Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection: Rekindling the Old School Flame

I will start this video by clarifying that I am well aware of how the mainstream works in video games. I know SFV is perfect for mainstream purposes, so this is not about bashing the new games, but about helping people find the value in the old ones.

Back in 2017, things looked pretty grim for the old school scene. The release of USF2 was a Switch exclusive and this meant that most of the fighting game community wasn’t even playing it. It seemed like old school players would have to settle for a small group of people who share the love for those titles because the money and the attention had inevitably moved to new games with different agendas.

2018 is going to be a huge year for old school Street Fighter. In my opinion, there are two specific outcomes we can expect from the Online Release of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Street Fighter 3. This will either be the final nail on the coffin for old school fighting games in the mainstream, or it will give the new players a chance to experience the feeling of accomplishment that comes from learning the exquisite execution complexity of a game like Super Turbo.

There is always a purpose to what I add to the videos. This is not a video to bash SFV, with that said, before we explore the golden opportunity for the old school with the 2018 release of Capcom 30th Anniversary, let’s look into the fighting game community now. There are undeniable issues with SFV that the hardcore fans try to ignore, but they are too evident to sweep them under the rug.

I remember a comment in one of my videos. A guy was saying how he always felt frustrated with old Street Fighter games because it required way too much practice for him to be competitive. He mentioned that SFV gave him the opportunity to feel competitive without so much time being invested in training. Is this guy a bad guy for feeling this way? No. Is this guy having fun playing SFV, YES. But this doesn’t mean that there is no room for those who like to challenge themselves as much as possible. There are plenty of people who want to test their execution skills to the max and they get more joy out of mastering difficult things.

Think of Bruce Lee and his insane dedication to martial arts. He would practice the most effective moves with religious intent. Bruce knew that practicing one kick a thousand times, was always going to create a stronger fighter than practicing dozens of kicks without consistency and discipline.

Imagine a scenario with someone who trains kicks and punches for a couple of months and he challenges Bruce Lee to a fight. They start fighting, and this guy is able to keep up with Bruce and give him a hell of a fight. How do you think Bruce Lee would have felt if he knew this guy had only been training for a few months and he was almost able to beat him?

It would make no sense. Fortunately, we are still unable to do this in real life but video games allow this to happen, and no fighting game has ever made this possible at the level that SFV has done it. Perhaps the one reason why it’s so hard for seasoned pro players to accept this is because it feels like they have been cheated out of their right to dominate.

I have also mentioned that money changes everything. Every time money is on the line, people will go out of their way to make the process of being the best as easy as possible. People will lie, they will cheat and they will step on heads if they have to. That is the real world and the way the real world works. Honor means nothing and cheating is perfectly fine as long as you don’t get caught.

The world of bodybuilding is a perfect example. A guy spends a decade building his body with weights and proper dietary habits, only to be completely demolished in gains by someone who uses steroids for one year. This is unfair to those who work in a legitimate way to be better than the rest, but hey, who said life was fair.

The truth is that the community is what it is now and money has made it this way. You can’t blame programmers for catering to casual gamers and empowering them with gaming steroids. They want more people to jump in so they can earn more out of their development efforts. Who could blame them? It’s that simple.

SF anniversary is an opportunity for old school gamers to shine again, but most importantly, it’s an opportunity to give new generations of players a chance to understand the value of putting in the hard work. It’s hard to describe the feeling of doing a very complex and nearly impossible combo that is frame perfect to win a match, and on top of that, doing it after reaction to a move that was about to kill you. It’s a very powerful sense of accomplishment.

Daigo’s famous parry against Justin Wong used to mean something, but now everyone gets to have their amazing comeback moment. It  happens so often that comeback videos for SFV are some of the most popular uploads at ANY level in the game. From Bronze to Master, the comeback factor has lost its value. The feeling of quick reaction and strategic thinking on the go has been swapped with the feeling of clairvoyance.

