Sunday, 24 March 2013

Can't we all just get along?... NO... HADOUKEN!!! 

Let me just start by saying I'm shocked! Not one of the Nerd Invaders decided to draw Ryu, Ken, or M. Bison. I thought the announcement of a Street Fighter week would lead to an all out battle to the death between our artists to draw these characters but instead everyone calmly chose their characters and went about there sketches (which are great - scroll down the blog to see them). So this weeks theme is Street Fighter: the world famous video game franchise set in the "Beat Em Up" genre. I could literally write forever on this subject so I'm just going to focus on its beginnings and the most famous version - Street Fighter II.

Humble Beginnings.
Street Fighter - 1987
Street Fighter made its debut at the arcades in 1987, designed by Takashi Nishiyama and Hiroshi Matsumoto. The player took control of a lone martial artist named Ryu, who competes in a worldwide martial arts tournament spanning five different countries (United States, Japan, China, England, and Thailand) and ten opponents, two per country.

Street Fighter 2010
Street Fighter 2010 - The Final Fight - 1989
After the release of the original Street Fighter, Capcom produced an NES game known as Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight. This futuristic action game bore no real connection to the original Street Fighter or it's canon, although the English localisation of the game changed the main character's identity from Kevin to Ken, implying that he is the same Ken from the original Street Fighter. The side-scrolling beat 'em up Final Fight was originally promoted with the working title Street Fighter '89. While the game's title was changed due to its drastically different game play, Final Fight, unlike Street Fighter 2010, does take place in the same universe as later Street Fighter games.

Following on from the release of Final Fight, the decision was made to make a direct sequel to Street Fighter which would incorporate the game play changes from Final Fight and once again feature Ryu as the main character. This game would go down in legend and forever change the beat 'em up genre. Street Fighter II was born. Notably, even when Street Fighter II was released, Capcom had no idea what sort of phenomenon it was about to create. It believed that the game would do somewhat (but an unknown quantity) better than its CPS-based contemporary games, Final Fight and Mercs.

The Game That Changed The World.

Street Fighter II Japanese flyer
Street Fighter II - Original Promo Poster
Street Fighter II was the first one-on-one fighting game to give players a choice from a variety of player characters, an option which created previously unknown levels of depth and replay value for an arcade game. Each player character had a fighting style with roughly 30 or more moves, including previously non-existent grappling moves such as throws, as well as two or three special hidden attacks per character. In the game's single-player mode, the player's chosen character is pitted against the seven other main characters before confronting the final four opponents, who were CPU-controlled characters that were not selectable by the player. Like in the original, a second player could join in and compete against the other player in competitive matches, with the multiple available characters allowing for more varied matches.
Street Fighter II proved to be popular due to all these factors, eclipsing its predecessor in popularity, eventually turning Street Fighter into a multimedia franchise. Numerous home ports of Street Fighter II followed the original arcade game (Arcade, SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis, PC Engine, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, 3DO, Sega Master System, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Mobile phone, Xbox Live Arcade). In fact, demand for the game was so high that pirates created an unsanctioned, copyright-infringing Famicom/NES version, which saw a very limited release in Asian markets. Computer versions were released for 16-bit PCs, first by a number of copyright-infringing fans who strove to develop a PC version of the game, and later by Capcom, working with an external programming house.

Street Fighter II comparison
A selection of format screens Arcade, Snes & Sega Magadrive
Street Fighter II follows several of the conventions and rules already established by its original 1987 predecessor. The player engages opponents in one-on-one close quarter combat in a series of best two-out-of-three matches. The objective of each round is to deplete the opponent's vitality before the timer runs out. If both opponents knock each other out at the same time or the timer runs out with both fighters having an equal amount of vitality left, a "double KO" or "draw game" is declared and additional rounds will be played until sudden death. In the first Street Fighter II, a match could last up to ten rounds if there was no clear winner; this was reduced to four rounds in Champion Edition and onward. If there is no clear winner by the end of the final round, then either the computer-controlled opponent will win by default in a single-player match or both fighters will lose in a 2-player match.

