It's no secret that we love Street Fighter II with a fiery passion. It's an evergreen feast of accessible, tactical, face-smashing glory that's matched by few and beaten by none. Street Fighter II is just as much a rewarding social activity as it is a brilliantly designed game, and we can't wait to get our hands on its next iteration, the redrawn, rebalanced, and very probably perfected Super Street Fighter II Turbo: HD Remix for XBLA and PSN. But you already knew that. We ran a feature on this highly important matter just a couple of weeks ago.
Since then, we've had the opportunity to talk to David Sirlin, the man charged with making the new Super Turbo the definitive edition, about his personal history with Street Fighter and why the series endures seventeen years after the release of the original SFII.
GamesRadar: Why was SFII was such a big deal when it first hit arcades, and what did it add to and change in fighting games? What was your first personal experience of the series like, and what did it mean to you?
David Sirlin: In the time of Street Fighter II, most other arcade games were competitions against the computer, or cooperative with another human against the computer. Street Fighter II was the first human vs. human arcade game that really captured players’ imaginations.
My first experience with the series was actually Street Fighter 1. As a kid, I played it all the time, and even kept track of how many times I beat Sagat (the final boss). I was up to 19 times, at least. SFII was a major, major advancement over SF1, finally offering more refined, responsive controls and lots more characters and moves to choose from.
The game was a social phenomenon in arcades. I remember one local player who beat all of us with Dhalsim, and the rest of us tried everything we could think of to beat him. Another player developed advanced strategies such as holding down/back on the stick almost all the time while performing Guile’s moves so he would be charged for Sonic Boom or Flash Kick. Another player was always making discoveries, such as how to cancel normal attacks into special attacks with Ken (which we then realized generalized to other characters).
Another player honed his Zangief skills, focusing on spinning pile driver-ing people from the max range possible. At one point he even put up a hand-made sign on the machine saying “Zangief Express Lane is open,” taunting others to join in, knowing he would beat them quickly. Another player styled his hair just a little bit like Guile’s. His nose looked a little bit like Guile’s too, and he soon got a job at the arcade. Then he wore a name-tag: “Guile.” He gave me a ride somewhere once and I noticed his “sonic boom” branded sound system.