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The April Fool's Hoax That Changed Street Fighter Forever

It's one thing to trick gamers with an elaborate April Fool's joke. It's a whole other thing when that joke makes a major impact by transforming that prank into something real.

Capcom's Street Fighter franchise truly became a juggernaut of the fighting game scene once Street Fighter 2 took off. Young and old gamers alike jammed themselves into arcades to test their mettle against the very best in the monumental 2D fighter. The combat was just as addictive as its bonkers storyline. Word tended to spread pretty fast within those arcades when it came to the winning strategies and secrets revolving around SF2. Maybe that's why video game publication Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) decided to give SF2 fans something to chat about back in 1992.


If you've never heard the name Sheng Long and have no clue as to how monumental he ended up being, then we're here to clue you in. This is the story of how an April Fool's hoax changed Street Fighter forever.

Sheng Long evolved from a joke to an actual in-game character

In 1992, EGM published an April Fool's joke that alluded to the presence of a character named Sheng Long within SF2.

Sheng Long's name comes from a mistranslation for one of Ryu's victory quotes. In Japanese, his quote translated to, "If you cannot overcome the Rising Dragon Fist, you cannot win!" But in English, that same quote came out as: "You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance." Because of this, players were given the impression that Ryu was referring to his supposed master.


EGM took that mistranslation and ran with it. The publication's April 1992 issue told readers that Sheng Long was a real, unlockable character, and he was the strongest fighter in the game. The methods described to make Sheng Long appear were impossible: play as Ryu, don't take a single hit until you fight M. Bison, then don't hit M. Bison or allow him to hit you for ten rounds straight. Sheng Long would then appear afterwards for a fight to the death.

The enduring popularity of the hoax led to Sheng Long eventually becoming sort of an official character: Street Fighter 4's Gouken.