The Super Smash Bros. franchise has a unique 2.5D fighting game concept in which players attempt to increase each other's damage counters and knock one another off the stage, rather than the traditional fighting game objective of depleting an opponent's life bar.

Super Smash Bros. was created and developed by Masahiro Sakurai (best known for creating Kirby) and HAL Laboratory with a single goal in mind: create a fighting game unlike any other. Sakurai envisioned a fighting game distinct from others--one which would accommodate more than 2 players at any given time, one that would experience different gameplay every time it was played, and perhaps most importantly, one that would be more approachable to casual players. The result was a phenomenally successful party game and competitive fighting game that sees 1-8 players battle for supremacy across the Nintendo universe!

The 1999 release of the original Super Smash Bros. saw instant success for the franchise and generated numerous sequels across countless generations of gaming that are still unquestionably popular to this day, and are cherished by millions of gamers across the globe. Today the Super Smash Bros. franchise is enjoyed through local play, online play, and has been widely featured as a competitive game in countless high-profile and prestigious tournaments, including world championships like EVO. In honor of a title that has captured the imagination of gamers for over 20 years, let's explore the top 10 lesser-known facts about Super Smash Bros.

When displaying characters in a video game, a question of order is always apparent. This issue is often easily resolved by placing the main character first, followed by the sub-main character, and so forth. But what however, about fighting games that have a great number of selectable characters, each being the "main" character upon selection by the gamer? For this reason the character select screen of many fighting games seems to be almost at random, but Super Smash Bros. found a reasonable solution: chronology!

The term "chronology" implies placing things in order based on the sequence in which they first occurred, and as Smash Bros. on the N64 uses established characters, it made sense to developers to place characters on the select screen based on their appearance in video games from the first appearance to the latest. The first and second on the character select screen are Mario and Donkey Kong as both were first seen in the 1981 game Donkey Kong. Next are 1986's Link and Samus from The Legend of Zelda and Metroid respectively. Yoshi is next from 1990's Super Mario World followed by Kirby from 1992's Kirby's Dream Land and Fox McCloud from Star Fox in 1993. Lastly is Pikachu from the 1996 hit Pokemon.

Even the unlockable characters follow this pattern of chronology as--within the category of the 4 unlockables--Luigi appears first coming from the 1983 game Mario Bros. Captain Falcon is next from 1990's F-Zero followed by Ness from 1994's Earthbound. Lastly--as with the original 8 characters--Jigglypuff from 1996's Pokemon rounds out the screen.

Certain future Smash Bros. games would further this sense of chronology by placing trophies and fighter numbers in order of their appearance. The amount of painful, mind-numbing research that must have gone into that task...

When Masahiro Sakurai first had his inspiration for a disruptive new type of fighting game, he instantly got to work. Without any true direction or theme he created the template for the Super Smash Bros. that we all know today.

Sakurai's first iteration during the development phase placed generic, featureless geometric block dummies battling on platform(s) as they competed to violently dispatch one another into the void surrounding the stage. He also used his personal camera to take photos that would serve as backgrounds in this initial version to lend ambiance to the stage. These photos were generally of buildings and skylines, but one hilariously featured a person's crossed legs!

Despite not having a true theme, this beta version of the game would nonetheless need a name, and the first working title for the Smash Bros. project was "Katuto-Geemu Ryuo". Ryuo is the name of Sakurai's hometown which is why the title was chosen. However, the English translation of "Ryuo" is "Dragon King"! Therefore despite being named after a city, in English the first title would have translated to "Dragon King: The Fighting Game." Later, the Katuto-Geemu Ryuo project would be nicknamed "Pepsi Man" by the development team, as the basic geometric playable characters resembled the Pepsi mascot at the time known as "Pepsi Man". Ironically, 1999 would see the PlayStation release of a terrible game called Pepsiman akin to something like Subway Surfers for mobile devices. If only HAL Laboratory and Pepsi had collaborated...what might have been...

Dragon King: The Fighting Game...Japanese cities sound scary!

A major obstacle for a crossover game is obtaining the legal rights to use certain characters. Often times this leaves developers with the tedious task of approaching a character's creator and convincing him/her that use of said character would be a profitable enterprise for both parties. In the case of Solid Snake in Super Smash Bros. Brawl however, this process of solicitation actually worked in reverse.

