Artwork gallery Street Fighter Fine Art Print Collection
Street Fighter is one of the most influential game series of the last couple of decades. The release of Street Fighter II: The World Warrior™ in 1991 started the nineties fighting game boom and with over 35 million copies sold the series has remained the focal point of the genre ever since. A genre that has come back fully in the mainstream with the arrival of the brilliant Street Fighter IV™ and of online play.
What makes Street Fighter II™ and the subsequent games so special? Street Fighter, like Mario or Tetris, is pure and quintessential videogame. Impossible in any other form. It’s one-on-one fighting, accessible, showy and loud but played at the highest levels it has the depth of speed chess. Whoever sees skilled Street Fighter players in action sees a game that is not played on screen but in the minds of the players. Their goal has become giving their opponent bad choices. And much like chess the top players also have an active role in the development of the game, giving feedback on balancing and rules.
Juxtapozed with that deep gameplay is the aesthetic of the game. After 25 years this still breathes the atmosphere of teenage bedrooms and videogame arcades where the Street Fighter games and the games medium originated. This shows through in the art direction. Characters are archetypes that young men (women to a lesser extent) can easily identify with. Strong, fast, good or evil, these traits are instantly recognizable from the character designs. For every type of player there is character with a matching fighting style. The art is colorful and bold. Moves are exaggerated and flashy but never so that they obscure the gameplay. Many now recognized illustrators like Akiman, CRMK, Kinu Nishimura, Ikeno, Dai-Chan, Edayan and Shoei have worked on and lovingly evolved the Street Fighter aesthetic over a period of decades and through numerous technological changes. Together with the players they have made Street Fighter’s art iconic with characters and trademark moves that have become part of popular culture. While many would be contenders have fallen by the wayside, Street Fighter has endured.
Street Fighter games have a certain kind of videogame magic. They are examples of almost perfect (videogame) design. You could say they're videogaming’s chess.