Retro systems: how many of us have them? I got friends, so… I’ll start.
Over the years, we have been introduced to several ways of resuscitating our youth through various outlets. Gaming now seems to become one of them. The ways presented are numerous for electronic entertainment. Indie developers decide to create fads, from adding to the franchises of yesteryear, with the creation of demake titles that pay homage to them. While at best, producing a subgenre for their rivals to imitate, developers produce ideas to rekindle the magic of the times past. Some relatively amazing (Celeste), while others literally nowhere close. Legends of the earlier stages of electronic entertainment attempt another shot of glory, through the means of Kickstarter and a dream, to undermine the legalities of their former masters. Bloodstained is to Castlevania as Mighty Number 9 attempted to be to Mega Man, as Hyper Turbo shadows Outrun, and so forth.
As many can contest, and several Coke commercials have preached, nothing beats the real thing. Emulation pretty much covered that base since the 32-128 bit era, but for some, a real home run by the actual team may also suffice. Nintendo and NEO GEO pulled this off in their respected lanes by offering fans a chance to relive the days of Blockbuster Video rentals without the H2O technical support on cartridge failure. Nintendo doing it twice with SNES and NES Minis – emulators on a small scale with save points and HDMI bells and whistles. Plug and play with choice titles picked out from the litter of hits. From Kirby Super Star to Final Fantasy VI. Neo Geo attempted with the Neo Geo Mini, housing some of SNKs choices. Art of Fighting? KOF 98? Obviously.
Even Sony jumped in with the PlayStation Mini, bringing back Tekken 3 and Metal Gear Solid in a format which shined better than your average Bleemcast attempt. With a mixed reception and lack thereof, with some data mining to salt the wound, PSX Mini is already on the discount block. Sega’s Megadrive Mini will be hitting shelves later in the year, taking a page out of the 16-bit era returns. Surprisingly, Capcom also decided not to sit idly by and took to double-dipping the chip.
The Capcom Home Arcade was introduced to the world a few days ago. To my surprise, it was nowhere near impressive to me. Some of the offerings felt more akin to burnt sacrifices than those which should have been first picks. The board was a two joystick stick with tournament-minded Sanwa parts. There’s wifi, but ONLY to see how you’re doing against the world. Plug and play to any monitor. And of course, the price: nearly $300 USD (£200). Nearly as much as a Switch or any of the base current-gen systems.
Personally, I’d start with the first part – the games. If I were to give this system some better quality of life, it’d be at this point. CPS2 era was an honourable time for Capcom, but the list presented is less than stellar. However, for what you’re paying, I’d up it a bit to offer anything up to Naomi board. The golden age. Anything 2D is on the table. Licenses ignored. Anything goes. With that, here are my picks for a PROPER Capcom Home Arcade to include.
Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact / Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
In the west, it is hard to discuss fighting game history without 3rd Strike in the conversation. When Street Fighter was brought to the third power, a lot changed with the rules of engagement. 3rd may be the definitive (because of… reasons) but 2nd Impact is truly not the slouch of the sequels. With hit sparks changed, vivid backgrounds, and the option of choice in fight paths, 2nd Impact earned the spot it claims.
Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold
I was close to leaving out Alpha but figured it needed a shot. It’s aesthetic literally screams SF sequel more times than two, and in some cases, feels as if it scratches the itch. A3 was also a good runner up, but it’s been exported through several iterations. Why not bring out the cooler cat? You know the AE Alpha music? It came from here!
Super Street Fighter II Turbo (Street Fighter II X)
Why settle for the second when you’re pretty close to X? Super Turbo has been a staple of the arcade scene just as much as any version of II. Street Fighter’s best representative for the job is right here. ’94s introduction to the world was no small task. Definitely a pick of the litter.
Never released onto a console EVER. Definitely a spot on the list because of its’ pull. Many a character appeared elsewhere in Capcom lore from this title. Why not tell the world where they originated? CPS3 board’s first foray into the scene in a fighting game adventure. It’s quite impressive.
X Men vs. Street Fighter
With the license agreement resurrected and taken away, it’s easy to forget where the series started in terms of collaboration. Some say it was The Punisher, while others would claim it was a certain man in a purple deciding to hang out in the Danger Room unannounced. With a decent amount of characters, this was the one many grew up with before Marvel 2 donned the moniker Mahvel. Seeing this in arcades, back when Buffy The Vampire Slayer got turned into a TV show, was literally a highlight of the 90s. As iconic as X-Men’s Animated Series was, you’d be hard-pressed to hear Wolverine’s voice-actor reprise his role. The franticness of the title was literally the DBFZ of its time. It gets THAT intense!
Marvel Super Heroes
No collection of Marvel Capcom games could be complete without a back game from a time past. Before either side thought that the strongest warriors should participate in a crossover. Children of the Atom is cool, but since we’re on the Endgame thang, why not?
Dungeons and Dragons: Shadows Over Mystara
Aliens v. Predator would still be on the list, but for this massive device, I’d allow 4 players connected together and ditch Battle Circuit. Dungeons and Dragons would be here simply because of where Capcom was at the time – the Golden Age. If Golden Axe is your fix, this collaboration is right for you. With the taste of Capcom’s Kinu Nishimura on the design track, with Alex Jimenez as the writing talent, alongside one of the longest-running fantasy franchises, you could expect something that holds up so well. I did a run of it on my birthday last year on my stream, btw!
There isn’t much in terms of puzzles with Capcom, but cuteness can be found in many forms within the ranks. Pocket Fighter is that cuteness. With chibi characters donning several outfits per hit, you’d think Capcom would duplicate this over and over. One run and it was done, though in my heart: I’d expect more of this! Just don’t make it look like Puzzle Fighter 2018. Ughhh.
And with that, there are my picks for the Capcom Home Arcade. I covered the memories pretty well, with room for proper doubles. Each one representing the best Capcom can throw down up to CPS 3. What’s yours like?