In keeping with the fact that it is Valentine’s Day today, I need to show love to one of my favourite games of all time: Super Smash Bros. The first entry in the series, this game holds more memories for me than any other game I have ever played. More than that, I have likely played Super Smash Bros. with more people than I have played any other game. Although this game did not move into the online realm until Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii, the original SSB was another one of those titles that you had to play with friends. The single player mode is nothing special, but the multiplayer possibilities are endless.
Several years and console generations after, I still turn this game on when the mood strikes me. Some would argue that this first iteration was not as enjoyable as either of its two sequels, but I felt that the focus on timing and strategy in SSB, as opposed to technique and tiered characters, created a less complicated and less convoluted gaming experience than the Gamecube and Wii versions of the game. One of the specific problems I have with Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl is that the throwing moves ceased to be effective ways of destroying your opponents. The emphasis fell on fighting as opposed to forcing your opponent off of the screen as soon as possible. Call me a purist, but I wish the formula of the first game was never altered as much as it was.
Another reason why SSB is so fun and memorable is because so many people I know played the game. Of course some people are better at the game than others, but my friends and I could choose different characters or levels and have unique game experiences each time we inserted the cartridge. Again, some people might disagree with me, but I could turn on this game 5 years from now and have a blast with some old friends because of the staying power of SSB. It symbolises the idea that less is more.
To take an even more personal turn, my favourite character was Kirby. His downward air attack was incredibly effective to the point that some might refer to it as “cheap,” or unfair. Nonetheless, he was not perfect and opponents eventually found ways of countering his attacks. Funnily enough, I can pick out one of any number of my friends and tell you which characters was their favourite, or at least the one they used most often. As far as I can remember, some people with whom I played never chose a character other than Samus (you know who you are). It might be that what makes this game so special is the fact that the people I play video games with all knew, remembered, and played this game when it first came out, or even years later after the two sequels came out. Whatever the reason, I will never forget Super Smash Bros., nor will I forget the commercial featuring costumed mascots such as Mario and Yoshi beating on each other with The Turtles’ “So Happy Together” playing in the background. Of all the games I have ever played, this one might best represent or capture my feelings of nostalgia and camaraderie.