The fighting game genre had been left for dead long before the release of Street Fighter IV. After Super Street Fighter II, I left the genre because the games got too complicated, the competition among players got too fierce, and as a Nintendo-only console owner, the fighting game options completely dried up.
Street Fighter IV did way more than just provide me with a fun blast from the past. It marked the beginning of me falling deeper into a video game rabbit hole than I’d ever fell before.
At the time of its launch, I simply thought of it as a fun fighting game that brought back memories of the good old days. I played it with the skills I honed in the 90s and at the time, I thought that was good enough. But then, the Devastation 2009 Street Fighter IV tournament happened.
While the tournament scene had been active for quite some time, this was the first major tournament to be broadcast live over the internet. This opened my eyes to a level of Street Fighter play that I didn’t even know was possible. From that point on, I made it my personal goal to be as good as the guys on that broadcast.
From that point on, it was no longer about having fun like I did as a 90s kid at the arcade. It was about being a great player in the present. I scoured the internet for all of the guides I could find, while putting in hundreds of hours of practice and online play. Though the road was rough, I came to recognize and appreciate the game from a perspective that I’d never viewed any other game before.
My love and interest in Street Fighter IV quickly grew beyond it. The success of IV reinvigorated the entire genre, and I bought and played virtually all of them. While I would also heavily invest in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Injustice: Gods Among Us and Street Fighter X Tekken, I don’t think I’d even pay any mind to those without having first played IV.
Street Fighter IV did far more than just help me relive the nostalgia of the franchise’s glory days. It became my gaming life, spanning over 4 years and over 2,000 hours of gameplay. I loved the grind to the top, the deeper understanding of the genre I gained by learning its nuances, all of tournament experiences I had and all of the games it opened my eyes to in its wake. Street Fighter IV is not only my #1 game of this generation, but it makes a strong case for being my #1 game of all-time.