Street Fighter (video game)

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Street Fighter
North American arcade flyer of Street Fighter.
North American arcade flyer of Street Fighter
Director(s)Takashi Nishiyama
Designer(s)Hiroshi Matsumoto
Programmer(s)Hiroshi Koike
Artist(s)Manabu Takemura
Keiji Inafune
Composer(s)Yoshihiro Sakaguchi
SeriesStreet Fighter
August 30, 1987
  • Arcade
    • JP: August 30, 1987
    • NA: 1987
    • EU: 1987
    Commodore 64
    • NA: June 1988
    • EU: 1988
    Atari ST
    PC Engine/
    TurboGrafx CD (as Fighting Street)
    • JP: December 4, 1988
    • NA: 1989
    Atari ST
    Atari ST
    Amstrad CPC
    ZX Spectrum
    • EU: 1989 (re-release)
    Virtual Console
    • NA: November 2, 2009[1]
    • EU: November 5, 2009
Mode(s)Up to 2 players simultaneously

Street Fighter (ストリートファイター, Sutorīto Faitā) is a 1987 arcade game developed by Capcom. It is the first competitive fighting game produced by the company and the first installment in the Street Fighter series. While it did not achieve the same worldwide popularity as its sequel Street Fighter II when it was first released, the original Street Fighter introduced some of the conventions made standard in later games, such as the six button controls and the use of command-based special techniques.

A port for the PC Engine/TurboGrafx CD console was released under the title Fighting Street (ファイティング・ストリート, Faitingu Sutorīto) in 1988. This version was re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console in 2009.


Screenshot of Ryu versus Retsu

The player competes in a series of one-on-one matches against a series of computer-controlled opponents or in a single match against another player. Each match consists of three rounds in which the player must knock out an opponent in less than 30 seconds. If a match ends before a fighter is knocked out, the fighter with the greater amount of energy left will be declared the round's winner. The player must win two rounds in order to defeat the opponent and proceed to the next battle. If the third round ends in a tie, then the computer-controlled opponent will win by default or both players will lose. During the single-player mode, the player can continue after losing and fight against the opponent they lost the match to. Likewise, a second player can interrupt a single-player match and challenge the first player to a new match.

In the deluxe version of the arcade game, the player's controls consist of a standard eight-way joystick and two large, unique mechatronic pads for punches and kicks that returned an analog value depending on how hard the player actuated the control. An alternate version was released that replaces the two punching pads with an array of six attack buttons, three punch buttons and three kick buttons of different speed and strength (Light, Medium and Heavy).

The player uses the joystick to move towards or away from an opponent, as well as to jump, crouch and defend against an opponent's attacks. By using the attack buttons/pads in combination with the joystick, the player can perform a variety of attacks from a standing, jumping or crouching positions. There are three special techniques which can only be performed by inputting a specific series of joystick and button inputs. These techniques are:

  • "Psycho Fire" (波動拳, Hadōken, "Wave Motion Fist")
  • "Dragon Punch" (昇龍拳, Shoryūken, "Rising Dragon Fist")
  • "Hurricane Kick" (竜巻旋風脚, Tatsumaki Senpū Kyaku, "Tornado Whirlwind Leg").

This was the first game to use such a concept. Unlike the subsequent Street Fighter sequels and other fighting games, the specific commands for these special moves are not given in the arcade game's instruction card, which instead encouraged the player to discover these techniques on their own.[2]

The single-player mode consists of a series of battles against ten opponents from five different nations.[3] At the beginning of the game, the player can choose the country where their first match will take place: the available choices are Japan or the United States, as well as China or England (depending on the game's configuration). The player will proceed to fight against two fighters from the chosen country before proceeding to the next country. In addition to the regular battles, there are two types of bonus games which players can participate in for additional points: a brick-breaking bonus game and a table breaking bonus game. After defeating the initial eight characters, the player will travel to Thailand to fight against the last two opponents.


