Info on the Old School SF Scene?


Still not stickied???

I posted as "" back in the day and as Jion_Wansu on SRK back in 2001


I’ve spent like 2 weeks in work reading this on the DL, even though I’ve read it all before lol…needs to be more stories on YT about this era too. But It’d like to see some more stuff from post SF2 - pre SF4 era.


I posted as "" back in the day and as Jion_Wansu on SRK back in


Let me toss in my own personal history with Street Fighter 2, and refresh this thread bit. (although my own story isn’t quite as interesting as the ones from people who lived in Cali back then)

I was already in college when SF2 hit the scene back in 1991, so I was a bit older than most players. But SF2 was being played by almost everyone, and being 20 years old put me right at the upper threshold of the Street Fighter 2 craze. I was already a video game junkie since I was a kid in the early 80’s, where I practically grew up in the arcades. I was a little kid when Space Invaders was new, and when Asteroids was new, as well as games like Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Defender, Robotron, Moon Patrol, Berzerk, Frogger, Missle Command, Tron, etc., etc… too many games to name… but I was there during all of that time period.

I remember the sights, the sounds, and even the smells of walking into all of the different arcades in Houston. There was the Gold Mine in Westwood mall, that looked like a dark mine, with red lanterns giving it the dungeon like ambiance. There were the three arcades in Memorial City Mall… Quiptars, Greens, and the arcade near the food court area, which the name escapes me right now, but it was before Exhilarama. There were the 3 or 4 Malibu Grand Prix arcades around the city. There was Good Time Charlie’s in Sharpstown Mall, where the arcade changed from Alladin’s Castle to various other names throughout the years; along with Sharpstown’s other arcade, Time-Out. There were all of the various Tilt arcades throughout Houston as well. There was Supertrack, and Games People Play, and all of the little independent mom & pop arcades. And there were all of the bowling alleys, washaterias, grocery stores, pizza parlors, and convenient stores as well.

So during all of those years in all of those arcades I had experience with games like Yie Ar Kung Fu, Shinobi, Bad Dudes, and Final Fight. But the two fighting games that stood out as being unique in some way, were Karate Champ and Street Fighter.
But why? What made those two games different from the others, or special?

It was because they were played against another human person. Each person put in their quarter, and each person had a chance to knock the other person off the machine. It was one-on-one, mano-a-mano… and that element seemed like it had a certain special quality to it. I enjoyed Karate Champ, but only to a certain degree. It felt kind of slow and sluggish, and it wasn’t very responsive control wise. It just didn’t feel like the moves came out right, and the animations didn’t precisely match up with with the controls, timing wise, or visually. The same goes for Street Fighter, it was better than Karate Champ in some ways, but not good enough to grab my full attention.

Although I have to say, I wouldn’t have been able to describe it this way back then because we didn’t have anything to make comparisons to, at least not head-to-head fighting game wise. There was no SF2 yet… so we didn’t know about any of the technical fighting game mechanics, nor the terms that would later become common in the fighting game genre.

I mean, I played and mastered games that required a great deal of manual dexterity and quick reflexes. My main game was “Stargate”, which was the sequel to “Defender”. And anyone who knows anything about Stargate will tell you… that game was one of the most extremely fast and chaotic games ever made. It required the use of both hands to control an up and down stick, along with six different buttons, with almost all of them being used simultaneously and in perfect coordination with each other. So I was used to video games that had instant reaction times, precise controls, and real time action.

And when it came to Karate Champ and Street Fighter… I just knew that they didn’t feel 100% right. They didn’t have the ingredients that they needed to take them to the next level. So what was that missing ingredient, or that next level, and what did that mean? At the time, I don’t think anyone was thinking about what would make fighting games better, or even wondering about those kinds of questions.

But in 1991 we got the answer… It was Street Fighter 2.

As I said, I was around 20 years old, and I was fumbling around in college at the time. I wasn’t spending much time in the arcades anymore, so I was a bit out of the loop with what was current in the arcades. One day, and I still remember this very well, my younger brother came to me and asked, “Hey, have you played the new Street Fighter 2 game?” I said, “No, what is it?” I didn’t really make any kind of correlation to the original SF game at that time. My brother told me that it was a sequel to the old fighting game, and that it’s really cool… and then he added the one detail that immediately grabbed my attention, which subsequently took control of a major part of my life from that point on. He said that it’s so good… that people are playing it like crazy everywhere and competing with each other like mad. He told me that the Boone Food Store had 2 machines and all of his Vietnamese friends are there everyday now. So the game had already been out for a while, it had taken over the arcade industry, and I hadn’t even known about it. Well I had to go and check it out.

