Sol Badguy can’t see Magneto’s Häagen-Dazs!


The Aesthetics of Fighting Games

Part 1

In this return entry we are discussing the merits of visual aesthetics and overall game design in the Fighting game genre. Which one is more important? How much does Character Design relate to making a person play a fighting game? Does age hinder the effectiveness of character design on newer generation? Is using current trends hurting the lasting power of a characters design? In this first post of two, Illustrator, JCEtheredge debates with Industrial Designer, Arthur. Both have been playing fighting games for years and read many a comic book.

3:31 PM

Arthur: Did you like the new girl?

3:33 PM

JCEtheredge: I didn’t see her

I’m kind of mad they named her the mispronunciation of Juli

I have art books and official capcom stuff where they call refer to Juli and Juri

3:34 PM

Why invite more confusion

Arthur: but she is a completely new character

So she is not either of the twins

JCEtheredge: I get that


Arthur: but she does work for bison

So why would that make you mad?

3:35 PM

JCEtheredge: I just think it’s careless to give her a name they’ve technically already used for another character

Its like Mike / Mike Bison

or any of the SF naming conventions

Arthur: I dunno

3:36 PM

JCEtheredge: why invite more confusion

Arthur: I wasn’t confused as much

I knew she wasn’t either of the twins

as soon as I saw her

Now some Koreans are upset with her outfit

3:37 PM

JCEtheredge: I wasn’t confused either

but I know Juli is sometimes referred to as Juri

Arthur: so if none of the hardcore people are confused

JCEtheredge: because of the Japanese pronunciation

3:38 PM

Arthur: and any of the newbies will not know, then its all good

And the French don’t say “H” in their words

Spoken is not the same, I don’t know but name aside, how are you liking her style

3:39 PM

JCEtheredge: I haven’t seen her

I haven’t been paying attention to super


3:40 PM

I’ve kinda fallen out of favor with street fighter after 4

I don’t like it

Arthur: :O

Sad sad day

3:41 PM

JCEtheredge: I don’t like the character design

and I don’t like how mismatched the art styles are

3:42 PM

Like the cut scenes are one style, the promo art is one style, and the in-game art is another style

Arthur: but you don’t’ play the game for how it looks

You play the game for the system

the comp

JCEtheredge: previously, in SF games, in-game art, promo art, and cut scenes / endings all looked drawn by the same hand

Arthur: the sharpening of your skills set

JCEtheredge: .I played it for how it looks

Since day 1

3:43 PM

That’s what attracted me to it

How it looked

3:45 PM


JCEtheredge: blocked

Arthur: well you can always go over to Blue Blaze

JCEtheredge: a lot of sites are blocked here

3:46 PM

Arthur: or Arcadia Heart



JCEtheredge: ugh those games look gay to me

Arthur: LMAO

You are never happy

JCEtheredge: they are stupid! Come on you know they do

A bunch of little girls and skinny girly men with no chins

3:47 PM

No boobs, no hips, no muscles

Arthur: I don’t play them, but I appreciate watching people play them

It’s like watching MvC2

JCEtheredge: I like fighters for the character design

Arthur: I am nowhere near the level of the top players

and when you watch some matches you can’t help but get hype

JCEtheredge: big well-animated sprites man nothing to me if they’re boring designs

3:48 PM

Arthur: or when you see people talking shit to each other, it’s LIVE

3:49 PM

JCEtheredge: I was at CF the other day– and of all the games there, the only one I sat and watched for a good while was X-men vs. SF

Shits over 10 years old and is still the best looking game in there

3:50 PM

Arthur: OK

I can’t talk to you anymore

THAT is just evil

JCEtheredge: from an artist’s POV dude

Animation, combined with character design

3:51 PM

Like that one, 3rd strike, and cvs2 are the only ones that hold up for me

Arthur: GG is a better artistic designed game

Much more original


JCEtheredge: than what!


Arthur: GG is better than XvSF (X-Men vs. Street Fighter)

JCEtheredge: that game is tacky and contrived

3:52 PM

I’m going to act like you didn’t say that

Arthur: you are not being objective

You are feeding off of what you like

JCEtheredge: the X-Men and Street Fighter are some of the strongest character designs of ALL TIME


Arthur: and what it means in respect to you

JCEtheredge: these characters are iconic

Arthur: strongest character designs…..


