How many times back in the day or even today when you stepped up to challenge Capcom’s Street Fighter II did you feel like the arcade machine itself wasn’t exactly playing fair? Being able to work at an arcade myself I can tell you – even though we use free play options instead of tokens – if feels like some fighting games aren’t giving you a real chance at victory. Off the top of my head I would say that Mortal Kombat, X-Men: Children of the Atom, as well as X-Men vs Street Fighter are at the top of my list for when I walked away thinking – that wasn’t a fair fight at all. Having said that though I feel I should add that Capcom’s Darkstalkers as well as Bandai Namco’s Soulcalibur fighting games felt like you were given a chance, you got the most bang for your buck so to speak. It appears that thanks to a YouTube video uploaded by desk… Street Fighter II looks to have been cheating you out of your tokens back in the day!
I want to thank John Monkus for the heads on this video before I share a little about my history with Street Fighter II – you might have heard him on the Diary of An Arcade Employee Podcast, or possibly seen him on some of the videos I have shared on the Diary Facebook page. Not only is he a good friend but he happens to be the tech expert and specialist at keeping vintage video games and pinball tables up and running.
I first encountered Street Fighter II at a little arcade that opened up in the early 90’s – wisely setting up shop across the way from the AMC movie theater. This arcade in fact is where I would start to develop my love of pinball, thanks to the likes of The Addams Family, Jurassic Park, Phantom of the Opera, and Funhouse tables to name a few. At that time I was an avid reader of the now defunct GamePro magazine so it isn’t like I hadn’t heard about the fighting game phenomenon that exploded in popularity thanks to Street Fighter II before it showed up at that arcade. Something was evident right off the bat though when I plunked my first token into the game – I’m a firm believer in spamming the buttons as I obviously have no real skill at fighting games. Plus and this completely baffles me as it is still true – when Street Fighter II: Championship Edition hit the arcade I always did much better when playing villain characters – in the case of the early Street Fighter II series my go to character was Vega.
Now, in this video by desk we get a really well polished and well edited presentation showing just how Street Fighter II managed to coax more and more quarters and tokens out of our pockets. By letting us see the ways the arcade game itself took advantage of us from invincible attacks to the ability to shake off the ‘dizzy’ effect in 1/5th of a second and more – with frame by frame proof of the game behaving unfairly. I suppose the takeaway from this is to salute those players that have the skills to still beat the game even when the machine itself is pulling off cheap tricks to get the upper hand!