The creator of the Metal Gear series is a man named Hideo Kojima and at the turn of the century his young son was a substantial fan of Super Smash Bros. on the N64. When this son heard that a sequel was underway, he asked Kojima if there was any way that a Metal Gear character could be included. Hoping to please his son Kojima approached Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai and pleaded with him on his son's behalf to include Solid Snake in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Melee. Sakurai was receptive to the idea but regretfully had to decline as the game was too far into development to consider adding additional characters.

Luckily for Kojima (and his son) when Super Smash Bros. Brawl underwent development, Sakurai remembered this request, and the two re-visited the discussion. Ultimately, Solid Snake was included in this third iteration of the game.

Is Hideo Kojima the dad of the year or what? Whenever I asked for anything, my dad just told me to get a job *tear*.

A character's move set is the most important part of any fighting game, and in a crossover game such as Super Smash Bros. an overwhelming measure of existing material limits the need for creative inspiration. After all, fighting maneuvers and other movements can be drawn upon from existing games. Naturally one can take a myopic look at Super Mario games and observe that he should use a fire flower fireball in a fighting game. What happens however, when a character comes from a game that has no fighting mechanics. In fact, what happens when one barely sees a character in his/her game at all?

Captain Falcon comes from a racing game on the SNES called F-Zero and in this game not only does he use no combative moves, but he does not actually appear in the game! The only portrayal of the man comes only in a comic strip drawn in the game's instruction manual. While every other character in the game had a move scheme upon which the developers could deduce, Captain Falcon remained a bit of a challenge.

As mentioned in a section previous, before Super Smash Bros. was licensed by Nintendo it used generic sprites which each had generic move sets. When fashioning the abilities of Captain Falcon, the development team used a lot of moves left over from these original avatars and combined select ones to conceive Captain Falcon as a fighter. His signature "Falcon Punch" for example was a biproduct of this original conception, and would in fact have no canonical connection to Captain Falcon until he used the move in an anime dedicated to his character.

Captain Falcon's taunt has him arrogantly ask his opponent to "show me your moves!" Funny, the developers were just saying the same thing to you...

With the enormous success of Super Smash Bros. on the N64 it was inevitable that the game would see a sequel, and this came in the form of the GameCube's Super Smash Bros. Melee. The production of such a spectacular progression however, does not come without hardships. Melee was in development for nearly 13 months, and by all accounts it was not easy. Smash Bros creator Masahiro Sakurai described the pressure of a good sequel as being "the biggest project I had ever led up to that point" but admitted that such pressure also led to a "destructive" lifestyle with no holidays and short weekends. In fact, exhaustion eventually caught up with Sakurai during this process, forcing him to experience a short stay in the hospital. Upon completion, Sakurai felt a sense of satisfaction. It offered highly skilled maneuvers for more competitive play, and was in his words "the sharpest game in the series...it just felt really good to play". With this accomplishment, Sakurai decided that there would be no more Smash Bros. games, and left Nintendo in 2003.

Having accomplished everything he wanted in the series Sakurai was understandably shocked when at E3 in 2005, co-developer Satoru Iwata announced to the world that HAL Laboratory and Nintendo were working on a new Smash Bros. game--one that would incorporate online gameplay! This was obviously startling news to Sakurai who had assumed the franchise finished, and perhaps even more startling when he was approached by Iwata who asked Sakurai to re-join Nintendo as the director of this new Smash Bros. project, as any game would simply not be the same without him.

When retelling the story in an interview, Iwata revealed that with no prior commitment from Sakurai, he was not sure what this new Smash Bros. project he had announced would actually entail. He further explained that had Sakurai refused his proposal to re-join, Nintendo was prepared to re-release a port of Super Smash Bros. Melee to the Wii for online play in place of a truly new game.

Thankfully for the world Sakurai agreed to undertake the project and Super Smash Bros. Brawl was born! Then again, it instigated the broken Meta Knight online and tournament play. *Shudders*. Does anyone else still have nightmares about that character?

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the most recent title in the Smash Bros. series, and in celebration of nearly (at the time) 2 decades of fun, creator Masahiro Sakurai thought it fitting to have a sort of electronic reunion for the new iteration of the game: to include every playable character from all previous games.

A fantastic idea to be sure, but one that was a much more Herculean task than most people realize. In an article for a Japanese video game magazine called "Famitsu" entitled Smash is Special, Sakurai had this to say on the ambitious nature of his vision:

"For starters, bringing back every fighter drastically increases the cost of development. Even something that looks like a simple port has a huge number of man-hours behind it. Moreover, in the case of smash, we can't simply create whatever we want. I have to receive approval from the original creators of the characters and I need to reflect their feedback. Contractual agreements and other legal issues can also make development exceedingly difficult. In reality, it was quite a challenge to bring every fighter back, and I barely made it work. Frankly it almost didn't happen."