The player takes control of a young Japanese martial artist named Ryu, who competes in the Street Fighter tournament to prove his strength,[4] while the second player takes control of Ryu's former partner and current rival Ken, who only jumps into the tournament unqualified just to challenge Ryu in the game's 2-player matches.[5] Normally, the player takes control of Ryu in the single-player mode; however, if the player controlling Ken defeats Ryu in a 2-player match, the winning player will play the remainder of the game as Ken. The differences between the two characters are aesthetic, as both of them have the same basic moves and special techniques.

The first eight computer-controlled opponents are: from Japan, Retsu, an expelled Shorinji Kempo instructor[6] and Geki, a talon-wielding ninja;[5] from the United States, Joe, an underground full-contact karate champion[7] and Mike, a former heavyweight boxer who once killed an opponent in the ring;[8] from China, Lee, an expert in Chinese boxing[4] and Gen, an elderly professional killer who has developed his own assassination art;[9] and from England, Birdie, a tall bouncer who uses a combination of wrestling and boxing techniques[10] and Eagle, a well-dressed bodyguard of a wealthy family who uses Kali sticks.[11] After the first eight challengers are defeated, the player is taken to Thailand for the last two adversaries: Adon, a deadly muay Thai master,[12] and his mentor Sagat, the reputed "Emperor of Muay Thai" and the game's final opponent.[13]


Takashi Nishiyama came up with the idea for Street Fighter after working on the 1984 beat 'em up game Kung-Fu Master (called Spartan X in Japan), which featured a number of boss fights; Nishiyama thought about making a game centered around those boss fights.[14] Nishiyama also took inspiration from popular Japanese shōnen manga at the time, as well as the earlier fighting games Karate Champ (1984) and Yie Ar Kung-Fu (1985) to a certain extent.[15]

Street Fighter was produced and directed by Takashi Nishiyama (who is credited as "Piston Takashi" in the game) and planned by Hiroshi Matsumoto (credited as "Finish Hiroshi"), who both previously worked on the overhead beat 'em up Avengers (1987). The two men would leave Capcom after the production of the game and were employed by SNK, developing most of their fighting game series (including Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting). The duo would later work for Dimps and work on Street Fighter IV with Capcom. Keiji Inafune, best known for his artwork in Capcom's Mega Man franchise, got his start at the company by designing and illustrating the character portraits in Street Fighter. Nishiyama drew several inspirations for developing the original gameplay of Street Fighter from martial art styles he was practicing at the time.[16][17]

The game's designers at Capcom took inspiration from Bruce Lee's 1973 martial arts film Enter the Dragon. Both Enter the Dragon and Street Fighter are similarly centered around an international fighting tournament, with each character having a unique combination of ethnicity, nationality and fighting style.[18] In terms of gameplay, Karate Champ (1984), Kung-Fu Master and Yie Ar Kung Fu (1985) provided a basic template for Capcom's Street Fighter.[19][14]


Arcade variants[edit]

The pressure-sensitive arcade control system

Two different arcade cabinet were sold for the game: a "Regular" version (which was sold as a tabletop cabinet in Japan and as an upright overseas) that featured the same six button configuration later used in Street Fighter II and a "Deluxe" cabinet that featured two pressure-sensitive rubber pads. The pressure-sensitive pads determine the strength and speed of the player's attacks based on how hard they were pressed.

In the worldwide versions of the game, Ryu's and Ken's voices were dubbed so that they yelled the names of their moves in English (i.e.: Psycho Fire, Dragon Punch, Hurricane Kick). Subsequent localized releases up until Street Fighter IV left the Japanese voices intact; starting from Street Fighter IV going forward, subsequent games in the series contain English voice acting, although characters from Asia still use Japanese names for certain special moves and super combos amidst otherwise English dialogue.

