Why Street Fighter is still the most important fighting game series around

Capcom concieved Street Fighter II, but it was the players who truly gave birth to it, and they’ve been fundamental in its upbringing ever since. When Capcom created the Champion Edition, it was in response to players’ requests for the option of playing the boss characters. And Street Fighter II Turbo was an even greater product of the fan community. Gamers of a certain age will remember some very strange versions of SFII turning up in arcades in the early to mid-‘90s. Machines that allowed insanely fast special moves in mid-air with zero recovery time, and let the player switch characters mid-fight at the touch of a button. While they may at first have appeared to be the twisted cheese-dreams of the sleep-deprived hardcore player after a long session, those cabinets were actually based around specially hacked and modified ROMs which SF fans themselves had adapted to their own design and rolled out to the arcade.

It was clearly far from an ideal situation for Capcom, but instead of just clamping down on the machines, the company integrated some of the pirate machines’ features into the next official version of the game. Was it a coincidence that Turbo included mid-air specials, more speed, and upgrades to the characters’ existing party tricks? Well maybe, but it’s a tad doubtful, don’t you think? Once again, Street Fighter II had evolved around what its players were already doing, and it became all the better for it.

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.