This Week in the Mercury


Sunday, February 26, 2012

On Capcom And Fluid Gender Identity In Metro City

Posted by Earnest "Nex" Cavalli on Sun, Feb 26, 2012 at 9:43 PM

You guys know Capcom, right? Of course you do. They're the company behind Street Fighter, Mega Man, Dead Rising and dozens of other gaming series that you've spent hundreds of hours of your life playing. They've been making games for nearly 30 years, and despite the company's massive success and legions of fans one question has dogged the firm endlessly through the past two decades: Is Poison a man or a woman?

When Capcom originally released Final Fight in December of 1989, it essentially created the "beat 'em up" genre. The game was such a hit that it inspired dozens of copy-cat games and saw ports to almost every console in existence.

However, it also inspired an enduring mystery.

During an early stage in the original Japanese release, your character encounters an attractive, midriff-baring punk girl. Or, so you think. On first glance she appears to be a lady, so naturally the censors took offense at the idea that Mayor Mike Haggar would be suplexing a member of the fairer sex through a poorly constructed table. Capcom, hoping to avoid controversy, somehow appeased the ratings board by claiming that Poison (and her palette swap Roxy) were not women, but were, in fact, transgendered.

In the subsequent years the story has taken some baffling turns, with various Capcom employees offering differing "official" opinions on what Poison has underneath that leather miniskirt. With the character scheduled to make her first major appearance in decades in the upcoming Street Fighter X Tekken, it seems an excellent time to get to the root of this thing once and for all. Fortunately, YouTube user "MegatonStammer" has already done the heavy lifting.

Yes, the following mini-documentary will occupy twenty minutes of your life, but for dedicated Capcom fans it's an exceedingly well-researched look at one of gaming's most baffling controversies. I dare you to watch the full clip and not learn something new.

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