Hall of Fame #27: ‘Street Fighter II’

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Goomba Stomp’s Hall of Fame is reserved for only those Nintendo titles that can be called absolute classics. Chosen by the crew of the NXpress Nintendo Podcast, these bite-sized capsule reviews reflect what we’ve discussed on the podcast over the past six months. Look for more entries every 25 episodes we record.

Though people will often cite other games as kicking off the popularity of the fighting game genre, the impact of Street Fighter II cannot be overlooked. Sure, there were other fighting games that came first, but Street Fighter II was the first game that executed it well. Capcom’s groundbreaking game became a cultural phenomenon and single-handedly sparked a resurgence in the arcade in the early 90’s. Street Fighter II set up the blueprint of the modern fighting games and opened the doors for a spate of games such as Mortal Kombat  and Tekken following in its wake. It was a massive success for Capcom, selling more than 60,000 cabinets worldwide, a record for the time, and it completely changed the video game industry.

Like most popular arcade games of the time, Street Fighter 2 inevitably made its way to home consoles. Given Capcom’s publishing history and relationship with Nintendo, it was first ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The SNES adaptation is probably one of the best arcade-to-console ports in history, and despite some minor changes to the graphics and audio (in order to fit into the cartridge), the port is extremely faithful to the original. It became one of the console’s best sellers and was so successful that Capcom just kept releasing more versions of it. From 1991 to 1994, there were 5 adaptations of Street Fighter II, and by 1995 the game had been played by at least 25 million Americans in homes and arcades, while the gross revenues of the console and arcade versions had exceeded $2.312 billion, making it Capcom’s best-selling single consumer game software at the time.

Street Fighter II set a standard, popularized the genre, and set off a renaissance for the arcade game industry in the early 1990s. At the time it was groundbreaking, and 25 years later it stands the test of time that any gamer, no matter what their age, can enjoy. (Ricky D)

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