I have had an emotional connection to Street Fighter since I was 13 years old.
It was early March 1991, and my friend and I were celebrating his 14th birthday in Santa Cruz, California, and spent as much of our weekend as possible at the Boardwalk Arcade. His mom gave us each a $20 bill for the changing machine, and we were determined to stretch out our rooms as much as we could.
Scrolling brawlers like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles And The final fight were our favorite games. We loved Squares, which I consider to be the first real fighting game without a button. Robotron-style, dual joystick Karate champion.
When we arrived a Street Fighter II: World Warrior Sitting in the middle of the carriage arcade, we stopped dead in our tracks. From the six buttons per player to the large dynamic sprites and backgrounds, everything about it felt larger than life to our teenage brains.
As we stood there mesmerized and a little scared by the machine, the floor manager arrived with some guests. He said to his guest, “We just got this game. I think it’s going to be big.” Ah, yes.
Street Fighter II was an event. That lone game in the middle of the arcade floors would proliferate in rows, lines stretching behind each one, waiting for people to put their quarter in the mirror to “get the next one.” It seemed like everyone was playing it, and when home console ports hit (we were SNES players), that was even more true.
Over time, the excitement faded. I left for college, got married, started a family and a career, and lost touch with the friends I played with. Arcades have mostly died or become shells of their former selves. But I never lost my love for Street Fighter, even though my time with it was mostly occupied with MAME.
After nearly two decades of losing that strong connection to fighting games, I rekindled my passion. I took Street Fighter 4Then I became somewhat serious Street Fighter 5 player. I was playing online, playing with friends locally, and started traveling occasionally for tournaments.
I sold most of my pinball machines (once an arcade mouse, always an arcade mouse) and started collecting Japanese “candy cabinet” arcade machines. I now have four Sega Astro Cities, two Taito Vewlixes, a Konami Windy and a Neo Candy 29 mostly dedicated to fighting games. I started playing titles that I had missed during my hiatus Street Fighter III: Third Strike. My friends and I still sport our favorite flavor Street Fighter II, also, Super Turbo (or as we call it, ST)
Sixth time’s the charm
As I get older, I love sharing my hobbies as much as I enjoy them. Fighting games aren’t just fun to play and watch; They are part of a vibrant and diverse community. I wish more people could enjoy them.
They now have a reputation for being too complicated Street Fighter II Days—they can be very scary and difficult to learn. No one wants to buy a new game, only to hop online and have it destroyed by someone who has been playing it for years.
Enter Street Fighter 6.