Synyster Graves

Blocking as a strategy

by on Apr.06, 2022, under True Stories

It has to be said that in the realm of fighting games, which I predominately grew up playing, I’m a very aggressive player. I will try and go for the victory as soon as the word “FIGHT” is uttered by the commentator and invariably try to string together the most devastating combos in quick succession in the quest for that “Perfect” or a “Flawless Victory”. I was always very critical about players who choose to repeatedly hide in the corner guarding or “turtling” as it is known in Street Fighter circles, before counter-attacking. Then came the era of the 3D fighters, and I still maintained the same strategy.

Now this is fine in the 2D fighters with projectiles such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, because it’s a strategy known as Zoning. It can be perceived as being cheap but it can be effective with the right character; classic example is fighting a Ryu/Ken/Akuma player and being subjected to a barrage of hadokens. But you try that “balls-to-the-wall” in Tekken, or Virtua Fighter, or even a Dead or Alive game and you’ll find yourself in a sticky situation. It’s then for me that the penny dropped that blocking and being defensive, isn’t an act of cowardice, it’s a strategy as it can lead to an effective counter attack. I’ve never liked blocking personally but in the recent years I’ve come to realise that sometimes you literally have no choice to block, and that’s ok.

Same can be said with the mentality I now find myself on Twitch and other social media outlets. Since the aforementioned schism in the community which occurred last year, I have been subjected to a relatively consistent barrage of DM abuse on twitter, discord and twitch. Now I’ve grown to be quite thick skinned and since the tactic is to send these from unknown accounts, i.e. accounts created for the sole purpose of malicious correspondence, I have started to just block and delete all the shit which seems to frequent my inbox. And this stuff is just nasty, it’s of a personal nature, designed to completely undermine my mental well-being. I have had DMs from unknown accounts expressing the sender’s desire that, and I quote verbatim, that “my daughter never leaves hospital”, how they hope “my family dies in a fire” and how since “I’m hated so much, I should just kill myself”. I mean it’s not technically a death threat, as they are suggesting it is myself who does the deed. Which I shall not comply. Some have got even more personal than that, covering subjects only a handful of people would have known about, meaning I have a short list of suspects who would be able to wield that information as a weapon. Plus when previously I had intimated that I was receiving abusive DMs, they responded by sending more abusive DMs, so go figure.

But this is all from people of whom I have gone separate ways, but even now are determined to continue to sully my name but this now has spilled over to some of my friends being targeted. I have a close friend of whom has started being accused of the same tenuous falsehoods I have been subjected to and the anonymous DM sent to them was beyond sickening. I now feel the responsibility that this has befallen them and I am so sorry that they have been subjected to the same anonymous abuse I have been periodically deleting without reading for months. It’s insane that what started as a glib instruction of “you’re not welcome on twitch” has spiralled into more nasty and personal abuse. Again, the shortlist is not very long as to who would know that information about my friend and then have the temerity to create a fake discord account, and then send such a disgusting message. What sickens me the most is that these were the people I chose to have as moderators on my stream, to watchdog over me while I was live, and now seeing their true colours makes me feel even more exposed than before.

But back to where this ties in with with the fighting game strategy, or “Tekken Theory” as I have always referred it to. Blocking is a way of protecting yourself and not just in fighting game terms. A good friend always told me that no matter what shit is flung your way, just block it out and ignore it, as they will get bored eventually. So this is what I’ve done, I’ve exercised a huge mass blocking on medias such as twitter and twitch and to be honest I feel better for it. From only being able to lurk in a friend’s channel, and only when I say hello was like flicking the passive aggression button within the chat, I don’t want to put a friend in that position, so it’s been better to just stay lurking and support them that way. However, that wasn’t doing me any good. I then realised that I really don’t care what they say so what I don’t know cannot hurt me. So I annexed these accounts of cyber abusers out meaning that I just cannot see what bile they’re spouting. Of course the tactic is spamming sound alerts every time I say something but that will get old soon, I mean I realise it takes the streamers attention away from what I was saying, but surely other people can see how pathetic such an act is by the time you’ve done it for the 50th time? Plus with the bully mentality and cancel culture, my presence in a stream usually results in the other bullies in the cool gang summoning each other in for backup. But they’re blocked, so I’m protecting myself from other outlets of pithy bile. I would love to post some of the nasty and malicious crap I’ve been sent, but that would only glorify them, I mean it’s not even funny. If it were stupid that at least would be amusing but I’ve always said, I’d rather be stupid than malicious. If anything, it’s further credence to showing the world that all this situation was pre-meditated and vile.

So there you have it, a tactic I have learned to embrace from playing Tekken and other 3D fighters, I have applied to my life in the real world and I am better for it. As I said before, Tekken is saving my life and with the help from various outlets, I find myself in a much better place mentally to where I was four months ago. It’s ok to guard, and even though Street Fighter Alpha 3 had that annoying “Air Guard” feature meaning you could block an attack mid air, which completely contradicts the usual, and more traditional notion that being airborne means you’re vulnerable; to the even more irritating feature in Marvel vs Capcom Infinite of the “Advancing Guard”, meaning that they can block and attack AND move forward. This is all matter of bullshit for me as games games devoid of a specific block button like Street Fighter or Fatal Fury, pressing away from your opponent was how blocking is achieved. In Mortal Kombat however, it makes more sense as you have a specific button in order to block. Ultron Sigma, the final boss of Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is a prime example of a CPU character adept at taking the piss when it comes to not taking damage which still having the ability to move into rushdown. There is no shame in blocking, self-preservation is always the most important thing you can do, whether it is in Tekken or real life.

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