The Life Of Street Fighter


Street Fighter V is out now, but I also let the 25th anniversary of Street Fighter II slip by me. There’s not really much I can talk about concerning SFII though other than my own first experiences with the game (and fighting games in general).

I actually wasn’t aware of SF or fighting games at all until the Super NES version of Turbo came out just in time for my seventh birthday. My brother and I were at Blockbuster looking for games to rent like usual when he remarked that the new SFII was out. I asked him what SF was and that rental pretty much became my birthday present. I don’t even remember what presents I got to own that day. I think that might have been the year I got a Game Boy but I didn’t really care about it that much compared to the couple days I got to play SF.

Eventually my brother bought the game, and it sort of became a pillar of our indoor activities throughout the early 90’s along with Mortal Kombat II. Where we lived we didn’t really have a big fighting game culture. It was pretty much just us and other kids in the neighborhood meeting at one person’s house every week to fumble around with the moves. It was a while before any of us could deliberately perform a hadouken, and I didn’t learn how to do a dragon punch until probably the following decade, but this was back when you could just have fun with a fighting game without worrying about being competitive.

I’d like to think there are still places where that happens, where people can enjoy the latest fighting games without worrying about what’s going on in the FGC or getting clobbered by pros online. My brother now let’s his oldest kid play Street Fighter IV so he and his friends might go through a repeat of how we enjoyed SFII. They’re mostly busy playing the popular games of today though: MinecraftDisney Infinity, the Lego games, y’know.

The launch state of SFV is actually kind of telling of what happened to the franchise’s prestige with the general audience and especially within Capcom. Its feature roadmap along with Sony’s deal to partially fund the game telegraphs that it  probably had an incredibly low budget and/or team size to work with. It took years of internal campaigning to get SFIV made and it looks like the SFV launch was just a bone Capcom threw to both the fans and those within the company who wanted to make it. Who knows, maybe what we have here is just the equivalent of an arcade release with features normally associated with console editions to follow. I also think they really wanted to get the game out far enough ahead of Evolution 2016 for the pros to work it out. Whatever the case, in the 90’s Capcom’s money-making flagships were Mega Man and Street Fighter, today they are Resident Evil and Monster Hunter.


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