Sakurai described the reaction of his team to the proposition of bringing back every character as a "stunned silence" as if in disbelief. Despite any reservations development began on December 16, 2015 for a game that would eventually see a 2018 release. The team built upon the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U engine in an attempt to keep everyone's attention on new content, and Sakurai even consistently sent his team updates and pictures of the progress to keep everyone fresh and motivated.

To the team's credit, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been a resounding success and is immensely popular, so the hard work certainly paid off. I on the other hand, can barely find the motivation to load and unload my dishwasher.

Any fighting game--especially those of the crossover variety--have an indispensable discussion regarding which characters to include or exclude from a title. In the case of Super Smash Bros. Melee two such exclusions were genuinely close to affecting Roy and Marth.

In an interview from The Making of Fire Emblem: 25 Years of Development Secrets with Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai, Marth was originally considered for use in the N64's Super Smash Bros. as a technique-based swordsman to balance Link's "brute force" swordsmanship, but time constraints on the game's release left Marth's inclusion as impossible. Instead, the character--along with Roy--were developed and included in the Japanese release of Super Smash Bros. Melee. I say the Japanese release because it was very close to being a regional exclusive!

When the game reached Nintendo America for consideration, it was vigorously debated as to whether Roy and Marth should be removed from a North American release. The hesitancy derived from the fact that both Roy and Marth represent the Fire Emblem franchise which did not have any North American releases within the series. Therefore, it was felt, a North American audience would not understand who these characters were, and would be off-put by their presence.

Thankfully those who stood in opposition were otherwise convinced as Roy and Marth were still "fun characters", and so were left included in all versions. Rather than feeling alienated by these 2, gamers actually took very quickly to the pair, with Marth becoming a top tier character in competitive play. In fact, the popularity of these 2 generated demand for an international Fire Emblem game which would be first realized in 2003, and has since produced a dozen international titles.

There is a lesson in there about listening to audience feedback instead of telling them what they want...CAPCOM!!!

A lot of people consider the spread of misinformation on the internet to be a recent phenomenon, but the proliferation of such deception has been incessant since the internet became popularized. Before such an age rumors about video games were spread by word of mouth, and often found its origin from incredibly dubious sources. However, what happens when information about a secret unlockable character is published in a credible video game magazine and its specifications are spread on the internet? Then you have the Sonic hoax of 2002.

Ask any Smash Bros. fan and he/she will tell you that the first appearance of Sonic the Hedgehog in the series came in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. However, an April 2002 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) suggested differently. In this issue existed an article suggesting that SEGA's Sonic and Tails were both unlockable, playable characters in Super Smash Bros. Melee, and included details for unlocking the pair, as well as gameplay screenshots to support the claim. The article described the conditions for unlocking the duo as first having to defeat a whopping 20 enemies in the Cruel Melee Mode, and then defeating both in a 2-on-1 challenge match that would follow directly after. It went further to suggest that beating Classic Mode with either Sonic or Tails would deliver unto the gamer a "special surprise", although what that meant was never clarified.

As it turned out this article was intended to be an April Fool's prank by EGM with all of the unlock conditions described being fictitious and the screenshots being a product of Photoshop. Nonetheless when readers witnessed this article in a magazine designed to help gamers explore unlockables such as these, gamers understandably took its information very literally. To further complicate the scene, those readers took the information to the internet provoking nearly all Smash Bros. players worldwide to seek the elusive Sonic and Tails.

Within a month's time this rumor had spread so far and had gotten so out of control that the May issue of Nintendo Power printed an article rebuking that of EGM's, explaining that it was just a joke that had gone out of control. A similar posting appeared on the Super Smash Bros. Melee website as well. For its part, the next issue of EGM official revealed its previous month's article as an April Fool's joke, and as an apology offered a free copy of Sonic Adventure 2 Battle to anyone who sent in a video of themselves defeating 20 enemies in Cruel Melee Mode.

Electronic Gaming Monthly has a long history of these April Fool's jokes that led to hysteria and confusion. I wonder if EGM is behind all the misinformation on the dark web...

Who has ever heard the expression "No Johns"? Has anyone ever seen this tag appear from the random select for character identification in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U or Super Smash Bros. Ultimate? Surely most people have, but who is John? What is a "John" anyways, and why don't we want any? Like many things, there is a hilarious story behind the term.

