One warning, though: this awards show is a very new affair, and as such the production's budget is not quite what we'd like it to be. Hard hats will be provided to you at your seat. Don them for protection from any falling Super Smash Bros. Brawl spoilers that may randomly drop from the show's scaffolding and crush your head.
With that disclaimer out of the way, the show has officially begun! Hit the jump and marvel at the most splendorous spectacle of Smash Bros. fandom on the planet. And no, I didn't win a Bessie this year, but just for putting on this "show", I probably deserve one.
The award for best Smash Bros. fan art goes to...
"Get Ready to BRAWL" by DeviantArt's Abysswolf.
Though many don't know his name, the work of Abysswolf has already been made famous in video game message boards and monitor wallpapers of Smash fans everywhere. His pixel-perfect rendition of the entire Smash Bros. Brawl cast, in a banner that the artist updated with new characters as they were announced on the Smash Bros. Dojo, is a testament to the artist's dedication to both Smash Bros. and to legitimately compelling fan art as well.
Abysswolf's use of pixels over the silky-smooth, high-resolution mush or the shabby, colored-pencil-produced scribbles seen in most modern Smash Bros. fan art truly sets him apart from the pack. His technique proved to be perfect for the purposes of creating a sense of visual unification for Brawl's varied cast, as well as pulling at the heartstrings of nostalgia of many a Nintendo gaming veteran.
Also of note is the artist's ongoing work on the fan-made cross-over fighter Card Sagas Wars, where many of the characters from the "Get Ready to BRAWL" piece can be seen in their fully animated glory. Regardless, if this ambitious project ever sees the light of day, we expect to see many great things from Abysswolf in the years to come.
Runner-up: Quas-quas' Smash Bros. DeviantArt page.
Like Abysswolf, Quas-quas has managed to find a visual style that works for the entire Smash Bros. cast, and his dynamic use of variable line thickness and squash and stretch character postures set him apart from the pack. Though these strengths were not enough to launch Abysswolf from the top spot, they were more than enough to snag second place.
Next up, the award for best fake Smash Bros. Melee/Brawl charcter select screen....
"Not Gonna Happen..." by anonymous.
Even before Brawl was announced, hard-working Smash Bros. fanboys piddled away precious hours of their lives in the pursuit of crafting the ultimate Smash Bros. Brawl character select screen. Just type "smash bros" + "select screen" in the "images" search field on Google.com, and prepare to pay witness to the results. YouTube is also no stranger to the fake Smash Bros. select screen phenomenon, with entries ranging from the purely nostalgic, to the counterfeit, and to the borderline insulting.
Our winning entry, found on The Tanooki (caption in pic also by The Tanooki), was chosen for its sheer girth alone. The first person to correctly name all the characters in this screen gets a hand-drawn picture of me crowning you king of the internet Matlocks.
Runner-up: This YTMND-enabled Brawl select screen.
Unique among fake Smash Bros. character select screens for its almost complete lack of Nintendo mascots, as well as the inclusion of a man in a gorilla suit named "Fats Geronimo", this character screen is a truly wonderful example of the levels that a Smash fan's imagination can distance him/herself from reality.
Now, for the award for the best Smash Bros. fan website. The winner is...
What can be said about Smash Boards that hasn't been said before? It is host to the most informative, thorough, and elitist Smash Bros. players the world over. Anything and everything you may have ever thought, felt, wanted, liked, or hated about Smash Bros. has already been thought, felt, wanted, liked, or hated on the Smash Boards, but with much more "hardcore, tournament-worthy technique". Long before the official roster for Brawl was made known via the retail release of the game in Japan, members of Smash Boards already had all the details. It is, bar none, the go-to Web site for the inside scoop on anything relating to the Smash Bros. series. Too bad their community has a despicable tendency to mock anyone who does not fit their generally strict standards for "non-noob" status...
A great site, not as heavy on the snobbery as Smash Boards, and host to the now world-infamous "Freak-a-chu" video.
The winner of the award for best fan-made Smash Bros. game is...
Super Smash Bros. NES!
Super Smash Bros. NES is the finest example of a fan-made Smash Bros. game currently available, at least for free. The game features all the modes of Melee, including Classic, Adventure, Target Test, and multi-player modes. The game cuts no corners in its attempt to provide the player with an experience as robust and detailed as "the real thing".
Luckily for us, the creators of Super Smash Bros. NES predicted Brawl's roster incorrectly, as seen by their inclusion of Mega Man in SSBNES. This is the only place where Mega Man, Samus, Kirby, and Mario can slap each other around in a formalized battle royale. Once again, Smash fans have done whatever it takes to make their fantasies a reality.
Beyond even the game, the Super Smash Bros. NES Web site provides a polished, Dojo-esque experience containing music, gameplay videos, character profiles, and more. Fully exploring the site will alone provide minutes of pure entertainment.
There is no way that Super Smash Bros. NES could measure up to the full-budgeted retail experiences it aspires to recreate. But for a free game produced with nothing but fandom, programming knowledge, and the overwhelming desire to add to the Smash Bros. world, you could do a lot worse than Super Smash Bros. NES.
Runner-up: Newgrounds Super Smash Bros. Flash.
Reportedly made by a 16-year-old, this game contains some new character sprites, a convenient auto-save feature, and a fairly robust adventure mode. A general lack of polish and sometimes painfully weird-looking character animations keep this valiant effort from reaching the top spot.
And the final award of the night, the coveted "Most Valuable Smash Bros. Fanboy" award goes to....
Destructoid's own BlindsideDork!
Words can hardly begin to express my amazement and mystification with Destructoid's BlindsideDork. For hundreds of days now, Blindside has not only updated his c-blog with the latest Smash Bros. Brawl news straight from the game's official site, but he has also conducted a daily contest centered around the prediction of the content of said Smash Bros. Dojo updates. BSD gets absolutely no money for doing this. Not only does he painstakingly tally the entries into his contest himself, judge the bonus point Photoshops (like the one above by c-blogger ZekeThePlumber), but he funds the entire contest from his own wallet. I know this to be true, because I was actually lucky to place a couple of times in the contest before I became a front page editor. I'm still eating the Super Mario Bros. green apple candy I got one month as a second-place prize.
No other c-blogger, forums poster, or any form of "civilian" on the internet has ever worked so hard and given of themselves so much in order to interact with and provide for other video games fans.
BlindsideDork, we at the Bessies salute you.
Not to be scoffed at, DynamicSheep attempted to do his own "Countdown to Smash Bros. Brawl" series posts, which were incredibly time-intensive and detailed in their own right. Too bad he stopped doing them after multiple delays for Brawl's release overwhelmed him with sorrow. He could have been a contender.
That's a wrap!
So, how did you like the show? Was there anything I left out? Remember, there is always time for a recount. What example of Smash Bros. fandom did I miss that you think deserves a Bathing Suit Samus award?
Other entries in this series
Three Days to Smash Bros. Brawl: Interview with Nintendo's Eric Walter
Four Days to Smash Bros. Brawl: The Top Five Smash Bros Glitches
Five Days to Smash Bros. Brawl: Top Five unfulfilled Brawl pipe dreams
Six Days to Smash Bros. Brawl: Top Five Smash Bros alternatives
Seven Days to Smash Bros. Brawl: Hands on coverage of the WPI Brawl Tournament
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