We immediately drove to the convenient store, which was only 5 minutes away. I walked into the store and saw a crowd of at least 8-10 guys around some machines. The two SF2 cabs were next to each other, sandwiched in between some other games, which no one was even paying attention to anymore. I remember looking at the screen and seeing the guy with the blond flat top haircut, wearing camouflage pants. And I noticed he was throwing out small, circular disk-like projectiles, and saying sonic boom… which I thought looked very cool. And I noticed another character who was wearing the torn up karate Gi, and I vaguely recalled that he was the Ryu character from the original Street Fighter.

What immediately struck me from my first glimpses of the game was the movement and the graphics. There was something very, very different about this fighting game. It was flowing, and moving, all in real time, seemingly without any delay or sluggishness. The moves came out smoothly and quickly, and the animations were clear, especially the hitting and contact animations. I could see everything happening in a way that made both physical and visual sense… instantaneously.

But what solidified this moment and my reaction to the game… was when I first put my hands on the joystick and buttons and played it. I selected Ryu, because he was the only character I knew anything about, particularly move wise. The Vietnamese guy playing Guile had already beaten a few people and everyone had obviously been playing this game during all of these months that I didn’t even know about its existence. So I was way behind already, and I was gonna have to take some beatings just to even catch up. But even though my memory is very vague about the actual match, what I do remember is this:

Ryu moved exactly in time with my joystick movements, and his moves came out exactly when I hit the buttons. It was an amazing feeling to me. I couldn’t get over how precise and how intuitive the games controls and graphics were. I don’t remember if I threw any fireballs or not, and I know for sure that I didn’t know how to dragon punch (or all-u-can) at that time. I lost the match, and I played a few more times. I watched everyone playing and I tried to soak in what was happening in my brain. I didn’t realize it at that moment, but some kind of trigger had been set off inside of me, and it couldn’t be turned off… and it wasn’t going to go away.

It was such a unique experience in video gaming history. Watching guys faces as they waited, watching everyone studying the game, watching guys lose and have to dig in their pockets for more money, watching guys win and sensing their feelings of confidence and dominance. And looking around and just knowing that almost all of the guys there were experiencing the same thrills and emotions.

It was video games king of the mountain, it was egos and pride, it was pure competition… and it was mano-a-mano (him against me). For the first time in video gaming history we had a fighting game that pitted 2 players against each other, that gave us different characters with different attributes to work with, that gave us an engine with accurate precision and graphics, and a game where we had to mix all of those elements with both manual dexterity and deep knowledge of the game.

And for those of us that had a special need to explore that competitive nature… SF2 just struck a specific nerve and it resonated deep within us… this was the beginning of my obsession with the game… and the moment that I became a SF junkie for life.

To be continued…




comeon lets hear more there isnt enough info out about the old school days when arcades were huge i was born in 91 so i didnt get starte dn arcades till late 90s and it was dead in missisisppi by that time tekken 5 and sc 2 were last big fighting games n arcades then it died n 2007


everyone vote “Marvelous” on the very 1st post so that it appears in the “Best Of” section in SRK!!!


Now it’s “stickied” :slight_smile:


It was nostalgic reading some of these posts…even though I was only about 8 or 9 when sf2 came out, I remember playing at arcades when I would tag along with my older brother and his buddies down here in Australia. Nearly every petrol station had a machine of either SF2 or MK not to mention so many arcades as well. This thread sorta brought back the old feeling of how the scene was.


Oops, I completely forgot about my post, and that I needed to continue on with it. Well, that pretty much sums up my life these days. Family, work, and bills… and barely any time for anything else.

Anyhow, so back to my story.

Street Fighter 2… man, what an incredible time, 1991 - 1992. I was 21 years old, in college, with only a part time job, and lots of free time.

I remember playing at lots of convenient stores, where I thought the competition was fairly decent, considering my lack of knowledge and experience at that time. Although they were kind of hit or miss, in terms of consistent competition.

I went to a few arcades on my side of town, Sharpstown Mall, Westwood Mall, and Memorial City. But I didn’t frequent those arcades as often as I should have, in hindsight.

Simply put, I just didn’t know that there were more serious players out there, and I didn’t know how serious the competition was. More importantly… I didn’t know where the REAL SF2 hot spots were. I mean, I was really getting hooked on the game, and I was literally trying to play it at least a few times every day. But for some reason, I just didn’t catch the right wave, or hook up with the right person, in order to guide me into that realm.

Perhaps it’s because I was in college and maybe trying to focus on that too. I can’t remember exactly why, or what was going on in my head at back then. But nevertheless, I did love the game, and I was trying to soak up as much as I could wherever I was playing. I remember seeing a guy at a convenient store playing by himself, and it was the 1st time I saw someone do crouching fierce, into shoryuken. I was amazed, and I asked him how he did it. After he left, I stayed and played for a few hours practicing combo into shoryukens.

