Last time I talked about finding that feeling of fit and coming to grips with that balance of what works well for us versus areas that we have taught ourselves complacency. Today I want to jump into the topic of dissecting the components of that fit.
Drawing the Line: What Fits Me and What Fits You?
We all define “fit” in a very personal way, and I am using the word “define” extremely loosely as this notion of fit is a fluid idea, constantly evolving with our preferences and skill-sets. For me, as you may be able tell from the previous anecdotes, a large component is functionality; when I am playing a character I want the actions to feel like an extension of me, acting fluidly with my expectations of input and output
We all define “fit” in a very personal way, and I am using the word “define” extremely loosely as this notion of fit is a fluid idea, constantly evolving with our preferences and skill-sets.
A gaming example of this is seen in my difficulty of switching between Melee and Brawl. The sequel greatly changed the flight path of Yoshi’s egg-throwing attack. In Melee, I always used the eggs to create spacing and force specific actions. They felt right to me in Melee (likely because it was first [I didn’t play Yoshi in SSB64 until post Melee] and I became accustomed to it) and when the angles and distances changed in Brawl I just found a chasm between what I wanted and what Yoshi was willing to do. But anyway, this is just my first interpretation of things that fit for me; let’s get into this and see where we end up.
I want to diverge from speaking solely about me for a moment and consider how fit can be so unique to each person. I know my brother’s feelings toward games remotely well so I am going to (with his permission) try to build a bit of a juxtaposition here. In a fighting game, for example, he often chooses more based on the character than the playstyle. He quite enjoyed playing Ike in Brawl, because, well… Ike is one of the most BAMF characters in any game series (so much so that the Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, which was pretending to have a different main character, just said ef that halfway through and gave you back Ike in all his glory).
Not to say that my brother does not care about the fluidity of his characters’ actions as an extension of his inputs, but the character’s background, personality, motivations and battle tactics clearly play a more fundamental role in building that fit-ness (clearly motivated to be as jacked as Ike) for himself. At the end of the day, he gets excited about that characterization; that is what gives him the spark to enjoy the game and elevate his gameplay, and he is far more willing than I to force the fluidity of actions to hold onto a character that fits for him considering these other aspects.
At the end of the day, he gets excited about that characterization; that is what gives him the spark to enjoy the game and elevate his gameplay, and he is far more willing than I to force the fluidity of actions to hold onto a character that fits for him considering these other aspects.
I think it would be fair for me to note that clearly my abuse of the adjective “adorable” in the last post suggests an element of this characterization in my preferences, but Dust and I put a different weighting on this component.
Similarly, this fit juxtaposition is apparent in RPGs as well. Dust will always spend the time to give each character very unique play styles that fit his mental image of that character. By doing so, he takes each character beyond the dialogues and cut scenes with individualized strategies and styles. For example, in Final Fantasy XII each of his characters had a very specific purpose and play style. In his words, his Fran, for example, was:
“My ninja/assassin (partially because that was my favorite class that her race could be in FF Tactics Advance, and she looks exactly like she has the assassin class) – I alternated between ‘ninja tricks’ using an accessory that reversed the positive effects of items, and maxing her speed to make best use of bow.
It was also a decision to have her do stuff that ignored stats in which other people had the clear advantage. No one had a clear speed advantage (I think some people had as much as 5 more speed… and the accessory I was using boosted by 50). And obviously the items don’t care about stats. So it was an awesome marriage of optimisation (where I use Fran in ways that she is not just sub par to other characters despite generally having lower stats) and it fit her look/feel… and my associations with her race from a different but related game.”
Where for another character he explained:
“Ashe was complicated… I did a whole light/dark drain katana reverse berserk thing which was partially inspired by this awesome vampire aristocrat who used a katana in the original FF Tactics. She was a princess with a deep-seeded dark streak to her.”
On the other hand, I just found Vaan, Balthier, and Basch (each of which Dust has equally complicated stories for) to work as a unit and utilized the rest of the crew only for reviving and Quickenings on occasion.
Clearly in many RPGs the fluidity of action I addressed in fighting games is not as relevant, but it materializes in different ways. The ability to manipulate pacing is a key factor that goes into my gaming experience.
For example, in Final Fantasy XIII once I finally got all the characters I tried 5 or so combinations of teams and then just stuck with Lightning, Sazh, and Hope because they have haste and good damage output. Speeding up the pace of battles in an RPG is pretty important to me. I was mildly frustrated when I was not playing Shulk in Xenoblade Chronicles, losing the ability to autokill most enemies without even starting a battle with a backstab.
A mutual friend of my brother and me has a characterization fit that veers more heavily on the visual aesthetic side, to the point that he will skip armors and weapons in RPGs if they don’t meet his hopes for the visual impact of a character.
So while my fit may come from comfort, fluidity and pacing, it’s important to understand how one personally creates that spark of productivity and enjoyment. It may not matter how much an equipment improves his battle chances; if this friend equips his party in a way that visually contradicts his expectations and just stops playing the game because he loses drive to interact with the game, then that’s it. This aesthetic fit needs to take some priority over functional fit for him.
So while my fit may come from comfort, fluidity and pacing, it’s important to understand how one personally creates that spark of productivity and enjoyment.
I have talked about fit specifically with characters in gaming, but the concept is equally applicable if we widen our scope to gaming in general. Why one genre may fit better than another or one game within a genre fits better than another is an interesting question.
For example, the freedom of mobility in Soul Calibur and Marvel Vs. Capcom forever scarred my Street Fighter and Tekken hopes. This is a grand topic that I’m not looking to get into here, I just thought something was missing without mentioning it. Perhaps later posts will touch on the topic or you could comment below to open up the conversation.
So we are starting to paint a picture, but what may matter most is how I can leverage this knowledge to make a change in all aspects of my life, from games to occupation. Let’s return to this in the next and final post on fit.
Until then, let me know in the comments below what you are thinking. Can you pretty easily dissect your own components of fit? Is the fit of other people a concern of yours in day-to-day interactions with friends, family and other acquaintances? And if so, what are some good examples of instances where your choices of activities have shifted around fit preferences of others?
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to revisit the conversation next time, and until then game on and learn on!