This month, I’ve asked the Bitmob community to dig deep and come up with five different introductions for one of their articles as part of the Bitmob Writing Challenge. In case you missed the rules the first time, here they are again:
Write an article on any topic.
Create five different introductions to your piece. I’ll allow you to decide how long your introduction will be, but each variation should have a change in length or tone. For example, if instead of writing a paragraph, compose a four-word sentence. If all five intros are four-word sentences, then you should try harder.
Use the best introduction at the beginning of the article and include the others on a second page using the “Add Page” command at the top of the Article Editor toolbar. On that page, write a short explanation about why you feel the chosen lead is the strongest one.
Post the article with “Bitmob Writing Challenge” in the tags by August 30, 2012. It will appear in the Mobfeed and GamesBeat’s Unfiltered page. At the end of the month, I’ll post a roundup containing all of the articles.
Some people may wonder why they need to create so many versions of their opening paragraph. Fortunately, I had a situation in which I made several different introductions for my article on Street Fighter X Tekken. Some are just variations of each other, and you don’t need to go as in-depth as I did with these explanations. And why did I lead off with the Oompa-Loompas? Continue reading to find out.
I get nervous about reviewing fighting games. In other genres, you merely have to complete a game to judge whether it was a worthwhile investment. Here, you’re only one person examining a title that people who are much better than you will dissect for years to come. What looks overpowered now can be a mere nuisance two months later.
Street Fighter X Tekken came out last March to largely favorable reviews. The biggest complaint back then was the way developer Capcom locked a smorgasbord of costumes, gems, and characters for use as paid downloadable content later on. Even then, you can put up with stomach-turning marketing if the game itself is fun.
As time went, on, however, SFXT’s combat system became cursed with frequent timeouts and mechanics that are either useless or banned in competitive play. Now Capcom has unlocked the biggest vault in the disc’s data –12 characters who were intentionally partitioned from the rest of the roster — ahead of schedule to bail out a game at the mercy of the court of public opinion.
This was my first opening. Since a lot of people complain that game journalists focus more on features than the actual gameplay when it comes to reviewing fighting games, I originally wanted to start off with just how difficult it can be to make a judgment on something like that. This is, however, is more an opening to a commentary on what it’s like to review these games than the game itself, and it's also a bity whiny.
Money is in some respects life's fire: it is a very excellent servant, but a terrible master.
- P. T. Barnum
I would have tagged this to the piece in front of any of the other beginnings. I like articles that start with a quote that sums up the premise succinctly, and yet whenever I try doing it I end up taking it out in the next draft. A introductory quote is something that you should use when it fits perfectly, or else it comes off as pretentious. This would go great with a large feature about Capcom's falling out with its fanbase, but since my introduction is already three paragraphs long I didn't want to pad it out further.
If the struggle to choose the best fighting game of 2012 was set in Wily Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, Street Fighter X Tekken would be the fat kid who got stuck in the chocolate syrup pipe at the very beginning. After coming out to positive reviews, casual fans slammed this crossover tag-team contest for keeping a smorgasbord of costumes, power-up Gem System abilities, and characters locked on disc for use as paid downloadable content.
It’s struggled to gain acceptance in the hardcore tournament community, and now Capcom is opening the vault to its biggest hidden feature — 12 characters intentionally partitioned from the rest of the roster — before the Oompa-Loompas cart the game off for good.
I came up with this intro when I started thinking about which fighting game was most likely to win an end-of-the-year award, and I thought of SFXT as one of the bad children from the classic book who eliminate themselves because of their moral failings. This is probably the best one now that I look at it again in terms of catching the reader's attention, appealing to a general audience, and word count, but I had reservations that I'll cover next.
Oompa-Loompa Doppity Da
If you’re not greedy you will go far
You will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa-Loompa Doppity Do
- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
This is a combination of the previous two examples. I even tried to come up with my own take on the Oompa-Loompa song, but adding that would be overkill. The concern that I had with the Willy Wonka openings, however, is that SFXT fans often complain that most of the detractors just hate the game because its acceptable to hate it. It would be wrong for me to say I like the game and somewhat defend the DLC yet bash it gleefully as well. Maybe I should have done an "in defense of" article rather then just discuss the controversy.
I remember watching the finals for the Street Fighter X Tekken tournament at Community Effort Orlando 2012, the largest fighting-game event in Florida. Unlike the most of the other competitions at the event, it wrapped up on Saturday night instead of Sunday. The indie fighter Skullgirls also ended that day, but the venue hosted the event on the main stage and kept SFXT on a smaller secondary station. At the awards ceremony organizer Alex Jebaily jokingly congratulated the eight finalists for still playing it.
That probably wasn’t what Capcom had in mind when it released the crossover tag-team fighter last March to largely favorable reviews. The biggest complaint back then came when hackers discovered that the publisher locked a smorgasbord of costumes, power-up Gem System abilities, and characters for use as paid downloadable content later on. Even then, you can put up with stomach-turning marketing practices if the game itself was fun.
Instead of creating an elaborate way to introduce the topic, why don't I just discuss the actual tournament I went to that shows just how unpopular the game is? On the day the article went live, I did watch the finals footage with commentary from Arturo "Sabin" Sanchez, who said a lot of the things I wrote about in the second half of the article, including the Capcom vs. SNK 1 comparison. I swear that's a coincidence. I also found out that Grand Finals participants Justin Wong and PR Balrog only played a best-of-three matches rather than the best-of-five they were suppose to do.
I hope these openings gave you some ideas. Good luck.