Footsies Title

Sucking Less at Fighting Games: Footsies

Yes, its time for another article explaining things most people never cared for or simply didn’t have the time to learn about when it comes to fighting games: Footsies. I’m sure all thirty people who read these articles are absolutely jumping for joy at the chance.

To start with we should answer the question “what the hell are footsies?” Footsies is something that happens in fighting games normally when both characters are on the ground and outside of the normal range where a character can do their basic combos for maximum damage. This is when footsies comes into play. Most of the time characters will have some form of mid-range attack, meaning it reaches maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of the screen, and they use these attacks to try and poke their opponent, trying to find gaps in their opponents defense so that they can score some damage while trying to control the flow of the match. Footsies are an absolute b*tch to learn about on the fly, so don’t be disheartened. It can take a while to get the hang of it. We’ll take a few baby steps to (hopefully) making your ground game not complete garbage.

Its important to note certain attacks may have the proper range to be considered a footsie tool, but have large recovery time or some other drawback. Be careful what moves you use and make sure they are safe if possible.

Its important to note certain attacks may have the proper range to be considered a footsie tool, but have a large recovery time or some other drawback. Be careful what moves you use and make sure they are safe if possible.

We’ll use an example. Let’s say Ryu from Street Fighter is outside of the range where his normal jabs and kicks will no longer hit and his other moves are unsafe. In this specific situation, the player will often rely on their footsies. Ryu throws out his crouching kick to try and poke his opponent to deal a little bit of damage and maybe worm his way back in closer by putting pressure on his opponent.  His opponent has the option to block the attack, use one of his own attacks, or to step back out of range of the attack. This allows Ryu to control the space that his opponent can freely enter without fear of reprisal. Which is a good thing.

Missing when you are playing at footsies in fighting games is a great way to get blown up by your opponent.

Missing when you are playing at footsies in fighting games is a great way to get blown up by your opponent.

“Well if its that easy why hell are footsies that important?” some people might ask.  It doesn’t sound that hard right? Just spam those long ranged attacks and you’ll be good right since your opponent won’t be able to get close? Nope, your opponent can use them too remember?  A large part of footsies isn’t just spamming long range attack number one, but varying up your offense and utilizing all the tools your character has. If you constantly just spam one or two moves, unless there is some variation between the two like having two attacks which look similar but require different blocking inputs like overhead attacks (require that you block high) and a low (require that you crouch block) then your opponent is basically going to figure out your game plan and open you up and maim you. “My character is super rushdown based (meaning they probably are short ranged and have poor defense) though and they don’t have any good pokes outside of my close range ones!” Tough luck, but you need to understand that just because of your perceived lack of footsies doesn’t mean the opponent won’t abuse that weakness. For those characters who lack the longer ranged offense that some characters have (and every character should have some form of footsie tool) becomes less about maintaining maximum distance while using safe on block attacks, but more about getting to a distance where some of those attacks may no longer be safe for your opponent to use. That’s the important part of footsies to bear in mind. Its not necessarily about just dancing in and out of your max range, but its understanding what attacks your opponent can do and knowing their range as well. Remember the range on their attacks and get inside the area where your opponent cannot keep you at bay.

Understanding the range on your moves is an excellent first step to learning footsies. Knowing your threat ranges means you know when you can punish wiffs and opponent errors.

Understanding the range on your moves is an excellent first step to learning footsies. Knowing your threat ranges means you know when you can punish wiffs and opponent errors.

Not every character is going to have the same threat range as everyone else. Zangief’s arms are not going to be nearly as far-reaching as Dhalsim and his stretchy arms of death. This brings up the next point; most characters sweet spot (the place they want to be) for their footsies will be different from the next character. So that medium kick that Street Fighter’s Ken throws out may not have the same threat range as a crouching medium kick from Deejay (also from Street Fighter). “This sounds like a lot of work just for a specific circumstance.” Well, that’s generally what finding games are really, specific circumstances, so having at least even a passing knowledge is certainly better than going in blind and most likely having your health bar annihilated and your spirits lowered to catastrophic levels and you start getting salty as hell. The point is that certain matchups will be harder. This is the case period in fighting games, but instead of it being harder because your opponent has a fireball attack they love to spam or your character is slow its because certain characters just have better footsies in certain matchups.

I’ll stress this again. Footsies is something that takes time. It sounds easy to just throw out longer ranged attacks and to expect success, but a lot of the time just throwing them out willy nilly isn’t always best.  The point is to get into the habit of knowing the range on your opponents ground moves as well as your own so you can stop getting hit by every attack even though you swear that you were blocking that overpowered attack.



[fbcomments]