The Progress of Super Smash Bros


Artwork by: Toby Hodne

Collage of different Smash Bros Characters

Nintendo: one of the world’s largest gaming companies. With titles such as Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and even Tetris, Nintendo has truly earned monumental fame. Perhaps one of its most notable series is Super Smash Bros, which was first released in 1999. 

Super Smash Bros started off with twelve playable characters, the majority being from the Mario and Pokémon franchises. The sheer number of crossovers in Super Smash Bros led to the success of the franchise. Originally, the game had very blocky-looking characters, all of which moved relatively slow. While there were many flaws in characters design, as this was at the beginning of modern game development; the original characters of Smash did a lot for future developers in teaching them about weighting for characters in games.

With the success of its predecessor, Super Smash Bros Melee was released two years after Super Smash Bros with twenty-six characters. These characters gained a thinner, more defined model. This game was the beginning of a fast-based movement. The weight of these characters still was not perfect, with most of the characters being very heavy, barely floating.

The smash series returned in 2008 with Super Smash Bros Brawl. With this installment, the franchise had reached thirty-nine characters. The character’s designs are very smooth and a skilled player has the potential to move fast, however, the game itself was designed chaotically, taking away from the excellent character design. 

With the arrival of Nintendo’s new home console, the Wii U got its own version of the game in 2014. Known by fans as Smash 4, Super Smash Bros for Wii U made an impact with fifty-eight characters. The movement is fast, with very floaty characters. The characters are very well put together with good graphics, considering the release year. However, this game is generally disregarded due to its extremely overpowered characters with downloadable content (DLC), along with repetitive gameplay.

Now, in 2021, Super Smash Bros expanded its roster to sixty-nine characters from twenty-eight different titles; an additional thirteen characters can be unlocked by purchasing DLC. Amongst these titles, multiple are third-party titles not owned by Nintendo, such as Bandai Namco and Mojang.

With Smash Bros being able to branch out so much, gaining more and more third-party characters, this allowed the player base to expand even further. This led to more interest in the game and more downloads.

Breakdown of the Characters

Characters are separated into three different classes: Swordfighter, Brawler, and Gunner.

Alongside the classes, there are specific weight categories that every character fits in. Lightweight characters can easily get launched across the stage, but jump higher and run faster. Heavyweight fighters do not move as much when hit but are slower overall. Middle-weight fighters are a good middle ground with very balanced launch rates.

All the characters in Super Smash Bros have different abilities and move sets, as well. These move sets are curated for each character and often relate to their original game. A lot of the time, characters in the same class will have similar move sets, for example, Marth and Roy, two sword fighters. Characters of similar weights also have similar attacks, such as King Dedede and King K. Rool.

The Competetive Scene

There is also a very big competition scene for Smash Bros. Every game has a competitive scene still thriving to this day. The most popular smash competitive scene is not Ultimate, but Melee. The best player in this scene is HungryBox. In Ultimate, professional gamer MkLeo is the best player, main-ing Byleth, Joker, and Pyra/Mythra.

Many people have their own opinions on who the best fighter is, such as MkLeo believing Joker is the best character. Personally, I believe that the best character is Sepiroth. He has a very solid damage output and can take a hit. Alongside the fast movement and strong special moves, his combo potential is insane. Sepiroth also has a very strong gimmick, or DLC move called his “One-Winged Angel” form. This form makes him faster,  allows him to deal more damage, to jump higher, and it gives him super armor, a trait that allows a character to land hits even if they themselves are hit. Normally when a character is hit, it interrupts an attack.

While Sepiroth may be the best, Chrom is one of the fastest characters in the game with a speed of 17 m/s, compared to Sepiroth who had a speed of 12.3 m/s in his normal form, and 16.3 m/s in his One-Winged Angel form. All of his neutral attacks are set up very well for combos. Even though he has a lot of combos, his damage output is not the best. Overall, his speed makes him fun to play.

Casual smash enjoyer, freshman Henry “Cash” Haddad believes that Young Link is the best due to his projectiles and strong up-close attacks. Smash is “a good way to play games with friends while still being pretty simple for anyone to pick up and play,” he says.

Junior at HBHS, Brek Lohmiller started playing Smash Bros competitively in 2016. One of his favorite characters includes Byleth, since Fire Emblem: Three Houses, has been one of his favorite games since 2018. The character Sepiroth is also on his list of favorite characters due to Sepiroth being one of his favorite villains. His love of Metroid leads to Samus being on the list as well.

 Meta Knight’s “quick nature of Meta Knight, which completely dominated the scene,” is what makes it such a great character, says Lohmiller. “The competitive scene community can be a little overwhelming at times, but I think if you can find the right people you can have a lot of fun competing with one another and make it a lot more fun.” 

With the Smash Bros community still alive and growing, there may still be hope for another edition of the game. This game could open even more opportunities for collaborations with even more franchises such as Halo, or even add the most requested character from all games, Waluigi.

Smash Bros has been such an influential game, with other notable games such as Nick All-Star Brawls taking heavy influence from Super Smash Bros. With thousands of spin-offs as well, it is evident that is one of if not the most influential games in gaming history.