I can still remember walking into my usual haunt, the Pocket Change arcade in the Fox River Mall in Appleton, Wisconsin, expecting my usual rounds of Street Fighter II, when I saw a new fighting game from Capcom. It was like SF2, but faster, funnier, and…it was full of monsters. Darkstalkers had arrived, and unbeknownst to me, it was about to rocket up my personal favorite game chart with a silver bullet, and stay there to this day.
In this installment of my ongoing series about arcade-style joysticks for home consoles, I’m going to talk about two very different sticks in my collection: The Capcom Fighter Power Stick, and…a struggle stick for the Atari 2600?! I also want to talk a little bit about the upcoming arcade stick units from Capcom and SNK. So join us, won’t you (sorry Karina), for Parte the Thirde of Joystickery on Retro Game SuperHyper!
Who makes video game consoles?
It’s typically the heaviest hitters in the industry, like Nintendo and Sega, or major electronics manufacturers, like Sony and NEC. In the early days it was Magnavox, Atari, and major toy companies Mattel and Coleco. Sure, there will be a lesser-known scrapper in there once in a while, like SNK, but their products typically cater to a more hardcore niche.
But remember, once upon a time back in the early 1980s, Nintendo wasn’t a console juggernaut — they just made and licensed arcade games. They were known for Donkey Kong and Popeye, which they licensed out to companies like Coleco and Parker Brothers to get them on the Atari 2600 or Intellivision. Nobody expected them to suddenly enter the market with their own home console. Same with Sega — I recall thinking, What? The company that made Zaxxon and Congo Bongo has their own systems??
With this in mind over the years, I’ve often wondered what it would be like if some of my other favorite software or electronic companies would throw their hats into the ring and produce new video game hardware. What would happen if, say, Capcom made a game console? Or Konami? Or Hitachi? Turns out, many of those companies not only asked the same question, but actually had plans of their own home video game platforms having reached various stages of completion. Some of them even actually made it to market, and I hadn’t even been aware of them until recently!
So what happens when some of the biggest names in the games and electronics business start kicking around the idea of introducing a new video game console?
The recent release of an officially-Capcom-licensed, limited-edition Street Fighter II Super NES cartridge from iam8bit got me thinking about when SF2 originally came out on the SNES in 1992, and how crazy the hype over it was. SF2 mania was in high gear, both in arcades and at home on 16-bit consoles, and I was fully immersed in it, at one point even taking part in a local tournament — that came down to me and another competitor.
At the risk of making Retro Game SuperHyper appear handheld-centric (I promise it’s not — don’t worry, I have plenty of console and arcade stuff to talk about, I’ve just been on a Game Boy kick recently), I’ve spent the last few days playing another game that’s been in my collection for years, but I never really played: Bionic Commando for the original Game Boy!