Salty Bet: One Gigantic Waste of Time… and I Love It

August 17th, 2013 by |

So now that I have a new writing job, you’d think that I’d dedicate more of my time strictly to writing. You’d be right, but yet these days I’m finding my attention being dragged away by something incredibly stupid that can’t help but captivate me.

It’s the phenomenon that’s sweeping the internet. I bring you, Salty Bet!

So what is Salty Bet? Salty Bet is a 24/7 site that streams MUGEN matches and allows its users to bet fake money. The odds and payout are calculated based on how much people have collectively bet on which character.

I think I might be getting a little ahead of myself. First I should explain MUGEN. MUGEN is a program that’s been around since 1999 that lets you custom make your own fighting games. You get to put together your own roster of characters from Street Fighter, King of Fighters, Mortal Kombat and really anywhere. Like I said, it’s completely custom. You can have anyone from Rolento from Street Fighter Alpha 3 to a terrible series of MS Paint frames turned into something halfway playable. Programmers from all over made thousands of characters of varying quality.

I paid a good amount of attention to MUGEN back in the early 00’s. What I found was that a lot of the enthusiasts and detractors both took it way too seriously most of the time. This was during the time when fighting games were still 2D and easy to rip onto your computer, so there were a lot of faithful depictions of mainstream fighters. I’ve seen people looked down upon for basically having fun with MUGEN. Like, say, making a version of Sagat with two eyes and crazy attacks that he never had. Or maybe Ken with angel wings.

Things got looser as the years progressed, mainly because MUGENgineers had to find new ground. 2D fighters were dying out and they were running out of characters to rip. I stopped paying attention for a while, but I always saw some kind of “Marvel vs. DC” or “Marvel Superheroes 2” type project. As a whole, more people tried to make either original characters based on preexisting sprites, upgraded characters or flat-out new guys. And it’s awesome.

Detractors of MUGEN mainly point out that the whole thing is pretty worthless because it’s the most unbalanced garbage in the fighting game universe. And they’re right! But that was never what MUGEN was about to me. I think I actually played MUGEN once. The rest of the time, I played around in CPU vs. CPU mode. I mean, what’s the point of having Sub-Zero and Ryu in the same game if you can’t just sit back and watch them duke it out?

That’s what Salty Bet is all about. Just showing random AI-based exhibitions isn’t really enough, even with the people in the chat going nuts over it. Salty Bets includes the ability to bet fake money. You start off with $400 and you can bet however much on each match. Based on the bets, the odds and potential payouts are tabulated and the fights begin. Sometimes it’ll be obvious. If one character has over a million salty bucks gambled on them while the other has maybe ten thousand, it’s going to be a slaughter. Like clockwork, one of the people who bet on the underdog will announce in the chat, “I have made a terrible mistake!”

They also say a bunch of sexist shit, but we don’t have to talk about that right now.

If you bet away all your money, luckily there’s a bailout system that doesn’t let you go under a certain amount. I heard it was $10, but these days I’m finding myself at $28 an awful lot. They also refer to this place as the “salt mines”. If you donate money to Salty Bet, you’ll always have a minimum of $666 and can go all-in on your heart’s content.

So how do you know who to bet on? It can be hard. Sometimes you might see two guys from the same game who aren’t even comparable. One will dominate while the other just stands around and gets killed. It’s a pile of different things to take in mind, such as move set, speed, hit points, hit box, damage and AI. For instance, Takuma Sakazaki from the latest King of Fighters game looks really well-animated and all, but he will just stand around and punch every now and then when he isn’t getting his ass handed to him.

There’s also an influx of Dragonball Z characters. Those guys are a crapshoot. They’re mostly very small, which gives them a tiny hit box. In other words, if their opponent keeps punching most of the time, they aren’t going to land most of their attacks. The DBZ folks also tend to have super attacks where not only do they shoot laser beams, but they kill their opponents in one hit. The drawback is that the AI in these guys are usually terrible, so even if they have three bars, they’ll still just take a beating and abstain from trying to go for the easy win.

It’s also important not to listen to the advice of the chat. They might be telling you that Kabal is “real”, but they’re just trying to convince you to bet everything on him. That in turn increases their winnings when Kabal turns out to be totally shitty and eats it in five seconds.

Watching Salty Bet can be a fun showcase of the original/edited characters, especially in the superhero sense. I’ve seen Lex Luthor, Green Lantern, Black Adam, the Atom, Plastic Man, Flash, Jean Grey, Mongul, Mr. Fantastic, Darkseid, Thanoseid, Astonishing-style Cyclops, Iron Lantern, Wonder Woman, Thor, Carnage, Scream, Agony, Sandman, Kitty Pryde and Mole Man. Some of them are really expertly done (ESPECIALLY Sandman). There’s also an Ash from Evil Dead who pops up a lot and some really cool Mega Man characters redrawn from the Mega Man from Marvel vs. Capcom.

It will eat up your hours if you let it, but just remember one piece of advice: NEVER bet against Rare Akuma, Ronald McDonald or Silversamurai. Betting against Silver Samurai is fine, though.

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9 comments to “Salty Bet: One Gigantic Waste of Time… and I Love It”

  1. I love Mugen. I got into it late in the game (which I guess is a good and a bad thing…good because I haven’t seen it all yet but bad because the long-timers are all,”Where you been? This is ollllld.”

    I’ll have to check this out, thanks for the article.

  2. I got out of Mugen, but the best character I saw before I left was Evil Ken. That MF was super unbalanced, and he was great to play as but hell to play against. Does he ever show up on Salty Bet, or has he been lost to the mists of the Internet/just too unbalanced to be worth putting in?

  3. Evil Ken does show up. He was in our tournament last night, in fact, which ended…rather controversally, but, we’re working on rectifying that.

    Other characters to keep a look out for are Saint Kyo—a Kyo Kusanagi if he was raised in the Saint Seiya universe, who dominates so much he’s considered the patron God of the stream—, any SNK character with the tag 71113, Dragon Claw—who was made by the same guy who made the aforementioned Evil Ken & Evil Ryu, who, sadly, passed away in a boating accident some years ago—and on the comic book side of things, we’ve got Wolvenom, who is exactly what it sounds like, other Amalgam characters besides Iron Lantern and Thanoseid like Super Patriot, Bucky Cap, Jason Todd, the entire Fantastic Four, a custom Super Skrull, Electro, Professor X (!)…there’s a lot to keep you entertained on the stream.

  4. @nooshy1: Oh, thanks for reminding me of something.


  5. @nooshy1:

    Any chance of an Ultimate Sula showing?

  6. @Mas:

    I don’t know if we have that character on the roster. You’re more than welcome to drop a link to any characters you want added on Salty’s Twitter, or send it to his G-mail (saltybet@gmail.com), though.

  7. @Gavok: Always bet Spider-Carnage.

    I like it when they make a picnic of fighters like Alter Amiba showing up. It’s like a celebrity appearance.

  8. I love this site. So much.

    By the way, the song is Darude – Sandstorm.

  9. being a semi active member of the mugen community, and seeing a lot of these characters created from conception to forum drama, all the way to completion, it’s interesting to see salty bet in action. It’s doing something that the mugen community could never accomplish on it’s own volition due to pride and prejudice: giving mugen mainstream appeal.