Fighting games have been a highly competitive genre, boasting several sub-genres and creating communities across the globe. However, if you are the type of person to watch those fighting games, whether it be competition or youtuber, you might be a little confused with some of the jargon they throw around from their commentary. Here, I’ll give you a beginner’s dictionary to help you get started, so you can understand the nuts and bolts of fight games.
Neutral generally refers to a situation where neither players have an advantage or disadvantage over the other in terms of positioning or momentum. If you heard of the term, ‘Neutral Game’, then it refers to the character’s toolset in the neutral state of the game. This doesn’t mean, that both characters are on equal footing during the Neutral.
Generally refers to the property of a move that requires the blocker/defender to be in a certain state to block. For example, if the attacker is using a low move, then the defender has to be blocking while crouching. If the attacker is using an overhead attack, then the defender has to be blocking while standing. Which leads to our next term.
This is a situation where the attacking player has a choice of using various attacks with differing properties. The defender must guess or predict which kind of attack the aggressor uses and block appropriately. While it is common for mixups to have something of a High/low mixup, there are also crossups and command grabs that are considered additional options depending on the game.
This is a situation where the attacker uses command strings that forces the defender to stay blocking. The attacker may slip in something like a Mixup or a Stagger in order for the defender to make a mistake and go in for some damage. Below you can see that the attacking player is keeping the defending player from doing anything but blocking. (source: @isaku)
More common in 2D fighting games where the attacker can move to the other side of the defender and initiate more attacks. This can be used as a mixup tactic. Here below, you can see Trunks using a block string before crossing up and managed to get a combo off the defending player. (Source: @Johnnysalami).
This is when the attack string ends and can transition into something else (usually blocking) without getting retaliated or punished. Each attack has a recovery, and the shorter the recovery, the safer the attack.
Dragon Punch (DP)
A special move that is a reversal. Visually, it is a jumping uppercut (or some form of variant). Generally known for the invincibility frames (when the user can’t be harmed) and ability to reset the state of the game to neutral, or even convert into a combo. Depending on the game, not every character has a Dragon Punch, but it is a fairly common tool.
When a player manages to hit the opponent with a random hit, this may give the player an opportunity to turn it into a combo.
Generally seen in most games with a universal resource (known as meter). An EX move is a special move that is enhanced with using a meter. For example, a Dragon Punch move will have a standard property of animation time, damage and interaction. If the player decides to use a meter with it, the property of the Dragon Punch becomes enhanced such as increasing damage, reducing animation time or completely changing the property of the move.
Since it uses a resource, EX moves will not be seen as often as other special moves.
Of course, there are more jargons in the fight game genre. Some more specific to the game than the genre itself, but hopefully this small glossary should give you a basic understanding of what to expect in fighting games.