Toxicity in the FGC

Toxicity in the FGC
Date Published: 12 March, 2019

Fighting games as a genre in gaming is structured around virtual violence, something seen in many, if not the majority of other video game genres. However, as ironic as it may seem, the FGC (Fighting Game Community) is not known for an aggressive or malevolent nature, but rather the opposite.

However, similar to any other community or association of sorts, outliers do exist, and the FGC is no different. There are a few areas where toxicity is often exemplified in the FGC, and despite its perhaps seldom occurrence compared to the community’s overall positive body of work, acknowledgement of these issues is still necessary.

Toxicity in the FGC WP 01
Mike Ross (right) explaining some differences to Bobby Scar (middle) and Toph (left) between the Smash Brothers community and the FGC.

The first area of toxicity is one that seemingly comes and goes in the FGC, and it isn’t one that only encompasses the FGC but another community—the Smash Brothers community. It is an ongoing feud that picks up steam and dies down depending on the circumstances that brings the two together.

Whether it is the categorization of the Smash Brothers games and their fit within the fighting game community, the different traditions the communities hold, or even contrasting vocabulary and values. It is safe to say that the two have gone at each other’s throats on multiple occasions in the modern era.

The biggest igniter for the feud between the FGC and the Smash Brothers community simply comes from lack of respect for one another. A recent example of this has come during the EVO 2019 line-up reveal where it was made known that only one Smash Brothers title will make it to Evolution.

Toxicity in the FGC WP 02
Markman (right) and Mr. Wizard (left) during the EVO 2019 Line-up reveal.

The news that Super Smash Brothers Melee will not be a part of the main game line-up, brought out the returning ugly side of the Smash Brothers community, who disparaged many of the other fighting games revealed for EVO 2019, and even going as far as forsaking the tournament and its organizers.

In return, many in the FGC did not respond kindly to the disrespect, returning fire with fire in a classless battle that has been fought many times before, never to claim a winner, but for both parties to come out losing.

Another area of toxicity is more perplexing considering the diversity and somewhat general acceptance within the FGC, and that is the inclusion of women in fighting games. It isn’t spoken of as much, however, the overwhelming count in favor of males as a demographic in the FGC is quite indicative that some sort of hurdle exists for women in the community.

Toxicity in the FGC WP 03
Yuyu (left) preparing to face Mimi (right) during a TWT event.

There have been cases such as disparaging the skill of women in the community only due to the sole fact that they are women. Other variables such as men not wanting to compete against women in fear of losing, as well as the fact that a male dominated ecosystem is also a deterrent for some women to transition into the FGC, as it is difficult being the outsider in any space.

The other unspoken issue in the FGC is the treatment of many in the transgender community. According to multiple sources to remain anonymous, there have been many examples of toxicity, whether via crowds insulting the player be it at the tournament or on stream, the ostracizing of certain accommodation, and simple unapologetic exclusion.

Toxicity in the FGC WP 04
Street Fighter’s Poison is one of the few fighting game characters thought to be transgender.

The theories behind the reasoning of why female and transgender competitors in the FGC struggle more so to find comfortability can be thought of endlessly. However, the thing that all of the toxic areas in the FGC have in common is their home, and that is social media.

It is no secret that hatefulness, toxicity, and any other obnoxious behavior is amplified and much more commonly exhibited when a face is not in front of another. However, being hateful online is not an FGC exclusive behavior, it is an unfortunate societal behavior. The targets may be different, but the intention is all the same.

Toxicity in the FGC WP 05
The use of anonymity and social media is a big factor for toxicity spreading in the FGC.

In a day and age where information is passed on so quickly, along with the simple fact that almost everyone has an opinion, it comes with no surprise that the FGC will be home to a few bad seeds. However, the remarkable aspect of the FGC is that according to many, veterans and newcomers alike, the fighting game space is predominantly a welcoming and positive environment.

The community is certainly not void of problems or issues, be it societal or business related, however, when it comes to the true sense and meaning of the word community, the FGC is as close to that definition as any other space out there.

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