Home versions[edit]

Street Fighter was ported under the title Fighting Street in 1988 for the PC Engine CD-ROM² System in Japan[20] and 1989 for the TurboGrafx-CD in North America. This version features a remastered soundtrack. As there was no six-button controller for the TurboGrafx-CD at the time this version was released, the strength level of the attacks is determined by how long either of the action buttons are held, akin to the "Deluxe" version of the arcade game. This version was published by NEC Avenue in North America and Hudson Soft in Japan and was developed by Alfa System. The cover artwork featured Mount Rushmore, which was one of the locations in the game. This version was released for the Wii's Virtual Console in Japan on October 6, 2009, in North America on November 2, 2009 and in the PAL regions on November 6, 2009.

Versions of Street Fighter for the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amiga and Atari ST were published by U.S. Gold in 1988 in Europe. These ports were developed by Tiertex. A DOS version was developed my Micro Talent and published by Capcom USA. The Commodore 64 received two versions, released on the same tape/disk format - the NTSC (U.S.) version developed by Pacific Dataworks and published by Capcom USA, and the PAL (UK) version by Tiertex and U.S. Gold. This edition of Street Fighter was featured in two compilations: Arcade Muscle and Multimixx 3, both of which featured other U.S. Gold-published ports of Capcom games such as Bionic Commando and 1943: The Battle of Midway.

Hi-Tech Expressions ported the game to MS-DOS computers.[21] Hi-Tech re-released the game as part of the Street Fighter Series CD-ROM collection.[22]

An emulation of the original arcade version is featured in Capcom Arcade Hits Volume 1 (along with Street Fighter II': Champion Edition) for Windows, Capcom Classics Collection Remixed for the PlayStation Portable and Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 (along with Super Street Fighter II Turbo) for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. An emulation of the original arcade version is featured in the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Windows [23]


The game was commercially successful in arcades. In Japan, Game Machine listed Street Fighter on their September 15, 1987 issue as being the fifth most-successful upright arcade unit of the year.[26] On the Coinslot charts, printed in the August 1988 issue of Sinclair User, Street Fighter was the top dedicated arcade game.[27]

The arcade version was well received. Tony Thompson of Crash, in its October 1987 issue, said it "breathes new life" into martial arts games, with a "huge" cabinet, "big" characters, pads where "the harder you hit the pads the harder your character hits", and "secret techniques".[28] In its January 1988 issue, Julian Rignall and Daniel Gilbert said "it adds a new dimension with pneumatic punch buttons" and the action is "gratifying" with "great feedback from the buttons" but "there's very little to draw you back" after the novelty wears off.[29] Clare Edgeley of Computer and Video Games, in its December 1987 issue, said it had "huge" sprites, "among the most realistic" characters, and "intense" action, but requires mastering the controls, including punches, kicks, stoop kicks, flip kicks and backward flips. She said "the competition is intense" and the deluxe version "is much more fun."[30] Sinclair User awarded the game a maximum and claiming it was "one of the games of the year",[31] while Computer and Video Games said it had "no lasting appeal whatsoever".[32]


Street Fighter found its own niche in the gaming world,[19] partly because many arcade game developers in the 1980s focused more on producing beat-em-up and shoot 'em up games.[33] Part of the game's appeal was the use of special moves that could only be discovered by experimenting with the game controls, which created a sense of mystique and invited players to practice the game.[34] Following Street Fighter's lead, the use of command-based hidden moves began to pervade other games in the rising fighting game genre.[34] Street Fighter introduced other staples of the genre, including the blocking technique as well as the ability for a challenger to jump in and initiate a match against a player at any time. The game introduced pressure-sensitive controls that determine the strength of an attack. However, due to causing damaged arcade cabinets, Capcom replaced it soon after with a six-button control scheme offering light, medium and hard punches and kicks, which became another staple of the genre.[35] Yoshinori Ono considers Street Fighter to be "the first modern day fighting game."[15]

