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Smash Training Retrospective (waleedkhan.name)
31 points by arxanas on Dec 11, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 19 comments

Not realllllly related to the OP's post, but I practice this game everyday and it is a continual exercise in emotion management. There's really nothing like encountering an obstacle that can be overcome but which you personally don't know how to overcome, and having someone continually use that against you and mock you for it.

Honestly one of your spaced-repetition exercises should be "play a character you don't know how to use, lose badly over and over, and just let it go without an elevated heartbeat."

Emotional management and being able to detach yourself is a legitimate skill that needs to be trained, and it applies to other real-life situations too. Frustrating video games can help! Personally, I already grinded this skill pretty well through many hours of playing and losing at Nethack, an unforgiving roguelike.

I would definitely recommend something in the roguelike/roguelite genre if you're interested in improving your emotional management, since all of your progress can be wiped away by permadeath due to one false move, and you just have to learn to deal with it.

If you want to improve at competitive games, I recommend David Silrin's "Playing to Win": http://www.sirlin.net/ptw

Highly recommend this book as well. The psychology he discusses I've found very relevant to life in general. Often I've wished something in my life was better and found self-imposed handicaps or my true goals differing from my stated goals (eg. really wanting esteem from peers even though business success is my stated goal) being the source of my difficulty. Exactly the "scrub mentality" Sirlin discusses in PtW: http://www.sirlin.net/ptw-book/introducingthe-scrub

I keep thinking video games with a win/loss condition are supposed to make some kind of statement for my emotional tolerance and self-esteem. I was a scrub as a child a long time ago and could not handle failure. The "problem" is that I've since lost interest in games that are possible to lose. Winning now feels exhausting instead of liberating, and losing is only worse, of course. But I can explain away such a feeling by saying that not everyone necessarily likes these kinds of games. You can't just say that if you play a game, end up not performing well, and switch interest to other things, that you necessarily have serious mental baggage that you're leaving unresolved. People are too complex to make such generalizations.

But just for me, if I'm egged into playing a competitive game by someone else because they insist, then that is exactly what it feels like. I believe the only reason I don't press myself to best this person one day is because I'm a bad sport, not because I don't want to focus on the game because I want to do other things. I tell myself that I like creating things instead, and some other part of me won't have it, in order to capitalize on the feeling. I don't want to push myself to do all this training because I can't tolerate sustained amounts of failure and it's a lot of time to spend.

So even though games are not a significant interest to me, I am haunted by the notion that maybe if adolescent me had more self esteem, then that would not be the case, and that I've made some kind of mistake along the way. That I am just coddling myself, choosing instead to watch livestream archives where the win or loss was prerecorded, or selecting hobbies that are as easy to join as saying you watched something on TV the other night. People seem to agree that not being able to tolerate failure is not a good thing in general. And it feels like my tenuous relationship with games is somehow turning into a metaphor for the rest of my life, how I couldn't push myself to do better in other fields because of the same resistance to "getting good" not at fighting game combos or K/D ratios, but job networking or relationship building or taking constructive criticism to heart. The mechanism of failing, taking the fall, and doing better is the same. I don't need to play games and lose to feel that, whether or not I choose to turn off the console and leave, I'm still just a scrub at life.

I don't see games as a "superior" hobby to watching TV just because these problems come to light in the face of playing them. But I can never shake the feeling that I would be looked down on for them, by someone on an anonymous forum I'm unable to stop thinking about, or worse, someone who is the harshest critic and is also not possible to avoid: me.

I was the kind of scrub who had anger problems. I went to tournaments and blew up or coped with anger pushed down and turned rancid. It wasn't being mad at people who were better at me, it was being mad at myself for not being better. I used losing as an excuse to self-flagellate. Trying harder to be competitive was utterly counterproductive.

