F5: such an innocuous button on our keyboard. You might know this button as the refresh button on any Windows operating computer. But hardcore fans mash this button whenever theyíre absolutely desperate for the latest news from a developer. Usually thereís a single date thatís pegged for a big reveal on the devís website and one would lose sleep that night just waiting for an announcement.
Now try repeating the process every single night.
Itís funny how Smash Bros. is regularly debated on whether or not itís a true fighting game
in the eyes of the mainstream FGC, which is funny because the FGC itself is a niche community within mainstream video games. And yet the hype leading up to Brawl was just as much if not more when compared to Capcomís big name fighting games, which are some of the biggest in the community.
Back in May of 2007, the official website of Smash Bros. launched, Smash Dojo. Over a period of a year, Smash fans were drip fed details of the game in a painfully slow fashion. In the beginning, basic facts that would surprise no one were revealed such as returning characters, basic fighting mechanics, and the premise behind Adventure Mode and so forth. We all know Mario is a returning vet and that there would be laser swords. Then as time went on, much bigger reveals were posted over stretches of weeks. And of course, this didnít happen randomly. Posts didnít go up whenever Sakurai felt like throwing us into a tizzy. Over time, the scheduled posts came to be known as Japan Time to Smash fans.
Japan time! Japan tiem! Japan tiem1
Smash Bros. is a Japanese thing. Itís not developed in America like Halo or Gears or GTA. Itís a Nintendo thing, made right in its homeland of Japan. So when posts go up, it was according to Japanís time zone. Of course, since a new day officially starts at midnight, Smash Dojo was updated every midnight, Japan Time. Unfortunately, this led to lost sleep for many of us Western fans as Japan is several time zones away. I remember staying up as late as 2am just to see the dayís post. Apparently, it was 3am before that.
Iím not even going to get into the game itself. You want to talk hype? Excitement over Brawl probably peaked before the game was even released. Fake images were all over the internet. If Solid Snake and Sonic could get in the game, what about Ulala from Space Channel 5? Or Geno from Mario RPG? Bomberman? Before Brawl was released, the sky was the limit. Even if a fake image was obvious, everyone would just think, ďYeah, thatíd be pretty cool. Itís pretty fake but pretty cool.Ē
Discussions were ablaze across the internet just on roster speculation. Itís entirely possible that just waiting for the game was more exciting than when it came out. Itís a great game, no doubt, but people who were interested in tournament competition found the game unsuitable for so called tournament play and it went downhill from there when that specific demographic bled over as a dominant scene for the game. Metaknight and Solid Snakeís overwhelming advantages, limited stage selection, items, and the most hated of all features even by people who donít play in tournaments: random tripping. Everyone's got to admit that tripping is pretty stupid.
Regardless of what you think of Brawl now, as a game or as a fighting game, it had hype in spades. Remember when Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 was slowly revealing new characters like Wesker and Deadpool? That happened probably once every month or so in the time leading up to MvC3ís release. Brawl somehow did it nearly every single night for a year straight and it made the fanbase absolutely rabid whenever a day was skipped or even an hour late. If a post was late, cries of Japan Time were pasted over and over again in attempt to ease their minds off the unknown waiting for when the post would go up.
Congratulations Smash faithful who stayed up! You are now the first people to know that Meowth will be returning as a chance to appear in a Pokeball drop. Wasnít that worth several hours of sleep?
Well, I remember my mind being blown when Sonic was introduced one October 10, 2007
. The excitement is forever etched into my bones.