Yeah NO

3:53 PM

JCEtheredge: designed by some of the greatest comic artists ever

Arthur: they already had something to feed off from

The characters in GG were all from scratch

They are very original

In flavor

I don’t care about iconic

JCEtheredge: but they’re taking from something too

GG wouldn’t exist if not for Jim Lee’s X-Men character designs, and the original SF character designs

Arthur: No I mean, when they made Mags (Magneto)

3:54 PM

There were certain things that HAD to be made that way because he was Mags

JCEtheredge: Capcom took iconic characters and built on them

Arthur: When they made a character they could say, yeah we want a water person to be the basis but that was about it

3:55 PM

JCEtheredge: GG took anime stereotypes and talented artists to make something that looks original– but to me looks over-designed and tacky at times

Arthur: the sprite animation in XvSF was just bad. I mean the last boss was just AWEFUL

3:56 PM

JCEtheredge: anyone can design a GG character. Just thumb thru a Japanese fashion magazine, but some powers and hairstyles in hat and draw

X-men v SF’s frame rate is higher than GG as well

GG has nice HD sprites, but they move choppy

3:57 PM

Not as fluid as Capcom 2d games

Granted Capcom ones are pixely comparatively. I enjoyed the higher frame rate

Recognizable characters with DEPTH

That is more than an outfit and anime hairstyle

3:58 PM

Arthur: they are both operating at 60fps

So there is no real dif there

JCEtheredge: X-Men and Street Fighters have history. GG characters are a fad

Capcom looks smoother

3:59 PM

Its because less of them are wearing big annoying cloaks and less of them have giant pony tails

GG designers don’t realize u need to animate all that

4:00 PM

The character can have as many facial expressions and poses as u want– but if their coat and giant ponytail don’t move, it looks shitty… to me at least

Arthur: ummm last I checked they all moved



4:01 PM

JCEtheredge: and truth be told, I think GG has some growing to go, but with dedication and a drive to push the game where it needs to go, it can get there

Arthur: it wasn’t stiff at all

JCEtheredge: it does have some ok characters

but they abandoned it for a wacker looking game series!

Blazblue should’ve just been a really nice GG

4:02 PM

I HATE bishonen characters


4:03 PM

Arthur: Hell Dark Stalkers is better than XvSF

JCEtheredge: yea

4:04 PM

Well I like that game. It’s really beautifully animated

but I played it to death

Arthur: just saying

It is better overall than XvSF

JCEtheredge: plus no one was playing it at CF, which was why I didn’t look at it

Arthur: and that is in CF

JCEtheredge: oh yeah overall, definitely

4:05 PM

I’m just saying XvSF has good animation and it holds up

As does DS and CvS (Capcom vs. SNK)

and of course 3rd strike

4:06 PM

Arthur: SF4 character style is a little stiff

4:07 PM

Animation style

JCEtheredge: exactly– it’s a step down IMO

10:16 AM

Tell JC I totally cosign with him on Street Fighter, for the look. Arty is like a one legged man in an ass kicking contest, he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

I mean, I played street fighter 2 for the system… It was pretty ugly, but it was better than anything else out… but I’ve never been one to try and master a game to win repeatedly or whatever, it’s been about friends and aesthetic… it looks cool. And my friends play it, so I play. I don’t do Internet games and I don’t like the art style so I will not be playing SF4. His criticisms of the art direction and style are spot on. SFIV is fofuggly and although guilty gear is shiny, it’s so trite in terms of design… it looks like someone put a newtype in an SNK blender and added more big hair and eye shines for measure… but it is shiny. So was BB. And I’d rather look at BB then SFIV.

I don’t give a fuck about the sharpening of my skill set on SF. I cant transfer the skill set to real life so it’s worthless… now if I was a pro or had aspirations…

And JC just validated my use of “gay” now I won’t feel bad like a white boy at a Wu Tang concert dropping the N-word.

Also 3rd Strike FTW. SF4 should of been high-res 3rd strike with ‘gief protégé and a grown up Sakura and better balanced character and some new character… maybe Sean get his ‘mane’… SFIV is pupu platter.

-Jack hatred

JCEtheredge: read some of you and J’s convo…

10:17 AM

The X-Men are great character designs, and you’re right about capcom designers having something already established to work on…


Those characters had NEVER been animated like that before…


10:18 AM

Capcom brought something to the X-Men that no one else was able to do

That made them that much stronger

10:19 AM

That psycho Wolverine sprite… the posey Cyclops sprite… that Psylocke sprite with the thighs…

Arthur: the X-Men had been animated like that and better IMO before the game was even done

JCEtheredge: this was all Capcom’s influence


Where had the X-Men been animated better than in capcom?

