, it seems as though a lot of the drama that arises in scenes like that is because they are so huge and so much is on the line.

      With all that said, this was my first real article anywhere so that hopefully explains a little bit as to why the quality wasn’t the greatest. I definitely feel like I was a little too preachy.

  8. and this is why I don’t play any games online,

    I suck, I know I suck I’m playing for fun and enjoyment

    I’ve never seen the appeal of fighting games and part of that is the brick wall of controls you need to learn. I’ll play with friends sure but ultimately it’s button bashing we don’t really care about those super duper hyper interrupt combos we do it for fun.

    I would like to say that I personally feel the exact same for PC gaming it’s become a meme now but that whole “master race” thing is disgusting.

  9. Why do I have the strangest feeling SlothFacts wrote this article…

    So what, should Brett have just thrown the round to make this new player feel better about himself? Instead of being a salty sore loser, he could’ve taken this in stride, practiced some more, and who knows, someday, he could taken a match off of Brett. Instead, he quits forever and proceeds to be a salty sore loser. What a stupid article.

  10. First off, glad to see an article like this on LasertTime. It made me do a double take when I was scrolling down the page today. Shouts to BBWoggle for writing and submitting it!

    While I wasn’t a fan of the showboating on display here either I think SlothFacts quitting entirely would be an over-reaction. If he’s interested in fighting games at all, he recognizes that the way he was treated (not just being beaten but being made a joke of) is an unusual and severe case. I can’t say how I would react if this happened to me, but I think both SlothFacts and Brett both took things too far here.

  11. You can cancel taunts into attacks. Zidane did the same thing against the Japanese players at NEC. It’s viable and gimmicky but works.

  12. Also how is that random select when he was just moving the cursor to the bottom to pick Order Sol. You are showing ignorance.

  13. This article pretty much lose credibility when SlothFacts came back to NEC, last weekend. In addition, I like how you didnt talk to SlothFacts directly about this because while what he was venting was how he felt, if youlooked at his Twitter he did mention that it was less about the toxicity of the community and more with him being frustrated. Hell, he left Twitter because people like you, use history as tool to unfairly bash the GG and whole Fighting Game Community. So, now that I have read your poor cited, mediocre article, CLOCK OUT!

  14. FYI: Brett Random selects ALL THE TIME in NorCal GG tourneys. Not just against “bad players”. And GG is a *really* hard game to play (1 frame inputs are EVERYWHERE), where much of the player base has been playing for 5~10 years+; it’s very unforgiving by the nature of the game, especially when playing a difficult character like Bridget (I’m a yoyo main too! It sucks haha).

    Also, in GG, there are 2 “taunts”. 1 is a “taunt”. The other is a “Respect” (which is what Chipp was doing). When it comes to Chipp (the first character he played). they are viable and part of his game plan. In fact, the Shurikens that he throws around 0:56 started off in previous versions as his air taunt.

    Sucks that Sloth didn’t get the warm reception that mighta kept him in the game. WIth it’s origins in the arcades of yesteryear, the FGC can be a little rough around the edges at times, but I wouldn’t call it’s “true colors” as something “full of poisonous personalities”. Sure there are scumbags out there—and as Freakmonkey9 said, a LOT of it comes from “Stream Monsters”—but unfortunately, that’s true for ANY gaming community.

    Hopefully this doesn’t deter anyone from trying to start out with their local FGC scene. While it’s not perfect, having tried to fit in with the FPS scene, I can attest to the point that the FGC is *much* more friendly, and are almost always very receptive when you ask for help on how to improve.

    1. Hindsight is hindsight so it doesn’t do too much good to say it, but I do regret not taking more of a look into Brett as player, honestly shoulda known better. And I do feel bad cause I feel like the whole article came off as aggressive towards him. He’s a dude in the FGC like myself and a lot of others and if I’m being a dick then I’m learning nothing from my own words. Maybe it’s just cause I’m from a really positive scene, but I feel like a balance between competition and sportsmanship can be found. So it really upsets me when guys or gals get pissed or really upset because of another players attitude.

      And you are very right, while it can be fun to watch, stream monsters are where a lot of the true aggressiveness comes from so to pin blame on players and players was a bad choice. You live and learn though, and if ever get the chance to write about the FGC on lasertime or elsewhere, I’ll make sure that I do it from a much more balanced perspective.

  15. I love fighting games but I had no idea there was a fgc until last year. It is no wonder why the fgc never goes anywhere, they would love to think that it is because fighting games are more complex and blah~blah but the truth is quite simple. They’re mostly a bunch of weaboo retards with no personality, I’m mainly speaking of the American players, it would be one thing if it was all little kids but a lot of them are grown men who act like they were home schooled. They’re just straight up embarrassing. Obsessed with salt lol! Seriously, making compilation videos on it, they make themselves look like immature morons, the fgc itself is what is wrong with the fighting game community, it is sooooooo lame and to someone like me (outsider, someone who loves fighting games enough to possibly really invest a lot of time to excel at it) I don’t even want to be associated with it because its like bronies or something. Every tournament its just a bunch of idiots chanting USA only to lose repeatedly, then they vent on videos being sore and racist. Foreign players clearly practice and improve, they come for the cash while US players being that they’re mostly introverted losers only show up to get some Youtube camera time, if the fgc wants to blow up and actually get somewhere they need to re-evaluate the whole scheme of things because the scene itself is a repellent, starting with all the salt hype. That mentality has got to go, its unprofessional as hell, its all wrong smh.

  16. This happen to my local group as well. couple month ago, a guy came to our local FGC group, and being trashed verbally by everyone. i mean WTF. He’s a new guy try to get along and enjoy the community, and everyone insulted him for his lack of skill. Sometimes I wonder, Why have to be so serious? can’t we just get along normaly and enjoy the game together? Like we are all going to EVO or something.

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