Super Smash Bros Switch Announced – A Look at the Franchise’s History and Future

Since the N64 release of Super Smash Bros. in 1999, Nintendo’s crossover fighting game has become one of the most widely-played and recognizable gaming franchises in history. Born into a world oversaturated with other fighting games, lead developer Masahiro Sakurai achieved widespread popularity for the series by thinking outside the box and innovating in several ways.

First, the use of existing Nintendo characters like Link from the Legend of Zelda series, popular Mario villain Donkey Kong, and the most iconic pokemon of all time, Pikachu (as well as Jigglypuff), brought instant fan service and brand recognition to the title. Sakurai felt the characters were “a key ingredient which he felt had been missing up until this point.” While the first Smash Bros. game only boasted a roster of twelve characters, that list grew each year, with the 2014 release of Super Smash Bros. (for the 3DS and Wii U) providing fifty-eight familiar faces. This ever-expanding pantheon finally provided fans with the answer to the age-old question of who would win in a fight between Mario and Sonic – and a chance to influence this answer.

The other key element to the series’ success lies in what NintendoLife described as “its novel gameplay concept, which has since remained firmly at the centre of each instalment.” Unlike most fighting games, Smash shied away from a traditional health point-based system. Instead, Sakurai’s alternative gave players a percentage counter, which increases as you take damage, allowing each subsequent hit to push you further away from the arena. When a character is knocked out of the arena, they lose a life. This constant battle to weaken your opponents, while preventing them from weakening you, is at the heart of what makes Smash Bros. such a frantically exciting franchise.

While these core elements have remained the more or less the same over the series’ history, Smash Bros. is by no means a series of re-skinned copy-paste games. In fact, it sits somewhere between the FIFA series and an online casino in terms of evolving variety. More and more games and gaming platforms seek to offer many types to play and many things to do to gamers – as a case in point is the casino industry, where there are hundreds, sometimes thousands of different games hosted on one website or app. For example, you can play online at Betsafe Casino a series of different themed slots, blackjack variants and table games. In terms of evolving variety, Smash Bros. has undergone some significant evolutions over the years, because no two games are ever the same.

Released for the Gamecube in 2001, Super Smash Bros. Melee contained multiple visual and gameplay refinements, in addition to expanding the character pool. Melee was “slickly presented,” with improved visuals and a consistently higher framerate, allowing for faster, more intuitive gameplay.

What set the sequel apart from its predecessor were the remarkable changes to the physics, which lead to competitive gamers widening the gap between themselves and casual players, using skills like wavedashing and spot-dodging. This opportunity for high-skill competition has lead to Melee’s long-standing professional scene.

Released for the Wii in 2008, Super Smash Bros. Brawl attempted to address the exploitable physics of Melee and increase the casual aspect of the game. Brawl was “a considerable step up from Melee in terms of scope and the amount of content.” While removing these physics exploits and simplifying the gameplay caused a large portion of the competitive scene to stick with Melee, both games still maintain a large pro gamer following and have strong presence at tournaments.

With a fifth installment of the series due later in 2018 for the Switch, developers and fans alike are clamoring for information on the ways in which one of the most popular and celebrated fighting games will change as it wavedashes forward into the future.

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