A common trend in the world of video game production is creative reuse of assets and the ability to stretch every penny. Something a lot of early fighting games are known to have done out of necessity to maximise the amount of content they contained. However, just because it was necessary didn’t mean it wasn’t criticised, which saw the creator’s of Street Fighter III flex on their competition with a giant Dr Manhattan-looking motherfucker called Gill.
To explain for anyone unfamiliar with video game production and in particular the production of early fighting games, creative reuse of assets was not just commonplace, but directly resulted in the creation of some of gaming’s most well known and enduring mascots. For example, everyone’s favourite Yellow Skeleton and Ninja Cryomancer Scorpion and Sub-Zero only exist because they realised that could effecitvely double the amount of characters in the original release of Mortal Kombat by taking the model for one character and simply changing the colour of their outfit.
So what has this got to do with flexing on someone with a buff dude? Well in 2D fighting games like Mortal Kombat and of course Street Fighter, a way they’d cheat to avoid having to create new sprites for a given character when they were facing the other way was to mirror them. To be clear, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and was actually a pretty genius way to avoid having to create an entirely new, near identical sprite. However, it was very noticeable when games began introducing characters with asymmetrical design elements like say, an eye patch.
Or a distinctive tattoo?
In regards to that last one, Guile’s tattoo has been something of a running gag within the Street Fighter series, with some games flipping it, other removing and in more recent games, establishing that Guile is so god-damn American that he actually has two American flag tattoos. One on each bicep.
Anyway, when Street Fighter III rolled around the creative team finally figured out how to include a character with an asymmetrical design that’d be represented in gameplay and what better way to showcase that than with giant buff dude with a 3D glasses looking dick. AKA, Gill.
Designed specifically to show off the new CPS-3 board in arcade releases of Street Fighter III that allowed this, at the time, revolutionary new rendering technique, every aspect of Gill’s design was specifically intended to, quite literally, flex on the competition. Hell, even Gill’s moveset would change depending on which side of his body was facing the opponent, again purely as a flex as no other character in gaming up to that point could do that.
And that is how Capcom, quite literally, flexed on their competition with a 7 foot tall buff dude.