Hey, guys! It’s me again.
So, our retro-reviewer quit after a row with a few immature assholes about the quality of his last (now deleted) post. Essentially, it was a lot of unnecessary drama because someone thought that the post wasn’t up-to-par, and then someone else thought that he was full of shit and a hypocrite and all sorts of other stuff. I really shouldn’t be allowed on the internet.
Who knows if he’ll be back? Only the future knows!
Until that’s decided, I’m stepping in; it’s DrunkAigis again! We were officially acquainted a few months ago, and I talked about fighting games all the time. I’ll be contacting a few other members to see if anyone wants to write for a blog (if you do want to write for it, just search DrunkAigis on Facebook; there’s a picture of a dumb-looking Keanu Reeves-knock-off. Talk to him, or just summon him).
For my seminal return to the FLG blog, I’d like to touch on my thoughts and opinions of the Smash scene, since it is, after all, what we lost our most recent blogger to.
Super Smash Brothers 64 was the next Street Fighter 2 (BOLD STATEMENT); one of the most influential games of its time, it completely obliterated all previous mechanics in fighting games, redid them, and acted as delicious fan-service to Nintendo’s loyal fans (especially back then, when they ran shit). It built on the already-great feat of the Nintendo 64’s 4-player-without-hoops-to-jump-through setup, pitting you and all of your friends that you no longer want to hang out with in combat with enough random variables to cover up weakness. Many a friendship has been ended at the hands of the hammer, and many an eyeroll at a goldeen.
Much like most other party games, I scoffed and laughed heartily at the idea of it being played competitively. “What, like, for money?!”
Yes. For money.
APEX 2014, the largest Smash tournament in North America, had an extra prize-pot of $1,000 for Brawl (on top of a portion of the entry fees), and $200 for Melee, 64, and Project M (the most popular mod for Brawl–essentially, a rebalance of Brawl to make it tournament viable (cut back on random variables and such)). They saw 157 entrants for their smallest game (SSB64), and a staggering 630 for Brawl (keep in mind, all entrants’ entry fee went to the prize pot to some extent).
At EVO2013, Melee came in third as the highest most-populated fighting game (EVO being the top-of-the-top fighting game tournament in the world) with 696 people. The payout was absolutely sickening (I can’t find exact numbers, sorry!).
The criticism is without mercy, however. Because of its proprietary nature as a party game, the Smash community is ridiculed for “not actually playing a fighting game,” and “competing in a party game.” The tournament-legal rules are fairly hefty, banning out specific stages, characters, and any usage of items aside from those the characters procure themselves (e.g., Link’s bombs, Samus’ armor pieces). They also indicate specific time constraints and amounts of lives. Such strenuous rulings can’t actually indicate a real fighting game!
Some criticism goes out to their community, specifically for being bad-mannered (this is representative of what I like to call, “the Beiber Effect,” wherein bias turns any press into far more negative press than previously conceived). Slurs like “Nintentards” and “Nintenyearolds” are thrown vicariously (I mean, I do, too; that’s how I know about them), and any time something goes wrong, the media makes it go REALLY wrong (an example: at APEX2012, there were thefts of controllers/games/whatever else, and the media hyperbolized it into something far greater and more mischievous. Evidently, players stole TVs, girlfriends, family portraits, Fort Knox, etc.).
What speaks to me, personally, as a respectful onlooker who’s in the FGC, but not directly related to Smash, is how technical the game gets; the mobility options they’ve found in their game are second-to-none, and the tech is often so situational that you’d never see something like it in other games, but it’s all always prominent (a great example of this is “shine-spiking,” in which Fox or Falco use their reflector shield’s startup hit to reset the hitstun of their falling opponent, but instead of knocking them up or in the way they’d normally fly, it knocks them horizontally on the screen, allowing for predictable knockouts). Maybe it’s the anime-kid in me, but I’m always excited to see situational tech get used. Maybe I should watch more Marvel.
In closing, it’s a game that many try to pick up, but few can do well at because it is extremely community-focused. You can only learn so much from playing on your own, and you can only learn certain concepts from other players. As far as me picking it up, I’ll stick to playing Super Smashed Brothers, and taking a drink every time you lose a stock. Much more my scene.