“No matter how far the chips are down if you’ve got the skill and the mental acumen and the prediction to know what’s coming next you can get out of any situation.” This is what Seth Killion, Director of Community & Online at Capcom has to say about the 2004 Street Fighter tournament clip that went viral. Millions have watched that clip about the last few seconds of the game between Daigo Umehara and Justin. In fact it has been posted on hundreds of threads where gamers talk about the joy of Street Fighter.
The question that comes to mind immediately is how many of those millions of viewers actually understand the technique that was involved in that moment? The answer is maybe less than one percent.
Ironically, that moment was almost not captured because those who were filming it were just about to run out of battery. In fact, that’s exactly what happened the second after that match ended. The battery died, but they had been able to capture that historic moment when the beast was unleashed.
Street Fighter I came out in 1987. Although the concept was interesting, the game itself wasn’t of the best quality. Street Fighter II came out in 1991 and was very different from its predecessor because it brought on an air of mystery soaked in competition. It raised the bar for every game that came after it—it sort of defined the genre.
In 1997 when Street Fighter III came out, there was only a tiny pool of players and this kept the game from becoming a success even though it was a good game. For Street Fighter IV in 2009, the designers pressed the reset button and instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, they decided to go with what had worked before, which was Street Fighter II. By going back to the basics, they reminded people what was so cool about the game.
Many people don’t understand what it is that turns grown adults into serious gamers willing to dedicate hours to train and participate in these tournaments. It’s the joy, that’s what it is, but you would have to be there to understand.