Article - 'Street Fighter II': Most Racist Nostalgic Video Game Ever?'


#1

Thought it was a dumb article but you guys might be interested:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/03/16/290119728/street-fighter-ii-most-racist-nostalgic-video-game-ever

‘Street Fighter II’: Most Racist Nostalgic Video Game Ever?
by GENE DEMBY
March 16, 2014 7:00 AM
Dhalsim, right, a skinny Indian fighter who wore shrunken skulls around his neck, could stretch his limbs really far to punch or kick. His fighting style was based on yoga, you see. Chun-Li, the game’s lone female character, nearly came with a shorter health meter because one game developer felt a woman character should be weaker than the men.i
Dhalsim, right, a skinny Indian fighter who wore shrunken skulls around his neck, could stretch his limbs really far to punch or kick. His fighting style was based on yoga, you see. Chun-Li, the game’s lone female character, nearly came with a shorter health meter because one game developer felt a woman character should be weaker than the men.

Street Fighter II
The video game magazine Polygon recently published a fascinating oral history of the creation of Street Fighter II, the glitchy, addictive, incredibly influential arcade game from the 1990s created by Capcom. The story rounded up all of the game’s developers and artists and programmers — a group of eccentrics from America and Japan who sound like they were a bunch of HR nightmares. But despite all this, the game became a monster hit:

"According to worldwide Capcom investor relations data, the original Super NES Street Fighter 2 sold 6.3 million copies, the Super NES Street Fighter 2 Turbo sold 4.1 million and the Genesis Street Fighter 2: Special Champion Edition sold 1.65 million. The original Super Nintendo port remains Capcom’s second best selling game to date."
The piece says the game even spawned a cologne. A cologne (The 1990s, ladies and gentlemen).

Street Fighter II — once the fighting game for anyone who played video games — was a touchstone for Gen-Xers and folks on the earlier end of the Millennial cohort. It spawned all sorts of sequels, quasi-sequels, and imitations, like the bloodier, even-schlockier Mortal Kombat series and the more technically ambitious Tekken games. And it introduced a flotilla of nonsense words into our cultural lexicon. Hadouken! Tiger Uppercut!

The grocery store across the street from my middle school had a Street Fighter console, and all the other boys and I would play it before the school day began. So, yeah. I rarely had money left over for lunch, but I was nice with Ryu, so it was basically a wash.

Polygon’s piece got us talking about the Street Fighter characters that we preferred to play with (As I said before, I was a Ryu guy).

There was E. Honda, the Japanese sumo wrestler. His fighting stage was a bathhouse.

Dhalsim, a skinny Indian fighter with shrunken skulls around his neck, could stretch his limbs really far to punch or kick, because his fighting style was based on yoga. You fought with Dhalsim in a temple as elephants watched. He was fond of shouting “Yoga flame!” as he spat a fireball.

Zangief, a musclebound Russian, had scars from fighting bears.

Blanka, who was from the Brazilian rainforest, was a beast-man who growled and grunted.

Guile, the blonde-haired, camo-clad American soldier, fought on a military base in front of fighter jets.

Vega, a ponytailed Spanish fighter, was so vain he wore a mask to cover his face.

We were coming to this realization two decades too late: Street Fighter II was racist as hell.

Amazingly, this all could have been even more ridiculous. Here’s the game designer Yoshiki Okamoto on Chun-Li, the game’s lone female character and a fan favorite:

"You know how each character has a life bar? At one point, I wanted to make the power gauge for Chun-Li shorter than for the other characters because women are not as strong. But [another designer] didn’t want to do that. We both had legitimate reasons, but then we came to an agreement to not make it shorter."
It’s not hard to imagine the alternate universe in which that particular game mechanic launched a million women’s studies essays and blog posts.

But, alas, Street Fighter II was hardly alone. The landscape of popular games from the late 1980s and early 1990s was littered with crazy ethnic caricatures. In Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!!, a classic from the early Nintendo days, your fighter, Little Mac, took on a constellation of opponents from around the world — note the theme — whose defining traits were somehow always linked to their putative ethnicity.

There was Piston Honda — again with the Japanese characters named Honda! — who was a stoic boxer from Tokyo. Don Flamenco was yet another vain, effeminate Spaniard. There was Great Tiger, who was from India and wore a turban on his head with a jewel that glowed when he was about to uncork his special move. King Hippo was vaguely Polynesian, obese, and threw fruit into the air when you defeated him. And Von Kaiser, a militant boxer from Germany, had a signature line: “Surrender! Or I will conquer you!”

All of your boxing matches were refereed by Nintendo’s mascot, Mario, himself the world’s most beloved Italian stereotype.