Please don’t say the 90s show

Arthur: in animation

10:20 AM

JCEtheredge: that show was great… but no one moved with as much character as in the capcom games

10:21 AM

Arthur: the character frame animation is XvSF was, to me, and this is just my opinion, as fluid and with as mush style as GG

The game play is WAY more broken and not as balanced

10:23 AM

JCEtheredge: You have to understand though that coming from my perspective– judging on how it looks– how it animates– “balance” and “broken-ness” don’t enter the equation

Space Ace looks beautiful… and there’s no gameplay to speak of

Arthur: but we are talking about, from the beginning, what was a better overall game

That includes everything

JCEtheredge: i’m talking about looks alone– not gameplay


10:24 AM

I said, “XvSF still looks the best of every game in there”

Arthur: then looks alone, you even agreed that DS is a better game than XvSF

JCEtheredge: I never mentioned gameplay b/c that day at CF I didn’t play anything. I just looked

10:25 AM

I said that DS has great animation

I also said that about a lot of other games

Arthur: beside, you and J have on rose colored glasses…you aren’t separating the history of the characters from this equation

10:26 AM

JCEtheredge: you’re not understanding that these characters HAVE history because they are strong

Arthur: of course

They are strong because of their history

JCEtheredge: there are plenty of characters to come out of the 60’s you aren’t seeing these days

10:27 AM

but the ones that have staying power are still around

Arthur: but if you put them side by side with no history . . .

JCEtheredge: honestly

With no history…

Arthur: this was never a conversation about longevity

JCEtheredge: ok you know me. You know what I like

If you put Capcom’s Psylocke next to ANY woman character in GG…

I’d say Psylocke is better

10:28 AM


Arthur: I’d agree

but if you put Sol (Sol Badguy) vs. Juggernaut

I’d pick Sol

JCEtheredge: tricky

Are we imagining that Haohmaru exists?

Arthur: but Wolvie beats Sol

JCEtheredge: cause I think sol is a bit of a Haohmaru rip

Arthur: you could play rock paper scissors all day

10:29 AM

Everything was influenced by something else

JCEtheredge: but I’m saying– if you put Sol next to Juggs, I’d have to say Juggs, if Haohmaru exists

10:30 AM

Arthur: then I would have to say that Juggs is “Hulk-ish”

JCEtheredge: GG characters are well designed- don’t get me wrong…

Arthur: come on now, that game of who reminds who of who can go on forever

JCEtheredge: but seriously– could u tell who any of them were if their hair was down? Or if they were wearing a different outfit?

10:31 AM

GG characters are strong but they are a sign of the times. They look like anime / manga of the 90’s / 2000’s

10:32 AM

I can give you 12 different anime series with characters that look like GG characters

Arthur: right, but you have to consider the “familiarity” aspect of X-Men

Its like the more you see something, someone, the more that you could recognize them outside of the norm

JCEtheredge: granted GG designers did a good job of adding details to make them stand out… but the fact is, they are typical anime looking

10:33 AM

The X-Men are indeed familiar– but based on what I like– in terms of aesthetic in character design, the X-Men beat GG

10:34 AM

Arthur: it is their style

JCEtheredge: what I like = colors, spandex, tits, muscles

Arthur: right, but you guys are not being objective

And neither of you will cop to that

JCEtheredge: how can you be objective on something that’s SUBJECTIVE?

Arthur: that that is an influence along with the history

10:35 AM

JCEtheredge: that’s like saying “I think Naomi is better than Tyra”

Arthur: you can point out just the things that make up the game on their own

System, artwork, character design

JCEtheredge: it’s a subjective opinion when an artist says, “I think this looks better than this”

10:36 AM

I mean hell I might be in the minority with this one, but id even say I like Mortal Kombat characters over GG

Arthur: WHOA

JCEtheredge: I’m trying to prove the point we’re talking about something that’s subjective

10:37 AM

“I think A looks better than B” cannot be scientifically quantified

10:38 AM

Arthur: just because something falls into a subjective arena, does not mean that some type of criteria cannot be set up by which you can look at both

JCEtheredge: ok, true

10:39 AM

But what does it tell you that me, Jack Hatred, and that myself all have a different opinion than you on the subject

Arthur: that you guys are ALL crazy


JCEtheredge: somewhere, whatever system we are using of measurement is meshing with all of us and not you

Arthur: j/k

10:40 AM

JCEtheredge: you seem to be influenced on play mechanics. That makes “a better game” to you

Arthur: because if we all sat down together and took out exactly what it is that we need to measure then we can truly have a discussion