After every third match in the single player mode, the player will participate in a "bonus game" for additional points. The bonus games includes (in order) a car-breaking event; a barrel breaking bonus game where the barrels are dropped off from a conveyor belt above the player; and a drum-breaking bonus game where drums are flammable and piled over each other. The bonus games were removed from the arcade version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo.
Like in the original, the game's controls uses a configuration of an eight-directional joystick and six attack buttons. The player uses the joystick to jump, crouch and move the character towards or away from the opponent, as well as to guard the character from an opponent's attacks. There are three punch buttons and three kick buttons of differing strength and speed (Light, Medium and Heavy). The player can perform a variety of basic moves in any position, including grabbing/throwing attacks, which were not featured in the original Street Fighter. Like in the original, the player can perform special moves by inputting a combination of directional and button-based commands.
The original Street Fighter II character select screen

Street Fighter II differs from the original due to the selection of multiple playable characters, each with their distinct fighting styles and special moves. Additionally, the player can also "cancel" during animation by performing another move, allowing for a combination of several basic and special moves. Both of these features would be expanded upon in subsequent installments.

From here the franchise grew to become a multimedia sensation spawning multiple sequel, spin off & crossover games (my favorite being Marvel Vs. Capcom III) in numerous formats; comic books, an animated series, a series of animated films and of course the much hated 1994 live action film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme  (the less said the better). So now lets move on to the characters our Nerd invaders decided to focus on for their sketches this week.

AKUMA - Chris Duffy's Monday Sketch.

Akuma breathe 

"I am the master of the fist!"

Akuma (悪魔 or アクマ, "Demon, Devil"), known in Japan as Gouki (豪鬼, Gōki, "Great Devil", "Great Demon" or "Great Ogre"), is a popular fighter as well as a popular villain in the Street Fighter series and UDON comics. He is known as "The Supreme Master of the Fist." Originally appearing in Super Street Fighter II Turbo as a secret character and hidden boss, he is Gouken's younger brother and Ryu's adoptive uncle. Akuma is voiced by Tomomichi Nishimura in all of Capcom's 2D Games; in Street Fighter IV, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken he is voiced by Taketora.

Akuma by Chris Duffy
Akuma is a cold and extremely powerful warrior whose sole purpose of existence is to hone his fighting skills by battling and destroying strong foes. He rarely displays any signs of emotion, aside from occasional bursts of anger, and almost never smiles. He takes his training very seriously, and deals brutally with those who dare interrupt him, as seen in his Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike ending. Occasionally, he likes to test himself against worthy rivals (e.g. Gen, Oro). In combat, Akuma almost never resorts to his true strength since he has yet to find an opponent who can withstand the full extent of his powers.

Akuma detests his brother Gouken for not giving in to the dark side of their arts which is, according to Akuma, the way they were intended to be used. He also blames Gouken for sealing off the darkness within Ryu thus preventing Ryu from reaching his true potential. This forces Akuma to give up on his planned duel with Ryu as he believes that only a fellow practitioner of Satsui no Hado can one day hope to defeat him.
Akuma refers to himself as a 'denizen of hell' and 'evil incarnate', and is seen as such by many.

Guile - Rob Carey's Wednesday Sketch.


"Are you man enough to fight me?"


Guile (ガイル, Gairu) is introduced in Street Fighter II. Although his role in the Street Fighter story was at first minimal, he is considered the third leading and best male character in the series, after Ryu and Ken, largely due to his effectiveness as a character and his popularity.
Guile by Robert Carey performing a Sonic Boom.

When Guile was a trainee in the United States Air Force, he befriended his superior officer, Charlie Nash and asked him to teach him in his unique form of fighting, which Charlie agreed to do. Guile learned the style, but his hot temper caused him to lack proficiency in the moves (shown in how Charlie can shoot Sonic Booms with one hand, while Guile needs both.) 