Going on testosterone blockers helped a little bit, but really it was important for me to realize that this was a manifestation of a real emotional problem I had. It was also important for me to realize that while it was my responsibility to cope with, there is no possible way it could have been my fault. I'd been pushed and prodded to be the best at everything I did since I was three years old, so naturally I cultivated my experiences accordingly. I didn't ask for that. I've had to learn to see the way I see the world as a bunch of adaptations to a profoundly inhumane environment, and that makes it a little more possible to deconstruct them.

My inner critic is an introject of my emotionally neglectful and sometimes abusive parents and the teachers I had when I was very young, all of whom had the same utterly unreasonable expectations of me. "Git gud" doesn't have a time limit attached. Maybe, when people say that, you should be hearing "git better." Maybe you need to git gud at gitting gud. Question your beliefs. Interrogate the notion that you're unworthy of self-compassion because you're Bad At Something. Physically scream at it if you have to. Say, "Get out of my fucking head," and hold what's left gently and say "it's okay." Let yourself cry. It's okay.

Find more things to suck at. Sucking at stuff is punk as hell.

I think your self diagnosis is on point. Where games fit into your life is hard to address within a world of background judgemental thinking and self-criticism. It might be easier to focus on cultivating more self-compassion first, then reexamine your questions above.

I'm not affiliated, but check out the HealthyGamerGG channel on Youtube. He's a Harvard psychiatrist does interviews/counseling streams on twitch that are pretty cool, and deal with a lot of millenial/zoomer gamer mental health issues. Here's one that spoke to me about failure and expectations: https://youtu.be/hzkgIOzBP7w

This is a cool idea. I had the brilliant dumb idea to do it for Melee, so Melee took my wrists and smashed them with a hammer. :(

Melee is experiencing a huge revival right now, mostly due to Slippi, but also tools like Uncle Punch's Training Mode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXvykjd93pQ

It's truly inspiring how far modders have been able to push this game.

Slippi is _amazing_. And as a fan, I'm obligated to point out that it was just one heroic developer: Fizzi. Fizzi made Melee playable at IRL speeds over an internet connection, completely coincidentally, just before Covid.

The silver lining is it makes you feel less bad if you eventually have less time for melee. I miss the old days when I would play 14 hour sessions... oh right a lot of that was people taking breaks and complaining about hand pain

Hand injuries are no joke! I'm glad prominent players like Armada and Hax have been so vocal about taking them seriously.

I think this is a solution in need of a problem, unless you show proof that it actually improves your gameplay. And it would have to show improvement over normal practice, rather than no practice at all.

Blocking training has a decent amount of evidence for it in general: https://www.gwern.net/Spaced-repetition#motor-skills

"In the end, I used ssb.fit because 1) smash.training got taken (!)"

Incidentally, I wonder if OP got frontrun by domain squatters there? It was registered December 2019, just a few months before he released. Did OP do some domain searches in December while musing about the idea?

I remember a similar experience with https://www.thiswaifudoesnotexist.net/ - I joked on Twitter about making 'thiswaifudoesnotexist.com' and a few hours later, I decided it was a funny enough idea I ought to actually make it... And I discovered the domain had just been registered. I can only assume there are domain squatters who pay for Twitter feeds, look up all domains, and purchase unregistered ones either to harvest traffic or to sell to loose-lipped people like myself. (Fortunately, I didn't need that TLD, so I refused to pay the danegeld and registered the .net instead.)

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I got front-run, because I did do some searches ahead of time. Oh, well.

You don't need to prove that practicing improves gameplay.

Anyone serious enough to invest time into mechanical repetitions already knows the benefits of training and doesn't need convincing.

All sports have repeating structure and volume of work, I don't think this approach to practice is so revolutionary that it needs evidence of value.

What would "normal" practice be?

> TypeScript support for Vue was not ideal

I was surprised to hear this. Is this still true for Vue 3?

Vue 3 is supposed to support Typescript much better than Vue 2, but this project unfortunately predated Vue 3.

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