Street Fighter 2 was the first game to introduce many arcade denizens to the joys of beating on each other. While the original Street Fighter game was not widely played, its sequel was enormously popular, launching a long line of arcade and console fighting games. SF2 allowed you to pick one of eight characters to play as. If you played against the computer, you would fight the remaining seven characters, and then four boss characters. Or, if anyone was around, you could test your skillz against a human opponent.

Later extension games of Street Fighter 2 (eg Champion Edition, Hyper Fighting, etc) added various features, such as new special moves, new characters including the bosses, different colors, better graphics, and the ability to play the same character as your opponent. Today the most recent heir of the Street Fighter legacy is probably Capcom vs SNK 2, which has all the characters from SF2 and a whole lot more.

The orginal cast of characters was:

Ryu: The middle-of-the-road character. Ryu had a generous learning curve, and was usually the first character a new player would start with. Ryu's main strategy was to throw a fireball, then hit the other player when they jumped over it. (can't block while in the air)

Ken: Same as Ryu, but with different graphics.

Blanka: Good jumping ability, strong attacks. With no terrific special moves, Blanka relied on air superiority and that long crouching punch that people always seem to fall for.

Chun Li: The token female character. Fast, with weak attacks and excellent jumping ability. Chun Li's strategy was to use her speed to throw opponents. (which would usually get people to cry about 'cheapness')

E. Honda: Slow but strong. Honda was difficult to play and tended to get outmatched by the other characters. He got better in later versions of Street Fighter, but in this one he didn't have much going for him.

Guile: Another popular character. Guile had lots of good multiple hit combos and would severely fuck you up in the hands of an expert player.

Zangief: Big, strong, and slow. Zangief's claim to fame was the spinning piledriver, which was difficult to pull off but amounted to the entirety of Zangeif's strategy.

Dhalsim: Crazy Indian guy with elastic limbs that could punch and kick across half the screen. A tough character to learn, and probably not the most successful, but you did get style points for going that route.

Once you had beaten the final boss, M. Bison, you got a different ending for each character. Then the credits would scroll as pairs of the characters fought. If you beat the game without losing a round, they would fight in fast-motion.

If you are at all interested in collecting arcade games, or just want to make a little money, then I would suggest picking up one of these machines right away. Let me tell you why.

Street Fighter 2 started the whole fighting game phenomena, it was a wonderful game, and spawned more clones than you can possibly ever count. It was so popular that Capcom was able to remix it several times, and sell it again and again.

This title had an absolutely huge production run, by far the largest production run since Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man were released in the early 1980s. Luckily in the arcade world, the more common titles usually become valuable over time, simply because of popularity.

This game is destined to be a classic, and right now these machines are at an all time low price. I have owned two of them, and I didn't pay more than $75 for either one of them.

The popularity alone is enough to ensure that this will be a valuable title in another ten years (Pac-Man machines were dirt cheap ten years ago), but there is another factor at work here that is going to make these machines more valuable than Pac-Man machines will ever be. You see the entire Street Fighter series were equipped with suicide chips. All of them. These games stop working when a little battery on their JAMMA board runs out. A fix has been developed, but no one is using the fix, because it is currently cheaper to simply get another JAMMA board that hasn't died yet. The thing is, you have to fix the boards before they die, and no one is really doing this. These machines are going to stop working in massive numbers in the next few years.

When something is both popular and rare, it is going to rise dramatically in price, and working Street Fighter 2 machines are going to start becoming rare very quickly. All you need to do to save one of these machines is to get the suicide battery fix done on it before the battery dies. There are several different fixes detailed on the web, and if you are unsure of your own skills, you can always send your board off to someone else to get it modified. It will be worth it.

If you are buying a machine. I suggest looking for a dedicated "Champion Edition" machine, as that will be the one to have in the future. The best place to find one is not on eBay, but at an amusement industry auction. These games go for dirt cheap at the auctions, you probably be able to pick up one of them for under $100.

While you are waiting for your game to become valuable, why not set it up to use quarters, and put it in a prime spot in your house. You will probably end up getting your initial investment back just from the spare change you toss into it.

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