My first encounter with Street Fighter was in a local arcade called the Outer Zone in Kenilworth. My main interest was in games like Raiden and Final Fight so I was not particularly excited about it. I am also not good at fighting games, my twitch reflex is a bit delayed so I generally steer clear of them except for the easy ones like World Heroes (not Jet) .
When Street Fighter 2 came out, I bought a gaming magazine and studied each new character in detail. I decided that Dhalsim was perfectly suited to my style of play but in actual fact he was really slow and it also did not help that I was unable to do any of his special moves.
Street Fighter IV is coming out soon, and the trailers are very promising. There is a limited edition available as well as a few arcade sticks. Although which one you buy will depend on how deep your pockets are and whether you can find one.
I have seen a few posts mention that the cheaper Hori sticks are a viable alternative to the Tournament Edition from Mad Catz . When I was in Tokyo, I went shopping for arcade sticks and I found the cheaper Hori sticks were very cheaply made and not really worth the price. Hori has also released new Street Fighter IV sticks for the PS3 and Xbox 360 and these may be worth a look.
If you are a fan of the franchise, the latest Street Fighter looks like it is definitely worth getting.