Top Street Fighter 5 player argues against having frame data in fighting games; Twitter actually has mixed feelings about it

Despite frame data being such a meticulously examined aspect of fighting games, developers have widely only recently begun to either include it in games or post it freely on the internet for players to see. Though the fighting game community has long been asking for this information to be routinely readily available, it seems that not everyone feels the same way about it.

Viktor”PG|Punk” Woodley, a pro competitor who has long been in the top three discussion for who the top global contender in Street Fighter 5 is, recently posted a tweet stating that his preference is actually the opposite. The ensuing thread is interesting, to say the least .

Most fighting games run at 60 frames per second, and it’s at the level of the singular frame where moves are analyzed and assessed. While a mere sixtieth of a second doesn’t sound like much at all, devoted fighting game players know all too well that speeding or slowing a maneuver by even a single frame can make a world of difference in its use and effectiveness.

In Street Fighter 5, for instance, the absolute fastest attacks come out in three frames. Characters who have three frame attacks are regarded as having a notable advantage over those whose fastest attacks take four frames, and so one can begin to perceive just how much math starts going into analysis and strategy.

Knowing just how long it takes a given character performing a given maneuver to recover (return to a state where they can block) rapidly becomes extremely important information.

Players have long hunted down this data as they strive to sharpen skills and become as knowledgeable as possible, but it’s technically never been a must for people to excel, just a helpful tool. As cries for frame data to be included have grown, developers have begun more and more to listen, even if it means charging for the info.

Punk, however, posted today that he feels that having knowledge of frame data “ruins fighting games,” noting that the experience tends to be more fun when explored only through feeling or instinctual knowledge. The tweet, which has garnered over 2,500 likes in the course of about four hours, started a bit of a conversation fueled by opinions from all over the FGC.

Punk is a player whose natural abilities far surpass almost everyone else who has played Street Fighter 5. His intuition for reading opponents is strong and his reactions for punishing them have been unparalleled, and he’s presumably seen the immense success that he has without spending much time memorizing frame data.

While it’s easy to argue that having instincts and is all but necessary while knowing the reactions numbers is more a take it or leave it kind of tool, arguing that removing the option for the latter is generally better for the overall experience is naturally going to be a much tougher sell.

Perhaps the burden of memorizing so much information is a turn off, or analyzing the game to such a degree gives it a more sterilized feel? In a follow up comment, Punk seems to imply that he much more enjoys playing at the level of binaries:

Spend enough time in the FGC and you’ll surely encounter the juxtaposition between those who tend more toward playing by feel and those who vehemently study the books. rising star CLG|Brian_F could not help but chime in:

It would be handed not to note that Street Fighter 5 is particularly known for throwing those who depend too much on numbers. Phrases such as “you’re only as negative as you feel,” are commonly heard during tournament streams as competitors very often find themselves in situations in which odd spacing or timings see a player wind up on the short end of exchanges despite being at frame advantage.

Javits Arias, a player known for spending copious amounts of time in training mode to explore games like SF5, and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 Evo champ EMP|Sanford Kelly have both been part of the FGC for a good many years. Both players chimed in with at least partial appreciation for Punk’s statement, both calling back to the evolution of fighting games over the last 20 years.

What do you think of all this? Is there reason not to make frame data readily available in modern fighting titles, or is it something that should always be there for those who would like to use it? Chime in with your responses in the comments below.


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