This weekend, more than 100 Best Buy locations across the United States hosted an event where anyone could come and play a demo of both the Wii U and 3DS versions of the new Smash Bros. game. I've been in love with the series since the very beginning and even used to frequent tournaments for it, so the fact that the nearest participating store was 70 miles away meant nothing to me. Nothing would stop me from getting my hands on this game.
I currently live in the tiny state of Delaware, but despite that, the line to play Smash was still a 45 minute wait. While it would seem silly to most people to wait that long for a match, I was fueled by pure hype and knew the wait would be nothing compared to the euphoria I would feel while playing the game. It also helps that my brother accompanied me, so I could at least kill time by talking to him. Eventually, we made our way to the front of the line and I still didn't know who I wanted to choose. I had wanted Rosalina playable in Smash since the first Galaxy game, so should I start with her? What about my old mains Samus, Link, ZSS, or Zelda? It was a tossup, but I opted to start with Samus, since I had faithfully used her since the very beginning. My brother chose Little Mac at my suggestion because I knew he would appreciate his relentless rushdown playstyle.
The match began and the buffs to Samus were immediately noticeable: better normals with farther reach, increased damage, decreased charge time and better damage/knockback with her Charge Shot, increased mobility, and the Screw Attack now had amazing kill-potential. I was wreaking havoc with her when out of nowhere, my brother landed the K.O. punch on me in the same fashion as Little Mac's trailer. The crowd goes nuts. I shake it off while the match continues. Near the end, I manage to snag the Smash Ball and seal my victory with it. It was exhilarating.
On the way to the back of the line, my hands were still shaking. My heart was pumping with the same ferocity that it used to when I attended Smash tournaments. I knew at that moment that they would have to pry the controller from my hands before I would leave the store willingly. I vowed then and there that I would revitalize my fighting game career and attend whatever tournaments I could when Smash was released. And despite the sheer bliss I felt while playing at Best Buy the entire day, the true power of Smash Bros. manifested itself in other ways.
I think what really plucked at my heartstrings was the wide variety of people that showed up to the event. It's no secret that Smash Bros. is one of the biggest franchises in video game history. When you get some friends together at your house, what's one of the first things you do? You play Smash. You talk trash, yell at every precise maneuver, and lose your voice to the infinite amount of hype the game produces. Every kind of gamer you could imagine was in line, all for the sake of Smash Brothers.
Everyone was talking about it. And if a person wasn't talking about it, they had their 3DS in hand and were killing time until it was their turn. Discussions ranged from changes to favorite characters to the most subtle nods and details that Sakurai had chosen to include in the game. The excitement in the room was palpable. I couldn't help but jump from conversation to conversation because I just wanted to soak up everything that was being said.
What touched me the most, however, was the fact that even people that were naturally shy couldn't help but wiggle into our speculations. On several occasions, people would quietly chime in with their thoughts and would then quickly apologize for barging into our conversation uninvited. My brother and I are rather outspoken and sociable, so we would just laugh it off and tell them that they should have jumped in earlier.
Like war-hardened veterans, we traded stories of our conquests and exploits. Tales of our greatest victories were shared with one another as each person eagerly awaited their turn to disclose their triumphs. And what about the new Smash? Who else was going to be announced? Shulk? King K. Rool? The long-teased Ridley, perhaps? We were brothers in arms while standing in line, but rivals when the matches began. We all possessed that competitive edge that Smash awakens within people who play, but couldn't help but be content no matter what the outcome of our matches was.
My brother and I stayed until the very end of the event. While the staff complimented my skills and Zelda beanie, they also had to shove me out the door, clearly not amused by my futile attempts to play just one more match. As I left, I was on cloud nine.
I had long since forgotten the amazing power that Smash Brothers held over people. It not only has the longevity to provide thousands of hours of entertainment, but the appeal to unite every type of person you can think of. I mean, just watch this if you don't believe me. Smash holds a special place in my heart and always will. In fact, I wouldn't be where I am today without it, although I suppose that's a story for another time. Point being, it was a surreal, heartwarming experience to be in the midst of so many passionate, amazing fans of the series again.
I guess I just wanted to say that you guys are the best and I absolutely cannot wait until both versions come out. Not only will the community come closer together after release, but I know it will continue to grow and thrive. Thanks for reading, and if you have any awesome experiences you want to share from the event, please feel free to do so below!