It’s 1991. You head to the games arcade to meet with friends and you see the eagerly awaited Street Fighter II has been released. This game is about to change the gaming world forever, even if it started life as an add-on to the earlier release of Street Fighter in 1987.

Why? Well, this game was released to arcades and allowed the multiplayer option to start championships between teenagers across the US. and have great graphics (for the time!) and interesting characters to choose from. It was also a martial arts game, which was extremely on-trend and growing in popularity.

So, if you have never heard of Street Fighter 2 or want a bit of a nostalgia article, read here. The reasons why Street Fighter 2 was a game-changer will be looked at. Enjoy!


OK, so playing multiplayer was not something new to the world of arcade games, but due to the nature and story behind Street Fighter, this became a core part of the game’s appeal.

When playing Street Fighter 2 arcade, players had the option to choose from 6 iconic characters, such as Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, Guile, Zangief, and E. Honda. These characters’ design and backstories were so unique, that everyone who played the game wanted to use each character at least once in the arcade, to see which character suited them. The result was a multiplayer game that encouraged tournaments around it, in both local and international settings.

Strategic Gameplay

When many people think of arcade games, they picture just blindly hitting buttons with no meaning or reason behind them.

However, with Street Fighter 2, there was more to it when it came to hitting the buttons. As there was a wide range of characters in the game, each with their own signature moves, this allowed players to develop combo, counter, and, of course, to use the special moves. This led to players using skill and tactics while gaming rather than blindly hitting buttons. The end result was that more people enjoyed playing this game and were able to develop their own fighting styles.

Graphics and Sound

Yes, it was an arcade game in the early 1990s, but don’t let that throw you off!

Street Fighter 2 was extremely advanced for its time, and it was noted to have detailed character designs, backgrounds, and, of course, sound.


This meant that all of the other games that came out after it had to up their graphics cards! Even in 2024, people who played Street Fighter 2 can remember the famous tunes that this game had playing in the background, as they were that memorable. Of course, all of these factors made the game extremely immersive and enjoyable.

The Characters and Their Moves

Everyone who played Street Fighter 2 had a favorite character; this is a point that everyone knows! The characters each had their own looks, their own backstory, and, of course, their own reason for combat, making them well-rounded and interesting.


There was Kung Fu fighter Chun Li, who made kids everywhere think they could dropkick! Then you had Ryu and Ken, who were friendly competitors, and, as this game was multiplayer, player one automatically played as Ryu. Then, you have the hulk of the game, Zangief, who specialized in close-range wrestling. E. Honda was a sumo wrestler, who could throw even the largest opponents during play. As you can see, all of these characters have their own unique talents written in, allowing players to experiment with different move types, and to learn about the different combat styles.

Their special moves could be accessed by the player hitting the arrow keys in a set arrangement, which is where the strategy of this game came in.

Broad Appeal

As mentioned in the intro, in 1991, there was a lot of focus on martial arts movies, making this game a great addition to any arcade. Around the early 1990s, a whole host of films with actors Jet Li and Jackie Chan would be released, allowing people from all walks of life to witness martial arts in a clever and appealing story format. So, it would make sense that Street Fighter 2 would pull crowds into any arcade where the machines sat!

If you never played Street Fighter 2 in the arcade, there are options online for you to get an idea of how much fun it was. However, if you have the money, you can purchase the retro arcade machine for your home.