Taunting and Mind Games

This is called Teabagging, and it’s a way to disrespect your opponent when they’re down or stunned Though you kind of have to use your imagination in Street Fighter because it doesn’t look as convincing as it does in First Person Shooters. On his journey to winning Capcom Cup 2016 and bringing home $230,000 NuckleDu teabagged his opponents in game during crucial matches to get in their heads and compromise their gameplay. Commentator 1 – “Boom! Stun!” Commentator 2 – “I, We are seeing- Oh my God!”

Commentator 2 – “NuckleDu!” In fighting sports you see taunting all the time, and some of the greatest fighters have used it to throw off their opponent’s mental game. It’s no different in fighting games, but as you’d expect people react to it in different ways. Some will laugh it off, Some will taunt back, And of course, some will get pissed off. Taunting has such a powerful effect on people that the Killer Instinct World Cup considered banning teabagging because an incident escalated to death threats on Facebook. Of course this caused a debate in the FGC (fighting game community) about the lack of E-Sportsmanship But what I found was interesting about this whole thing was the inherent power of pressing down a bunch of times A stunned opponent is usually an opportunity to build meter by whiffing attacks But more and more players seem to prefer doing some mental damage here instead Arguments in favor of taunting usually involve how they’re an integral part of mind games.

But to know what that means, it helps to know how mind games work. Two major components of mind games are conditioning and emotional influence Conditioning is when you make your opponent behave in a certain way so that later you can bait them into doing something, Commentator 1 – “And the Counter Breaker! It’s huge!”

Commentator 2 – “Wow, great call!” or scare them into doing nothing Commentator 1 – “From Phenom at just the right time, here we go, command throw!” Commentator 1 – “Another command throw!” Commentator 2 – “Ohh, I feel like this is, Commentator 1 – “ANOTHER command throw!”

Commentator 2 – “something Phenom loves to do!” Commentator 2 – “The fourth one, you never know- Commentator 1 – “YES THERE IT IS, THE FOURTH ONE!” In psychology, the 2 major types of conditioning are classical conditioning and operant conditioning Classical conditioning is when a stimulus is able to trigger our reflexes like when Pavlov’s dog learned to salivate just by hearing a bell. Or when a child cries at the sound of her father putting ice cubes in a glass. Operant conditioning is when we use rewards and punishment to control someone’s decision making Which is awesome for competitive gaming In the 1930’s psychologist B. F. Skinner showed that he can control the voluntary behavior of rats and pigeons with an invention he made called the Skinner Box If a pigeon produced a desired behavior like pecking a red disk, it would be rewarded with food which would increase the chance of repeat behavior.

This is called reinforcement If the test subject failed to do something, it might receive an electrical shock which would obviously decrease the chance of repeat behavior This is simply called punishment Operant conditioning is so effective, it’s actually been used to train pigeons how to recognize signs, play ping-pong, and distinguish impressionist paintings from cubist paintings, I kid you not. We can see this learning process when people use special moves in a fighting game For example, Nash’s EX Moonsault. If the moves hits your opponent, you are likely to use it again If the move gets punished or is not very effective, you’ll be less likely to use it This simple fact of conditioning is why people spam moves, if it works and you don’t know how to stop it, expect to see the move again and again But as frustrating as this is, there’s nothing more gratifying than finding a counter in training mode and punishing that spammer in a real match Commentator – “-and he wanted to get close! The parry! The parry!”

So this is how conditioning works, but how can you use it on your opponent and make them your pigeon? Luckily, pro gamer Xian imparted some excellent advice on Twitter for grapplers regarding conditioning Beginner Zangief players are often tempted to use their most powerful move, the Spinning Piledriver, as soon as they get close to their opponent The problem is that your opponent might avoid it by jumping straight up, also known as a neutral jump This makes your move completely miss and leave you wide open for a devastating combo that’ll do about 300 damage to you or more If you land the Spinning Piledriver, you will only do about 200 damage to them. As you can see, this is not in Zangief’s favor So how do you get your opponent to stop neutral jumping when you get close? One way is to simply punish them for doing it.

When you get in close, instead of going for the Spinning Piledriver, try something else, like the safer but less damaging normal grab. There’s no spinning involved but you still get to bury your knee in their colon so, not a bad option. But more importantly the normal grab lets you recover much quicker if you miss That means if your opponent neutral jumps to avoid it, you’ll be able to punish them on their way down with a lariat, elbow, credit card swipe, or whatever Do this enough times and they’ll be conditioned to stop neutral jumping and go for the safer option, back jumping Now the next time you go for the Spinning Piledriver up close, they’ll likely back jump instead of neutral jump, making them unable to harm you Getting your opponent to back jump to escape is an integral part of the grappler archetype And many of them have moves designed to catch people doing just that Commentator 1 – “Give him another hand!” Commentator 2 – “OOOOOOOOooooooohhhhhh!!” Commentator 2 – “Alex Valle! Grabbing him!

With the Ultra 2!” Commentator 1 – “Oh! My- One of the defining characteristics of a character’s playstyle is what kind of emotion they can make the opponent feel, and that’s because emotions can affect your decision making in different ways You might have guessed it, but the grappler archetype is designed to incite fear Fear makes you less likely to take risks, which explains why a good grappler will make you want to scramble and escape But what’s interesting is that the same study that showed how fear makes you take less risks showed that anger had the opposite effect Anger actually resembled happiness and optimism in that it made you more likely to take risks Angry people have even been found to be less worried about terrorist attacks, and more optimistic about marrying someone wealthy Just like when you do bold thing when you’re feeling yourself, anger has a similar effect This explains why being angry can sometimes help you win Commentator – “Rare footage of Daigo actually angry.” But you can probably see why getting angry is not a sustainable strategy, especially if that’s what your opponent wants you to do Just like how there are characters designed to induce fear, there are ones that are designed to purposefully anger and frustrate your opponent causing them to take more risks The classic example would be Guile or any zoner. The goal here traditionally is to keep your opponent away from you as much as possible until they get frustrated and start to do risky advances like jumping at you or pushing forward recklessly When you’ve successfully killed their patience, you can make them literally run into your punches Commentator 1 – “He escaped the situation. Oh my God!

Ohhh noooo!” Commentator 2 – “Oh… OHHHH HE TOOK IT!” Commentator 2 – “NuckleDu!

With the triple fierce!” And this is why I think NuckleDu is such a strong player, his 2 main characters are Guile and R. Mika, a zoner and a grappler On the surface, it seems like his multi-character arsenal is to cover up bad character match ups But having characters that provoke radically different emotions is invaluable for the player match up He demonstrated this at Capcom Cup 2016, when he used Guile on MOV, and Mika on Ricki Ortiz Both who specialize in the same character; Chun-Li Fear and anger are just 2 examples of basic emotions, but where it gets interesting is when you think about how many complex emotions there are and how they all affect our decision making in different ways. How do we feel when we are playing desperate, outnumbered, or depressed Commentator 1 – “…that I can think of for… yeah, he’s… Commentator 1 – “Oh, Plup.”

Commentator 2 – “Not like this.” Or how about when we are feeling humiliated? Commentator 1 – “This man is disrespecting you!

Ohhh!” Commentator 2 – “Definitely.” Commentator 1 – “And he’s… Stop it, please!” Commentator 2 – “Stop!” Commentator 1 – “Balls is touching the, is touching the grid right now.”

Commentator 2 – “I believe- ” Commentator 1 – “Ohhhhhhh!” Commentator 2 – “Woooooooow.” Taunting evokes a cocktail of different emotions, but humiliation is one of its main ingredients Like zoners and grapplers there ‘s actually an archetype for humiliation. The joke character.

Designed to be silly and low tier, one of the joke character’s strengths is the ability to put the burden of winning on your opponent, even if they’re the underdog Commentator 1 – “Now he has the crowd behind him.” Commentator 2 – “Now he has the crowd on his side.” But the joke character is just a joke, right? Psychiatrist Neel Burton has described humiliation as, ‘assert(ing) power over (someone) by denying and destroying (their) status claims.’ Ohaifrancy – “What was going through your head during your match with MikeandIke?”

A4 Punk, “I mean, I knew I was gonna win I just… he, he like to talk a lot of trash about me and I got to put the kids in they place.” Ohaifrancy, “But what is your opinion on teabagging in fighting games?” A4 Punk, “I mean, I don’t know, I don’t think there anything wrong with it, but you know I had to teabag him, I gotta show him who’s the alpha. Some people are surprised to hear that teabagging could bother anyone when they’re already playing a murder simulator. It’s actually not that surprising when you consider the fact that teabagging isn’t even allowed in activities where actual killing is common and expected I’m of course talking about war. The founder of the Red Cross, Henry Dunant, created a humanitarian moral code for warfare known as Geneva Conventions, which has been agreed upon by 196 nations.

These essentially became the rules of war, which prohibit things like torture, and pretending to surrender But one line that’s repeatedly mentioned prohibits ‘Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating or degrading treatment.’ Maybe war has gotten too ESports, but it shows there’s worldwide acknowledgement that even when we’re killing each other, we must protect each other’s dignity A study in 1973 has famously shown that people cited public speaking as a common fear more often than death The fear of humiliation is real, and the reason why taunting is so effective, is because you can simultaneously put that fear into your opponent and use it as a punishment NuckleDu completely stopped doing reversal flash kicks in mix-up situations for the rest of the set. If you look at the culture of fighting games or fighting sports, the building of status and the destruction of is everywhere to be seen. You see it in pre-match trash talk, Mike Tyson – “I’m the best ever, I’m the most brutal and vicious, and most ruthless champion there has ever been.” Post game win quotes, and of course, during the match as well. It seems like a complete disregard for sportsmanship, but there are some unwritten rules Attacks on status are tolerated and even encouraged as long as they don’t target someone of far lesser skill, and as long as the disrespect pertains to each other’s skill in the game.

Part of being a fighter is how well you can respond to attacks on your confidence, which is why we admire the mental composure of people like Bruce Lee, or Momochi Marn – “Who?” Mike Ross – “Momochi.” Marn – “Who?”

When people are tested we can see their true personalities, and the personalities are arguably what keep us coming back to watch these games As long as we can still shake hands, cancel into fist-bump, and say good game I think we’ll be fine Let me know in the comments how you feel about taunting. This was Gerald from Core-A -Gaming, thanks for watching and if you would like to support these videos click the link to our Patreon. Either way the videos will stay free forever THIS IS FREE!