The Street Fighter Video Game Franchise Turns 25

The Street Fighter franchise, a series of video games which still manages to control a significant portion of my free time, turns 25 today (August 30). The fact that Street Fighter has been around for a quarter of a century is a little mind-boggling, particularly for someone who spent a fair amount of time inside neon-saturated arcades in an attempt to hone my fighting skills. I’d hate to think how much money I fed into those Street Fighter II machines as a kid.

Kotaku reports that the original Street Fighter game, originally titled Fighting Street, was released into arcades way back in 1987. The game reportedly marked Capcom’s foray into one-on-one fighting genre and was the first game of its kind to use six buttons. Although the fighter would eventually pave the way for things to come, the series wouldn’t become a household name until the release of Street Fighter II.

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior hit arcades in 1991 and is largely responsible for kick-starting the fighting game boom of the 90s. Armed with large stacks of quarters and egos to match, teenagers would huddle around these colorful cabinets, eager to battle one another using a wide variety of characters that would later become staples of the franchise. Many an afternoon was spent irritated and bitter after some stranger completely made mince meat out of me in front of my friends.

According to Wikipedia, sales of Street Fighter II reached $1.5 billion by 1993. Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long for Capcom to realize the game would do well on home consoles, prompting the company to release different versions of game during the 16-bit generation. To date, Street Fighter II ports for the Super NES and the Sega Genesis have sold 14 million copies. It also remains Capcom’s best-selling consumer title of all time.

After weathering a wonky live-action movie and a market that ultimately became oversaturated with fighting games, the franchise was reborn with the release of Street Fighter IV. Although playing the game online is quite a thrill, it will never match the adrenaline rush of battling complete strangers at the mall arcade. And, yes, I’m still bitter and irritated.

Are you a fan of the Street Fighter franchise?