The most famous fighter in video game history might be a little old, but it still packs a wallop.
And lots of Hadoukens.
Believe it or not, Capcom’s legendary Street Fighter turns 25 today. While it wasn’t the first fighting game ever made (that honor arguably goes to the 1976 coin-op Heavyweight Champ), Street Fighter indelibly altered the genre with its intuitive controls, fantastic animations and deep gameplay. It’s had an equally large impact on popular culture, spinning off into movies, cartoons, and even a fancy slot machine.
The secret to its success? To Russ Frushtick, senior editor of video game site Polygon, it’s all about balance.
“[The Street Fighter series] has stood the test of the time because it’s both accessible and extremely strategic,” he says. “If you know nothing about the game and just want to jump around, kicking guys in the face as a green monster, Street Fighter will let you live out that fantasy. For the more serious players, there’s a staggering amount of depth.”
He’s right about that. The Street Fighter franchise been a pro gaming staple for decades. Since 2002, it’s dominated the popular EVO tournament, which gives thousands of players from over 40 countries a chance to prove their mettle in a variety of fighting games. Year after year, Street Fighter is the star of the show.
“It’s a game that could take years to master,” Frushtick adds. “Basically, it’s this generation’s chess.”
And indeed, it owes a great deal to its legions of fans.
“The greatest legacy that Capcom has generated with the Street Fighter franchise is the company’s unbelievable loyalty and availability to its fans,” says Victor Lucas, host and executive producer of The Electric Playground. “Fighting games are a community-driven activity, and upon their arrival — and Street Fighter’s global ascension as the best of the breed — they instantly dispelled the myth that gaming was a solitary affair, singularly enjoyed by pubescent boys in basements.”
“The universally appealing, international roster of fighters that Street Fighter II delivered, its unparalleled level of depth, its state-of-the-art art and, of course, its quarter-gobbling addictiveness, instantly propelled the game to classic status, where it has remained ever since.”
But it wasn’t always such a big deal.
- You Are Getting Old. Street Fighter Just Turned 25. [Street Fighter] (kotaku.com)
- Julian Fong for LEGO Street Fighter Edition (highsnobiety.com)
- Happy Birthday Street Fighter! (luna.typepad.com)
- Most Memorable Multiplayer Moment: Fight of the Fei Longs (1up.com)
- Choose a Winner in Mortal Kombat vs. Street Fighter YouTube Video (mashable.com)