Image: Bandai Namco, IGDB

From zero to Ultimate, a Smash Bros story

We’ve seen everyone from Wii Fit Trainer to Duck Hunt put into the character roster of the Smash Bros series. Recently we’ve seen a fun-sized Ridley from Metroid and the glorious, iconic, Isabelle of Animal Crossing.  So if “Everyone is here”, how did they get here? How did we go from the 12 original playable characters from Super Smash Bros, to almost 70 in the Smash Ultimate?

Lets look back at the original release. Given to us over 20 years ago (1999), the first Smash was released on the Nintendo 64. With only eight default characters it was a comparatively tiny roster against it’s younger siblings. Even with the addition of four unlockable characters it still ends up being the smallest, with it’s sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee,  having over double the characters – a roster of 25 characters. Melee, being the now-infamous Gamecube edition to the series has remained a popular favourite within the Smash community. Melee marked the beginning of Smash as a massively multiplayer, competitive game, with the addition of the Tournament mode that allowed for up to 64 competitors to play in the same tournament (only four players could play at any one time). That’s right, almost three times the amount of playable characters that were available, and you know that all the Ness’ would compete together with their screeching fighting cries enough to put anyone off their game.  Melee also marked the inclusion of trophies, 293 in total, that allowed for the inclusion of many more character profiles to be available for non-playable characters and even characters that hadn’t appeared in the game (more on that later).

Brawl also continued the series popularity in the competitive gaming and esports community

The release of Brawl on the Wii in 2008 established a further change in direction to the single player, story-mode of the game. With the addition of The Subspace Emmisary we saw the progression of many character specific story-lines and the greater significance of non-playable characters and bosses. This was also the first time we saw characters such as Ridley and Rayquaza, as non-playable characters. Both limited as such due to their size and the significant shift and balance issues that their inclusion could create, because of course, Smash has always been an incredibly balanced game, yeah. Brawl also continued the series popularity in the competitive gaming and esports community. The tournament ruleset for Brawl being the most inconsistent across the world. It was the addition of Meta Knight that would cause the most controversy, as the character would repeatedly appear in the top tournament charts and would even get certain stages banned as many professionals consider the Kirby character to be overpowered.

Image: Bago Games, Flickr

Continuing to the more recent additions, the Wii U edition of Smash Bros saw a total of 51 characters available in the game and a further seven available as DLC. This includes 19 new fighters, including those from third-party sources, including Megaman, Ryu and Pacman. They also included customisable Mii Fighters, as well as allowing players to customise existing characters’ move-sets and gameplay. The Wii U edition also allowed for Smash Bros amiibos to be released. This allowed for further customisable character content and downlaodable content to be included into the game. Bayonetta also bursted onto the scene as the first player-nominated edition to the Smash series.

We have to address the elephant in the room, the wah the community has been crying out for

The future seems bright for the crossover fighting series. The addition most recent addition os Ridley and Isabelle has been trending worldwide since it’s reveal in the latest Nintendo Direct. The inclusion of Isabelle accompanied with the reveal of the latest Animal Crossing game has particularly captured the hearts of many fans and rightly so, she can and will destroy Meta Knight’s gig and blow the whole situation apart. However, we have to address the elephant in the room, the wah the community has been crying out for, Waluigi. He appears as a trophy and a non-playable character in later games but Nintendo has made it clear that he will not appear in our roster anytime soon.

Whatever the future holds for Smash Bros and Smash Ultimate, it will forever hold it’s place in our hearts, as well as at all the greatest house parties and gatherings of this generation.

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