To begin, a "John" as it relates to Smash Bros. is synonymous with "excuse", and describes a player who continually makes excuses for losing a match. A "John" therefore may justify his/her loss because of a distraction, or the room being too cold, or the TV screen being too far way--something of this nature.

The term was invented by the Crystal City Crew from Texas who are a bunch of competitive Smash Bros. players and often travel together and compete at tournaments. One member of this team is a man named John (who still plays competitively under the name "Turbo Ace") who became notorious for excusing his losses during competitions on flimsy or fictitious circumstances.

In an interview with John's friend Roberto "Rob$" Aldape it is described that the Crystal City Crew faced perpetual excuses from John including, "my wrists hurt", "my controller isn't working properly", and "my eyes are itchy". He continues to describe one day when playing without John present, someone on the team made an excuse for a loss at which point team member Jesse "Zulu" Fuentes forcefully exclaimed, "NO JOHNS!" which the group instantly recognized as dismissing feeble excuses. Finding it a hilarious and fitting expression, the team began using the term more frequently, even in front of John who Aldape says would get "mad and red". Aldape continues that the team's use of the term began to be adopted by tournament regulars and used on the smash community message boards online, and soon enough, while people were generally unsure who John was or if there even was a John, everyone understood the colloquial implications of a "John" being one who makes excuses.

If only the story ended there. At the fighting game competition EVO in 2014, just before the finals for Super Smash Bros. Melee were to be played, a video was presented to the stadium featuring Nintendo of America's president Reggie Fils-Aime who expressed support for the Smash community and promoted the then upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. He expressed excitement in being able to play the game online soon but begged gamers that, "if we ever do go head-to-head, please, no Johns!" If one didn't know what a John was to that point, be sure that the whole world looked into it after seeing this video. While the term was common enough without Fils-Aime's contribution, this episode made it known to nearly every Smash player in the world!

Generally speaking when a video game is made an idea is pitched to a company, and once approved, development begins. However, this traditional linear avenue was not at all the path taken with the development of Super Smash Bros. In fact, while we all know it to be a beloved part of the Nintendo brand, not only was the game not created under Nintendo's supervision (as explained above) but there was actually a time when Nintendo explicitly rejected its admittance!

When the prototype Katuto-Geemu Ryuo (Dragon King: The Fighting Game) was created, developer Masahiro Sakurai knew that his game faced a major hurdle: the characters. To Sakurai, established fighting games had too many characters independent to each series, and he therefore felt that it was hard for players to get behind any one "main" character. After all, most fighting games have minimal story, and at least a dozen selectable characters. His solution to this problem was a licensing deal--which is to say--approach a company with previously established and popular characters and ask permission to use their likeness in his game. Sakurai's first impulse was to approach Nintendo.

With a licensing goal in mind, the team sent co-developer Satoru Iwata to approach Nintendo, which he did. Unfortunately, Nintendo did not take to the idea at all. Concerned about the relatively poor sales of fighting games in general at the time, Nintendo was not interested in pursuing that genre. Furthermore Nintendo had a great interest in protecting its characters' images and personalities and worried how a game like this might affect those principles in the eyes of the public. Therefore Iwata was dismissed with a resounding rejection.

Not to be deterred however, Iwata returned to HAL Laboratory with a little more than a fabrication. He reported to his team that Nintendo loved the idea and wanted HAL Laboratory to produce a demo using characters from the Nintendo brand. A demo was in fact produced featuring Mario, Donkey Kong, Samus, and Fox. While Sakurai was under the impression that this demo was made upon Nintendo's request, Iwata had hoped that seeing this demo would help Nintendo understand the vision and ultimately change their minds. The demo was finally presented to Nintendo who indulged the game, and in fact loved how it played! Inevitably, permission was imbued upon HAL Laboratory to develop the game to completion using characters from the Nintendo universe as its playable characters!

So I guess the moral of this story is that a little lie never hurt anyone? Wait...is that what we are supposed to take away from this...?

Masahiro Sakurai tried to retire from the Smash Bros. franchise after 2 titles, but thankfully for all of us his co-developer Satoru Iwata managed to convince him otherwise, and he is still the lead developer of the series today! This unique fighting game series is enjoyed by millions--competitive and casual players alike--and has given the world a video game experience unlike any other. Its success was an instant revelation and it has never waned in more than 20 years.

I hope that you have enjoyed this list and found these factoids insightful, and I hope that they serve to enhance your Smash Bros. experiences moving forward. Thank you for reading, and keep on SMASHing!


List by Hanzaemon_ (10/21/2021)

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