Berlin museum opens exhibit on iconic computer game
By Haiko Prengel Nov 24, 2011, 2:06 GMT
Berlin - The computer game Street Fighter II appeared on the market in 1991 and to mark the iconic game's 20th anniversary a special exhibition has opened in Berlin. Street Fighter II belongs to the 'Beat 'em Up' category of computer games where the overriding rule is to knock your opponent out.
For many computer gamers Street Fighter II is regarded as the best in the genre. Andreas Lange, the director of the Berlin Computer Game Museum where the exhibition is located, believes fighting games are an expression of the competitive spirit of our age.
Street Fighter II was a 2D game produced by the Japanese firm Capcom. It was the first computer game to incorporate special fighting moves triggered by certain keyboard combinations or joystick positions. Previously game characters could only hit or kick their virtual opponents. Street Fighter II gave the characters extra fighting powers that made tactics and strategy more important.
Street Fighter I was a flop but its successor went on to enthrall a generation of teenage computer gamers. 'Street Fighter II set standards for the rest,' says Lange. Without the game other successful programs such as Tekken and Mortal Combat would never have existed.
Stefan Schwarzer designed the exhibition. The 27-year-old student of painting and graphic design played Street Fighter II as a teenager on a Super Nintendo. 'I played it every day for four or five hours,' he says. The exhibition attempts to draw visitors into a world of childhood memories of the game. Schwarzer created 204 drawings based on Street Fighter II made with marker pens and showing the game's characters such as Karateka Ryu or the Sumo wrestler E. Honda in action. A series of etchings entitled '16 bit the middle ages' attempts to reproduce the game's colourful 16-bit graphic style in analogue form.
Lange freely admits the world of fighting games is quite 'archaic.' But Street Fighter II, he argues, deals with something that drives most humans: competition within our society. 'It's no different with chess or boxing,' he says.
Twenty years on from Street Fighter II's emergence computer games have become much more sophisticated in their graphic design. But the game has maintained a loyal following, most of whom are adults, many of them approaching their forties. By visiting the museum they can travel back in time and relive their childhood years when they spent hours playing what was to become a classic of the computer gaming culture.