Moves, Memories, and M. Bison: The Nostalgia of Street Fighter II Fair Game Video Games

When I was talking with Cody about the fact that Street Fighter 6 was just announced, I had to stop and think… Wow, how many of these have I missed? 

Truth is, I remember way back in 1991 or 1992, feeding coins I earned mowing my neighbors lawns into machines at my local bowling alley’s arcade, and I remember thinking how good I was because I could successfully pull off all of Guile’s moves. What I didn’t know is that this game would, in my mind, at least change video games and the way I personally played multiplayer games forever. 

Up until that moment, most games that I had played in my local arcade were not this dynamic. In Street Fighter II, every character had their own abilities, and hence had their own advantages and disadvantages. And for young Eddie, this was the first time I had experienced that it wasn’t just you that made you better… Your character did too.

Thinking back, I watched everyone else and should have practiced with more overpowered (OP) characters, you have to remember there were no “patches" or "updates.”  If a character was “OP,” you had to live with it and learn to still win against it. I would choose characters like Guile and Chun-Li, or even E. Honda because fighting in a bathroom always made me laugh. I cannot tell you how often a teenager would come in and throw a quarter in and just beat me into the ground with Ryu.    

The Christmas I got my Super Nintendo, I knew I wanted SFII. This would give me time to practice my moves and then I could go back to the bowling alley for revenge! Luckily for me, my birthday is in March and all I wanted was a copy of SFII for my new system; while that was the ONLY gift I received that year, I was more than thrilled.   

I learned the moves of almost everyone in the game. I wore out SNES controller shoulder buttons timing those hard hits perfectly and I was hooked. Playing SFII was by far my favorite thing to do on the weekends and after school. 

It was long after that that Street Fighter II Champion Edition and then Street Fighter II Turbo was released. This was basically the same game but with ramped up fighting speed and now you were able to select from the four final characters in the game to be - Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M. Bison. Personally, I feel Capcom burnt the original players of SF2 a little bit. They released the games SO close to the original, but I just couldn’t  afford to get all three.

Looking back, I really feel it was a cash grab that, if it was all done over today, they would just release one game, with a marketplace and allow you to buy the new characters and modes. In a way, I guess one could argue that market places in games now actually save people money: back then, I was forced to spend $59.99 at the local Toys"R"Us… For a kid, $60 bucks may as well been $600

When I couldn’t afford the games myself and my parents refused to buy me the same game over and over, I slowly lost interest in Street Fighter. One thing that fueled my lack of interest  besides the game becoming stale was the next major fighting game that took the world by storm: Mortal Kombat. It was more gory, better looking and was a totally new experience that was fundamentally the same as Street Fighter but just different enough to be edgy. 

Plus, they had freakin’ Goro! And a shapeshifter! How cool is that? Street Fighter didn’t grow up with me and by the time the games caught up, I had already moved on to Virtua Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom in the arcades. Street Fighter didn’t even gain a glance from me. 

Street Fighter slowly faded into the distance, and now for me lives in those few happy childhood memories I really have, sitting on the edge of the bed getting my butt kicked by my brother (he still can, by the way) or walking into the local bowling alley arcade while my parents did who knows what.  

Every now and again I’ll see it come up on the Nintendo eShop or on the SNES Mini and I dive headfirst into the nostalgia. Or when one of my nieces or nephews wants to talk smack about how good they are at video games and how bad I am… I always go back to the great equalizer -  Good old Street Fighter II.   

  • by Fair Game Contributor Eddie “The Expert” Cook

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