Brawling for nearly 30 years — A brief history of Street Fighter –

Today, a short history lesson on the Street Fighter videogame franchise.
This article is over 7 years old and may contain outdated information

As of today, Street Fighter is nearly 30 years old and within that time they have experienced a unique history. The fighting game series created by Capcom has become their second best selling franchise. Here is a a brief timeline.

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Despite what most fans may remember, the series first debut was actually in 1987 for arcades. Street Fighter was a fighting game that starred Ryu as he fought in worldwide tournament against various foes. The game allowed second players to play as his blond, red gi wearing, rival Ken. The game was well received at arcades in Japan and aboard.

World Warrior sets the world on fire

Now armed with newfound  popularity Capcom sought to create a sequel. In 1991, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was released in arcades. The game eventually saw ports to the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo home consoles. 

It was the first one on one fighting game that allowed players a pool of characters to use — The game also was a first where players were able to use fighters from different corners of the world — Players were introduced to Chun-Li hailing from China, the good-natured Dhalsim from India, the villainous Vega and so forth. 

Street Fighter II became the face of competitive videogames and by 1993 Capcom earned over 1.5 billion in worldwide sales. The game saw various updates and the character roster increased. The game’s popularity continued to grow.

Ryu and friends get younger and things get serious

Now in 1995, during the era of the PlayStation, Capcom released Street Fighter Alpha. During the mid to late 1990s, the series consisted of three titles released for arcades and the consoles. Alpha’s narrative took place years before Street Fighter II and featured a younger cast from Street Fighter and other games.

The game included air blocking, counters, 3 super combos, and overall it provided players more strategic options. The visuals were more expressive and almost cartoonish. The series continued to enjoy considerable popularity.

Third time’s the charm

In 1997, Street Fighter III: New Generation was released in arcades and served as the direct sequel for Street Fighter II. The game was somewhat polarizing for fans. Aside from Ryu and Ken, the game featured no character from the previous games. In fact the lead character is now the younger wrestler Alex and no longer Ryu.

The roster of characters increased by three with the 2nd Impact release. In 1999, with the release of Street Fighter III: Third Strike, the roster grew to 20. It bears mentioning, that Third Strike is considered by many fighting game and series fans as the best game of the franchise.

Many reasons lead to a few specifics. The game’s animation and sprite work is wholly unique. The level of depth for both offensive and defensive responses isn’t available in almost any other game. This is thanks in large part to the game’s deep parry system, which allows you to deflect an opponents attacks without taking any damage, and counter.

A resurgence and revival

The series experienced its largest hiatus for nearly 10 years until Street Fighter IV released in 2008. The title was released for consoles a year later and this marked a shift in it’s popularity. In what could be called a revival, many fans of the past and new fans gravitated to the new game. With the advent of the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, many fans were able to take part in online competition.

Street Fighter IV also increased its roster with other releases. At the same time, the series arguably returned to be the poster child of competitive fighting games. As such, over the years, the Evolution Fighting Championship Series, streams, and tournaments became highly popular.

The fifth round and going strong

It could be argued the height of Street Fighter may have not been reached yet. Even though Street Fighter V was released this February, it was met with a less than favorable launch post launch. Despite this, hardcore fans and the fighting game community at large have continued to support the game. 

In its final sendoff, Ultra Street Fighter IV introduced the world to the Capcom Pro Tour. The tour is a yearly accrual of events and tournaments as players worldwide prove themselves. From the moment it launched, SFV marked the beginning of the second CPT season. Street Fighter has come a long way. In nearly 30 years it continues to move forward as eSports most recognizable figures.

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Jeffrey Rousseau
32. Haitian. Writer. Fan of niche arts/media. Health/fitness addict. Maybe fashionista, speedster, jjba fan music aficionado . Product of Miami, FL.