Wow. Less than a week to go until the US launch of Super Smash Brothers Brawl. It's certainly been a long, weird, and often rocky road getting here, but it's now just around the corner. While awaiting the fateful date of March 9th, I just wanted to get my final thoughts and opinions out of the way on the game.
I know the Japanese version has been out for more than a month now, and in that short time we've uncovered vast quantities of spoilers, cheats, tricks, and information to sate our hunger. But I'm not here to talk about the gameplay itself. Rather, the journey getting to the game's release.
So first off, even though I'm new here, some of you might have noticed that I'm a big Nintendo enthusiast, and especially love the Smash Bros. franchise. Just look at my avatar! But why? The original SSB for the N64 wasn't the first game I played, or particularly the best, but it was the first game that I was actually good
at. It was a gateway drug of sorts in my childhood, with simple controls and a big motivation to keep me practicing. That is, the promise of one day wiping the floor with my little brother. It was the first game that I wanted to practice at, to discover the right timing, or the right strategies for certain characters, the best stages, and the best items. Some people talk about "exploration" in a game in reference to exploring expansive lands, dungeons, towns, etc. In Super Smash Bros, you could explore the very mechanics of the game and slowly peel back the grainy polygonal figures to discover the true potential behind each fighter.
Those individual fighters also helped usher me into the world of video games that I'm so connected to now. When I first got the game, there were several characters that I had never seen before - Ness, Captain Falcon, even Samus and Kirby! But the tiny bit of background provided about them made me want to dig deeper, to discover what brought them to the Smash universe. Like actually playing SSB, I wanted to see what was behind the polygons.
So that was what essentially the original Super Smash Bros. was to me - a primer to the world of Nintendo. A sort of hub where different worlds branched out, beckoning those curious players to follow. Cheesy, maybe, but true. Looking back on this now, Nintendo's progression to the final product of Brawl is in many ways a completion of this idea.
Think about the Smash DOJO updates, what was the one that got you most excited? The announcement of Sonic? Online play? Those are all very important, but the one update that nearly made me faint from sheer happiness was the introduction of the Subspace Emmissary mode. It takes all these diverse elements and universes and distills them down to one epic adventure, and introduces some new lore to the mix. Let's face it, it's not Kingdom Hearts, but when using such well-known characters, we don't need loads of dialogue or deep, angsty emotions. The trophies are only rough representations of the fighters, those who wish to dive deeper and discover more know where to look.
So in the end, for better or for worse, after the party is over and the crowd has left, Brawl will be what the franchise was always meant to be - the gateway to the rest of the worlds of Nintendo. Not a universe unto itself, but a hub where everything meets, and anything can happen.
Now let's get out there and have some fun.