How do people approach fighting games they've never played before?

I‘ve been listening to an old Retronauts which inspired me to attempt to get into Samurai Shodown, and it got me thinking: Either casual fan or hardcore fighting game freak, how do you approach diving into a fighting game series you’ve never played before?

Obviously with the SF series there are moves which translate between them, particularly when there are characters that carry over. Likewise I'd assume, with any other fighting game series.

But if you're new to a franchise, do you look up special moves and what buttons do ahead of time? Or just jump in and see what combinations of movements and button presses work?

The reason I ask is because I'd love to get into the SNK fighting games, but the only fighting games I'm really used to are SF and the MK series.

Thinking about it now, I suppose this is what the attract modes and control panels on actual machines are for, but not every Neo-Geo Big Red had those.

Looking forward to reading everyone's input! (Pun not entirely unintended)

I hope this all makes sense, I've typed it on my phone :/

I usually

1.) Play through arcade mode a few times to see what the cpu is doing/mess around.

2.) Training mode/put quarters in the 2p side. After I try all the moves in the move list the stuff I initially look for is:

A.) What are my movement options? Double jumps? Air dashes? Wave dashes? Is my backdash invincible? Can I tech roll on recovery?

B.) What's my fastest normal? What's my farthest reaching normal? What's my fastest cancelable normal? What's my farthest reaching cancelable normal? What's my best anti air? Do I have a cross up? An overhead?

C.) Are there obvious combo routes? 2 in 1s, chains, ground or wall bounces, capture states, launchers, jump cancelable normals? Can I string any of those together? Go online and watch a combo video to see if I'm missing anything. Try to find a bnb that I can consistently do.

3.) Try pvp if I can online or with a friend or if not hop back in arcade mode and see if I can pull those bnbs off and hit those anti airs against a moving target.

4.) Training mode to fix what I'm bad at. Rinse and repeat 3 and 4

I try to get someone who‘s also new and dive right in, usually. Feeling out what the game’s rhythm is, then doing a little bit of research, then playing on my own. Around this point if I‘m really into it I’ll check to see what the community's like for the game and when they play.

A lot of fgc communities are very open to newcomers asking questions!

[“How do people fighting games they’ve never played before?”,“How do people approach fighting games they’ve never played before?”]

I have a similar approach to @TracyDMcGrath , but add step “5.) get blown up constantly online as I slowly improve.”

Having friendly people to play with really helps your skill progression even (especially!) if they are better players than you. I've been hosting occasional online fight nights and they are a hoot. I've got the _Showdown_ collection on PS4 and I bet a bunch of others do too. Go make a post about it in the fighting game thread and find people who will play with you!


A couple friends, a couple beers, and about 30 matches is the best way to find out if you‘ll click with a game. It’s enough matches to be able to jump around the roster and find someone you like, it's enough to get a rough feeling about mechanics and everything, and you have friends there so it should be a good time.

A bonus is if one of the friends knows how to play already and they can teach you some stuff. When it comes to starting a game solo, other people in this thread have already given some good advice. But if you have people to play with, that's the best route imho.

  • 1. type about it here (haha just kidding)
  • 2. everything said above
  • 3. youtube videos for "beginners" by highly enthusiastic peeps
  • 4. still bounce off anyways
  • 5. play simpler form versions like samurai shodown on neo geo pocket color
  • These are all fantastic tips so far, everyone. I guess I was thinking back to the podcast episode on KoF, that Retronauts SamSho episode (featuring @“exodus”#3) and people talking about how great certain games are in general, such as Asuka 120% etc. Am enraptured by people's enthusiasm for whatever makes the game/series captivating for them.

    Maybe I also just need to play more fighting games in general, so I can actually work out what I like first. Whoops.

    On that note, is it futile to only want to try the "best" in a series to see if I like it? In that instance, how do I find what the best entry point is to get into SamSho, KoF or Capcom CPS2 (and so on...) games?

    @"treefroggy"#p95163 #5 is an excellent point! Definitely worth trying in that regard. And I guess that provides a great start to the majority of SNK games, given most have "Pocket" versions afaik

    @“Shaneus”#p95179 I’ve played them far more than any others, lol. Namely cause I had them as a kid, and fighting games never clicked for me, competition wise. Which I wrote about a ton in the fighting games thread.


    @“Shaneus”#p95179 On that note, is it futile to only want to try the “best” in a series to see if I like it? In that instance, how do I find what the best entry point is to get into SamSho, KoF or Capcom CPS2 (and so on…) games?

    I think there's definitely going to be some disagreement on what is best but I think it's fine to hop around a lot. If you have Fightcade you should be able to get a feel for what games in a series are popular by the number of people playing them. (And if you don't have Fightcade you shoud get Fightcade it's great.)

    I‘d say Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Street Fighter 3 Third Strike, KoF 98, KoF 02, Marvel vs Capcom 2, Capcom vs SNK 2, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Samurai Shodown 2, Vampire Savior, and Guilty Gear XX AC +R are roughly the pre-Street Fighter 4 2d fighters that are easiest to find people still playing although I’m sure I'm missing some.

    @“TracyDMcGrath”#p95096 i‘m amazed at the level your brain functions on. maybe if i’d been able to think about approaching fighting games this way in the past, i've had had a more meaningful relationship with them! fascinating to read and think through these steps. almost like learning a musical instrument.

    @“whatsarobot”#p95226 this is all stuff I learned watching other people pick up new games and new characters for the most part.

    Personally my method is to see if there is a Cool Lady or not

    @“Gaagaagiins”#p95236 how do you handle Multiple Cool Lady Situations?

    @“whatsarobot”#p95237 you simply choose the coolest lady

    @“TracyDMcGrath”#p95238 maybe that‘s why i’ve never gotten good at a fighting game. Coolest Lady Misato Katsuragi has never appeared in one :frowning:

    All Cool Ladies are equally the Coolest Cool Lady, how one determines which Cool Lady is one we most personally vibe with is a sacred, private communion between oneself and the Coolness of Cool Ladies.

    new(?) fighting game acronym:


    coolest available lady

    @“whatsarobot”#p95239 ah, a man of culture as well.

    I wonder why there isn't a good Waifu Fighter (not to condone waifu beating) or something in Mugen. Get the classics in there!