Feast your eyes on this sneak peek into a sumptuous visual history of Street Fighter.
To celebrate thirty years of the game that started the very genre we love, Dynamite Entertainment is bringing us Undisputed Street Fighter: A 30th Anniversary Retrospective, a 304-page artbook detailing any and all elements of the Street Fighter franchise over the last three decades. The book covers the rich history of the games, the merchandise, and the players.
To whet your appetite, here are some preview pages from the upcoming artbook’s first chapter, “King of the Arcade,” (provided by art designer Jason Ullmeyer) which focuses on the Street Fighter II series’ impact on video arcades. Commentary on these selected pages has been provided by author Steven Hendershot.
One of the revelations in the “Final Fight as First Step” section is the fact that Charles Bronson’s movie The Streetfighter was an influence on the development of both Final Fight and Street Fighter II. It sounds like a fairly obvious connection, but American audiences have mostly overlooked it, and the reason is that the movie was released here as Hard Times. I didn’t even put it together during my interview with Akira Yasuda in Tokyo — I heard him say “Charles Bronson” and “Street Fighter” but didn’t understand what he was saying until I was back in Chicago reading an actual translated transcript of the interview. Then I headed online and found the Japanese movie poster that’s on page 23, and got pretty excited.
The section on early Southern California players features some big FGC names in Tomo Ohira, Mike Watson, and Alex Valle. But early on in the reporting process, I fixated on John Bailon, the arcade manager who created this amazing culture that nurtured the development of so many top players. Considering that John still lives in the neighborhood where Southern Hills Golfland once stood, you’d think he would have been easy to track down, yet something it took like two months. Still, it was completely worth it because I loved hearing how he built Southern Hills scene, and thus the role he played in the creation of the FGC. He told me a story about going to Evo a few years ago, and how it was cool to be recognized by a few people, and to pose for pictures.
I hope this book does something similar for him and for all the other arcade managers who took special care to cater to serious players. They were instrumental. (Side note: I loved hearing John talk about what it was like to be Alex Valle’s boss when Alex worked at Southern Hills as a Street Fighter star slash regular arcade employee. A lot of that stuff didn’t make the book, but was fun to hear, like John saying “I had to reprimand people for staying too late after work, playing until the wee hours of the morning.” How many bosses have that problem, where they can’t get their employees to leave at the end of the day?
Undisputed Street Fighter: A 30th Anniversary Retrospective is available to pre-order right now from Amazon; you can get the regular edition (releases November 14, 2017) for $27.49 USD, or the deluxe slipcased edition (releases December 19, 2017) for $89.10 USD. It will also be available for Kindle, and via comiXology.
Sources: Dynamite Entertainment; Amazon