Although one on one fighting games had been popularized by 1984’s Karate Champ, Street Fighter set an industry standard that would be mimicked by fighting games for the next few decades.
The smooth 6 button controls and the button sequence based special moves were the first of their kind. Despite the groundbreaking controls, Street Fighter was more of a technological success than a commercial success. It was Street Fighter II that really propelled the franchise into the mainstream.
Stretch Fighter II was originally released as an arcade game in 1991, but the release on SNES one year later brought the brawling game to the homes of millions. Improved graphics, more playable characters, each with their own fighting style, and the introduction of competitive multiplayer fights made Street Fighter II one of the most successful fighting games of all time.
Adjusted for inflation, it’s estimated that the arcade cabinets raked in over $4 billion in revenue. The console versions of the game sold over 14 million copies worldwide, leading the way in the fighting game industry.
The characters played a huge role in the commercial success of the Street Fighter franchise. The rivalry between Ryu and Ken is world famous, and any game with a badass, fire breathing yoga master instantly has my attention.
Capcom hit a home run with Street Fighter II, allowing the company to invest money in creating games such as Resident Evil and Devil May Cry.