A look back on the Street Fighter games' 23 year history, starting with the first arcade machine in 1987, Street Fighter II's dominance during the early 1990s, and continuing through the series' faltering fortunes up to its return in 2009's Street Fighter IV.
Street Fighter II's immediate success prompted the production of many other one-on-one fighting games, such as Mortal Kombat, Virtua Fighter, Tekken, Dead or Alive and others, each of which had a distinctive take on the genre, and many of which are still going in one form or another.
1987: The first Street Fighter arcade game
Ahead of its time with a six button arcade stick and activation of special moves.
1991: Street Fighter II debuts in arcades
Capcom's first version of Street Fighter II was released as an arcade cabinet, moved the 2D fighter genre to centre stage and promted rival developers to gear up for their own takes on the game's immediate popularity.
1992: Arcade upgrades and home version
The Champion Edition added four boss characters to the roster of playable characters. Then, the Hyper Fighting version attempted to retain brand loyalty with custom speed settings cribbed from unauthorized units that were starting to crop up. By July, North America and Japan had the original on the Super Nintendo home console. Some Europeans, impatient for December's localization, imported both game and console at great expense. Midway Games respond to Capcom's arcade king with the contraversial violence and digitized graphics of Mortal Kombat.
1993: More SFII upgrades, increased competition
A second version of Street Fighter II is released for the SNES, including the arcade's playable boss characters and speed settings. By the end of the year, the Sega Genesis at last had a conversion of the game. Sega bring out a six-button pad in response to demand. Another upgraded SFII arcade cabinet is released, but Sega are changing the rules of the game with the first Virtua Fighter arcade game, using new technology for a 3D effect. Home versions of VF follow during the next two years.
1994-95: Strong rivals distract from new film and series
The halcyon days of the Street Fighter franchise come to an end with a poorly received Street Fighter film. The Street Fighter II series is laid to rest and the Street Fighter Alpha series starts up. Heavyweight developer Namco released Tekken, a 3D fighting game made specifically for Sony's first console, the PlayStation. Six Tekken sequels follow in the next fifteen years as both arcade games and ports to various PlayStation home and portable consoles.
1996-7: Dead or Alive series starts, Street Fighter III struggles
Speedy reaction times and counter-attacking are DoA's hallmarks - that, and an unusually high proportion of well-endowed female playable characters. The series survives to the modern day, but rather bizarrely by means of a beach volleyball offshoot. In SFIII, only two core characters from previous Street Fighters appear. Street Fighter games face a diminishing audience: the dominant trend is now for first person shooters and 3D games.
2008: Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix on 360 and PS3
A full overhaul on more powerful consoles, while retaining the allure of the original. Extremely well received.
2009: Street Fighter IV
Essentially Street Fighter II remade using modern technology and some gameplay advances developed since, the game is a critical and commercial success, turning around the franchise's fortunes. Arc System Works, an experienced development team, take the genre by storm with a new and innovative game, BlazBlue. Street Fighter IV faces intense competition, starting to revitalize the genre.
2010: Super Street Fighter IV
In homage to 1993's Super Street Fighter II, SSFIV adds extra characters, costumes, moves, and programming refinements to its immediate predecessor. Online interactions overhauled to allow world warriors to enter combat and emulate the arcade and living room experiences of years gone by.