The weird shape of the controllers and the single analog stick are what I remember about the Nintendo 64, the strange foray of Nintendo making 3D video games with them 64 bits. I can remember loving Super Mario 64 or Donkey Kong 64, but the game that always meant the most to me was Super Smash Bros., the original Nintendo 64 game, a game I still go back to at least once a year for nostalgic reasons and because the game is still fun as all hell. It was Nintendo’s first attempt at making this absolutely crazy franchise, a franchise where your favorite Nintendo characters can be seen beating the crap out of each other…and you get to play it. Who the hell wouldn’t want to play this?
And then Melee came out on the GameCube, my personal favorite Smash Bros. game and the one I’ve played the most. The pacing of the game was pure perfection, everything ran so perfectly, it had a wide cast of characters, and was just so blissfully fun. I have no idea how many hours I actually have on this game, but it could easily be my most played game of all time, from single player bouts to multiplayer hours upon hours. It’s a completely fond memory.
And lastly (sort of), we have Brawl, the Nintendo Wii Smash game. Well…this is where the series sort of falters a bit. Is it still pretty damn fun? Sure. Did I put in plenty of hours? Yeah, I did. Was Subspace Emissary a strange fan-fiction like thing that for some reason slipped into a mainstream video game? (That’s both a compliment and isn’t.) Absolutely. But the one thing that hurt this game so much was the game was slowed down exponentially, and as a whole, the game just never had the same nostalgic feel I had gotten from still playing Melee and the N64 version.
But then we have Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (also known as the worst title ever) and these feelings of pure, blissful fun are surfacing again. I got a Wii U for Christmas primarily to play Smash more than anything, how could I not? It still had a soft spot for me despite Brawl’s failures. I’ve only played the game for a couple hours but everything is so right about this game, especially in terms of the game’s pace, it feels like Melee more than anything and beyond that, the new characters are an absolute blast to play with. I love Pac-Man and think he is a wonderful addition to the franchise, and even plenty of characters I didn’t know like Shulk are great, or strange additions like Rosalina & Luma or Duck Hunt (I still can’t get over that they literally named the character Duck Hunt…). These new characters are simply great.
But the thing that obligated me the most to write this piece was simply playing through classic mode and getting exceptionally nostalgic. The thing is, they did change plenty of classic mode, you move a trophy piece of your character and drag it toward any of the series of battles you’d like for a couple of rounds, I wasn’t too crazy about it at first but its grown on me. But once the team of Mii Fighters happened (the pre-battle to Master Hand/Crazy Hand), I stopped caring. It brought back those same feelings. And then I played against Masterhand/Crazy Hand and it was the same thing. And then I got to beat up some credits and it was the same. And then they played the weird highlight video of your character at the end and that hit me the most. I have no idea why. It’s just a weird sense of nostalgia for such a stupid thing really. It just reminds me of playing these wonderful games-especially the N64 one when I was the youngest-and why I loved them in the first place.
Everything, beat by beat, just hit me. And so far, this is one of the best games I’ve played in quite some time simply because it is fun, simply because it plays like Melee, and simply because it manages to keep these nostalgic things intact. More than any Nintendo franchise, Smash Bros is the one that means most to me, it is the one that I think about most when I hear the word “Nintendo” and even more so, “gaming.” If anything, these are just my simple first impressions of the Wii U version of Smash, and I don’t think it could get any worse, I only expect it to get even better and better. Kudos to Sora Ltd. and Bandai Namco for making a game that gets EVERYTHING right (except that weird Smash Tour garbage, I feel like they got an eight year old to design it who had way too much caffeine and sugar). This is exactly what I want out of video games: to have some goddamn fun.
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Author of this post (and the only author ever on this blog):
Jesse Jordon is an aspiring writer who writes this stuff on these blogs to make you learn something I guess. (Wait, why am I mixing 3rd and 1st person point of view when I’m the only one writing this?) He’s trying to be a video game journalist but is probably failing at that. You can follow him on Twitter @jjordon96 (if you want I guess). You can also purchase his first self-published book On Human Empathy for only $5.00 (you can buy literature or coffee, it’s up to you to decide. I’d go with the coffee personally).