The Westfield Voice

The Student News Site of Westfield State University

The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

A Farewell to Smash 4


Nintendo fans around the world are saying their final goodbyes to the game which, for many is the only reason they ever owned a Wii U, Smash 4.   

Tomorrow, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate will be released for the Nintendo Switch, bringing an end to the life of its predecessor on the Wii U, and ushering in a new era for both the competitive and casual players. 

But what is Smash, and why is it so important to the people who play it? 

“First time I ever played a smash game was brawl at a friend’s slumber party. I thought like, wait a second- you have Mario and a guy from metal gear fighting in the same game, what is this, get me into this!” said Ricardo Mora, a Freshman at WSU.  

He was a middle schooler living in Costa Rica, and it wouldn’t be until years later that he discovered the Smash series had a competitive scene in America. He now plays Melee (Smash 2) and Smash 4 under his bed in his dorm room most days.  

Mora says one of the moments which solidified his love for the franchise was when he was playing as Snake versus Kirby, and an assist trophy made a giant Nintendog take over the screen. To him, that’s the essence of Smash. The absurdity of it, the mixing of franchises which have no reason being together but somehow it all works.  

The return of Snake, a fan favorite Smash character from Brawl who was not in Smash 4, is something many players are excited for. 

Parker Black is another Smash player who started with Brawl, the third game in the franchise. He and his friends would play at lunch in high school. He owned the original Smash Brothers, as well as Melee as a child, but didn’t get into the games seriously until he found the competitive community. 

“My friend invited me to one [tournament] at his house, I don’t know why but it was called USSR smash,” said Black. It was only about ten guys, and he didn’t do well, even at such a small event. But he was told about the tournaments Umass Amherst holds and has been going there to get better ever since. 

“I think the best part about it is the friends that I’ve made, because I met a really good group of people at Umass.” Black says that even though he doesn’t get to see them that often, as school and life gets in the way, the community is easily the best part. 

Black has even traveled to Shine, a major tournament in the Boston area, meeting top Smash 4 players like ZeR0, MK Leo, Esam, and top Melee player Leffen. 

Community is a common reason for people to get into the games. Andre Ruiz got into the games through his roommate, Jake O’Kane, and tomorrow the two of them will be hosting a tournament for Smash Bros. Ultimate. “We just both love games so much, we’re both such nerd gamer boys,” said Ruiz. 

Ruiz was never a Nintendo guy growing up, and he regrets not getting into the franchise sooner, having just started with Smash 4. But now, he’s doing what he can to catch up for lost time. “I’m trying to play a heavy, I’m trying to play a light, I’m trying to work around and have stuff in my arsenal.” After playing Pitt for a while, Ruiz realized he prefers sword fighter characters, and currently mains Link. 

Every Smash player has a main; the character they’re the most comfortable with, and everyone has a different story of how they found theirs. 

“My archetype’s more like a fast combo-y thing, like bayonetta and fox,” said Black. The character which most fit his archetype at the start of the game was Zero Suit Samus, though he also did his best to make Shulk, a much lower tier character, work. He later picked up Bayonetta and never looked back. 

His Bayonetta won him three sets at Shine 2017, a pretty impressive feat for his first major tournament. Regardless of Bayonetta being considered the best character in the game, she’s a character he would play any way. He’s a big fan of the franchise, and says she plays the closest to how she plays in her own games out of any of the characters in Smash 4. 

There has been controversy over the character in the community, with many top professional players calling for the character to be banned. The game was patched to make her weaker, but even after the fact she sits definitely at the top of the tier list. 

The best player in the world, Diddy Kong main and Chilean native ZeR0, retired from competition, citing the struggles of fighting Bayonetta as a main reason why tournaments weren’t fun for him anymore.  

When the Grand Finals match at Evo 2018 ended up being between two Bayonetta players, the crowd jeered, causing the players not to take the match seriously, taunting and refusing to play until tournament organizers intervened. The incident hurt the Smash community’s reputation among the greater FGC (Fighting Game Community). 

“It’s not that I don’t enjoy competitive, I feel like people miss what smash at its core should really be about,” said Mora. He admits at times the community can be toxic, mentioning the events at Evo.  

To Mora, the zany weirdness of the game from a casual standpoint is what it’s all about. People should be able to have fun and play with items on, marvel at the huge character selection, and all the bizarre interactions that can be had. He feels in certain ways the competitive scene forgets this, as they shun players who haven’t reached a certain skill level or made a name for themselves. He doesn’t feel like there should be such a high barrier of entry, and rather that the casual and competitive Smash communities should be the same. 

For Ultimate, everyone has the same thing on their minds. Who are they going to play? “Incineroar looks so awesome- all the taunts,” said Ruiz. 

“Inkling? I’ve always loved Splatoon, though I’m not sure if they’re going to fit my style… I’m also excited to try Shulk again, because he actually looks like he functions,” said Black.  

There are 74 fighters to choose from, spanning dozens of different franchises and genres. “He [Sakurai] put in Ridley and King K. Rool, two characters that he stated would never be in the game because ‘oh, he’s too big’ or ‘how many games has he been in,’” said Mora. “God I’m gonna love this game!” 

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