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A Brief History of Gaming
Electronic Gaming Monthly is Obsessed with Street Fighter II
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on January 29, 2014   |   Episode 28 (Show Archive)  

   
Sometimes it can feel like video game coverage is getting out of hand. Sites like GameSpot and IGN flood the market with daily reminders, updates, screens, videos and rumors about the newest Call of Duty sequel. It's the kind of thing that can lead to fatigue long before the game even comes out.

But if you think we have it bad today, then you clearly weren't paying attention to the video game industry in the early 1990s. Forget steamy romance novels, Electronic Gaming Monthly's two year love affair with Street Fighter II remains one of the sexiest examples of journalistic overkill. Perhaps you should put the kids to bed, because we're about to dredge up the dirty details of Electronic Gaming Monthly's obsession with Street Fighter II.

Electronic Gaming Monthly #31 Electronic Gaming Monthly #32 Electronic Gaming Monthly #33

February 1992 (Issue 31) was not the first time Street Fighter II was featured in Electronic Gaming Monthly, but it was the debut of the full-page cover. Here we see a close-up of Ken in the middle of a jab, perhaps anticipating Blanka's fierce attack. Although this is far from the last time we'll see Ryu and Ken on the cover, it is the only instance of EGM using a screenshot instead of a drawing.

One month later, in March 1992 (Issue 32), Street Fighter shows up yet again. This time around it's Ryu's turn to pose for the camera. In what is dubbed the "1992 Video Game Preview Issue," the world warrior appears to be hanging out with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and a very relaxed (and possibly drunk) Sonic the Hedgehog. The issue promises a Street Fighter II contest, along with news of home console ports.

Think EGM won't feature Street Fighter II on the cover three months in a row? Think again, because Ryu is back in April 1992 (Issue 33). Using Capcom's official (and extremely ugly) artwork, EGM features Ryu, Chun Li and Blanka in throes of battle. The cover boasts a "15 page EGM preview" and pictures of the new arcade game.

Electronic Gaming Monthly #35 Electronic Gaming Monthly #36 Electronic Gaming Monthly #37

After running Street Fighter art three months in a row, Electronic Gaming Monthly opted for another mainstay -- the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But just because Ryu isn't on the June 1992 (Issue 35) cover, that doesn't mean Street Fighter II goes without mention. After seemingly endless coverage, EGM picks the best characters in Street Fighter II: Champion Edition.

You would think that one Street Fighter II mention would be enough, but EGM decided to double down with two. This July 1992 (Issue 36) cover advertises the Street Fighter II review, as well as revealing the top secret boss moves.

Perhaps feeling bad over double dipping in July, EGM's August 1992 (Issue 37) cover opts for the tasteful Street Fighter II banner. This time around it's advertising a code that lets you play player vs. player in the home console port.

Electronic Gaming Monthly #38 Electronic Gaming Monthly #39 Electronic Gaming Monthly #41

By the end of 1992, EGM was trying to strike a balance between too much Street Fighter II coverage and too little. People seemed to like the monthly Street Fighter II information, but not the full page covers promoting it. They were ready to see other games on the cover, which meant EGM had to do something drastic ... shrink the Street Fighter II pictures to a fraction of the page!

The September 1992 (Issue 38) cover uses a small picture of Ken kneeling, this time next to Sonic the Hedgehog, a jukebox, Ren, and Stimpy. The magazine promises top secret tricks exclusive to EGM.

The December 1992 (Issue 40) cover also uses a small picture. In fact, it's the same Capcom-provided artwork we saw back in April. Already done with special moves and character rankings, the magazine opts to (incorrectly) predict what will be in Street Fighter III.

It's worth mentioning that the November 1992 (Issue 39) cover only featured Street Fighter II on the top in a far less prominent role. It advertises that the issue has new exclusive news about Street Fighter character appearing in a brand new game. Unfortunately, the game in question is Chun Li's brief cameo in Capcom World 2, a Japanese Quiz show that never made its way to the U.S.

Electronic Gaming Monthly #43 Electronic Gaming Monthly #46 Electronic Gaming Monthly #47

In 1992, Electronic Gaming Monthly managed to not only review Street Fighter II, but write editorials about the best character, expose exclusive moves and even try and predict the future. What else is there left to do? According to this February 1993 (Issue 43) cover, Super NES players can play as one of the four boss characters. But don't get too excited, because it's nothing more than a glitchy code that requires a third-party adaptor. And even if you get it to work, the game freezes after a few rounds.

After months of being reduced to small pictures and banners, Street Fighter II is back in May 1993 (Issue 46) with a full-page cover. This time around it's Guile vs. M. Bison in Street Fighter II: Champion Edition. The cover trumpets exclusive pics of the Genesis port, a special EGM review and another strategy guide.

One month later, in June 1992 (Issue 47), Mortal Kombat got its revenge. But don't worry, Street Fighter II still made an appearance in the top banner. This time it was in support of "Turbo SF2 CE." I'm pretty sure they meant Street Fighter II Turbo.

Electronic Gaming Monthly #48 Electronic Gaming Monthly #49 Electronic Gaming Monthly #50

The July 1993 (Issue 48) issue also refers to Street Fighter II Turbo as "Turbo SF2 CE," which bothers me for some reason. I also don't like the name Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition, but that's for a completely different reason.

August 1993 (Issue 49) brings back the tiny picture and finally calls the game Street Fighter II Turbo. Even with the promise of mega Super NES coverage, I'm more surprised by Aero the Acro-Bat showing up on an EGM cover.

It took us the better part of two years, but September 1993 (Issue 50) finally brings the match-up we've all been waiting for: Street Fighter II vs. Mortal Kombat. For some reason, EGM has yet again reverted back to calling it "Turbo SF 2" and it might as well be a tiny box, but at least it's the main focus of the cover. (And for those wondering, Street Fighter II Turbo won the fight.)

Electronic Gaming Monthly #51 Electronic Gaming Monthly #52

By late 1993, EGM had started winding down their coverage of Street Fighter II, but not before they had a chance to feature one last full-page cover. October 1993 (Issue 51) finds all the major characters from Street Fighter II huddled together for one last photo shoot. It also works as a way to introduce the world to the almost-last iteration, Super Street Fighter II. Strategies and moves were then promoted one month later, on the November 1993 (Issue 52) cover.

Between February 1992 and November 1993, Electronic Gaming Monthly featured Street Fighter II on the cover 17 times. That's 17 times in 23 months. Future issues would feature Street Fighter characters and logos, but this really was the height of Capcom's obsession with the Capcom classic.

Based on these covers, Electronic Gaming Monthly clearly loves fighting games. They were aggressive when it came to promoting Street Fighter II, as well as Mortal Kombat and, in later years, Killer Instinct and Tekken. But never any love for SNK. Street Fighter II finds its way onto 17 different covers in two years, and yet The King of Fighters gets shut out? There's no justice in this world.

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