The Nintendo 64 was the core of my existence when I was growing up. Between games like Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie, I usually spent my 5th grade evenings grasping onto that awkward controller and jumping up and down like a mad man, because that makes you play better of course. One of the games that changed the course of my childhood, and eventually my life, that was exclusively on the N64 was Super Smash Bros.
A game that was, at heart, a button smashing, friend bashing, action fighting game, and had the coolest premise in the world; choose your favorite Nintendo character, like Mario or my personal favorite Ness, and beat the living crap out of each other. People who played Smash immediately understood the magic behind it. Players could conquer the quest alone and challenge the Master Hand or you could get 3 buddies together and have an all-out brawl! What wasn’t there to love?
Various installments of the game have been created over the years, with their co-existing fanbases. Many people who grew up with the original, loved the sequel Melee yet hated the Wii version, Brawl. It created generation gaps in Nintendo but it was still an experience that many of us have shared through the years. Looking back, I had friends who actually competed internationally at Smash and were even ranked in the top 500 in the country in the Super Smash Bros tournament circuit. It was that serious.
Today, there is a new version of Super Smash that has been released on the Wii U and the 3DS and they are both great. Going back to the roots of the original, the new Smash is on par with the first installment and the best part about it, you can play your friends online. It doesn’t matter if you have a 3DS or a Wii U, you can call up your 3 buddies and have at it, just like the old days! With classic characters like Mario and Star Fox and newcomers like Pac Man, this new version is great for any generation. It was great to get ahold of this masterpiece from the past. The levels were fun and just as imaginative as before. The challenges were revamped but damn, did it feel like 1999 again, and in a good way (not the getting jiggy with it way). Slicing and dicing with Link, blasting people away with Samus, eating your fill of characters with Yoshi; everything felt all right with the world.
With that said, I have been brushing up on my skills and getting back into the form of yesteryear. Ness is an unlockable character in this version but once I unlocked him, I dusted off the old Louisville Slugger and busted out my PK Fire. It was great to get back into it; comboing hits and crushing that sweet spot where you smack your enemy at just the right time to send them flying into the sunset. Ness has been my favorite since I was a kid, watching my older cousin play Earthbound and just remembering how amazing and creepy that game truly was. If only Ness could get a remake! Even so, playing as Ness is always amazing and it almost feels like he’s gotten his own stage.
All in all, it depends on what style you have as to who you want to be. There are the Star Fox people, who enjoy rapidly kicking their foe into a barrel roll. Then there are the Kirby people, who just want to eat their enemy and steal their powers, all because they can’t use their own. I am told that my preference, Ness, is the most annoying of style of play. Ness people continuously try to crush you with their bat, grab you and throw you around with electricity and start you on fire then repeat. The worst, right?
Thinking back to the days of Mountain Dew filled all-nighters with my friends, I remember the joy that was associated with playing Super Smash Bros. Every time we got excited, I would stare down my friends, warning them that if we woke up my mom, we would be in so much trouble. When the sun would peak out from between the shades, we would know that the adults would begin to stir soon and it was probably time for bed. These are the memories that a game like this can create. Having bought the newest piece to the puzzle that is Smash, I can only hope that the memories I once made never fade and that I can create a slew of new ones with friends that now live across the country.