History of Super Smash Bros. (Part 1) – Gaming Historian

History of Super Smash Bros. (Part 1) – Gaming Historian


you I want you to imagine me at 12 years old seeing this commercial back in 1999 for the first time I actually still remember the day I first saw it I was at my friend’s house watching Cartoon Network and there it was our favorite Nintendo characters pummeling each other we immediately begged for a ride to Walmart to purchase the game you see a game like Super Smash Brothers it was unique for its time Nintendo usually kept all their franchises separate sure you would see the occasional easter egg or cameo every now and then but nothing like this it was all of our favorite characters in one game not only that but they were fighting each other crazy Super Smash Brothers began as an experiment a fun side project for developers how laboratories now it is one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises and a staple and professional fighting game tournaments it’s time to take a look back and see where it all began and it all started as an idea by Kirby crater Masahiro Sakurai back in 1998 the year is 1998 and Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai is hard at work on how laboratories next big game the project kept Sakurai busy but that didn’t stop him from thinking of other ideas for games one particular idea he had was a fighting game for the casual gamer at home 2d fighting games at the time were everywhere with the best versions being in the arcade the problem was casual gamers felt intimidated to play in the arcades due to the competitive nature of the games Sakurai wanted to change that making an easily accessible console fighting game that anyone can play master and enjoy Sakurai worked on his new passion project on the weekends however he needed help with the programming he approached his boss Satoru Iwata with his fighting game idea the timing couldn’t have been better Yatta – had ideas for new games particularly one that used the n64 analog stick and the four player capabilities built into the system you watch I agreed to help Sakurai program the game which they initially dubbed for player battle royale over time the two had a working prototype and had named it Dragon King the fighting game they slapped some generic faceless characters into the game for demonstration purposes Sakurai was happy with the foundation and the game was fun to play but it lacked a real identity he wanted to make the atmosphere more interesting to the player fighting games in arcades were different because players played the game to fight and challenge each other character development wasn’t that big of a deal but a fighting game on the home console had to have a good atmosphere to keep the player in the game hooked so what better atmosphere in the world of Nintendo without permission Sakurai any wata through some Nintendo characters into the game it was a perfect match but what would Nintendo think they nervously pitched the game to the company with no idea as to how they would take it turns out Nintendo loved it and improved the use of their characters in the game this was a huge relief to Sakurai not only did he have a cast of characters and levels but he had the branding of Nintendo behind his game their next challenge believe it or not was to sell the product market research showed that gamers in Japan weren’t too excited about having their favorite characters beat each other up Nintendo hiked the game by releasing a playing guide online show gamers the ins and outs of the game On January 21st 1999 Nintendo released Super Smash Brothers on the Nintendo 64 to the Japanese public the game sold better than expected and three months later it made its way to North America where it became a hit Super Smash Brothers sold over 5 million units three million of those in North America it’s the fifth best selling game on the Nintendo 64 so now let’s talk about the actual game how good is the original Super Smash Brothers 15 years later actually pretty damn good and a big reason for that are the controls there are so precise and accurate in this game that it still makes it fun and easy to play there aren’t any complicated combos to learn for each fighter every move for each fighter is executed in the same way at the most will require two buttons to use each character is highly unique with their moves coming from their respective games after playing you will quickly find a character you excel with and stick with them one of the most unique features of Super Smash Brothers is the way you actually have to win in standard fighting games you knock your opponent’s life bar down to zero but Super Smash Brothers is all about knocking the character off the stage the percentages sort of act as a life bar in that the higher the percent of damage a character has the easier it becomes to knock them off another feature you don’t usually see are items items will randomly drop during battles that can help you but also hurt you you’ll recognize a few these items from the Nintendo franchises they come from overall Super Smash Brothers isn’t that big of a game the single-player is quick and fairly easy and doesn’t really mix anything up after you’ve played through it a few times it’s pretty shallow actually the real joy of Super Smash Brothers is the multiplayer four player battles with a bunch of options including timed battles stock battles items switches and team battles this is where Super Smash Brothers stands out and why it became so popular I know growing up multiplayer mode was pretty much all we played once we unlocked all the secrets so with Super Smash Brothers being a success what was next for Sakurai and his new franchise with sales better than expected Nintendo turned back to how laboratories for a sequel their new system the Gamecube was coming out with more powerful hardware Super Smash Brothers could turn into a flagship title for the system Masahiro Sakurai was made director once again and began undertaking his biggest gaming project yet there are lots of firsts for him his first disc based game his first use of real polygons his first use of orchestrated music he wanted it all and Nintendo gave him the means to do it it was all up to him now to put it together to quote Sakurai I was a man on a mission compared to the original super smash brothers melee was going to be huge the game featured 13 more playable characters new levels new modes minigames and unlockables other developers wanted in on the game too Hideo Kojima creator of the Metal Gear Solid series wanted Solid Snake in the game but the game was already too far in development to include him Nintendo commissioned three graphics studios to create the stunning opening movie for the game and showed it off at e3 2001 advertisements were played during showings of the Pokemon movie in Japan gamers were excited the press was excited the game looked incredible and everything seemed to be coming together but for Masahiro Sakurai it was a dark and stressful time he would work up to 40 hours straight sleep for four hours then head back to work he wouldn’t take any holidays or stop work on Sunday Sakurai stated I pushed myself beyond any limit I could think of but he and his team’s hard work paid off by creating the sharpest most polished Super Smash Brothers game available super smash brothers melee is a huge game compared to the original there are so many extra modes options and collectables the single-player game has added an adventure mode that offers some platforming levels it has some kind of story I don’t know it’s more than just the classic mode so that’s a plus just like the first game the strengths of melee lie in its deep multiplayer and they really went all out they added a ton of extra options and modes to customize your multiplayer fights including a tournament mode probably my favorite addition is the extra bonus game home run contest you have to beat this sandbag up as much as possible then hit it as far as you can with the bat along with all the unlockable characters and stages Mele also added trophies for players to unlock during single-player you can find these trophies or you can collect coins from winning battles and use the lottery the trophies are actually one of the best parts about the game they’re addicting to collect and browsing through the gallery provides some nice information about each one to date super smash brothers melee has sold 7 million copies making it the best-selling GameCube game of all time IGN stated it put the original to shame and their readers chose it as the game of the year GameSpot claimed it was one of the most engaging multiplayer games available for any console platform melee also burst onto the competitive gaming scene in 2004 major league gaming added melee to its tournament roster most recently it has become a staple of the evolution championship series also known as Evo an annual fighting game tournament held in Las Vegas after the success of melee Sakurai went back to work on other projects for how laboratories but there was a growing rift between him and the company Sakurai felt how was making too many sequels in 2003 he decided to leave the company and start his own Soraa the future of the Super Smash Brothers series was suddenly up in the air

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