Life Lessons from Video Games Versus Mode: SFII v MK Finale!


There are two kinds of people in this world: those who prefer Street Fighter and those who prefer Mortal Kombat.  Yes we can love them both, but if you were stuck on a desert island which would you prefer?  We all have an answer.   This will be no surprise, I’m a Street Fighter person.

Part of it has to do with my introduction to it.  I learned it first so its moves in a one-on-one style tournament fighter became second nature to me.  I’m not a fancy or elaborate Street Fighter player, I keep things basic, but I also win a LOT (right Mike? >: ) )  Here’s why I prefer Capcom’s Street Fighter to Acclaim’s Mortal Kombat.  Keep in mind I’m only dealing with the 16-bit iterations of the games, not the later ones.

Longevity: I don’t mean one series has or will outlast the other.  We’ve seen bad versions and weird crossovers for both franchises, I mean the longevity of these 16-bit games themselves.  Street Fighter II is a fun game.  All the special moves, all the different characters and strategies, it still feels the same way as it did when I first played it.  Mortal Kombat has suffered the Duke Nukem effect for me.  Despite all its violence and cutting edge effects…it all seems somehow…childish.  As though maybe that kind of thing is only really cool to a 12-15 year old.  Mortal Kombat’s brutality actually feels like a gimmick now.

SPAM: I think we’ve all done hadouken-hadouken-hadouken-hadouken or TIGER (high)-TIGER (low)-TIGER (high)-TIGER (low) against the computer or a live foe.  I have.  Especially Zangief and Balrog (M. Bison in Japan).  But if you did that on a harder difficulty or against a competent foe you also saw a jumping roundhouse or a leaping short into a sweep.  You can only spam fireballs for so long.  I can beat Mortal Kombat by doing flying kicks and upper cuts.  And JUST flying kicks and uppercuts.  The flying kicks strategy is how I always beat Goro.  I could usually get a flawless victory on him too.  Even on tougher difficulties.  It seems easier to spam cheesy moves in Mortal Kombat to me.  So much so that I’d try to play fair then just say, “forget it I’m spamming to win…”  I’m sure the MK masters out there know ways to break those kinds of things, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating when some chump starts doing it to you…or any less lame when you see it work on the game’s hulking sub-boss!  One cause of this problem is reflected in the next item!

Diversity:  I mentioned this in my Street Fighter post, but it wasn’t until I did my Mortal Kombat post that I realized how diverse Street Fighter is in comparison.  Street Fighter had two characters that played essentially the same, Ryu and Ken.  In Mortal Kombat, except for special moves, they all essentially play the same.  And it struck me the reason why, no one really cared about the fight.  I never did as a kid.  I typically just rushed through the fight however I could…I only cared about fatalities and unlocking secrets.  In a way MK’s secrets and violence kind of trapped it.  By giving all the characters the same basic set of moves with the same range, speed, and strength, it made it essentially the same game over and over with different kills at the end of each round and those kills are what I looked forward to.

Fun: The most important thing to me.  To this day I can plug in Champion Edition or Super into my Nomad or CDX and pick up right where I left off as though it was 1992 all over again.  I can have just as much fun, find just as much challenge, and remember all my timing and moves through straight muscle memory.  I admit I haven’t played Mortal Kombat since I quit playing it in the 90s (though I have played the newer ones!)

All of this is not an indictment of Mortal Kombat at all.  I love the game.  I loved the time I spent with it and I still cherish the franchise as the brutal cousin of Street Fighter, the Asia-gothic-hellscape fighting game that still has plenty of room to grow and reinvent itself at every opportunity.  I just prefer Street Fighter.  All of these opinions are of course mine only.  I think Mortal Kombat fans also have good points as to why they prefer their franchise and I’d love to hear some.

Which do you guys prefer?

In my opinion it’s a clear win and a…



…for Street Fighter!

My original strategy guides from the 90s.  Before the internet…books like these were the only way to get info!

Guide Covers

Guides Open

2 thoughts on “Life Lessons from Video Games Versus Mode: SFII v MK Finale!

  1. You knew this was coming lol. I’m such a MK fan. My reasons are simple though: it was my first fighting game, doesn’t feel as cartoony, and I love being Kitana. I don’t have that feeling with SF characters. Great post 🙂

    1. James Castro

      I still love the original MK and MKII but more for the nostalgia. They’ve improved the series in the latest incarnation, but I can’t shake that “all these characters play the same, save for the special moves” feeling. Plus, despite the fact that it’s become more common than what I’m used to…I just can’t get used to a block button. I STILL push back to block and it feel natural to me! You’re the second MK fan I’ve spoken to!

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