Hey everyone! And welcome to another edition of TODAY IN GAMING HISTORY!!! This time we take a look at one of the most defining companies from Japan, Capcom. Today marks the 41 year anniversary that Capcom was established, responsible for creating some of our childhood games today which includes Mega Man, Street Fighter, Resident Evil, and those amazing Disney games from the NES.
While Capcom started in 1979, it took them 5 years to create their first game called Vulgus, a vertical shooter game. Although it was Capcom’s first, it didn’t really capture the attention Capcom would imagine and later create another vertical shooter game called 1942, focusing on fighter planes and power ups to take down enemy fighters and huge bosses as well.
A year later Capcom would release their most difficult game to date, Ghosts n Goblins. An adventure game of the classical knight in shiny armor rescuing the princess from Satan, the game is notorious for its difficulty and for the ending as getting the true ending of the game requires players to complete the game twice. Around the same year, the NES was released and Capcom began shipping arcade ports of their popular arcades to the NES starting with 1942.
2 years later, Street Fighter was released in the arcades. Although it wasn’t the Street Fighter game that we knew today, this marks the start of a franchise that would soon explode years later. Ryu and Ken were designed as a young fighter, with Ryu having red hair instead of black, white headband, and shoes. Street Fighter was also quite broken as the damage base is random.
Around the same year Street Fighter was released in the Arcade, Mega Man would debut on the NES and became a huge success. The Blue Bomber changed the ideal of platforming with shooting dynamics and the ideal of using defeat bosses power ups to use against other bosses, requiring players to use a distinct strategy of their own to know who is weaker to what and who to go for first. Mega Man was a huge success when the franchise began to release a series of sequels, spin-offs, and sports games surrounding the name Mega Man, each with their own background story, hero, side characters, and gameplay style.
Final Fight would make their arcade debut on 1989, becoming Capcom’s first attempt at a Beat ‘em up game, and brought in popular characters such as Mike Hagger, a professional wrestler turned Mayor of Metro City, Cody, a hot headed fighter, Guy, a ninja who were converses, Hugo, and everyone’s favorite transgender, Poison. The game was a huge success and spawned 2 sequels and 2 spin off games.
By 1991, Capcom hit gold with their greatest game of all time, Street Fighter 2. Street Fighter 2 was the first to truly usher in the fighting game era, with returning characters Ryu, Ken, and Sagat alongside popular characters such as Chun-li, Guile, Bison, and many more. The game was fluent, quick, and fun. Street Fighter was the first to bring in the fighting game community as well as the first to have multiple editions of the popular series, making the game more faster, adding super attacks, and bringing more characters. Street Fighter is also credited for influencing the fighting gaming industry, as games such as Mortal Kombat, King of Fighters, and Tekken all were created to challenge Street Fighter, but instead created an identity of their own and have a fan base that is still going strong today.
Street Fighter’s popularity was soaring so high that it created its own animated movie called “Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie”, and it’s Hollywood film Street Fighter: The Movie, which the former was great and the latter was not. It didn’t deter Street Fighter as the franchise would have several sequels down the road, including the release of Street Fighter Alpha series, Street Fighter III, Street Fighter EX, Street Fighter IV, and Street Fighter V
As the years go by, Capcom would continue to create popular mega hit games and sequels as well with games such as Disney’s Aladdin and Alien vs Predator. By 1994, Capcom would bring out their prototype, X-Men: Children of the Atom. The game uses popular characters from the mega hit marvel comic book series X-Men, and has them battle out in a fighting game aspect. The game was popular enough to get a sequel in the form of Marvel Super Heroes, focusing on characters from the Marvel Comic Book series such as Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the return of Wolverine, and added in the infinity stones to their gameplay.
In 1996, Capcom released their newest title in their list of franchise games, Biohazard or better known to us as Resident Evil. Focusing on the zombie survival aspect, players take control of either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield as members of the S.T.A.R.S organization to investigate an outbreak inside the mansion house just miles away from Racoon City. The game was scary at the time and nerve wrecking as the mansion is filled with zombies and monsters with a shocking twist near the end. Resident Evil became an instant classic, creating Resident Evil 2 with popular character Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, Resident Evil 3 Nemesis that brought back Jill Valentine and introduce us to our nightmare fuel in dark places known as Nemesis, and Resident Evil: Code Veronica having us play as Claire Redfield once more, just to name a few of the series of games Resident Evil has put out.
