A book about the historic Street Fighter 1991 video game
A new book titled "Like a Hurricane: An Unofficial Oral History of Street Fighter II" charts the cultural impact of the 1991 video game Street Fighter II (SFII). SFII drew crowds to video game arcades with its distinctive moves, jet-setting characters, and pulse-quickening soundtrack. SFII has had a unique cultural impact since its release in 1991 and has become a cultural phenomenon. The game not only drew players to its vibrant visuals and distinctive moves, but also created a new form of competition that invited hardcore gamers and newbies alike. Despite being a 30-year-old franchise, Street Fighter remains important to contemporary games and gamers.
by Ana Machado
A new book traces the cultural impact of the 1991 video game Street Fighter II (SFII), which drew crowds to video game arcades with its distinctive moves, jet-setting characters, and pulse-quickening soundtrack. From music by Kanye West and Nicki Minaj to films featuring Jackie Chan and Kylie Minogue, SFII has left a lasting impression on popular culture. Its playable characters, including Ryu, Ken, E Honda, Blanka, Chun-Li, Dhalsim, Guile, and Zangief, have become cultural icons.
The book titled “Like a Hurricane: An Unofficial Oral History of Street Fighter II” by US videogaming writer Matt Leone charts the history of the 1991 video game. Street Fighter II (SFII) is a competitive fighting game that drew throngs to its vibrant visuals, distinctive moves and jet-setting playable characters. Since its original release, SFII has given rise to copious tie-in merch, adaptations, and updates. According to James Chen, an SF series commentator, SFII wasn’t just a popular video game, it was a cultural phenomenon that appealed to everyone, not just kids. SFII was placed in everyday settings like fast-food outlets, shopping malls, and video rental stores, and became a formative event for countless players of all backgrounds.
SFII, the competitive fighting game that debuted in 1991, has become a cultural phenomenon and a subject of a new book titled “Like a Hurricane: An Unofficial Oral History of Street Fighter II”. The book tells the story of the game’s creation, cultural impact, and industry battles, including between Capcom and rival SNK. The game’s predecessor, Street Fighter (1987), paved the way for SFII’s groundbreaking success with its ambitious approach and bold ideas. The book features insights from industry insiders and fans, including former gaming tournament competitor and commentator Seth Killian, who described the intoxicating experience of competing against a live opponent in front of strangers.
Capcom’s SFII features a character-driven fighting game enriched by the artwork of Akira Yasuda, poppy melodies of Yoko Shimomura and six-button/joystick control design that allows players to deliver swift combo attacks. The cries that heralded different characters’ special moves also heightened the sense of personality, allowing players to grow familiar with the characters and root for their favorites. This established a kind of rapport that hadn’t existed in gaming before, making SFII a cultural phenomenon. According to Matt Leone, it’s rare for a game to make such big strides forward in so many different ways and fit together so well.
SFII’s impact extended beyond just high scores and into the “fighting-game community,” as it appealed to both hardcore gamers and newbies. It was played in coin-op arcades, home consoles, and modern digital realms. The game’s characters and range were enriched by Akira Yasuda’s artwork and a six-button/joystick control design that allowed players to deliver swift combo attacks. The game’s poppy melodies and effects heightened the sense of personality, establishing a kind of rapport that hadn’t existed in gaming before. However, SFII’s character designs and some of the gender/racial elements have been criticized, with some attributing it to cultural differences between Japan and other territories and specific tendencies of the game’s makers.
Street Fighter II (SFII) has had a unique cultural impact since its release in 1991, as a new book titled Like a Hurricane: An Unofficial Oral History of Street Fighter II, collated by US videogaming writer Matt Leone, charts its history. The game not only drew players to its vibrant visuals and distinctive moves, but also created a new form of competition that invited hardcore gamers and newbies alike. Despite being a 30-year-old franchise, Street Fighter remains important to contemporary games and gamers. Its music is sampled on multi-genre tracks, and its characters inspired films, including the surreally awful Hollywood blockbuster Street Fighter. The game has generated a revenue of $10.61 billion and SFVI is scheduled for release this year.
About the author / Ana Machado
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