Right now, you three could be teaming up on me


I am influenced by all factors that it takes to the game

10:41 AM

Otherwise it is just artwork moving


You are in an arcade

You were watching a game

You were enjoying the way the characters were moving in the game

JCEtheredge: what’s you’re point

Arthur: it wasn’t a TV show

JCEtheredge: I am an artist. I like the art in capcom games

Arthur: it was in a game

JCEtheredge: I can’t find that art anywhere else. So that’s how I enjoy it

Arthur: that’s fine

10:42 AM

But understand that if you are partial to X-Men, you are partial to Capcom

JCEtheredge: as a matter of fact I DID indeed record my gameplay at home and sit down and watch it like a cartoon

Arthur: then your judgment or end result

Is skewed

10:43 AM

JCEtheredge: I should home you’re not saying I’m less able to judge how a game looks because I can enjoy looking at it without playing it…?

I am judging how it LOOKS

All I need is my eyes


Be logical now, bro

10:44 AM

Arthur: NOT if you eyes have rose colored glasses on them

If you have rose color glasses on them, then when you look at the sky, is it still Blue?

You be logical

10:45 AM

JCEtheredge: I don’t have blinders on man– I know when I’m looking at something that looks nice. I’m not a retard

To be honest, I hate most of the characters of 3rd Strike, but I love watching it because it’s fucking pretty

10:46 AM

I m able to separate myself from character history and enjoy something that looks nice

GG looks nice to me sometimes too (when its not a bishy guy with a stiff coat and ponytail) ahha

10:48 AM

Arthur: hahah

I tell ya his ponytail moves

His coat moves as well

It is not some stiff piece of non-animated thing

JCEtheredge: also I can see when X-Men are animated or drawn poorly

10:49 AM

I’m not some fanboy that eats up anything X-Men. J will tell u, I am extremely critical

I actually HATE the colossus sprite

I think it hurts the character

The Storm sprite I think could be prettier

10:55 AM

Arthur: OK, here it is…. walk in, look at both as games, both in terms of characters that are played, both as they are animated, and both for their play mechanics.

10:56 AM

JCEtheredge: am I walking in today? After already having watched XvSF for 45 minutes?

Because I probably won’t be drawn to it again.

You need to set more parameters

Arthur: you are walking in today knowing nothing about either

10:58 AM

JCEtheredge: I’d have to be pretty stupid. I know nothing about X-Men OR Street Fighter?

10:59 AM

Arthur: no

You lived on a tropical island

There were no TVs

11:00 AM

And it’s your first time to the states

JCEtheredge: ok give me a list of cabinets

And I’ll tell you which one I’d be drawn to

11:07 AM

Arthur: no no, you just walk in with the above 4 point to judge with

11:10 AM

JCEtheredge: which 4

11:13 AM

Arthur: OK, here it is…. walk in, look at both as games, both in terms of characters that are played, both as they are animated, and both for their play mechanics.

11:14 AM

JCEtheredge: wait why are we judging on play mechanics

11:15 AM

I thought I established that I we’re judging on looks, play mechanics doesn’t matter

11:23 AM

Arthur: because it is a game

That’s like saying that you open a comic and not read the story

11:24 AM

JCEtheredge: well if you’re judging the comics on looks alone, u don’t have to read it

11:25 AM

There are plenty of comics that have great art and not-worth-reading stories

and vice versa

11:26 AM

Arthur: but this is a criterion that the 4 of us can agree on as part of the way to come to c clear winner

11:31 AM

JCEtheredge: but what’s the contest? best game? I can’t judge best game because I haven’t played them all

I’ve played GG like thrice in my life

Yeah… Ok… Real talk. I don’t like X-Men designs. I just think they’re strong as hell. I think wolverine looks stupid… But it’s a strong design. Like Ming the Merciless. Stupid, but a strong design… Ask Dr. Strange.

Batman… Strong design… But I think it’s stupid. Guilty gear has many “attractive” weak designs. Meaning they are largely derivative in a manner that makes them indistinct, however their design points are gleaned from popular sources or are sensational therefore they are attractive.

Case point. A cheap fireworks display versus a Buddhist tapestry. Think about it.

I’d personally rather look at the Simpsons arcade game or the original X-Men game then GG. Or to show it’s not an occidental bias. I’d rather watch captain commando… Of we’re talking sheer aesthetic. I’m an aesthete when it comes to games… That’s why I’ve played very few games since 3D… I think we’re just getting to the point where anything can be aesthetically pleasing… But that’s another conversation.

Again overall… the whole experience:

MVC Creative yet flawed (which in itself is beautiful)

BB/GG polished yet trite.

-Jack hatred

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