Memory Lane: Super Smash Bros.

By Jordan Douglas on September 30, 2011, 2:46PM EDT

The original Super Smash Bros. was a seminal title on the Nintendo 64, a deviously clever idea from Masahiro Sakurai: bring all of Nintendo's staple franchises and characters together in one game, and make them fight each other. Some would say Super Smash Bros.'s success inspired Nintendo to create increasing numbers of spin-offs and mash-ups, running some of their core franchises into the ground in the process. Fighting purists would argue it doesn't even belong in the genre. Ultimately, none of that matters to those of us who spent countless hours and wasted summers squeezing a shocking amount of depth from this one-of-a-kind title.

For the handful of you out there who aren't familiar with the series, Super Smash Bros. is a fighting game that brings classic characters from Nintendo's most-beloved franchises together. Unlike most fighting games, SSB tasks players with knocking each other out-of-bounds. This becomes easier as hits are taken and a character's 'damage count' increases. Rather than relying on complicated button combinations, the game sticks to relatively simple move-sets and places a greater emphasis on movement. Throughout the campaign, you'll encounter interesting takes on Nintendo fiction, such as Giant Donkey Kong, Metal Mario, Fighting Polygon Team, and the notorious Master Hand.

SSB's take on fighting remains unique in the space even today. Unfortunately, it rarely gets any credit from other fighting enthusiasts. While counting frames and memorizing complex combos aren't required, there is an undeniable skill curve and strategy present. Watching a high-level player do so much with limited moves, darting across the map effortlessly, is an impressive sight, regardless of whether or not the game garners a large tournament following.

That being said, I'm not the most objective voice on the subject. SSB has always had a special place in my heart. It's one of the few games I'll get red in the face playing after years on the sidelines. My character of choice was always Kirby. He was a survivor who could make up for a slight speed disadvantage by being able to bounce above the fray. While Donkey Kong could stay in the middle of the action trading shots, and Fox relied heavily on dodging and counter-strikes, Kirby was best flying in from unexpected angles with well-timed attacks. Fortunately, he could also hold his own in the trenches if things came to that.

There's so much more that can be said about Super Smash Bros., but this really isn't the format for it. Bottom line: It's a unique fighting game, one that has withstood the test of time. While the series has arguably made some poor choices along the way, taking a turn for the crazy most recently (I'm looking at you, Brawl), the original remains one of my favourite multiplayer experiences on any platform.

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