‘Street Fighter’ creator reveals inspiration for legendary game


Street Fighter game director Nishiyama Takashi reflected on the inception of his game. In an interview, Nishiyama got the idea for the game from an unlikely source.

According to the legendary director, he got the idea for Street Fighter during a meeting. In this Capcom meeting, Nishiyama took inspiration from a game called Spartan X. The game, known as Kung-Fu Master in the U.S., is a sidescrolling martial arts title.

Spartan X was also the Japanese title for Jackie Chan’s movie, Wheels on Meals. The Spartan X game was an early adaptation of the entire film.

Nishiyama got his inspiration from Kung-Fu Master

In a brand new oral history deep dive, Nishiyama reflected on his legendary fighting game. His conceptualization started during a long meeting between the entire team.

“One day at Capcom, we had a meeting between the development staff and the sales team, and this particular meeting happened to run very long. I think it was about two hours,” Nishiyama recollected in the interview. “Personally, as someone on the development side, I found it very hard to stay interested during these meetings, so I tended to daydream and think about games.”

What followed next was serendipity for the legendary video game designer. The idea for SF came to Nishiyama’s mind, and he started working on the general details. He used the entire meeting to draw everything in a piece of paper.

During the time, he also showed off his work to Capcom producer Yoshiki Okamoto. The game they based the biggest fighting franchise in the world was Spartan X. Nishiyama was the designer for the game during his time in Irem.

Jackie Chan action comedy film started the fighting game genre

It’s hard to imagine that Street Fighter came from a Jackie Chan movie. Spartan X, known as Wheels on Meals in the US, was an action comedy film. As an adaptation, the Spartan X video game was not a faithful one either.

The only things the game adaptation got were a martial artist’s main character and his girlfriend. What inspired Nishiyama was the boss fights in the game.

“I was thinking about the boss fights in that game, and thought it could be interesting to build a game around those,” the game designer reminisces.

It’s weird to consider the first Kung-Fu Master as the precursor to the fighting games genre. Even then, the similarities are there.

Those who want to learn more would need to read the entire oral history. After all these years, it’s awesome to learn Street Fighter came from something so unlikely.

Featured image courtesy of Game Archive/Youtube Screenshot

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