Open Thread: The Street Fighter Paradox

September 24, 2008

This is kind of an experimental post. Instead of laying down all my opinions at once, I’m going to let you guys comment on a question and then post my impressions later.

Do you find the Street Fighter characters offensive? Why?

Just so we’re on the same page, let’s inventory:

The World Warriors

Ryu: Japanese karate guy.

Ken: American karate guy.

Honda: Japanese sumo guy.

Blanka: Brazilian beast-guy.

Dhalsim: Indian stretchy yoga guy. With skulls around his neck.

Guile: All-American military guy with awesome hair.

Chun-Li: Chinese kung-fu girl.

Zangief: Spandex-clad Russian bear-wrestler guy.

The Bosses

Balrog: African American boxer guy inspired by Mike Tyson.

Vega: Spanish bullfighter ninja guy.

Sagat: Muay Thai guy.

Bison: Mysterious evil guy.

The New Challengers

Cammy: Underage British girl.

Fei Long: Bruce Lee.

Dee Jay: Jamaican kickboxer guy inspired by Billy Blanks of Tae-Bo fame.

Thunder Hawk: Native American wrestler guy.

Looking forward to your responses!

pat m.



  1. No. Certainly stereotyped, certainly racial/ethnic/national context within the images, but its SF. furthermore, you could argue that while stereotyped, they all can kick some ass with the exception of vega so therefore the stereotypes are empowered… right. that made no sense. and every single character seems like some sorta caricature both white and not.

  2. Honestly I think that if you look into all the characterizations from SF, if you’re familiar with the fighting champions from your own culture, you can relate a famous fighter that goes along with it. Notice how you separated a lot of the fighters with just a nation and fighting style, but some you added in inspirations afterwards.
    I’m kind of surprised you didn’t qualify M. Bison more so as some kind of German/Russian/Eastern European nationalist.

    The big thing is, SF really banks more so on the international and almost universal appeal of fighting that exists more so in all cultures, and lets the players free-for-all play mixing what they find interesting against the others. After a short period of time of getting familiar with how the characters fight and what styles are what, most players put aside such stereotypes and focus in on trying to win with a style that matches their preference.

    Chun-li is totally thunder thighs victory material, but that’s my opinion.

  3. Here’s a thought: Street Fighter 2 was one of the first videogames that gave you a WIDE range of playable characters in terms of ethnicity. Stereotypical? Yeah. Still, better than playing either a Ninja or some random white guy all the time.

    For that level of nostalgia factor alone, I think people are willing to give it a pass. (though, admittedly, videogames are rife with racist stuff. The fact that all the characters can be protagonists is good, though Blanka, Balrog/M.Bison and Dhalsim are the most problematic).

  4. […] commented in the open thread about this a while […]

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  13. I’ve always wanted to design for a fighting game. I was thinking about this post, and I think it would be interesting to have an Anti-Racist Black Skinhead who is a French Savate Fighter. It definitely wouldn’t be a stereotype, and it would allow for some cool references to La Haine and this one photoshoot and the gnarls barkley video is inspired.

  14. it inspired.

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  16. Hallo!
    Hatte vor ein paar Tagen schonmal gepostet.

    Geht um diese Firmen Insolvenz:
    Geschäftszeichen: 11 IN 23/07: In dem Insolvenzverfahren über das Vermögen der T-C-H Service GmbH & Co. KG, Breitenstraße 37, 36251 Bad Hersfeld (AG Dresden, HRA 5714), vertreten durch: 1. TCH Vermögensverwaltungs GmbH, (persönlich haftende Gesellschafterin), vertreten durch: 1.1. Florian Grotehans, Am Baumgarten 12, 36251 Bad Hersfeld, (Geschäftsführer), wird die Prüfung der nachträglich angemeldeten Forderungen im schriftlichen Verfahren gemäß § 177 Abs. 1 Satz 2 InsO angeordnet. Geprüft werden alle bislang ungeprüften Forderungen, die noch bis zum 09.08.2011 einschließlich zur Insolvenztabelle angemeldet werden.

    Das war eine Firma von Florian Grotehans aus Bad Hersfeld.

    Habe grosse probleme mit dem, wie erreiche ich den??

    Der schuldet mir und vielen anderen Geld, habe bisher gefunden:
    – paar Angestellte die keinen Lohn bekommen haben, eine Oberschweinerei!!
    – die Insolvenzverfahren siehe http://www.insolvenzbekanntmachungen.de

    Bin mich derzeit am umhören hier in der gegend, scheint kein unbeschriebenes Blatt zu sein der Bursche. Im WEB findet man auch betrugsvorwürfe, was ist da dran?

    Wie und wo erreicht man Florian Grotehans? Über den Insolvenz Verwalter evt.?

    Bitte per PM hier im forum melden!!!

  17. Что касается постскриптума, то мне как-то даже немного неловко за коллегу (не за автора статьи, а за того, чья цитата приводится… Я понимаю, возвышенные сентенции выглядят красиво, особенно в конце статьи, но блин, основной же смысл в информативности. Порнография, даже очень коммерческая, всегда будет ориентироваться на шаблонный принцип “двое стахановцев усиленным темпами продвигаются к мейк-апу”, а в киноискусстве, успешном, парфюмерность и так всегда была ускользающей, возбуждающей, сильной, игривой, настоящей, динамичной, неявной.

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