There were moments like that with SF2, when some new revelation or some new technique or tactic was discovered, and it opened up new possibilities and created new excitement.

I don’t know why, but the few times that I can remember getting beat down, didn’t have the effect on my ego or my pride that it would later on. When I got beat during the SF2 days, it was only a slight frustration or disappointment. I mean, I didn’t like losing, but I didn’t have the urge to keep putting up more quarters and keep on fighting the same guy, over and over… my true competitive nature had not been awoken for SF… yet.

Had I known about the competition at SuperTrack arcade, or at the University of Houston arcade… or had I met players like Jumpsuit Jesse back then… I have no doubt that I would have joined the ranks of the true hardcore SF players in Houston at that time, and my history would be very different than it is today. It is one of my deepest regrets in life that I didn’t venture out a little further during my SF2 days. I missed out on so much of the truly greatest period in the history of SF. The period from SF2, to SF2 CE, to SF2 HF is probably the golden era of Street Fighter. The craze was at it’s highest, and there were machines and players all over the place. And the game was in it’s purest, most fundamental form back then.

Getting back to my story. Like I said, I loved the game, and I played it a lot. I just didn’t play it seriously enough, and I didn’t play it at the most serious places. So I kind of progressed along, slowly. I was a mediocre player. I could go 50/50 against most of the comp at the places I played. And every once in a while I’d run into a much better player and lose badly, but I wouldn’t sweat it, and I wouldn’t keep on fighting. Shame on me, what a scrub I was. My future self wouldn’t quit even if I lost 50 times in a row to someone. (And there were some times like that in my later SF years)

I remember being in San Antonio at the Riverwalk when I first saw SF2 Champion Edition. I hadn’t been playing all that much and I didn’t even know CE was coming out, so it was a surprise to me. Of course the major new things were the bosses being playable and the ability to mirror match, both concepts were very exciting. I played a few games. I remember a young kid picked Vega and he didn’t really do much with him, so I beat him with Ryu. Then another kid picked Bison and he kept torpedoing me (psycho cruscher), and I couldn’t believe how effective it was. It seemed so cheap.

Speaking of “Cheap”, I must talk about that term and that aspect of SF for a bit. Back in SF2, in Houston, tick throws were considered “cheap”, and it was almost a golden rule that they were, if not forbidden, at least severely frowned upon. They could lead to fights. Very, very few players accepted tick throws as part of the game. Perhaps only the few enlightened ones… who knew the game on a deeper level.
And it was that way for almost all of the golden era of SF. Heck, even when I was hardcore into SFA2, playing at the U of H in 1996… tick throws were still off limits and frowned on.

In 1997 and 1998 some of us hardcore players were kind of accepting tick throws as part of the game. But it wasn’t until around 1998 when our SF crew from Houston went to Apoc’s Las Vegas Tournament, and we saw TRUE tournament caliber play from all of the East and West coast players, that we fully embraced the “tick throw” as a major function of SF games.

Anyhow, back to CE. So that Bison psycho crusher spamming seemed so cheap and abusive. I don’t remember much about my playing during the CE days. I was still just a casual player, although I did have an underlying SF junkie mentality, it just wasn’t surfacing yet.

Of course I remember all of the bootleg Rainbow and Thunder Editions. I played them for fun and out of curiosity, but they were pretty weak in terms of game play. It seems like they were only around for a short time.

When SF2 HF came out I liked it a lot. It was faster, there were some new moves and new characteristics, and it was still very fun and competitive. Again though, I was still only a casual player, playing only on my own side of town. Plus, this was around 1993. I was 23 years old, still messing around around in college, hanging out with friends, and hardcore into the Houston Rockets… who were right on the verge of putting together their Championship squads, built around the greatness of Hakeem Olajuwan. My cousin and I had season tickets during the 1993- 1995 period. So my mind was also preoccupied with other things during that time.

But for whatever reason… when Super Street Fighter 2 came out… I jumped back into SF a bit more hardcore. The game was slower, the graphics and sounds were a bit different, and there were 4 new characters… 2 of which became some of my favorites… Deejay and Fei Long.

To be continued:


string on coin trick FTW…


haha i remember doing the spinning coin trick all the time for 2x or even 3x credits(depending how fast you spun it)…not with string though…that’s next level cheap lol.


Just wanted to pay my final respects to the most legendary old school thread of all time since they’s shutt’n down SRK.

Thank you to everyone who had a post in here or even read the first page or the whole thing. A small page in history, but it was ours.


