The life and times of Street Fighter’s Dan Hibiki

You don’t have to be fighting game aficionado to enjoy Street Fighter IV, but knowing the history behind some of the games more colorful characters makes the taste of victory that much sweeter. Especially if you manage to obliterate the competition using Dan Hibiki, who has transformed over the past decade from obscure inside joke to beloved fan favorite.

Dan is the comic relief of the series, a parody of SNK’s Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia, who is known more for his ridiculous poses and infinite taunts than his attacks, which are ridiculously ineffective. But as a handicap to skilled players, his weakness becomes strength. There’s no better way to simultaneously humiliate an opponent and establish your prowess than by winning with Dan, whose most famous move is an extended, annoying taunt that does absolutely no damage and leaves him completely vulnerable.

GamesRadar’s Mikel Reparaz has a great article charting the evolution of Street Fighter‘s “biggest, pinkest, silliest joke,” tracing Dan’s comedic origins, sorted history and eventual rise to gaming infamy. Even if you’re familiar with the character, originally created to lampoon SNK’s Art of Fighting which was itself a ripped-off version of Street Fighter, there’s more to this poor pink bastard than you know.

It’s worth a read for the pictures alone, which say so much more than words ever could.