Sega's hack and slash beat 'em up Golden Axe (1989) was influenced by the original Street Fighter. Golden Axe lead designer Makoto Uchida cited the original Street Fighter as an influence, particularly how players could combine button movies and stick presses to perform individual attacks.[36] Capcom's beat 'em up Final Fight (1989) began development as a sequel called Street Fighter '89.[37] According to the developers, they were originally planning to have Ryu and Ken from the original Street Fighter as the main protagonists, but that idea was scrapped for a new plot and setting.[38] SNK's fighting game Fatal Fury: King of Fighters (1991) was designed by Takashi Nishiyama, the director of the original Street Fighter. Nishiyama envisioned Fatal Fury as a spiritual successor to Street Fighter. It was developed around the same time as Street Fighter II (1991). While Street Fighter II placed more emphasis on combos, Fatal Fury placed more emphasis on the timing of special moves as well as storytelling.[39]


  1. ^ "This Week's Downloadable Lineup Truly Sparkles". Nintendo of America. 2 November 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2009.
  2. ^ All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000, pg. 12
  3. ^ All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000, pg. 11
  4. ^ a b All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000, pg. 345
  5. ^ a b All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000, pg. 310
  6. ^ All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000, pg. 347
  7. ^ All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000, pg. 320
  8. ^ All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000, pg. 340
  9. ^ All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000, pg. 311
  10. ^ All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000, pg. 331
  11. ^ All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000, pg. 299
  12. ^ All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000, pg. 297
  13. ^ All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000, pg. 314
  14. ^ a b Leone, Matt (July 7, 2020). "Street Fighter 1: An oral history". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Stuart, Keith (9 April 2012). "Street Fighter and me: Yoshinori Ono on the future of the fighting game". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Power Profiles: Keiji Inafune". Nintendo Power. No. 220. Nintendo of America. October 2007. pp. 79–81.
  17. ^ Leone, Matt. "The Man Who Created Street Fighter". Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2011.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  18. ^ Thrasher, Christopher David (2015). Fight Sports and American Masculinity: Salvation in Violence from 1607 to the Present. McFarland. p. 208. ISBN 978-1-4766-1823-4.
  19. ^ a b "The History of Street Fighter". GameSpot. Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
  20. ^ All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000, pg. 10
  21. ^ "Street Fighter for DOS (1988)". MobyGames. 2011-05-27. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
  22. ^ "Street Fighter Series for DOS (1994)". MobyGames. 2001-04-19. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
  23. ^ "Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Has a Unique Switch-Exclusive Mode". IGN. 2018-03-14. Retrieved 2020-05-14.
  24. ^ "Street Fighter". Archived from the original on 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
  25. ^ "Review of Street Fighter". Retrieved 2013-01-07.
  26. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - アップライト, コックピット型TVゲーム機 (Upright/Cockpit Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 316. Amusement Press, Inc. 15 September 1987. p. 21.
  27. ^ "Sinclair User Magazine Issue 077". Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  28. ^ "Street Fighter arcade game review". Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  29. ^ "Street Fighter arcade game review". Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  30. ^ "Street Fighter arcade game review". Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  31. ^ "Street Fighter". Sinclair User. No. 74. May 1988. pp. 35–36.
  32. ^ Rignall, Julian (October 1988). "Street Fighter". Computer and Video Games. No. 84. Future Publishing. pp. 58–59.
  33. ^ "History of Sega Fighting Games". GameSpot. Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
  34. ^ a b "Game Design Essentials: 20 Mysterious Games". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on October 5, 2008. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  35. ^ Nadia Oxford, 20 Years of Street Fighter Archived December 6, 2012, at,, November 12, 2007
  36. ^ Horowitz, Ken (2018). The Sega Arcade Revolution: A History in 62 Games. McFarland & Company. p. 150. ISBN 978-1-4766-7225-0.
  37. ^ "Final Fight Developer's Interview". Shadaloo C.R.I. Capcom. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  38. ^ Digital Eclipse (2005-09-27). Capcom Classics Collection Volume I. Capcom. Level/area: Final Fight Design and History Extras.
  39. ^ Leone, Matt. "The Man Who Created Street Fighter". Archived from the original on January 22, 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2011.


  • Studio Bent Stuff (Sep 2000). All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game. A.A. Game History Series (Vol. 1) (in Japanese). Dempa Publications, Inc. ISBN 4-88554-676-1.

External links[edit]