Would you pay to be better at games?

It's easy to be envious of players with a greater skill level than oneself, particularly online. Envious in that way that can only be expressed by the twisting of controllers and the screaming at of TVs. But how far would you go to get better than those guys? Would you actually pay? Because some of the world's top Super Street Fighter IV players are now offering you the opportunity of online tuition at an hourly rate.

Justin Wong, Mike Ross, Martin Phan, Ryan Gutierrez. Four people you ordinarily would not want to go up against online. Regular faces at high profile fighting game tournaments the world over, these guys, not to put to fine a point on it, will stuff you at Street Fighter. Repeatedly. The stuffings will not stop. But now that they're offering their sevices as instructors, you can pay for that stuffing while hopefully getting better along the way.

Gutierrez and Phan come in at $40 an hour, Ross is charging $45, and an hour under the instruction of Justin Wong will cost you $50. In the world of Street Fighter, there are far worse people you could learn from, but would you fork out that sort of cash? And how important is it to you to be good at competetive games anyway? I play a lot of Street Fighter, and for me half the fun is definitely in the continual improvement that comes from learning new tricks, skills and nuances through repeated play with similarly skilled (or better) friends.

But personally I prefer the more organic evolution that comes from learning a person's game, them learning yours, and the constant procession of counters, counter-counters, and counter-counter-counters that comes out of that. As well as reverse-engineering and learning to master all of those random and accidental 'OHMYGODWHATTHEHELLWASTHATANDHOWDIDYOUDOIT!?' moments along the way. I'm not sure if formal instruction would feel like a step too far from fun, and a bit too close to work.

Above: Wong (Rufus) and Ross (Eddie Honda) go at it at the US SFIV nationals

But like I said, if you took any of these guys up on his offer, you'd certainly be learning from one of the biggest names in the game. And after all, people pay for driving lessons, or for someone to teach them to play the piano, so is Super Street Fighter IV really any different?

Or do you think you could learn just as much from Youtube videos and practice as you could from a one hour tutorial session, however big the name? Let me know what you think.






  • NintendoStaff - August 13, 2010 1:08 a.m.

    I could train myself good enough.... I think....
  • philipshaw - August 11, 2010 11:25 a.m.

    I won't pay but I don't care about competitve games like SF
  • seabassuk - August 10, 2010 4:24 p.m.

    Hey my name is Antiono DeFantisco. I am the undisputed #1 JRPG player and have pretty much conquered JRPG's like Italians have conquered women. Now for just $50 I can show you the techniques and skills that will get you 100% on any JRPG. I'll show you how to use music to offset the daily grind. Which character will be the most annoying and which will be the badass. That yes you are playing a male and yes I am sure and yes I know he looks female but really he's a dude and for the last time he is a male. That yes she is younger than 15 and it's lucky there's no mind police otherwise you'll be jailed for dirty dark thoughts. And the secret of skill of realising that no he isn't the main bad guy but you won't find that out for a long time. Hell, as a bonus i'll even throw in that for the past 40 hours have been playing a tutorial. Act now and I'll lower the price to £35. That's right £35 for all the secret JRPG techniques for a limited time. ...If western RPG's are your thing however, talk to my good friend Lord Daniel McGreat Thank you for your time
  • SwampRock - August 10, 2010 10:07 a.m.

    Can't blame pro's for doing this kind of thing, but I'd like to meet some of the people buying these "services" and ask them why? I mean seems to me that anything you get from learning like that is more empty than thinking about strategies and improving by yourself.
  • Dabenguin - August 10, 2010 8:08 a.m.

    I paid for all my gaming knowledge at The School of Hard Knocks.
  • shyfonzie - August 10, 2010 4:15 a.m.

    That doesn't sound fun at all! Unless he was like a samurai sensei, with you as the young apprentice he adopts to pass his skill on before he dies.
  • Cwf2008 - August 10, 2010 3:19 a.m.

    REALLY?! Screw for driving lessons...well for one thing driving is actually practical and takes time to master.
  • RebornKusabi - August 9, 2010 9:45 p.m.