Man, hearing about old school arcade stories is the best. There’s something about that era that we’ll never be able to replicate sadly.


I have been reading this thread little by little since it was brought back in 2017. Thank you to all who posted their stories, amazing stuff guys. I will be sure to finish the entire thread before the end of the month…


I decided I’d post an arcade story. Its not SF specific, but this is Fighting Game Discussion. Its not even that good, but I’m aggravated I can’t lurk anymore or search for info on the old arcade games here.

It was somewhere between 95 and 99. Arcade was Aladdin’s Castle at my local mall. I didn’t know anything about fighting games beyond the home copies of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. There were a few kids lined up at a versus arcade machine. I couldn’t even tell you which one as I was quite young only being born in the late 80s. I simply don’t remember.
They looked to be having a lot of fun, so I wanted to join the older kids. They said I could play as long as I had quarters or if I put a quarter up–something like that. I proceeded to play twice and get completely annihilated. I didn’t even know for sure how to do fireballs as my uncles taught me it was hold back then do forward on the home version of Street Fighter. I moved on to playing games that only cost 1 quarter instead of 2 or 3 like the fighting games always seemed to.

Just a sad fighting game memory like these forums are going to be soon.


LOOOL, even my OGSF account got unbanned!!!


god i wish mike watson would come out and tell his story like jeff schaeffer did or alex valle but mike came first so his story would be more authentic when sf was at its height


Okay, the SRK forums are back up, so now I’ll continue with my story.

It’s 1993, I’ve been casually playing SF2 - HF in the arcades, and on the SNES. (I always hated playing on pads) As I said before, I never really knew that there were some really good SF hot spots for competition in those days. Supertrack and the U of H probably being the most notable places. Had I known… there’s no doubt I would been a hardcore player. I was 23 yrs old, I was in college, I had a car, and I had plenty of freedom.
But that didn’t happen. Unfortunately, it took a few more years for me to discover the right circles, and end up in the “hardcore zone”.

In 1993 Super Street Fighter 2 hits the arcades. I got a job working at the Time - Out arcade in Sharpstown mall. Let me explain why.

For a couple of years I had been contemplating the idea of opening my own arcade. I loved arcades and video games, and when SF2 came out I started to get into the idea of having an arcade that specialized in SF games. I didn’t really know anything about tournaments and such, I was mainly just thinking about having a really good arcade for high quality SF play. And by high quality, I simply imagined lots of machines, and working joysticks and buttons. (because as most of us remember, joysticks and buttons were notoriously poorly maintained)

So because of my interest in opening an arcade, I figured well… I ought to start by working in an arcade in order to learn exactly what working and running an arcade is really all about. I had no knowledge in business matters, or in arcade electronics or technology. So I figured I’d go ahead and take a cheap $5.25 per hour job at Time-Out, and try to use it as an education.
And I did learn quite a bit in my short time working there.

While I was working at Time-Out, Super Street Fighter 2 was out, and I got pretty serious into it. Far more serious than I ever got with all of the previous SF2 games. I was playing it practically every day, at least 2 - 4 hours. The game was noticeably slower, the graphics were slightly changed, and the sounds were different. And there were the 4 new challengers of course, of which DeeJay and Fei Long were my favorites… especially Fei Long because of his Bruce Lee connection.

I still didn’t know about the hardcore SF places in Houston, so I was pretty much just playing in my own small area of town, primarily at my arcade. I was one of the top 5 players there, and I was pretty content with myself for a while.

Meanwhile, the arcade had another game that grabbing most of the attention away from SF… Mortal Kombat II. I never liked the MK game play, so the game didn’t interest me at all, although I did think the fatalities were pretty cool. The important thing to note here is that MK was competition for SF’s popularity, and SSF2 was the 1st SF game to start losing the interest of the players. It was the beginning of the downslide for SF in the 1990’s, and the beginning of SF becoming more of an underground scene, for many years.

But back to SSF2. The top guys at Time-Out all thought we were pretty damn good, and we had plenty of heated battles with each other. But I’ll never forget this one particular day when this random Asian guy came in and started playing with Guile. He was straight up beating everyone down. He wasn’t doing anything fancy, or using any new or unknown tactics either. He was just more methodical, more precise, and more experienced. At the time, I couldn’t really understand how he was beating us so easily. He ended up just quitting after going on like a 40 or 50 game win streak, mostly against the 4 or 5 of us, plus a few other random people. That day stayed with me for a long time. The more I thought about it, the more I was forced to realize that he was just far more advanced than us at SF. That was important, because it showed me just how low on the totem pole I really was, in terms of SF skills. And it was a clear indication that there must have been a lot more better players out there… and many other places where these better players were playing.

To be continued…


Sticky this indefinitely