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Learning Street Fighter II, slowly

Tera Kirk's picture

Street Fighter II HD Remix

I see a lot of things slowly. I sometimes have to consciously work out what things are, and I miss many things in my environment simply because I don't have enough time to notice them: people on bicycles, for instance, or something I'm looking for on a shelf, or vacuum hoses. ("What's that thing—a snake? No, it's too big to be in anything but the rain forest. And it's not moving"). While needing time to process what I'm looking at is more of a problem in real space than when looking at a screen, I've found a tool that helps me learn Street Fighter II skills by slowing the game down to something that's more my speed.

A gray, rectangular gamepad with a red joystick on the left, blue Start and Slow-motion buttons in the center; on the left, red A, B, X and Y buttons in a diamond shape, flanked by blue L and R buttons and a Turbo button on top.

A while ago I bought a Super Nintendo Quick Shot for its joystick; its features "for professionals" like the turbo and slow motion switches didn't interest me at all. This week I finally hooked it up with Street Fighter II—again, for its joystick: I got tired of trying to do a "quarter-circle-forward" with a D-pad and analog stick—and I've discovered that its ability to render animations in slow motion is...really helpful, actually.

When turned on, the slow motion switch makes all movement visible one frame at a time. Without having to reflexively respond--the whole "fight or flight" thing—I started to think more defensively. Since E. Honda's stuck doing that silly hand-slapping thing on the other side of the screen, a hadoken would be really useful about now....When Chun-Li jumps at me, why don't I just uppercut her out of the sky? [The Dragon Punch is way too advanced for me at this point: I don't even go there.]

The slow-mo switch that can be found on many older enhanced controllers isn't the perfect accessibility tool—it would be nice if there were gradations of speed, rather than just the one-frame-at-a-time/default speed binary—but it does a pretty good job of something that it probably wasn't intended to do in the first place. Today, programs like CPU Killer can be used to slow down computer games so that people with disabilities can play them, and looks like it features gradations of speed. But it's nice to know that, even in the 16-bit era, some mainstream technology could make games playable to some gamers with disabilities.

Category Tags
Developer(s): Capcom  
Series: Street Fighter II  
Genre(s): Fighting  
Topic(s): Gaming with Disabilities  

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Interesting piece Tera. I

Interesting piece Tera. I really appreciate your gaming experiences and perspective.

I never gave much thought to the benefits of a slow-motion feature. It always seemed to be a cheating tool to me and not a learning tool.

I remember those controllers with slow-motion features (as well as programmable buttons and "turbo") during the height of popularity of fighting games, shoot'em ups or other twitch-gameplay games. It was non-disabled gamers (like me) that were looking for a way to slow the action down so they could beat a level, end boss or just get past a sticky part of a game.

What you are asking for though doesn't sound unreasonable and it is certainly technologically possible, but it is funny how something that could be implemented in software has to be left to some external solution.

Slow-motion features, button customization features, color and contrast controls (for visually impaired), subtitling and both visual and audio cues during gameplay; these are all incredibly helpful features but as many wrest control from the developer, it's debatable whether they will ever become standard in games. Any change to help disabled gamers, and non-disabled gamers for that matter, seem to take a back seat to keeping the game experience precisely how the designer imagined it. Adding these features would also be like admitting their game was flawed both from game design and aesthetic standpoints.

Even now, it is such a struggle convincing developers to allow us to skip, let alone pause, rewind and fast forward their precious cutscenes. Like someone in the forums said, we are afforded less options in watching cutscenes than someone with a DVD player has while watching a movie. It's only now that we see some games allowing you to save anywhere. And that was only because hard drives were too prevalent in consoles for them to put if off any longer.

So maybe at some point developers will allow for all of these things, but it would seem they need to constantly have their foot to the fire for them to get up and make these relatively minor changes. They'd also have to get used to the idea of someone somewhere reducing their 60 frames-per-second, high-res masterpiece into a slide show just so they can enjoy it.

End rant.

Agree 100%

Hi, Dale,

Dale Weir wrote:

I never gave much thought to the benefits of a slow-motion feature. It always seemed to be a cheating tool to me and not a learning tool.

Honestly, I thought the same way--that's why it took me so long to try it ;-).

Regarding customizable controls, AbleGamers.com and Alt-Controls.com are petitioning Sony to build customizable controls into the PS3 at the firmware level.

While I can see that something like speed control or customizable color schemes might be intimidating for developers, there's no excuse for not putting in captions for dialogue or the ability to pause/skip cut-scenes.

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