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How Street Fighter 2 Helped The SNES Beat The Sega Genesis

At the peak of the two consoles' life cycles, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and the Sega Genesis were battling it out for gamers' attentions. It was a neck-and-neck competition between Nintendo and Sega, both of which were the biggest names in console gaming. However, in the end, the SNES wound up selling 49 million units worldwide. This would firmly eclipse the Genesis, which fell way short at 29 million units sold (via IGN). And a huge tipping point in the console war turned out to be the "Street Fighter 2" port that appeared on the SNES.

Prior to its appearance on SNES, 1991's "Street Fighter 2" — the sequel to 1987's "Street Fighter" — was exclusively available in arcades. The game was wildly popular in both its native Japan and the Western world, with it being considered the game that widely popularized Japanese-developed brawlers. Once it came time for the title to be ported to home gaming platforms, "Street Fighter 2" was initially released for the SNES in 1992. Luckily for Nintendo, this release proved pivotal for the platform and established it as the must-have console of the early 90s.

Street Fighter 2 tipped the scale firmly in Nintendo's favor

Despite being at a hefty launch price close to $80, "Street Fighter 2" sold extremely well for the Super Nintendo, quickly becoming the console's highest-selling game ever — though it would eventually be surpassed by "Super Mario." According to Steve Watts of GameSpot, the massive popularity of "Street Fighter 2" was a carry-over of the game being easily the biggest thing at the time when it came to arcade gaming. And for a limited amount of time, the only way for gamers to enjoy "Street Fighter 2" without having to leave their home and visit an arcade was to own an SNES console. This led to an influx of SNES purchases worldwide, giving Nintendo the upper hand over Sega's Genesis.

Eventually, the Genesis would receive a port of "Street Fighter 2" in 1993. However, according to Watts, the version contained some changed elements which paled in comparison to the version on the SNES, which was a like-for-like port. The Super Nintendo's six-button controller was also a huge factor for many considering its version of "Street Fighter 2" to be superior when compared to the Genesis' three-button controller. This gave the SNES a much more robust layout when it came to button mapping for the game.