Poison, I like the way shes put together, huh…. She’s a what?!

With the release of Ultra Street Fighter IV; I am reminded of a controversy revolving one of the characters in the new update. So first let me tell you the truth of the matter and how it got all twisted around and how that’s a good thing.


The true story of Poison

Back in 1989 Capcom released what was intended o be a sequel to the original one on one brawler Street Fighter. one of the Mad Gear antagonists was a female character called Poison and her palette swap sister Roxy. For fear of American backlash regarding the depiction of assaulting women Capcom altered the sprite to resemble male character. This switcheroo of sorts meant simply that american players wouldn’t feel the shame of beating on female characters.

However, somewhere down the line the fan community of Capcom games decided to add their own take on the situation by adding this purely technical change to an element of the characters back-story. This fan fiction, over the years, has become lore and even supported in a way by pencil scribbles of the Japanese for “half-kind” on the original character sketches of Poison.

Although I can’t quite say what the original meaning behind the designers comment could refer to, I would argue that the comment could mean any number of things and shouldn’t be accepted as gospel.

The Reality of Poison

It may sound like I am advocating that Poison is a female and shouldn’t be construed in any other light but that is not entirely true. Fact is, although I don’t support the notion that Poison was meant to be anything other than a female, I love the idea that the gaming community picked a character and gave them a platform to represent a group that are otherwise wholly unacknowledged in entertainment circles. Whether this was thought through or not, the result is a LGBT representative. Like Kaoh Police in real life Poison is now an institution. If you don’t buy into the fan fiction then Poison is a straight up female, end of story. If you do, then She is a he and that’s cool too.

The affect of Poison

The larger picture though supports an ideal more than simply what a character is or isn’t. Poison is a statement made by gamers that says all are welcome. despite what you may frequently read on forums and comment sections. Tolerance and acceptance in gaming community is a Poison that spreads.

About Tom Reed

I am a freelance game designer specialising in audio and 3D animation. My other passions include writing and recording music, illustration and gaming. I love to develop understanding and knowledge through discussion and the sharing of opinions.

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