There need be no reason whatsoever to drop whatever it is we're doing to play Smash Bros on any given day of the week. I haven't got a single friend who isn't ready to throw down the gauntlet when the word Smash is dropped in conversation. That said, I can tell you without hesitation which entry of the series was the medium that developed the many friendships I'm fortunate to have today .
In fact, every iteration of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. franchise is a timestamp that represents key points of my life. From middle school with Smash 64 to high school with Melee that led to Brawl in college, the next generation of Smash is upon us to create and nurture friendships through stock matches and trash talk.
Throughout the years, Smash Bros. has proven to me to be more than just a game - it has been instrumental in being a conversation starter, igniting friendly rivalries, and cementing bonds and relationships over a mutual love of video games and competition.
It starts with Nintendo. Only Nintendo is capable of creating an iconic series such as Smash. Only Nintendo is home to such characters steeped in rich legacy waiting to be employed by both the casual and hardcore players in efforts to be the best Smasher...At least in your immediate circle.
See, I'm the kind of guy who likes to hold my cards close to my chest - when someone tells me they're into Smash, I smile and let them know I dabble here and there. My strategy starts even before we've got controllers in our hands - my enthusiasm and knowledge withheld is part of the mind games that becomes so prominent in a well fought battle.
Think back to every friend you've made through Smash. Think about how they introduced themselves to you when Smash became a topic of conversation. I can safely recall that almost every challenger turned ally had loved to brag and tell me how good they were. How they were the best player in their group of friends. How they were a real Smasher who only fought on Final Destination.
"Is that so?"
A day to meet up would be scheduled in no time. Both sides were now jittery with excitement and anxiety to prove their merit. What was it about Smash Bros. and competition in comparison to "true" fighters such as Tekken and Street Fighter? Could it be because Smash offered a wider, more interesting cast of characters than the others? Or that it was more friendlier to approach in terms of gameplay? Or maybe because you could have more friends over to play at one time than a traditional fighter?
Or was it because, you know, it was just fun? Smash broke the mold and introduced an engaging party-fighter that allowed gamers to develop their own rules to be played and explored at their own pace.I learned to love Smash in and out so whatever my opponent wanted to play, I was down. I was excited to have a new friend to play with, and that's all that matter to me at the end of the day.
You see, whatever the time period, Smash becomes the constant in the lives of millions of gamers the world all over. As a system seller, Smash has become the perfect host to gamers who's budding friendships blossoms over every punch thrown, every projectile dodged, and every smash attack that sends a fighter flying into a"Game Set" screen.
These trades in wins and losses not only form fierce rivalries, but create respect and cement mutual interest in one another. That once quiet tension between acquaintances dissipate into the air and is shortly followed by formalities and manners...You both reveal your true forms when both of your natures are tested by rage inducing meteor smashes or laughs that hurt your stomach from a moment that may never be able to be recreated again.
Each exchange of sword, fist, and magical attacks translate a little of who you are. Your play style reveals more than just your in-games strategies, but your personality as a whole.
Smash Bros. is not just a game. It's a welcome distraction to to the group project you were supposed to be working on. It's the reason why sleepovers came to exist. It's to help you bypass a language barrier from when your cousins come to visit from "how do you pronounce that again?"
Smash is a celebration of characters from up and down Nintendo's rich and long history. It's safe to say that speculation and hype regarding the addition of new characters in each new title is the best part of the wait. However, the new characters waiting to be unlocked doesn't end in the game. We've got our own character rosters to fill in our lives. My roster of crazy friends were unlocked over many, many years, and Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U present many potential newcomers to my life, and I'm excited to see who they are!
I hope you guys enjoy the new Smash, and can come to recall all of the meaningful friendships you've built through the series thus far.
I want to end on a conversation that happened regarding bring Smash on a trip many years ago. It still sticks with me today :
"Did you pack the GameCube?"
"There's no room left,"
"Then hold it in your hand, there's a fucking handle on it!"