I love this hat.
If you don't recognize it, it's the cap worn by Fatal Fury protagonist Terry Bogard. That's right, his hat displays the name of the game he stars in.
To be fair, the original title of the game was "Legend of the Hungry Wolf: The Battle of Destiny" and his hat didn't start sporting the "Fatal Fury" text until a bit later in the series. Terry's hat has actually changed quite a bit over the years, altered slightly in just about every game he appears in. While it's always some version of a red truckers cap, the shape varies and subtle details like the white trim on the bill come and go. Often, the cap appears with a blank white front with no text at all. The actual game sprites, for the most part, feature this blank front (if only because of graphical limitations).
At one point it said "King of the Fighters" and in one of the earlier games it actually said "Neo Geo" on it, which is even more fourth wall obliterating. Despite the variety it's always an iconic symbol that arcade veterans and fighting game fans will instantly recognize. Because it's awesome.
I've been a fan of Terry ever since the first time I played Fatal Fury in the local arcade, way back in the early 90's. I was roughly 11 years old, and my impressionable young mind was rapidly absorbing as much arcade culture as it could possibly handle. I was already obsessed with Street Fighter II, like everyone who stepped foot in an arcade in those days...but I wanted more. I was constantly on a search for something new and different. I found it on a big red, black and white arcade cabinet with four bright buttons and two joysticks.
Playing Fatal Fury for the first time is something I'll never forget, and I'm sure it was the precise moment I became an lifelong fan of SNK. The character sprites were big, beautifully animated, and when they landed a punch or a kick the sound effects were devastating, like nothing I'd ever heard before. The animation was fantastic and you could even jump between the foreground and background, adding a pseudo-dimension to the fights and some interesting strategy.
While just about every other fighting game was based pretty heavily in fantasy (and portions of Fatal Fury were pretty out there as well) Terry was a guy with a truckers cap and a ponytail, dressed in jeans, fingerless gloves, a bright red jacket and matching red Chuck Taylors. For the 90's, this was a pretty bad ass look, at least, it was if you were 11. He wasn't dressed like traditional martial artist or covered in futuristic armor, he was wearing an outfit that he probably wore on an average day, perhaps when he was headed out for some groceries. But at this particular moment, he was cornered and it was time to beat the shit out of his opponent...by punching the ground so hard it would send a shock wave to knock that asshole right off his feet.
I vividly remember heading over to my friends house after that trip to the mall arcade and spending the next couple of hours drawing my own fighting game characters. I was so inspired by the look and style of SNK's brawler that I wanted to make my own contributions. (What I wouldn't give to find these drawings now...) Most of what I drew was based on the design concept that Terry followed, an average looking person becoming extraordinary when put in a unique situation (with a healthy dose what an 11 year old boy in the 90's thought was cool).
This is all why I'm so enamored with this hat, it just brings back so many happy arcade memories from the past. I'll always be a fan of Terry, but honestly I wouldn't think he was half as interesting if I hadn't discovered him when I did. He represents an era that shaped me into the obsessive game fan I am today. You know, my infatuation with arcades is probably why I can't stop buying joysticks, but that's a topic for another post.
The website has a list of bullet points that describe the "features" of the hat, and the last one is especially great:
- Fatal Fury familiar that reproduces the cap Terry Bogard! !
- Fatal Fury titles in English [FATAL FURY] represented by embroidered, full-fledged design crash-treated parts of the cap brim.
- [OK!!] Then threw his hat in the words of the decision, ‥ ‥ forget to go to pick up
It's a bit awkward because it's an auto translation, but seriously, that's a hilariously perfect description of what he does when he wins a match:
I need this hat. I will then wear it everywhere I go, getting strange looks from everyone until a videogame nerd sees me. We will then proceed to dramatically high five while shouting "Are you okay? BUSTAAAH WOLF!" Once everyone around us has been significantly startled, we'll simply give a knowing nod and then be off on our way.
(I can only hope that when I get my hat I look half as cool as this guy.)