Street Fighter II (Super Nintendo Version)

I don’t even know where to begin with this game. It was the reason I wanted a Super Nintendo. I spent hours and hours on it, eventually learning how to beat the game with all 8 characters on the hardest level. I recorded its music onto cassette tapes to listen to at school. We bought arcade joysticks for our SNES. Even my sister got into it.

Before Street Fighter II came out for the Super Nintendo, the only way to play the game was at the arcade (well, unless you were rich and had a cabinet at your house). There was a corner store across the street from my house, and that’s where I would be when I wasn’t doing homework. Even if I didn’t have any money, I’d go there to watch the other kids in the neighborhood playing.

On that machine, there was a flip switch in the back, on the upper-right (when facing the machine on the front). Once the kids discovered the switch, it was game over. The local bully would flip the switch as he was about to get beat. Soon, even the lesser bullies would pull the same trick. One time, the corner store owner’s kindly wife gave me back a quarter after she witnessed this happening. If you were another adult just stopping by to buy something, you might have wondered why there were kids reaching around to the back of the machine.

Another time, on Thanksgiving, I was supposed to bring a couple of cans of cranberry sauce to my aunt’s house for dinner. I figured I could squeeze in a game on my way there at the corner store on 23rd and Mission. There was this other kid there with a really bad attitude. He physically bumped me whenever I landed a hit or combo on him and he was talking smack the whole time. After I beat him, he waited outside the store while I finished the game and confronted me. I don’t remember what was said (actually I don’t think I ever knew since English was not the dude’s first language), but after it was said he aimed a spray bottle at me and pressed the button.

Fortunately for me, Binaca (a brand of breath spray) was something of a trend at my school at that time, and I had experience with people randomly spraying Binaca at me. I opened my mouth in an attempt to catch the spray, but it didn’t taste like a breath freshener. It tasted more medicinally, gauzy, like it came out of a first-aid kit. It was pepper spray! Wow. I caught most of it in my mouth and just a little on my face and eyes and remember some slight heat, but nothing really painful. The guy ran after that and I continued on to my aunt’s house. She made me wash my eyes and even called an ambulance (we dismissed it in the end). What a memorable Thanksgiving.

With the release of the SNES version, I could now play the game at home and avoid these unsavory experiences, but I could also practice day and night and get really good so that I could dominate at the arcade (little did I know that winning in SF2 is not just about mastering special moves and combos). My friend and I thought I was so bad-ass that I could pull off a standing sonic kick (aka flash kick) combo. He would go around telling everyone and ask me to demonstrate. I think I was able to do it once in the video above, against Sagat. Time has not been kind to my SF2 skills.

Speaking of which, time has not been kind to the SNES version of SF2, either. While recording it, some differences that I had always known about but glossed over really made themselves known to me now. First is the animation, of course, which is slightly choppy compared to the real thing. Some animations are totally missing, like Guile’s flip when he jumps. The announcer is missing a bunch of voices. The character voices change pitch when doing special moves. Instead of desperation music, the regular music just plays faster. The controls don’t feel as smooth. As a result of noticing these issues, I found myself wanting to finish the recording as soon as possible. Hard to believe that this was the game I spent so many hours on as a kid, but that’s only because I’ve played so many other closer-to-the-arcade versions since. We can’t forget that it was a major feat to get this game on the SNES back then.

I’ll always cherish these memories and be grateful that the game actually came out for a console at all. As always, hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane!

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