The conversation around Street Fighter never starts with the original. Most of the time, we begin by waxing nostalgic around Street Fighter II. In current times, we jump straight to Street Fighter V or even go as far back as Street Fighter IV when talking about the “good old days” of this modern Street Fighter era.
But rarely do we talk about the original Street Fighter. Released in 1987, it was one of the first fighting games on the market, one of the first to use unique special move commands, while introducing the world to Ryu, Ken, Sagat, Adon, Birdie, Gen, the guy who looks like Balrog but isn’t, and a handful of other fighters never to be mentioned again. Does it deserve to be lost in the shuffle?
Having never encountered the original arcade game, I wouldn’t play the game for myself until I got the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection. Though I’ve heard some things about its quality and character selection limitations, I was not prepared for how poorly it played. The game’s movement feels wonky at best. Want to throw Ryu’s signature Hadoken? Good luck. Correctly inputting any of the game’s special moves is nigh impossible.
Street Fighter II stays in the conversation not just because it was a revolutionary game that millions of people loved back then. It’s still held in high regard because it’s still fun and playable to this day. I can’t speak to what the perception of the original Street Fighter was at the time, but this game is flat-out horrible by today’s standards and only getting worse.
And yet, it’s not fair to completely excise this game completely. Without it, none of what came after would be possible. It’s one of gaming’s greatest miracles that Street Fighter II spawned from this train wreck, and maybe for that reason, it deserves our thanks.
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