I would not be who I am today without Street Fighter

Happy 30th birthday to the legendary fighting franchise

Three decades of Hadokens, Dragon Punches, Sonic Booms, and Spinning Bird Kicks; today is Street Fighter’s 30th birthday.

The very first Street Fighter title saw an arcade release on August 30th, 1987. From there, the series went on to spawn many of the staples we see in most fighting games today, an army of memorable characters — some of which are among the most iconic in gaming history — and a long legacy of amazing, competitive titles.

Street Fighter’s impact on fighting games, and gaming in general, is indisputable, and to this day I owe much to its existence. Simply put, I would not be the person I am today without it.

When the original Street Fighter made its debut, I was about negative four-years-old. This, however, did not stop me from eventually stumbling upon the series and it becoming a very important part of my life.

For me, it all started back in the Super NES days. I know, I know. Everyone who recalls playing Street Fighter for the first time cites the SNES.

Ask any random person and they’ll likely say something along the lines of, “I remember that game! I used to play the electric guy with the hair on Super Nintendo.” I assure you, I know the proper names of the characters.

My first venture into the 2D fighting world was Street Fighter 2 Turbo.

The earliest memories I have are of the spirited bouts against my older brother in which I’d take E. Honda, the series’ lovable sumo wrestler, and try to Hundred Hand Slap the hell out of him.

Of course, at the time I was no Mike Ross, but my technique was effective. Sometimes…

“After roughly 10 years of being out of the limelight, Street Fighter was back. I picked up a copy for the Xbox 360 on day one, and have been playing competitive fighting games ever since. “

From the amazing stages and music to the over-the-top special moves, there was no doubt about it: I was hooked. And my love for the franchise only increased from there.

Now, growing up my family was strictly a Nintendo family (with the exception of the Sega Genesis we owned at one point). So, my selection of Street Fighter titles was fairly limited beyond Super NES.

Sure, I did play Capcom vs. SNK 2 on the Gamecube, but for the most part my time with fighting games as an adolescent lied in other series.

Once I got older, though, I went back to revisit the many fighting games I had missed over the years. Fighters such as Street Fighter 3 Third Strike, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 were all among the amazing titles that I jumped back into, albeit my knowledge of hardcore play and the fighting game community was nonexistent at the time, so my experience consisted mainly of combo experimentation.

But everything changed in 2009. On February 17, the legendary franchise made its grand return with Street Fighter 4 — a fighter for a new generation that took the Street Fighter 2 formula and added new mechanics, greater accessibility, and characters from all across the various entries (as well as a handful of brand new faces) to create an enjoyable experience for casual and hardcore player alike.

After roughly 10 years of being out of the limelight, Street Fighter was back. I picked up a copy for the Xbox 360 on day one, and have been playing competitive fighting games ever since.

The first character I tried out in Street Fighter 4 was C. Viper — the red-headed, flame-kicking newcomer. Of all the characters for essentially a newbie — which is what I was at the time — to pick up, I landed on her. Yeah… It didn’t go well.

Not long after, I realized that I was unable to perform her crazy feint cancels and super jump combos, so I moved over to Blanka. While I did find success with him among friends, once I started taking on players who actually knew what they were doing I was given a rude awakening.

My first trip to Arcade Infinity, a now closed establishment in Southern California, was an enlightening one. I tried my Blanka against the only player there at the time, a Rufus player, and got absolutely destroyed.

Needless to say, I immediately dropped Blanka and switched over to Chun-Li, who I would play for the majority of Vanilla Street Fighter 4.

Throughout the first leg of the game’s lifespan, I focused very heavily on practicing combos. I made it a point to finish every character’s combo trials, then did it a few more times for friends who wanted the achievement.

This aided my transition into playing Dudley — the combo-heavy gentleman pugilist — when Super Street Fighter 4 rolled around in 2010, and ultimately led me down the path of combo video creation.

After several years, countless hours of lab time, and a lot of guide writing, I became fairly knowledgeable on the intricacies of Street Fighter 4 and higher level fighting game play. In early 2012, I was fortunate in finding a place to put all of that acquired knowledge to good use as I was hired by EventHubs.

I can only image that the plethora of bad puns I’ve written here on the site have Catalyst regretting his decision to bring me on…

Street Fighter 4 was my introduction into the world of footsies and whiff punishing. It’s where I learned about adapting to different situations and the incredibly deep mental game that we constantly play in all competitive fighters — commonly referred to as the ‘meta game.”

Outside of that, Street Fighter 4 (and the competitive fighting games I have played since) have granted me benefits in everyday life. Improvements in reaction time, decision making, and analyzing the surroundings of any given situation are just some of the traits I have developed as a result, and I’m sure I am not alone in saying that.

“I would not be here today, doing what I love for a living, if it weren’t for Street Fighter.”

Fast forward to 2017, and it’s the 30th anniversary of the franchise many of us hold dear. I may not have been there at the beginning, but I have since put in my fair share of time. I’ve clocked over eight years of playing competitively and over five years of writing about it.

The Street Fighter series has given me an absurd amount of hours of fun, created some of the strongest friendships I have today, launched my career in fighting game journalism, and allowed me to put the DreamKing swag combo beat down on too many opponents to count.

Though other fighting games certainly have a place in my heart, Street Fighter will always be the bedrock of my love for the genre. It’s the series I started with, the one I know best, and the one I’ll likely be playing ’til I’m old and gray.