So, you didn’t manage to snag a Super NES Classic. Yeah, neither did we. But instead of whining about it—okay, in addition to whining about it—we’ve decided to put together our own “DIY Super NES Classic” collection by replacing retro SNES titles with the best indie games we can find. It’s the next best thing to actually owning one!
The game: Skullgirls
Play it instead of: Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Why we chose it:
I want to be good at fighting games. I really, really do.
Look, I turned nine years old in 1991, when Street Fighter II took over North America—or at least central California, where I grew up. Seriously, you couldn’t find a pizza joint, ice cream parlor, or bowling alley that didn’t have a Street Fighter II cabinet set up somewhere, usually surrounded by big crowds. If you wanted to play, you had to wait for a spot. Everyone I knew did, and did so gladly.
As you’d imagine, we all got got pretty familiar with the game. The kids who had that magical combination of lots of money—and thus, lots of quarters—and inattentive parents tended to be better, but everyone shared a basic level of competency. Once the game hit consoles, things got even worse. You had to be good at Street Fighter II. Otherwise, you’d spend entire sleepovers waiting for your turn, only to lose immediately. That’s not fun.
As a result, I feel like I should be good at fighting games. I’m not. I try. I know the basics. Blocks stop attacks, while throws counter blocks—but if you’re close enough to throw your opponent, you’re close for your opponent to punch you in the face. I watch EVO every year. I own Street Fighter V and both Injustice games.
But I suck. Last winter, I picked up the world’s smallest fight stick and gave Street Fighter a real shot. I read tutorials. I spent a day on YouTube. But when it came to calculating hitboxes and frame counts and footsies, my eyes glazed over. I got tired of training mode and ventured online. Someone playing Ken demolished me. Then another. And another (it’s always Ken, isn’t it?). After losing repeatedly, I lost my cool, threw the fight stick in the closet, and decided to play something—anything—else.
I can’t even play the old games anymore. A couple of days ago, I fired up Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting (which, to my dismay, is not the one with Cammy) for the first time in about twenty years. You can see the results of my eight minute play session in this post’s screenshots. They aren’t pretty.
All of this is a long way of saying that, despite my best efforts, there’s something about fighting games that doesn’t click with me, and I’m not equipped to make recommendations about them one way or another.
I’m going to recommend Skullgirls anyway. See, unlike every other modern fighting game I’ve tried, Skullgirls has a tutorial that actually helps. It lays out fighting game basics in a way that’s easy to understand and, more importantly, tells you why a technique is important, not just how to do it. The only other fighting game I’ve played that makes sure that you have a grasp on the fundamentals is Injustice 2, which wraps its training mode up in a fun, pulpy story. Skullgirls does it better.
Beyond that, I’m not sure how similar the two games are. Not very, I’d guess. I can’t last long enough at either to analyze the differences. At least Skullgirls is fast-paced and fun to look at. It’s definitely heavy on the fan service, but it feels more like sexy-fun than sexy-gross. Basically, if I ever become a halfway decent Street Fighter II player again, it’ll be because of Skullgirls.
Honestly, I’m not hopeful, but that’s not on Skullgirls. That’s on me.