The Street Fighter gaming series took the industry by storm. It seems gamers couldn’t get enough of this head-to-head combat showdown, so when the Street Fighter II came out, console owners everywhere were beside themselves in anticipation of new graphics, moves and characters.
But what many didn’t factor in, was that a slip up in translations from its earlier Japanese version into the North American market, would leave players seeking out an opponent they weren’t likely to find.
In the Japanese version of Street Fighter II a character remarks, “If you cannot overcome the Rising Dragon Punch, you cannot win!”
As Japanese characters can be read in various ways, when this was translated into English, the characters for “rising dragon” were instead interpreted as “Sheng Long.”
The same characters can have different meanings in Japanese, and the translator, working on a list of phrases and unaware of the context, thought a new character was being introduced to the game. As a result, players were given the impression the character was referring to a new opponent, instead of an attack maneuver.
Gamers went crazy trying to figure out who this Sheng Long was and how they could defeat him. As an April Fools Day joke, Electronic Gaming Monthly published an elaborate and difficult set of steps on how to reach the point in the game to locate and fight the Sheng Long character. The details of these instructors spread worldwide. It wasn’t revealed as a hoax until months later, no doubt after countless gaming hours had been wasted in bedrooms across the globe.
Shortly after the April Fool prank a rival gaming console changed their system’s version of the game to say “You must defeat my Dragon Punch to stand a chance.” However, the English instruction manual for said game still referred to a “Master Sheng Long” character.
Needless to say, discussion broke out around the possibility of the character’s actual appearance in the next edition of the game.
As a character and a hoax, Sheng Long has been described as one of the most famous and well-known video gaming legends.