Friday, July 16, 2010

Handsome Fighters Never Lose Battles

Like rewatching a movie from your childhood or rereading a book the younger you once enjoyed, looking back on old video games poses considerable danger to fond memories. In about two seconds, your adult eyes can recognize that this once-radical thing actually sucks and is totally for lame losers. However, sometimes the loved thing actually holds up, and when the older, (presumably) smarter and (likely) more jaded you re-encounters it you realize that you were not, in fact, a lame loser for liking it.

Today, I was happy to find an in-game, on-screen pixelated masterpiece from Street Fighter II — a thing that I once loved in a way that can only be measured in quarters and sore thumbs. The image depicts the game’s four bosses, who, based on the fire burning beneath them, are maybe also arsonists in addition to being martial artists. (Martial arsonists? Who torched the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang?) Looking at the image now, I feel exactly what I’m supposed to and what I felt when encountering these big bads back in the day: “Those guys look so cool… and they’re going to beat the living snot out of me.”


Superficially, it’s nothing spectacular, but it works for me, aesthetically and emotionally. If these guys were in a band and this image was the album cover, I think I might want to buy that album, even though the music that this image would be associated with would probably be terrible and screechy. In any case, I felt reassured that so many sunny afternoons had been spent inside, getting challenger after new challenger knocked to the ground, unconscious. These four guys were a challenge.

And then, unforch, I found another image that maybe didn’t hold up so well and made me reconsider the fears I have that video games were and are lame and that I truly did waste my childhood.


Yeah, the Russian fighter’s ending — achieved once he defeats the vaguely Nazi-looking military man shown above — has him Russian dancing with Mikhail Gorbachev, even after Gorby had no U.S.S.R to be president of. Hokey-ski. Embarrassing-grad. On one hand, I feel like this says more about what Japanese people think Russians are like. On the other, it makes me realize that perhaps not every aspect of Street Fighter II stands the test of time.

(Both images via Game & Graphics.)

Street Fighter, previously:
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  1. great to see that this two images that I edited and posted in tumblr has been used to write this curious thoughts!
    Regarding the Zangief ending (and Vega outfits and stage), it's always funny to see how foreigners try to represent your country. One of the most hilarious cases in videogaming history is Residet Evil 4, where Spain (in the west of Europe) is depicted as a creepy and dark version of an eastern europe region, and its habitants speak with mexican accent (as a matter of fact a lot of people in the States think that Spain is Mexico, a total craziness sice there's an entire ocean between them and their cultures are totally different!! XD)
    By the way, this is an interesting blog, I'm going to add it to my RSS reader!

  2. Well thanks for posting the graphics the first place. What version of Street Fighter II did they come from, by the way?

  3. Does anyone else think that Balrog's face seems like it's melting?

  4. It's from Street Fighter II Turbo for the Super Nes. When you beat the game with one of the four bosses you can see this image with a text talking about world domination and things like that.

    Godaigamer: He's so near to the burning guys, so...