Sometimes after a particularly bad day (or for random arguments sake, a bad month), one would like to find a way to unwind a bit and shake off all that bad mumbo jumbo. We’re not really talking about a false sense of escapism to sate ones desires, but more like an hour or so of unadulterated silliness that was, intentionally or unintentionally, designed to put smiles on faces, all while inciting a rabid sense of fantasy betting.
Or maybe I’m just weird in that kind of way, but at least there is such a thing.
Enter Salty Bet (http://www.saltybet.com). Salty Bet utilizes a Twitch stream and chat, the freeware fighting game MUGEN and a betting structure based off of fantasy currency (in this case “Salty Bucks”). For the uninitiated, MUGEN is a freeware, open source fighting game in which just about anyone and anything is a fighting game character, many of which were player created from scratch or edited from existing sprites on another fighting game character. If balance is your forte, MUGEN is definitely the absolute worst game imaginable for you to play, unless every character is tested beforehand and any egregious additions are removed from that players roster.
Just about every kind of character you can think of, fictional or not, likely exists as a MUGEN fighter. From an altered version of Shaquille O’Neal’s character from Shaq Fu, to Omega Tiger Woods (Tiger Woods’ head with a Nike logo smile on an MS Paint body), to Cartman from South Park, the myriad of characters and styles available is flabbergasting. Unfortunately though, some thought it would be appropriate to create some despicable real life figures, such as Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, etc. Luckily though (so far) Salty Bet only harbors familiar characters without any nefarious real life notoriety involved (though one could argue that Kazzam was nefarious enough to exclude Shaq from the Salty Bet build, but I digress).
Salty Bet streams randomly created matches for its viewers to bet on. Everyone is given about 25-30 seconds pre-fight to place a bet on who they think will win that upcoming fight, then watch as the CPU battles it out for supremacy. The main page is clear enough to decipher, with the bottom area dedicated to placing bets, the left-hand portion showing the most Salty Bucks bet on said fighter and who bet it, the right side dedicated to chat, leaving the center as the Twitch stream its self. Salty Bucks are again, completely fictitious, but the high drama (in the most enjoyable and least abrasive manner) can lead to some wild chatter during a mast and especially post match. Many have gone from rags to riches, or the other way around, with each fight that happens.
I have known about Salty Bet days before I actually sat down and gave its stream a look-see. When I did have a moment to see what the crux of it was, I came away a bit unimpressed. I don’t remember the two fights I saw on my first viewing, but they weren’t anything special; I know one had two Dragon Ball Z characters going at it, with one taking refuge at the top of the screen. After those two fights, I turned the stream off and went ahead and streamed a game myself for an hour (which can be found at http://www.twitch.tv/galarianizuber/ – cheap plug). The next day, after a particularly stressful day, I randomly decided to check out Salty Bet again, just to calm my nerves and have something to kill some time.
Days later, I haven’t stopped watching.
Speaking as a fighting game genre fan, it tickles my fancy quite a bit to see DC Universe antagonist Darkseid go one on one with Kimberly from the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Super Nintendo game (and I mean Kimberly, not as the Pink Ranger). Given the vast roster being used and the duplicates of some of the more known characters (though said dupes are usually pretty meager in both looks and potency), sometimes it’s difficult to see certain favorable characters repeat within a short amount of time. With each upcoming battle, I’m sitting there, eagerly awaiting whether Ash from Army of Darkness, or MS Paint created and extremely overpowered Dink Smallwood will make an appearance. A good number of these characters that pop up quickly become fan favorites, especially the ones with the more ludicrous attacks and specials.
I’m still not sure what happens when one loses all of their Salty Bucks, and as easy as it would be to register a new name and account with another email address, I don’t want to take that chance. There’s an option to subscribe to the Salty Bet Twitch stream for $4.99 a month, which gives certain Salty Buck perks and such. Given the amount of times that website is probably hammered in a day with folks hitting F5 to update their Salty Buck counter (currently a bit fidgety in its real-time updates), those subscriptions could go a long way towards helping them stay around longer.
And why would you want Salty Bet to go away anytime soon? It’s a structure that I’m surprised no one has produced in this kind of way sooner, or one that is as known as this. With the headaches and frustrations I’ve dealt with the last few weeks, it was nice to sit with Salty Bet for a bit, watch some of these haphazard battles, become totally engrossed in cheering for my picks and calculating how or when I should bet the barn. Best of all, it seems as if this is a 24/7 stream, so no matter what timezone you reside in, there’s always a battle and a salty buck being thrown about.
Even if you are not a stalwart fighting game genre enthusiast, I wholeheartedly recommend giving the Salty Bet stream and site a look. I never really got MUGEN to work more than once on my PC, and that was about seven years ago, so being able to check these battles out, in a random assortment, without having to go to YouTube, all while having a chat going wild while watching, is something that needs to be experienced at least once. But be warned – once you you get a taste of that salt, you’ll want to sit and eat it all up for long stretches at a time.