Super Smash Bros. comes out for the 3DS October 3, and while I am pumped up for the release, I feel less pumped than usual. I’m all about importing games. I think there’s nothing better than snagging up a game from Japan, usually one that will never be in the English language. I’ve known many a gamer who learned Japanese, just to play some obscure title or a hidden gem in a franchise, but for once, I have a bit of a problem with importing. It’s great that gamers all over the world get to see Super Smash Bros. early, even before the demo arrives; however, the internet has become incredibly saturated with leaked character rosters and popular YouTubers streaming the game.
Search Smash on Twitch right now, I guarantee someone is playing it.
While I love gaming personalities like Jwittz, I feel that these streams have jaded my relationship with the game. I’m incredibly passionate about the franchise, so settle in, because it’s Anecdote Time with Alex.
When I was a kid, my father agreed to buy me one of the newest game consoles for my birthday: the PlayStation or the N64. I was also made aware of how expensive the games were for each system: PlayStation games were about $30 – $40, while every N64 game was $60. Not only that, but the consoles themselves shared a similar price ratio. My dad practically begged me to get the PlayStation, but my Nintendo blood had already chosen for me.
The problem with that day was that we couldn’t afford a game, and this was before the days of trial versions being packed in with the system or before a bundle was released. I was left to stare at it for months. Then, a mystical game appeared and Christmas was steadily rearing its head.
Super Smash Bros. had a few familiar faces for me like Mario, Pikachu, and the hero from Zelda (for I had yet to learn his name). Yet, there was also this cool dude with an arm cannon and there was this fox. Playing that game was seeing parts of Nintendo I had no idea existed before. Note, these were the days when dial-up internet was the norm and in my rural area we couldn’t even get that for another 5-6 years. Turns out, the green guy is named Link and Samus is a girl. Not only that, but there are games like Earthbound out there that I had never heard of before.
For me, and I’m sure many gamers, that was the magic of Smash Bros. Players would initially choose to play as their favorites, but then slowly learn about the strangers. This, of course, led me down a path to find those weird games and play them. Super Smash Bros. Melee had a similar effect on me. I had no idea who Roy was or why he talked in Japanese, but through Melee I learned that there are several other Fire Emblem games out there. This and the chance discovering of Mewtwo was the best for me and my friends. The trophy gallery quickly became an encyclopedia of Nintendo. It was all new, interesting, and a bit overwhelming.
Brawl did an okay job at hiding things, like epic boss battles and cool cutscenes. I did feel that game had way too many clone characters, or characters who fight in a similar fashion to others. I hated Wolf with every fiber of my being, seeing as there were hundreds who could’ve taken his place. Nevertheless, I had tons of fun with Brawl and it was one of the few reasons my household owned a Wii—and for the archery aspect of Wii Sports Resort. My dad is obsessed with bows and is one of the best mechanics in the area for the sport, so we spent many a happy hour trying to beat each others’ scores.
My point is that Super Smash Bros. used to be a series about surprises, mysteries, and discoveries. Sure, it’s a great party game and a rather deep fighter, but learning about those obscure characters is where I’ve always thought it shined.
I was super excited for the new Smash and couldn’t wait to see what surprises were in store. Even though I avoided spoiler pages like the plague, I constantly stumbled upon an image or a video that blatantly told me everything. I wish I could’ve stumbled upon the Duck Hunt dog on my own, but I’ll never have that feeling.
What’s worse is that Nintendo claims that the Wii-U version will have the same features. So, my hopes of something new on that console have also been dashed against a brick wall.
My culminating questions for the gaming community are thus, what are we losing when we choose to stream games that have yet to come out? Has the internet ruined that childhood-esque discovery and wonder? Do modern children even have those feelings?
Will these thoughts deny Nintendo a sale from me? No, I have big plans for the game; my step-brother and fellow lets player are going to play while on Skype. I expect that October 2nd will be a long, long day with me dragging ass at work on Friday.
In a way, I can’t really blame Nintendo. Its advertisement campaign is great, especially in the past couple years. Can I blame the streamers and YouTubers? No, not really. Everyone wants to have a ton of views and getting stuff early can skyrocket those numbers. I’ve been there and the drive is astounding.
What I can do is try to make the community more aware of what it has lost. Maybe this article will help change the minds of an indie developer who could release the coolest game out of nowhere. I can only hope.
I just miss that sense of surprise.
Title image by Marcos-Inu
Forever Classic (my Youtube gaming team) will also be having a little Skype party with the game after its release. More than likely we will be streaming the fun on our Twitch channel. Follow our Facebook Event Page for more details.