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Why did so many people overlook Street Fighter 3 when it first came out?

A very beautiful 'ugly duckling' of the gaming world at the time

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • September 19, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. PDT • Comments: 93

Street Fighter 3 (specifically the Third Strike update) is revered by a significant portion of the FGC as the greatest fighting game ever, but was also widely a commercial failure for Capcom that preceded an almost decade-long silent period for the franchise.

Certiainly the game has stood the test of time in the competitive realm, but why did so many of us apparently choose to spend our time and quarters on other games and arcade cabinets instead of exploring this fighting gem? Top Hat Gaming Man explores this peculiar turn of events in a recent video of his.

The fact that SF3 was arcade-exclusive (existing consoles just couldn't handle it) during a period of booming growth for at-home gaming didn't do it any favors. While competitors would eventually be able to parry each other at home on the Sega Dreamcast in late 1999, this proved to be too little, too late.

The big attention grabbers of the time were the all-new 3D games (like Super Mario 64). Despite having beautiful graphics that still hold up as such today, Street Fighter 3 was easily perceived as belonging to an antiquated chapter of gaming and thus a significant number of potential players likely gave it little more than a passing glance.

Indeed Tekken 3 came out just a few months after SF3, and that 3D fighter went on to become one of the genre's best-selling titles of all time.

Top Hat also points out that people very well might have been a bit "Street Fightered out" at this point in time. With Street Fighter 2 and Street Fighter Alpha producing more than a few updates and a good portion of the SF cast being playable in the emerging Versus Series, things could have easily meshed into a blurred flurry of Hadokens.

The gist of the argument seems to be that SF3, though a very strong game, didn't do enough to garner the attention of the crowds of the period. Check out the video here for all the details and let us know what you thought in the comments afterward.

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