Here’s where we need your help. Is there another immensely popular game that somehow surpasses Street Fighter II in racist-ness? Are you a Zelda anti-fan who argues that level three of the series’ first game is really a swastika? Here’s your chance to air your grievance.

And please, if you’ve read this far:


#2

blanka was originally designed as a black man, so theres that… :coffee:


#3

I’m more insulted that 3S promotes interracial marriages as the russian Necro has both dhalsim’s limbs and blankas electricity. Or that French and American couples exist as evidenced by Remy.

I’m joking I’m a strong believer of forced political correctness at all times, so I’m happy Capcom has finally realized how important racial tolerance is in 2014 where characters like Dhalsim and Chun are completely diff…never mind.


#4

so their just gonna ignore the fact chun li has thighs bigger than all of kfc?

lol@ mentioning punch out and not mentioning balrog


#5

“hay guiz, this is a shitty article, so lets all give it hits”


#6

This is why I hate it when people throw unmarked polygon links in the videogames thread, fuck giving these social justice media hacks any hits.


#7

The oral history is actually pretty interesting. I Didn’t know Gief was originally named Vodka.


#8

So chun li escaped gender equality of having lower health back in SF2. Thank god! Think about all the social riots that would’ve occurred.
skip to sf4
Almost of all female characters have lesser stun and health. No one bats an eye. Great point there, article!


#9

This is a terrible article, I should have guessed that by the sensational title, doh.


#10

didnt click the link, just read what was posted in the op

lets first say this, what was listed are stereotypes, with a little bit of sexism, not racism. people always say things are racist, or people are racist, and by definition what theyre describing, or who theyre describing is/are not.

sf2 like many games are just making light of many racial stereotypes. chun li having less health because she is a woman is stupid, unless they were going to balance that out with making her broken. lol. could developers in the past, and even currently try to culturally expend themselves more then they do, by all means. its a little ridiculous to see something like that sf4 balrog alt with all the bling and shit early into the second decade of the 21st century, but im not too mad considering i can find someone in hip hop that would make you go, “oh, i see where they got that idea from”. lol. go to the early 2000s when every rapper had fools of all levels of income wearing big fake ass chains just to keep up with the current bling movement going on in hip hop. so while some stereotypes can be true to an extent, sometimes obviously exaggerated, most game stereotypes are always dated as shit, even the ones in the early 90s.

**all of sf2 cast put together arent even as offensive as fucking mr popo from dragon ball z. lol. at least in the american dub version, hes somewhat of a simpleton in fucking black face. **


#11

I’ve seen enough thick lower extremities on chinese women in 2.5 years to know that Capcom was on to something.


#12

I think Julia Chang is the only female other than poison with health reaching or nearly scraping 1000(Poison being the only female to have 1000 hp) in a capcom fighter


#13

Racism is part of the reason i loved this game growing up. I just assumed it was the same for everybody else, lol. Seriously though, I think making light of the obviously silly stereotypes is more what I would call what capcom did not blatant racism. Stretchy are would seem to be more of a play on the practice of Yoga ( which obviously not being a person is free of race ) than it is saying indian people are stretchy or whatever.
About female character’s having low health bars…did everybody forget about the futa fighter that was doing mma a year or two ago? It seems strange the trap-loving srk community would forget about such a thing.

Spoiler

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG9XR_lnurg

Spoiler

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcAuI_U4icY

And about the Blanka man-beast blah blah. Before yall niggas start the down with the man/fuck capsom stuff, don’t forget about the fowl shit that people have done in real life that had ACTUAL repercussions in the real world.


Know your history guys.


#14

The only thing racist is in the intro

That guy should have been the 5th character!


#15

Cody KTFO pre-label DeeJee


#16

Makoto had 1k in AE

Then the Capcops discovered she wasn’t filing her vag tax forms and took it back


#17

fixed!

…I thought this was funny till I saw the observers in the background :confused: im guessing the black guy got the girl in pink pregnant :rofl:


#18

LOL DJ knocked up Jessica??? that’s why Cody is mad… bro.


#19

Punchout is much worse in the racial department.

Street Fighter is all over the place. Isn’t Ken technically more Japanese than Ryu?


#20

I didn’t read too lazy, but - there is a difference between racism and stereotyping. SF series isn’t racist, it just paints super wide paint strokes for stereotypes, something that was somewhat common when it originated, all men could bench press 400 pounds back then, all women were ‘quick’ and wore revealing outfits to fight in, etc.

If it was racist, they would have called Balrog/M Bison - the n word, or made him sucktastic against all white people.

Ken was the american dream.
Balrog was designed after one of the best known boxers in the world at the time.
Honda was the perfect representation of sumowrestling, and maintained a happy ‘mood’ through out the series.
Even Gief who came from cold war Russia was still looked upon in a good light.

There was no racism, just stereotypes.

  • :bluu: