Monday, May 18, 2009

Science, Statistics and Street Fighter 4!

Lately I have noticed something while playing matches on the recently updated Championship Edition of Street Fighter 4. There is a new feature that shows a person’s disconnect percentage on the game lobby and, for a while, I saw a lot of 0%. This, of course, makes sense since it would stand to reason that these percentages were a reflection of disconnections that have taken place since the update that placed the Championship Edition in the game. Recently, I have started to see low numbers show up, but there seems to be a trend that stands out in relation to players having a disconnection percentage higher than 0% and the character that they have selected when I fight them.

From my experience, people who choose Ken Masters in Championship Edition matches on Street Fighter 4 generally have a disconnect percentage higher than other characters.

Now I know that some of you might have just yelled out loud, “A-HA Eugene…you cannot honestly make this point since correlation does not imply causation.” Yes, I do know that…I am not postulating that correlation proves causality. I learned that is not true by watching The Simpsons as a child and seeing the episode where Lisa explains it to her dad with the magical rock that wards off tigers (her point being the existence of this magical rock and the non existence of savage tigers roaming around Springfield means that the magical rock is the reason the tigers are not there).

For those of you who did not just yell that, I will explain what that means so that I can prove it, in this case, to be inaccurate. To explain it in a simplified way, a correlation between age and height in young children is fairly causally transparent, but a correlation between mood and health in older people is less so. Can you honestly say that having a more cheery disposition directly leads to improved health or does good health lead to a more positive mood or both for that matter? Is it possible that some other, undefined factor underlie both variables? Is it pure coincidence? How about the classic example of ice cream sales going up at the same time of year that drowning is at its highest for children? Does that mean that the increased amounts of ice cream in the environment are the cause for the higher rate of drowning or is these something else shaping the outcome in addition to both variables being present.

I propose that there is a spurious correlation between the two variables which, in turn, creates a third causal variable. I do not think that there is an inherent causal connection between the two, but I think that the third variable in this situation, that I was at first overlooking, is what leads to this occurrence. The three below examples show the three possible relationships that can exist in this situation with the last example being the spurious correlation that exists (thus supporting what many of you might have yelled in regards to correlation not implying causation)

· Choosing Ken Masters causes people to disconnect mid fight in Street Fighter 4

· People who disconnect mid fight in Street Fighter 4 choose Ken Masters

· Douchebags exist and play video games, when they play Street Fighter 4 they choose Ken Masters and disconnect mid fight like cry babies.

Although, based on the information presented, we cannot say that the established correlation between character selection and disconnect percentage is a sufficient condition to establish a causal relationship, I think we can all agree that a majority of the douchebags that play SF4 end up selecting Ken Masters (and probably support Man U or the Dallas Cowboys, play Hunters in Warcraft or pop their collars IRL).


Also, as an addendum to this initial blog (and while still on the topic of video games) I would love to talk about someone familiar to most of us...The Internet Tough Guy.

This guy is the COOLEST. He is totally better than you at every video game ever made (aside from the one you are playing right now) and he can TOTALLY KICK YOUR ASS IRL. I had my first XBL encounter in quite a long time about 10 minutes ago and for you, my loyal reader, I will give you the back and for that went on between myself and DRO NOOB KILLER after I beat him (apparently, I do not even remember playing him honestly) in a SF4 match. The last line in this back and forth that I put in italics was said in a very high pitched voice to add emphasis:

DRO: "Wow, you're really good...hey, who else do you play with, Zangief? Just rememba, if this was Street Fighter Alpha or Street Fighter 2 or 3rd Strike, you wouldn't last two rounds in that fuckin game cuz you couldn't do nonna that bullshit pussy.

me: wow Dr. Killer. You are a winner. You really are the best. You totally got me there after I beat you. You are a winner, you are a winner, you are a winner, you are a winner!

DRO: "Its DRO NOOB KILLER dumbass and this is the only Street Fighter that you can do dumb shit cuz it's the dumbest one they made. In Alpha you wouldn't last two rounds in 3rd Strike you wouldn't last two rounds and in Marvel you wouldn't last two rounds cuz you suck."

me: you got me right where you want me Dr Killer. I guess you are better than me at games that we are not playing. You've backed me into a corner by bringing up an irrelevant point. I bet I can beat YOU in Halo because my ePeen makes me the winner of life and I am an Internet Tough Guy!

I honestly don't even remember playing this guy, but I bet he was one of the million Ken Masters I beat while playing today.

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