I agree wholeheartedly with giving gamers a choice and you’re spot on in saying that Starcraft 2 ‘skill’ is based almost purely on speed. About Smash though, you see people bashing Brawl because of the random tripping which everyone with no exception agrees, but the speed is something not as simple, melee introduced such a high speed to the game that the difference between a low level player and a high level one is execution, same thing as Starcraft 1/2, it’s what I dislike so much about fighting games nowadays. Being a very enthusiast fighting game fan, I really dislike the walls of execution games put between the player and the game, Street Fighter IV is a very good example, while on the surface it seems like a return to basics because other games were being ridiculous with the amount of execution required to actually play the game on a competitive level; it’s actually plagued with execution walls and needless overcomplexity, 2 meters, EX moves, 3-stage focus attacks all seem to fly in the face of how “simple and elegant” they industry claimed it was. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like SFIV, it’s just that I can see right through its flaws.
The people crying that Brawl is not better than melee are the high level tournament players, not your average Joe who actually is the bulk of the people who buy the game. I was really glad in brawl they removed bullshit like L canceling, wave-dashing etc. among other things that are aimed too much for high level play execution.
The difference between the high level player and the low level one should not be a dexterity wall but the strategy itself. I agree with you in giving the players a choice, if SFIV had done that, I would have turned the damage up on that game so that I would not need to execute a very difficult combo to actually do good damage, part of the reason why I love Super Street Fighter 2 is the damage output is high, comebacks are common and you don’t have to do a million and one things to play the game.
I only want to give an example before I finish this:
Let’s grab a game, say Chess, and I’ll make an addition to this game where after you make your move you get to juggle 5 tennis balls and if you do, you get some sort of advantage. You might say, that’s really stupid, Chess is already good, it doesn’t need this juggling component. Also, juggling 5 tennis balls is really hard. Juggling 5 tennis balls is really hard, so this game is only for “skilled” players. What I’m trying to prove is that this skill is not interesting to test in chess; who cares if you can juggle 5 tennis balls? The actual strategy is what matters. So I ask to developers, stop making us master irrelevant skills in a competitive game when the actual strategy is what matters in the end. Also don’t dumb it down, I dunno why game developers only have 2 settings on this, extremely complex and pointless execution, or extremely simple and brainless for ‘da casuals’.
Can you imagine if the Game Industry made Chess? Half the pieces would only be available due to DLC. They’d turn it into a RPG where the Pawn can upgrade in levels. The King and Queen would give irrelevant dialogue. Rook wouldn’t be a castle but a babe (something like this). Then the game would only be available online where you had to connect to servers to play a game.