Fighting games are very hard, but the harder part is taking in the sheer amount of information out there. Knowing what’s good and what’s not can be challenging, but here are some very quick things to avoid when learning:

10. Worrying about your controller

Controller choice can seem daunting, but the honest truth is that it doesn’t matter at all. Anything that you find comfortable will work, as long as it functions properly. I started playing on a PS4 pad, and eventually moved to a Hitbox, but there are so many players that play on all kinds of peripherals. The only suggestion outside of that is to make sure you aren’t spending too much on a controller if you aren’t sure you’ll lock in to fighting games. The last thing you want to do is make a big money investment and wind up not wanting to play a month later.

9. Skipping tutorials

This is a mistake that even veteran players make. When learning a game, going through the tutorial, or even some trials, are always worth it. Granted, some games don’t really have their tutorial well fleshed out, but almost every single bit of information you can take in matters. Take your time, repeat them if you have to, and set a good foundation for your learning.

8. Looking at tier lists

Tier lists suck. They don’t actually help you as a new player at all. They don’t mean anything when it comes to learning how to play the game. Your best bet is to find lists of character archetypes within the game(s) that you’re playing, and going from there.

7. Trying to learn too much

It can be very easy to feel overwhelmed, and trying to learn how to combos, as well as motion inputs, as well as movement, as well as…

You get the point.

6. Trying to win too early

Winning feels good, of course. Winning means very little when learning, however. Just because you got a perfect, doesn’t mean you played such. Stomping your training partner the whole day won’t make those missed DP inputs better. Focus on working on specific things, make a habit of that, and progress at your own pace, irrespective of what your record is.

5. Refusing to switch when something isn’t working

If you aren’t feeling a character, for any reason, switch. If you’re having trouble with a combo trial, try a different one. If you aren’t feeling a fighting game, try another one. There is no time limit or requirement to play or not play something, and it’s totally okay to switch things up when you just aren’t into it.

4. Trying to learn too little

Learning that really difficult combo that does 80% damage doesn’t mean much if you can’t actually get in the position to do so in the first place. While you don’t want to overwhelm yourself, it’s also important to progress at a pace that facilitates a balance of comfort and progression.

3. Not understanding terminology

One of the easiest ways to get completely lost in learning things is not knowing what the fighting game terminology means. If I say that a DP can be punished with a 236S into 632146S wall break, it’s important to know how to read that and apply it to that situation. This annotation system is the most important thing you’ll have as a newer player, and it’s good to reference it whenever you aren’t sure of what the numbers mean. Most fighting games have adopted this system, so it’ll work across any of them.

2. Not asking for help

It’s totally okay to ask for help. Other players will help you much more often than not. There are many communities specifically for newer players, including a beginner only tournament series called NewChallengerTV. There are also communities for individual characters in individual games, and also hashtags for them on Twitter. If you need it, chances are you can find it, and if you can’t find it, someone will certainly help!

1. Not having fun

Regardless, fighting games are video games, and video games are meant to be fun. It’s okay to just do whatever you like and jam however you want. There’s so much going on in fighting games, despite the goal of them being the same every time. Explore, find weird stuff, try new things. Have fun!

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