    "Would you pay to be better at games?" No and anyone who has a mother****ing brain cell wouldn't either.
  • Strangleme - August 9, 2010 8:40 p.m.

    Truly skilled gamers are self taught anyway.
  • Strangleme - August 9, 2010 8:38 p.m.

    I personally would not waste my time or money on this, but if people are willing to pay for something like this then I don't blame those that offer the service. Shit, I just might start up a training service.
  • AnonymouZ - August 9, 2010 7:58 p.m.

    i hate the commentator on this one. i just kept hearing "oh"... OT:i wouldn't pay... just as i wouldn't pay for piano lessons. it's just something i'm not interested in. x)
  • bradmillow0 - August 9, 2010 5:35 p.m.

    Why the hell would you pay to be better? It's a waste of your time and money. In my opinion I actually like to get better on my own, without anyone's help. Besides, if you are the best player ever, you have nothing to work towards, so it would get boring quickly.
  • StriderHoang - August 9, 2010 5:34 p.m.

    Everyone knows Justin Wong is good, and a good majority of those people who know Justin Wong also know he's kind of an asshole, as this video demonstrates, so no, it's not worth my money. And if you think he's just living up his wins, just think back to every video where Daigo is visible in a video feed.
  • oryandymackie - August 9, 2010 5:09 p.m.

    It's not possible to have some kind of ethereal skill to games. Even SF. Most of it is based upon memorising combos and remembering which ones fit a certain situation best. It's not like they're tearing up the fabric of the game itself and twisting it to their will - the game has been programmed, and as such is solid.
  • Robusken - August 9, 2010 5:03 p.m.

    For a fighting game it seems to be one of those things you need to learn yourself. Your own style of play, the way you react to certain things, how to keep your cool, those are things that cant be taught and you have to learn on your own. Im still losing practically every other match im getting into but im learning from my mistakes.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - August 9, 2010 3:52 p.m.

    There's learning combos and strategies, and being able to apply your knowledge of them in a split second; and there's learning your own, new strategy that is completely unreadable to people used to conventional and popular strategies. I know which I'd rather do...
  • pepheb - August 9, 2010 3:48 p.m.

    wow watch at 1:00... it's me or he takes the game too seriously?
  • presc1ence - August 9, 2010 2:51 p.m.

    I'm a bit 50/50 on this. Personally i'd prefer to learn it all on my own, BUT i did run a 6 month masterclass while living in a shared house and managed to get a good few peeps 'up to standard'.Explainign the basics, builidng up to lenghthier combos, and going through the nuances of whatever version we wre playing All so I could get a good game! Played one of 'em last week and they still have the skills!
  • crumbdunky - August 9, 2010 2:51 p.m.

    Not this way, no. However, ion the PC gaming world a lot of us DO pay eztra to get better-by buying the latest, best gaming mouse and keyboard set ups we can get/afford. By updating our rigs to optimise our chances etc. In that respect paying to up our game isn't much of a leap of possibility, is it? Back OT, though, this reminds me of my early days playing Warhawk. I'd had a clan request after playing a particularly good, tight game as a ground based fighter and when I showed my lack of flight prowess to my new team mates they gave me a coupla hours tuition on a closed game-gratis, naturally. As time went on I found myself teaching a few newcomers the basics of Pro flight, missile evasion and so on but never did I, nor anyone else I know of, take it to the point of charging for it!! It seems very dear and not something that would match up in terms of how well, how fast you'd pick up the tricks. they'd only be known tricks anyway and in fighting games(I'm no expert and don't really play them so could be talking BS) isn't a lot of it about learning YOUR chosen character inside out and then usingg your own style to the point you become pretty unpredictable to play against and pretty strong in your knowledge of the characters abilities anyway? Wouldn't getting info second hand kind of dampen the effect? Too expensive, a bit degrading and removes 90% of the fun of discovery while I doubt it's THAT effective in the long run.
  • 510BrotherPanda - August 9, 2010 2:47 p.m.

    Why pay? They're some of the greatest, but they aren't Daigo. And like Imgema said, I'd prefer my actual body to be trained instead.

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