Along with the release of Resident Evil on home consoles came one of the first of many vs titles Capcom has ever put out. After creating popular superhero fighting games, Capcom has decided to create their first tag team crossover game with Marvel’s X-Men characters and Street Fighter characters. X-Men vs Street Fighter was the first of many crossover games Capcom would create over time. It brought us a fantasy booking of who would win in a fight between Ryu and Wolverine, Bison and Magneto, and Zangief and Juggernaut. Their sequel, Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter a year later, changed the roster of Marvel heroes and villains and some changes with the Street Fighter Roster.
In 1998 however, the franchise began to kick off with one of their many popular releases and well known franchises today, Marvel vs Capcom. The idea of having Marvel heroes such as Wolverine, Hulk, Captain America, and Spider Man team up with characters such as Ryu, Chun-li, Mega Man, and Morrigan was phenomenal. Marvel vs Capcom was not only fast paced and exciting, but helped introduce fans of the Capcom series and Marvel Comics new characters they may have never heard of at all, including Captain Commando, Strider, Morrigan, Colossus, and War Machine. Things would only get better for the series as two years later Marvel vs Capcom 2 was released on the arcades and home port, bringing in a chaotic atmosphere of insane 3 v 3 gameplay, a stack full of rosters from a wide variety of games and comic book series, 4 original characters, and a killer soundtrack. Marvel vs Capcom would go on to have 3 more releases, with Marvel vs Capcom Infinite being their latest release.
Alongside Marvel Vs Capcom, Capcom would also release a number of crossover games such as SNK vs Capcom, Tekken X Street Fighter, and Tatsunoko vs Street Fighter, while getting involved in other projects such as Namco X Capcom and Project X Zone.
In 2001 Capcom would continue their stride by releasing a triple set of games that would become a major hit. First was Onimusha, a twist of zombie survival in the feudal era of Japan. Players would assume the role of a samurai as they battle their way to thwart an evil overlord whose goal is to consume this land in chaos. It should have over 1 million copies and was the first PS2. Capcom would later release Devil may Cry and it’s new gameplay mechanic, a hack and slash adventure, focusing on Dante as the son of Sparta and holding the devil power within him to defeat demonic foes. In the Fall, Phoenix takes the case as one of the many series of the franchise that would be released on the Gameboy Advance, focusing on story and courtroom battle as the defendant lawyer of a major case in each arc. All three franchises would get a series of releases down the road.
In 2004, the Monster Hunter series was born, bringing in the aspect of adventure roleplaying game and the opportunity to play with friends as the object of the game is to slay or capture monsters for better armor and better weapons. The game would have sequels for various consoles and their latest release, Monster Hunter World, would be awarded as Roleplaying game of the year.
2 years later in 2006, Capcom release Dead Rising, a twist of zombie horror survival, having players use Frank West to kill a horde of zombies trapped inside a mall with a variety of objects in the mall, such as baseball bats, golf clubs, manikins, axes, saws, and many more. It also centers around government involvement in evolution and a terrorist attack at the center mall towards the US. Dead Rising would have 3 more releases after it’s initial run.
Capcom has also been involved in the Esports competition, having their games such as Street FIghter III: Third Strike, Street Fighter II, Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter V, and Marvel vs Capcom 2 and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 were featured in the EVO circuit, as well as creating the Capcom Pro Tour in 2014.
Although major games such as Street Fighter and Resident Evil still get a load of attention today, it’s not to say that fans of the popular company solely focus on the games that were stated above, as Capcom has released a major ton of games over the course of their 41 year tenure. Games such as Power Stone, Rival Schools, Viewtiful Joe, Dino Crisis, the Breath of Fire series, Darkstalkers, Puzzle Fighters, Shantae, Okami, and many many more games were released under their name. Some were able to get one more sequel before being forgotten, while others live on through other developers or a set of remixes and remakes. Capcom isn’t perfect so to say, games fans of certain franchise series do get shafted every now and then, with either poor gameplay mechanics, poor story, poor roster, poor design, or poor business practices. Yet, when we hear the word Capcom, we immediately strike to the first game that comes to our mind, either recent or popular franchise. Whether it was a game we enjoy playing with friends and strangers, or hours spent on perfecting our skills for future tournaments. Whether it is the retro of games from the past, or the anticipation of new news of a future game released from Capcom. Capcom feels like a symbol of variety we need in our lifetime. A chance to fight out our frustrations in fighting games, explore the horrors of an undead infested city, venture on a land searching for the creatures we need to apprehend, or being able to get a one up against a line of bosses using their partners powers against them. For over 41 years, Capcom has been able to bring joy to the gaming community and will still do so for another set of years.