First, I think it’s delightful that in writing down my 30 years or so of fighting game experience in 9 bullets, that you and I can immediately understand a little bit about each other!
pattheflip you have a pretty strong sense of personal taste that motivates you to seek personal experiences that start and end on your own terms, rather than defining them solely by the intent of the people around you,
In my work life, I’ve been working with a career coach and something we discovered early in that process is that I am an incredibly competitive person. I’m attracted to hobbies that have big competitive aspects - I’ve always enjoyed fighting games (obviously). I used to play a lot of poker. Defining goals so that I felt personally satisfied is something that I have been doing without noticing it until recently.
In poker, I intentionally focused on being a winning player specifically in cash games of in low/mid stakes fixed-limit holdem. I was a very successful recreational player by this definition and was quite proud of my poker career.
In fighting games… I haven’t developed them as a skill with intention for quite a while. Guilty Gear -Strive- is coming out soon. I’m going to be thinking about what my goal is with the game in the mean time.
pattheflip another possible reading is that the goal is less important to you than the moment-to-moment experience of satisfying your inner curiosity; if this is the case, i would say hey, if it works for you, don’t mess with it, but you may find yourself looking back on your wandering and finding that you wished you could have let yourself gone further with something.
Another aspect of my personality which rings true. You probably don’t remember our GG sets a few years ago, but a comment you made that stuck with me was, “You have an arcade-level understanding of the game and this match-up, but when you are faced with someone who is a character expert, you’re going to get blown up.” Being clear, I took this at face-value as your evaluation, not as a judgemental comment. I’m a bit of a generalist. Synthesizing the breadth of information is how I’ve made my career. “Satisfying my inner curiosity” has served me well. And I think that goal-setting will help with the fighting game hobby too.