Growing up in a household where entertainment based violence was greatly frowned upon, and where the christian ways were constantly being forced upon me caused me to miss out on many of the late 80's, and 90's more mature game releases (Including "TEEN" rated games). Sure I got to play plenty of superhero oriented games, and sure I even got to play games like the first "Double Dragon" on the NES, but I always found myself envying those kids whose parents didn't mind them playing games that were violent in nature. It wasn't until my 16th birthday, in the era of the Sega Genesis that I was finally able to convince my mother to buy me my first ever fighting game. That game of course was "Street Fighter II: Championship Ed.". It took some serious begging, and pleading, but I eventually got my point across, and scored the game for my birthday.
From the moment I began playing "Street Fighter II: CE" I was hooked. I spent hours upon hours fighting onscreen with my two brothers' choice of character. Initially me, and my brothers found our favorites in Ken, and Ryu as everyone else likely did. My brother Joe was a Ken, Guile and Sagat fanatic while my other brother Adam tended to use the more cheap characters like Blanka just to piss us off. As for me I had found favorites in Ken, Ryu, and Vega. Vega's unique physical features such as that of his claw, and his mask really drew me into the game's artistically clever design. His unique fighting style, while difficult to learn also helped me to better appreciate the game's mechanics. Needless to say the hours, days, months, and years I invested in my copy of "Street Fighter II: CE" afforded me some of the best gaming memories of my life. Even though my brothers, and I fought like Ken, and Ryu over the game we still found some fun times with it.
The reason these memories came flooding back to me was for a couple of different reasons. First off I had just got through watching all 12 episodes of Machinima's "Street Fighter Assassin's Fist" (which I highly recommend you watching), and secondly I found of an old "Street Fighter II: CE" strategy guide that me, and my brothers used to reference. The strategy guide definitely got it's use back in the day as it is less than mint in quality now, but thankfully the wonderful art, and character strategies contained within are still very much intact. As you've likely already noticed some of those strategy guide images now decorate this very article.
In regards to my first fighting game experience, and the Street Fighter franchise those two things definitely paved the way for my future interest in the fighting game genre. While I may not be a pro in the fighting game scene, and while I may not study fighting games religiously like some fighting game fans you will find that I can stand my ground fairly well against skilled opponents. I credit that talent to being given the opportunity to play Street Fighter in the first place. Street Fighter in my eyes is the grandfather of all fighting game experiences, and is the reason most gamers play said fighting games today. Capcom's "Street Fighter" series has set the standard by which great fighting games are judged. It has also become the base experience that most fighting games are modeled after, if ever so slightly. Those special moves you see in other fighting games which use certain DPad/Thumbstick motions, and button combos are the type of thing which gained their beginnings from the Street Fighter series. If it weren't for Street Fighter finding it's rightful place in gaming history there's no doubt other fighting game developers would have struggled in making their own mark.
My hope at the end of the day is that Capcom continues to make huge advances in fighting game technology, and that they keep the Street Fighter franchise alive while ushering in new fighting game IPs. A new generation of consoles without a new "Street Fighter" game is something I'd hate to see happen. I want Street Fighter to be around as long as I am, and beyond. I hope generation after generation gets to have the same noteworthy experiences with fighting games as "Street Fighter II: Championship Ed." gave me, and my brothers. Nothing can replace a good gaming memory, especially one of friendly competition!