Holding M. Bison responsible for the death of his best friend, he seemingly dedicates his whole life to exacting revenge on Bison, who has somehow survived the explosion. A court case against the Shadaloo dictator fails when Bison bribes all the judges to let him go free. Bison by this time wants revenge on Guile, Chun-Li, and many other people who had hindered his syndicate's efforts. To this end, he sets up the second World Warrior tournament to trap them, among other reasons.  Guile, for his part, takes the bait, deserting his wife and daughter to pursue the vendetta.

Sagat - Luca Pizzari's Thursday Sketch.


"You are not a warrior; you're a beginner!"


Sagat (サガット, Sagatto/สกัด, Sagad)  was originally a boss character in the early editions of the series. He was later turned into a regular, playable character. According to Street Fighter co-creator Finish Hiroshi, Sagat's style was modeled after dramatic television kick-boxing personalities - particularly that of Muay Thai/Thai Kick Boxing - as Sagat is also referred to as "The King of Muay Thai" or "The God of Muay Thai" in the games, as well as possessing various attacks similar to that of a Muay Thai kick-boxer.
Sagat by Luca Pizzari.
Sagat rose from a childhood of extreme poverty in Thailand, being constantly bullied by other boys from his village due to his "abnormal" height and general lack of finances. Sometime in his early days he watched a small-time Muay Thai championship, which motivated him to practice the martial art, using his height as an advantage in combat.

After long, extensive years of training, Sagat won the title of Emperor/God of Muay Thai from Nuah Kahn as a teenager, and became a national hero. He defended his title from a fighter named Go Hibiki in a match where Go destroyed Sagat's right eye (explaining his eyepatch), causing the ominous former Muay-Thai Emperor to violently beat Go Hibiki to death in a fit of uncontrolled rage accidentally. Go's son, Dan Hibiki, swore revenge on Sagat. The scar on his chest is the result of an early battle with Ryu.

Dhalsim - Daryl Cox's Saturday Sketch.


"I will meditate, and then destroy you."


Dhalsim (ダルシム)  hails from Kerala, India. Dhalsim is famous throughout the Street Fighter series for his unique personality, his stretchy, lanky body and fire attacks.Dhalsim enters the tournament to raise money for his village, but realizes that it contradicts his pacifist beliefs. Dhalsim retires from fighting after the second World Warrior tournament, and continues to roam the world helping those in need.
Dhalsim by Daryl Cox performing Yoga Flame.
Dhalsim shares some character similarities towards Ryu, as he is equally stoic, serious, self-disciplined, humble and very stern when needed. Being a pacifist, he will never hurt more than necessary or kill an adversary, even the most evil ones such as M. Bison. His pacifistic beliefs also allow him to be a greatly loving father and husband towards his family, just like Guile. Being an extremely altruistic man, Dhalsim fights mostly for the poor and oppressed, as he constantly tries his best to raise money for his poverty-stricken people. In contrast with Ryu's younger (but still serious and self-focused) type, Dhalsim has a more "mature" and less "enthusiastic" nature. He regularly relies on his traditional yoga meditation rites to expand his spirituality and keep his inner neutrality off any emotional involvement that may prejudice his discipline.

So as Street Fighter week comes to a close I'd like to thank all of the artists for their contributions especially Daryl Cox, this week making his Nerd Invasion debut. I look forward to seeing more great sketches in the weeks to come.

Next weeks theme will be MORTAL KOMBAT. The following week we will have a special week. To celebrate reaching 100 likes on Facebook we held a competition and at random selected one of our followers to pick the theme. The winner, Darrin O'Toole, chose WATCHMEN as the theme and has even said he will contribute a guest sketch for the week. I really look forward to seeing what the Nerd Invaders will come up with for this. Until next week that's all from me.

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