So, is this a video that was made to bash SFV? No, by no means, but it’s important for the new generation of Street Fighter players to understand why old school SF is so rewarding.

Every time a SFV player gets angry and heated, I ask them the same question. Did you have anything to do with the development or creation of SFV? If not, why are you so worked up about someone finding flaws in the game? Why does it make you so angry that people play the game even if they find it to be unfair and random? In my case, I play SFV because of how different it is from what I’ve always played. A very positive note about SFV is that it has taught me the value of patience, but I just don’t like how they force you to be patient in so many scenarios. The game does help you take some things back to the old school games and apply them effectively.

I also credit SFV helping me further develop my emotional intelligence. No other game will make you feel as frustrated and helpless as SFV. It forces you to learn to keep a cool head even when things seem and feel unfair. If anything, SFV is a LOT more like real life in the sense that nothing is fair in real life. In real life, the guy who knows the president of a company is more likely to get the management job even if he is not as skilled as other applicants. Just like in SFV, anyone who learns to abuse the 50/50 game can give top players a run for their money.

This is not just me saying that. There is a huge number of pro players that don’t fail to remind developers of their mistakes, but that is the real problem. The new style is not a mistake. The coin toss is part of the process of bringing the game to the mainstream and it has definitely worked. SF has never been as profitable as it is now. You have people buying energy drink cans to plaster logos on their favorite SF characters. It doesn’t get any more mainstream than that. I joked about this on a recent video, but I now can see how this joke could become a reality at some point.

Ok, so, if SFV is the way it is because it caters to the mainstream and it helps developers make money, why am I even bothering trying to justify old games like Super Turbo? Well, it simple, I just want to help new generations of gamers see the value of competition to test your skills, not to earn money from it.

The old days had a completely different approach to fighting games. No one walked into an arcade thinking about the money they would earn for being good players. They walked in with the purpose of being the GOAT. Being the greatest of all time and having the bragging rights to something is a very nice feeling.

Competition is the ultimate time killer, but the community traded bragging rights for paychecks. Now again, there is nothing wrong with making money, but I see the 30th Anniversary collection as the perfect way to bring some new blood into the old school games. There is room for execution heavy and reaction heavy games in the modern world. Perhaps they will never be in the mainstream spotlight due to their steep learning curve, but they could at least get enough exposure to help gamers see the value in competing for the purpose of testing your ability to be as good as you can be in an environment that encourages quick reactions and flawless execution.

We are always going to need money to survive, but there is no need for money to be the main reason for everything we do. Sure, most people would say they play SFV for fun, not for profit, but the game was made this way for profit, not for competitive gratification.

So, what’s the point of this video. It’s simple, it’s to make people feel excited and hyped about games like Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo that bring out their ability to react during pressure and still execute moves and combos with unforgiving accuracy.

We could go into a huge argument about all fighting games having guessing in them and this would be a waste of time. Of course all fighting games have some guessing elements on them, but most old school games allow you to stop the guessing game significantly, while new games like SFV put you in that position all the time.

The message is quite clear. 90% of people who play fighting games are playing to see how good they can be and how well their fair against others. If that is your reason to play fighting games, you will find the old school much more rewarding than SFV without a doubt. So, I invite all players who started out with SF4 and SFV, to pick up the games that were made for that purpose.

You are either Ryu, the warrior looking to test himself at all times, or you are Balrog, the slugger looking for that fight money regardless of what he has to do to win. It’s funny to see that Ryu has been nerfed to oblivion in SFV, perhaps it’s Capcoms way of saying that there is no room in SFV for the kind of fighting style Ryu has to offer?

In conclusion

Have fun, play what you want, do what you want, but if you seek to test your emotions, your reactions and your motor skills, you will love the old school games that will soon be available online on major platforms and PC.

To wrap this video up, I would like to thank Capcom on behalf of every single person out there who sees the value of the complexity behind the best fighting games ever made.

You have made a wise decision and hopefully a new generation of players will have the opportunity to appreciate its value.