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Given the state of the arcade industry at that point, there was little expectation that Capcom was about to experience the classic Field of Dreams scenario where it builds the game and people flock to play it. Yet it happened. Street Fighter II arrived and just exploded in popularity, as prolonged positive word of mouth from established arcade fanatics caused other game players to leave their homes and check out the revolutionary new thing in arcades. Some people wanted to master Ryu and Ken's Shotokan karate, others wanted to learn Zangief's wrestling moves, and still others were obsessed with Guile's flash kick and E. Honda's sumo 100-hand slap attack. SF2 machines were hardly vacant for long, and most of the time had people lining up to insert quarters for 15-297 seconds worth of play. So arcade owners bought more machines and even clones when they emerged - late '91's Fatal Fury, and mid-'92's Mortal Kombat, World Heroes and Art of Fighting were just a few, with SNK ironically falling back upon 3-D movement simplified from Street Smart to power Fatal Fury, and Midway resorting to digitized artwork (used in Terminator 2) and secrets (a la Smash TV) to lure crowds.

Guile vs. Ken Guile vs. Ken in Street Fighter II
Capcom was overwhelmed, as were arcade owners. SF2 became popular enough that gamers and magazines worldwide were describing it as the greatest game ever made, despite its decidedly skewed appeal towards males and teenagers, with a secondary audience of males older and younger than the 13-19 age bracket. It was not a Space Invaders nor a Pac-Man that anyone could or would play; SF2 was a game that people learned only with practice, and once mastered they continually tested their mastery against others. It captured imaginations and spawned thousands of pages of magazine coverage, as well as home game cartridges, comic books, movies, CDs, action figures and many pseudo-sequels. All told, the game brought in hundreds of millions of dollars for Capcom, and the sort of publicity, historical revisionism, imitators and detractors that only success can bring.

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Street Fighter, Dark Stalkers, Final Fight, Star Gladiator, and all related characters and likenesses are TM & © Capcom Entertainment 1997. All rights reserved. Marvel Super Heroes, X-Men, and all related characters and likenesses are TM & © 1997 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved.