Fighting game streams and tournaments can be a lot of fun to watch since they’re usually filled with insane combos, hype crowds and exuberant commentators. However, those who are new to the fighting game scene may be completely bewildered by the terms commentators use during matches.
While this generally doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the fight itself, it’s nice to know the subtle nuances and tech involved in a match. Here are some common terms new audiences might find useful.
Commentators will often refer to certain moves as a series of numbers as opposed to the move’s name. These numbers refer to the “numpad notation,” which is a universal method in which certain moves are to be executed. The reason it’s called “numpad notation” is because the core mechanic involves using a computer numpad as a placeholder for directions. For example, eight on the numpad would be “up” while two would be “down.” Likewise, seven would mean holding up and back, while three refers to holding down forward.
For instance, if a player was trying to input a quarter circle forward to fire a Hadoken in Street Fighter, the numpad notation would correspond to 236 L. This is because you first hold down (2), then forward down (3) and finally forward (6). If you ever hear random numbers being mentioned in a tournament, it’s usually a reference to which move was just pulled off.
“Neutral” or “the neutch” is present in every fighting game ever made. This is because, as soon as the round starts, both players are in “neutral.” It refers to neither players being in an advantageous position in terms of where they are on the stage. Neutral can also refer to how players try to force their opponent into positions that are more disadvantageous to them. As a side note, a disadvantageous position to be in is generally the Corner. This is because players in the corner are forced to defend and have very few movement options since their backs are literally to the wall. Additionally, getting hit in the corner can lead to combo extensions due to wall bounce.
“Just look at this pressure” is a pretty common thing commentators say during particularly heated matches. In this instance, Pressure means to continuously attack an opponent to the point where they have no room to retaliate. In order to pull off pressure correctly, a player’s “blockstring” (attacks while an opponent is guarding) must be “true.” In this case, a “true” blockstring means that there’s no gap in the attacks where the opponent can escape or counter. The opponent must continue to guard until the blockstring is over, or they will get hit. Pressure generally lasts a few seconds but can be extended with the use of assists.
Also known as the “mix,” mixups are essential in opening up guarding opponents. Mixups are maneuvers that force guarding opponents to guess which way to properly block. For example, if an opponent is in a situation where they are forced to block, they have to choose whether to block a high, low or grab attack. They may also have to be aware of a cross-up, in which a player switches sides and forces the defender to block the other direction. Generally, mixups occur after a hard knockdown.
Hard Knockdown is basically a state that forces players to be in a prolonged knockdown state. In layman’s terms, this means that a player is laying on the ground for a longer period of time. They cannot tech in any direction and must get up regularly. If a player is in a hard knockdown state, it gives the opposing player time to set up a mixup. In most fighting games, players can only be put into a hard knockdown state after being hit by certain moves (such as sweeps) or super attacks.
Often referred to as “Oki,” Okizeme is often used in conjunction with a hard knockdown. Okizeme is used to describe pressuring your opponents upon getting up after a knockdown. By putting pressure on the opponent, they are forced to block and guess what kind of mixup to block. This puts them in a disadvantageous position, as they must continue to block until the blockstring is finished or they guess wrong and get blown up.
The “Shoryuken” is the most iconic example of the Reversal in fighting games. Reversal refers to an invincible attack which is followed by a lengthy recovery process. These typically come in the form of 623 moves, but can also be used to describe certain super moves. Reversals can also be used after a hard knockdown to totally negate pressure. However, if Reversals are blocked or baited out, it leaves player totally exposed for punishment.
This is also known as being “plus,” or conversely, being “minus.” In order to understand this concept properly, there are a few other concepts that need to be explained. Whenever a move is performed, there is a “recovery” period that occurs to return the player back to a neutral state which is measured in frames. If a move hits, the opposing player is either hit by it or they block it. Depending on if the move connected or was blocked, the opposing player is put into hit/block stun. This means that the opposing player cannot do anything since they are “stunned” by the move.
Frame Advantage (or being plus) occurs when a player’s move recovers faster than it takes for the opponent to get out of stun. Conversely, players have disadvantage (or are minus) when a move recovers slower than it takes for an opponent to get out of stun.
The term “salty” is fairly common slang in general, and it has a similar meaning in the world of fighting games. This adjective is used to describe players who are disgruntled, peeved or upset, usually upon losing a game. Salty players will either want a runback (rematch) or ragequit. It basically boils down to getting irrationally angry over a video game, usually with poor sportsmanship involved.
If you've ever watched a fighting game tournament, you may have the heard commentators use some unfamiliar terms. Here are the basics you should know.