Street Fighter 2 turns 30 years-old today.
The legendary fighting game launched in Japanese arcades on 6th February 1991, according to a tweet from Capcom.
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Street Fighter 2, which established and popularised the fighting game genre, is considered one of the greatest video games of all time. The Super Famicom (SNES) version of the game, which debuted in June 1992, became a megahit that sold 6.3m units worldwide.
Street Fighter 2 broke through into the popular culture, with characters such as Ryu, Ken, Guile and Chun-Li appearing in multiple mainstream media over the years, including the ill-fated 1994 live-action movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Raul Julia.
Street Fighter 2’s explosive popularity and wonderful mechanics are well-documented, but Capcom’s 2013 film celebrating the game’s 25th anniversary is a great start.
On a personal note, Street Fighter 2 is perhaps the video game that had the most influence on me growing up. As a shy 10-year-old, my love for the game forced me to confront intimidating South London arcades. I would put my money down to play next on a crowded cabinet tucked away within the bowels of Streatham’s now lost MegaBowl, beating opponents twice my age. Every day after secondary school I would pump my pocket money into the latest version of the game, desperately trying to improve.
At weekends I would hop onto the 159 into the West End to watch the best London had to offer in the Trocadero, marveling at the skill on show. Later on the SNES, I would play until my thumbs bled, each 360 degree d-pad rotation for Zangief’s spinning piledriver tearing a new layer of skin clean off.
My love of Street Fighter 2 has continued, undiminished, in the 30 years since. Each new release presents new possibilities, new mechanics, a new brilliance. And while my glory days are behind me, my memory of summers spent studying frame data and practising combos now hazy, I can still pick up a controller and pump out a Sonic Boom on muscle memory alone.
So, here’s to you, Street Fighter 2: the true GOAT.