Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Super Smash Bros: The Waiting Game

So, I'm a big gamer.

I'll play a little bit of everything, but Nintendo is by far my favorite video game company. It seems that being a Nintendo fan has some sort of stigma attached to it in the video game community; I don't think I'll ever fully understand that. For me, Nintendo has, by far, the most iconic characters and series in all of gaming: Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Star Fox, Fire Emblem, Metroid, and more.

Sure, Nintendo doesn't own every iconic series ever made; there's Metal Gear, Call of Duty, Halo, and many more series that Nintendo does not own, and some of which have never even appeared on a Nintendo console. In my opinion, however, it is the unique and colorful characters that make Nintendo what it is. Sure, Nintendo is constantly trying new things, like introducing the thumb-controlled analog stick on the Nintendo 64, the motion controls of the Wii, and more recently the Wii U GamePad tablet controller. These innovations are always interesting, sometimes brilliant, and sometimes annoying. But it is the games themselves, the legendary series, that set Nintendo apart from its competitors.

This is the reason the Super Smash Bros. series is so insanely popular. What's better than a bunch of games featuring some of the best characters in gaming? Why, throwing all of those characters into one game, of course! Nowhere else can you find out if Mario can beat Link while dodging lightning jolts from Pikachu and lasers shot by Fox McCloud. The games are just fun, pure and simple.

Recently, Nintendo has announced the fourth iteration in the Super Smash Bros. series to be released on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS in 2014. Obviously, speculation about features of the upcoming game is running rampant across internet, from the character roster to stages to music to the physics engine. Everyone has their own opinion on which characters they want in the game, and which characters they think are likely. Everyone including me.

Nintendo made a huge splash at E3 by announcing 9 returning characters (who were hardly a surprise) and three characters new to the series: Villager (from Animal Crossing), Wii Fit Trainer (it doesn't need to be said which game she's from), and Mega Man. All three of these characters were shocking in their own way. An Animal Crossing stage already appeared in Brawl without going along with a playable character, so many thought this meant Animal Crossing would never have a playable character. The developer of the series, Masahiro Sakurai, also once stated that Animal Crossing was a very peaceful game and its characters weren't suited to fighting. The inclusion of Wii Fit Trainer was absolutely insane (yet somehow perfect); it's fitting that her initials are an anagram of WTF. Finally, Mega Man, as with any third-party character, could hardly be expected. Brawl broke precedent by including two third-party characters (Sonic and Snake), but the standard for any non-Nintendo character getting into the series is still incredibly high. This is, after all, a Nintendo fighter. It must be said, however, that Mega Man's history with Nintendo makes him more deserving of a spot in the Smash Bros. series than any other third-party character (Sonic and Snake included).

Anyway, out of excitement waiting for the game (and some boredom on my part), I decided to make my own roster prediction. My roster contains 45 characters (not counting transformations); since Brawl had 35 (by the same standard), I think this is a reasonable number. Every character on my roster is either returning from a previous installment in the series, is already a confirmed newcomer, or else has (in my opinion) a very real shot of being playable in the upcoming game. My roster was made with part prediction, part logic, and, yes, part personal desire. Without further adieu, here it is:

(Note: The Z.S. Samus near the bottom left is supposed to represent Wii Fit Trainer; the program I used didn't have an icon for her and I was too lazy to make one.)

The red borders are supposed to represent that a character is unlockable rather than being a starting character, though that's not really the point.

I've cut 3 characters from Brawl: Toon Link, Ike, and Lucario. Toon Link, while fun, is hardly necessary, and was the easiest character to cut to make room for another (I mean come on... he's still Link). Lucario was replaced with Mewtwo, even though Lucario is actually my favorite character in Brawl. I felt that Mewtwo, together with some mechanic of transforming into Awakened Mewtwo, could satisfy those who were upset that he was cut from Melee and represent the newest generation of Pokemon at the same time. Finally, Ike was cut to make room for Chrom. Chrom is the main character of the newest (and very popular) entry in the Fire Emblem series. However, that is not to say that Chrom should be an Ike clone; in fact, I envision Shulk and his Monado taking over most of Ike's A-button moveset, while having new specials (admittedly, none of Ike's B-moves, other than maybe side-B, were very impressive anyway).

Other than the roster itself, my main desire is for Ganondorf to receive an entirely new moveset. Ganondorf has been a ripoff of Captain Falcon for way too long, and a character of his stature deserves better (not to mention that nothing in his current moveset represents anything he does in the entire Zelda series). I don't actually want him to use his sword; even though he uses it in some of his more recent appearances, I think Smash has enough sword users, and that Ganondorf is capable of a lot without a sword. He has projectiles, shockwave slams, and the ability to produce phantoms (Ocarina of Time) and ride a horse (Twilight Princess; hey, if Wario can pull a motorcycle out of nowhere, why not a horse? Though the ability to attack the horse like Wario's motorcycle may not be a good thing...). Ganondorf is the only character who I can't stand to be a semi-clone; Falco, Wolf, Luigi, etc. are understandable, though more separation wouldn't be a bad thing. Ganondorf, however, is intolerable.

What do you think of the roster? Like it? Hate it? Uncontrollably angry that I removed a few characters? Let me know in the comments!

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