​There's saying I've heard years ago that has always stuck with me.


"The best Street Fighter games have Ryu and Chun Li top-tier."


It didn't make sense at first, but through improving my game and seeing things with more clarity, I understood what it meant; Chun Li and Ryu are characters who are the perfect archetypes of fighting game balance, with thoughtful tool kits.


Ryu is the well rounded protagonist with a projectile, strong anti-air, and he's easy to understand, but he also has hard-to-perfect tools that embody what the essence of Street Fighter is all about. 


Chun Li is the original pixie; a character with low health and shaky anti-airs, but is compensated with incredible speed and the best mid-range normal attacks in the game.

The vast majority of characters not only in SF games, but fighting games in general, are offshoots of Ryu and Chun Li. They, along with the original grappler Zangief, are the most recognizable game play styles in the world. So naturally, people are most comfortable fighting them.


There's just something about losing to these characters that tends to feel more "honest" than the bizarre tools that some other characters have. You lose to Ryu and Chun because their tools are strong and used properly, not because their tools are silly and used adequately.

Which brings me to title of the article: "The Dhalsim Problem."


Dhalsim is the originator of weird. With his long limbs, teleports, and floating movement, his game play is a stark contrast to the rest of the roster.

People tend to not like different or extreme, and Dhalsim just happens to be both. So losing to him when he's extremely good feels more uncomfortable, less "honest" to most than someone more traditional. 


Why is this significant? Because I think it directly goes into how Capcom approaches balancing their games. Characters who are extremely different, such as Dhalsim and Blanka, may get extra attention from them. 

Indeed, The Dhalsim Problem may be why the character, and other weird ones like him, rarely reach top-tier status.