Welcome back to levelling up, where the core focus is to get you the foot up on your opposition. This time we look at the one of the key fundamentals to becoming the best at your chosen game: Game Mechanics.

It’s one thing to know combos and reversals but stepping in to understanding the mechanics of your game is key to dominating your peers. By understanding your game inside you automatically have the upper hand even when losing. You can maintain composure by understanding why you lost and avoid flailing needlessly because something has gone unexplained.

The ultimate mechanic in comics
The ultimate mechanic in comics

One common explanation is Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is “It’s marvel”. A phrase that every player uses to explain a funky hitbox, input errors and general nonsense that accompany the flashing lights and madness that occasionally plagues matches. Although it is easy enough to pass off odd occurrences by the scapegoat of it being an unfinished game and it being Marvel there are those that can explain what happens and sometimes in great detail. These people also tend to be the ones that abuse these situations the most as their knowledge does give them the upper hand. It can be quite frustrating when you are first introduced to it but over time you grow to understand the ranges and mechanics of what happens on what initially appear to be unexplained trades.

This is but one example confined to one game but understanding this level of information can also carry across games by passive intuition. Some games apply a jump start up meaning that the user is vulnerable for a set period at the start of their jumping animation. This allows a players to bait a jump by delaying normals and catching the opponent as they either try to chicken block or jump to safety.

Simple maths which turns out to be deadly.

There are other occurrences we have discussed before, such as frame traps; although each game is different the frame trap is a universal set up that every game can have incorporated. It’s through an understanding of the basic level of the game that allows the user to initiate a move that is a positive advantage on block. And follow it up with a fast normal or counter hitting move in a hope that the opponent is pressing buttons. These frame traps are an application of animation knowledge and some simple maths which turns out to be deadly.

By educating yourself thoroughly in your chosen game you will almost instantly see an improvement. For me my biggest revelation was grasping the 3D aspect and tracking within Soul Calibur. The moves themselves lead to an understanding of horizontal and vertical attacks; I started to understand their uses and when to utilise them. The same applies to Tekken with moves that tracked to stop opponents side stepping.

Just like Rose I can only juggle two. anything more and I fail
Just like Rose I can only juggle two. anything more and I fail

There are lots of cross game mechanics that never leave you, each with their own benefits and the further you dig into a game, the more you will understand. If you are dedicated enough to your game that you can get in to the nitty gritty, you will be sure to improve as time goes on. And if you struggle there will always be somebody that can help and explain what’s happening and why to bolster your chosen game knowledge. So dig deep, go that extra mile to improve your game and don’t forget to level up.