Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is a treasure trove of trivia

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Who’s your favourite Fighting Street character? Mine is Dick Jumpsey, the famous American actor-boxer. Huh? No, I’m talking about Fighting Street. You know, the arcade game where you have to physically punch giant pressure-sensitive buttons to make your character attack your opponent. Featuring wonderful characters such as “Shilke Muller”, “Great Tiger” and “Chinese Girl”. Everyone knows Fighting Street.

No? Well, the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection can fill you in. It was released yesterday and includes a “Museum” section, detailing the history of the fighting game series, complete with sketches and old design docs. There’s a lot of fun stuff in here, and some, uh, questionable stuff too.

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The collection itself lets you play 12 editions of the older games, both online and locally. It’s a subtitle feast, including: SFII Hyper Fighting, Super SFII Turbo, SF Alpha 3 and SFIII: Third Strike. But the most interesting part of it for me is the trove of documents and old concept art, showing how the series came about. Some of the best stuff has already been compiled into a Tweetscroll by game historian (and developer at Digital Eclipse) Frank Cifaldi. But allow me to point out some extra interesting bits.

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The original arcade cabinet (above) was designed to have buttons you would slam with your fists, one for punches and one for kicks. Depending on how hard you hit them, you would deliver attacks of different strength.

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A sketch of the character roster from 1988 (above) shows some characters who changed over time. One thing I’ve often heard about Street Fighter II’s angry electroman Blanka is that he began life as a dodgy caricature of a black man. But I’d never seen any proof of that. Until, uh, well.

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“Anabebe is a beastman raised by lions,” says this early description. “His manager and tamer, Rothenburger, keeps him shackled in chains.”

Well then.

Eventually, the “feral child” idea changed to become a character called “Hamablanka” and finally “Blanka”, the green-skinned, ginger-haired Brazilian doll salesman we know today.

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The other characters also changed. “Zhi Li” became “Chinese Girl” and finally “Chun Li”. The “Great Tiger” became simply “Indian” and then “Dhalsim”. Other character descriptions include “Sumo” – the combatant we’d come to know as E. Honda – who “should seem excessively Japanese so that overseas players understand.”

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And Major Guile, who is “intended as a normal fighter for Americans to use.”

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Other bits of Fighting Street history include:

  • Zangief was once called “Vodka Govalsky”. Of course.
  • The animators considered having Zangief bodyslam Mikhail Gorbachev in his victory cinematic, but settled for dancing with him instead.
  • Vega evolved from “ninja to ninja-matador to ninja-crusader and, finally, to… the vain fighter we know today.”
  • An 8-bit cartridge version of Street Fighter was made, but never sold.

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Game historians and Street Readers probably already know much of this trivia, but ignoramuses such as myself (ignorami?) need to be told facts in a special edition videogame, or we’ll never learn. It’s also good to have as a resource, a bunch of scribbles and papers that anyone can dive into. Although, this particular exhibition costs £32.99/$39.99 on Steam. I’m not sure if the fighting and remastering is any good, but I enjoyed my trip to the museum.

4 Comments

  1. Addie says:

    Because you have to follow about six links to see which twelve games you get:

    – Street Fighter 1
    – Street Fighter 2 (5 versions)
    – Street Fighter Alpha (3 versions)
    – Street Fighter 3 (3 versions)

    Pretty comprehensive. Capcom’s web page makes it look like it’s the Japanese arcade versions of all of these. According to the Stream reviews, some (but not all) have been retrofitted with netcode as well.

    They actually made the pressure-sensitive buttons for original SF1, but they kept breaking and were expensive to repair, and also made accurate combos really tough to do, so they changed over to the classic six-button layout for later revisions of the cabinet, and stuck with it ever since.

    • Det. Bullock says:

      Also, SF1 registered button inputs on release rather than on actuation (probably a consequence of being originally coded for the pressure pads), so pulling off special moves was much more difficult compared to the sequels. Special moves that were meant as some sort of secret Easter eggs rather than part of the main gameplay like in the rest of the series, so they probably left the difficulty in on purpose.

  2. Det. Bullock says:

    I’m sincerely surprised there don’t seem to be reviews of the PC version specifically.
    Of course there are plenty of the Switch and PS4 versions and they seem to concur that the porting/emulations are good at reproducing the arcade versions proposed, often to a fault since some have issues that were solved on console versions (third strike for example had heavily compressed audio because the arcade PCB had only 64 megs of onboard storage memory) or lack most of the console extras. Also they all say the netcode sucks. But sincerely? I always played the arcade versions on MAME and royally suck at multiplayer anyway so it’s not a deal breaker for me. Unless the PC version has some major issues and I don’t know if the lack of reviews is worrying or not.

  3. Spacewalk says:

    Are they scowling because they’re tough or because they’re standing on each other’s toes?

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