The lights are on
I remember the first time I saw a Street Fighter II arcade cabinet. I was in college, playing pool in the student center with some friends. There were about a dozen or so machines – things like Attax, Rampart, and Cyberball – as well as a few pinball machines. None of the games drew any crowds, until Capcom's fighting game was installed. After it was my turn to "get next," it was over; I never picked up a pool cue in college again.
I wasn't surprised when the Capcom logo appeared on the screen between matches. I'd been paying attention to the company since I played the oddball arcade game Trojan years before. Since then, the Capcom name kept popping up on some of my favorite games. DuckTales, Bionic Commando, Mega Man, Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Little Nemo: The Dream Master, Strider – much like Konami at the time, seeing the Capcom logo on the box meant that you could expect a consistently high level of quality. Capcom's NES games were among the best-looking and well-designed games out there. In spite of what all those retro shirts may have you believe, the NES was home to piles of garbage games. As a young person with a limited budget, I felt comfortable spending my money on Capcom titles based on very little concrete information. I discovered Mega Man that way in a list-based catalog; a game with a cool name (I was 14, lay off) published by Capcom? Sold.
Narrowing this feature down to a specific period was difficult. I picked 1991, because it was right in the middle of a stretch of great titles. Street Fighter II was a high point for me as a gamer. There was a level of competition and comradery around it that no other game replicated for me. Trading combos and secrets with other players was part of those early days, some of those players generated their own little auras of mystique. There was one repeat player in particular – a lanky guy who never took off his baseball cap – who had a seemingly unstoppable Dhalsim and Zangief. I eventually beat him a few times with my Chun Li, but it was clear that some people went beyond simply being good to approaching a clear mastery of the game.
A few years after 1991, we'd see arcade games like U.N. Squadron (possibly one of my all-time favorite arcade shooters), Saturday Night Slam Masters (pro wrestling, with a little Street Fighter sprinkled in), and the surprisingly good SNES game Goof Troop (if you can look past the license). And, of course, there was the seemingly endless parade of Street Fighter spinoffs and other fighting games.
Nostalgia is a dangerous thing, but I still look back fondly at the late '80s and mid '90s era for Capcom. They've continued to put out games that I love, like Resident Evil, Dead Rising, and Phoenix Wright, but that logo isn't quite as shiny as it used to be.
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.
Unfortunately Capcom's piqué was before my time.
Haha, true- it has become a bit rusty and tarnished over the years, but they still manage to impress financially at least most of the time...
Ahhh, the nostalgia. I still remember doing Guile's handcuffs and airthrow just to piss people off. I agree, Jeff. The early 90's were Capcom's best years. Nowadays, the only title that gets me excited to see the Capcom logo is Street Fighter. Actually, it's quite sad to see; the creators who made me love this company have all moved on (Inafune, Murakami, Kamiya), and the current management seems to have NO F-ING clue as to who their audience is.
Mega Man is tied for Metroid as the best Action Platformer series, imo. Capcom used to be so great and unstoppable.
Fun read, thanks for sharing Jeff.
I played the crap out of Rescue Rangers. It's right up there with Ducktales
I miss the old Capcom, when they actually made good games. The only good game of recent that comes to mind is DmC, but even then, that was Ninja Theory.
I suck at Street Fighter.
Nice thing about early Capcom games is that they still hold up. There was a mastery of gameplay there that's hard to beat.
Joe Juba is kind of old.
I was 3 in 1991.
I remember walking to the nearest Circle K with my friends and watching( I dared not step up) everyone play the hell out of Street Fighter 2. Nostalgia sucks sometimes.
Had fun with Re6 and wanna try out the other RE seires and of course the good old DmC. But idk this company been releasing too many dlc when they should be free if their in the game already. Pretty much leads it their downfall they should listen to their consumers a bit more but their my third fav.
"Capcom is f*****n' up!" _Dave Chappelle
Carrier Airwing is superior to UN Squadron in every respect.