I mean, I admire the passion! But you’re not thinking this through, for a number of reasons:
1) Pump your brakes. The internet can jump so hard and fast on things that it can squeeze all the joy out of them. Let the Goose breathe a little! The Goose is good and fun, but Untitled Goose Game is also a multiplatform release that’s been out for a week.
3) If you must ask the internet for the Goose to appear in Nintendo games, maybe Mario Kart or Mario Party are more appropriate? This may slightly undermine my above point, since they are both games that deviate from Goose Game’s core design, but they are also games for petty assholes, and the Goose is an asshole first and foremost.
4) You’re not thinking big enough! Asking for the Goose to appear in Smash is a reflex action, understandably born of a desire to see more Goose x Nintendo interaction, but we live in an age where Nintendo is letting Western developers get wild with its own IP (see Cadence of Hyrule).
I don’t want to see the Goose in Smash. I’ve constructed this entire post as an excuse to say I want the opposite. I want developers House House to be handed the keys to a Nintendo world/character and given the chance to work their magic with it.
Here’s my unsolicited pitch: Imagine the hijinx of Untitled Goose Game…but it’s Waluigi, who now has the Mushroom Kingdom equivalent of a YouTube channel, and he’s lurking around pranking Mario and Luigi and Peach and Toad and everyone else, ruining their days, wrecking their shit.
Imagine his goofy big legs trying to sneak through Luigi’s house, putting a bucket of water over a doorframe then rubbing his hands with glee as he saunters out the back door. Imagine hiding in the bushes as Toad walks past, carefully balancing a tray of birthday cupcakes, and at the perfect moment pressing a button not to HONK, but to WAAAAAAAAAAAAA. The cupcakes go flying, Toad shrieks, then cries, Waluigi jogs off twirling his mustache, laughing his ass off.
It would be the best. And everyone could stop asking for Walugi to be put in Smash because they’d realize that, like the Goose, he doesn’t need to be. He’d have his own place to shine.
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If you are steeped in SNK fighting game lore, then you are more than familiar with Terry Bogard. If you’ve never played Fatal Fury, you might not know who he is. If you like Pokémon, he might look familiar.
The announcement that Terry was coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with met with puzzlement among some fans—and delight among others.
As pointed out on Pokemon Matome and NWK News, some people online in Japan have been referring to Terry as “muki muki Pokémon toreenaa” (ムキムキのポケモントレーナー) or the “brawny Pokémon trainer.”
The text pointing to Ness reads “childhood” in Japanese (幼少期 or youshou-ki), while the text pointing to Red is “adolescence” (青年期 or seinen-ki). The text directed at Terry reads “middle-age” (壮年期 or sounen-ki). The tongue-in-cheek comparison is like is a different stage in the same character’s life!
Tesla cars have an “Autopilot” feature where the car can, on a long straight drive like a highway, take care of some stuff like lane changes and cruise control. The driver is supposed to still be paying attention, but some people—like UFC fighter Kevin Lee—haven’t got time for that.
Lee posted a video of himself yesterday driving to Montréal, his Tesla in control as he stuck a Nintendo Switch to his windscreen and played some Smash.
Looks like a super fun way to pass the time, but then, and not to sound like I’m snitching, it’s also not the safest idea. As Tesla says on the company website, “current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”
This week, America celebrates declaring its independence from England with hot dogs, fireworks, and, apparently, tanks stationed around the National Mall in Washington, D.C. But don’t let that stop you from catching Europe’s biggest Smash Bros. tournament of the year go down at Emirates Stadium in London.
Currently boasting over 1,000 entrants, Albion 4 will host the best Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players from around the world in what could prove to be an exciting series of matchups that break away from the current dominance of Snake, Peach, and a host of Fire Emblem fighters.
Most notably among these is a potential showdown between Wario main William “Glutonny” Belaid and Duck Hunt main Tetsuya “Raito” Ishiguro. Seeded third and fourth respectively, they are both currently projected to meet in the loser’s semifinal in what could be one of the game’s most unusual meta-shattering face-offs to-date.
It’s also possible, though even more improbable, that both pros could meet in the winner’s final, although to do that they would need to unseat the one and two seeds, Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby and Jestise “MVD” Negron, in the winner’s semifinals. Pools play kicks off at 5:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, with top eight play set to begin on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. All of the matches will be streaming live on the DAT Team Twitch channel.
DreamHack Showdown will also be taking place in Europe this weekend. The all-women Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament out of Valencia, Spain will feature the best female teams around including CLG Red, Besiktas, and the reigning world champions, Team Dignitas. The $100,000 event begins on Friday at 4:00 a.m. with group matches, followed by eliminations matches starting at the same time on Saturday. The semifinals are scheduled to begin at 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, followed by the grand finals at 12:00 p.m. All of the matches will be streamed live on the DreamHack Counter-Strike Twitch channel.
Meanwhile, in Germany, play has already gotten underway in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s ESL One: Cologne 2019. European powerhouse Astralis is already dominating in Group B, while Team Liquid prepares to face NRG Esports in Group A on July 4 at 9:30 a.m. ET. The quarterfinals for the tournament will then get started on July 5 at the same time, with the grand finals taking place at 10:00 a.m. on July 7. You can find a full list of match times on Liquidpedia, with all of them streaming live on ESL’s Counter-Strike Twitch channel.
E3 2019It’s time for the biggest gaming show of the year. We’ve got articles, videos, podcasts and maybe even a GIF or two.
Nintendo’s penultimate E3 announcement today involved the addition of a Microsoft-owned character to Smash Bros. This kind of company crossover between two platform holders might seem extraordinary, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer said that it was actually a pretty easy deal.
“The ‘how’ is not actually that interesting,” Spencer told me when I asked him how adding Banjo-Kazooie to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate came about.
“Obviously we’re one of the biggest third-party publishers on Switch, so we have great relationships with their third-party team. And you’ve seen the ambition they’ve had with every character that’s ever been in Smash and even more. So it was just kind of part of the partnership relationship we have with them.”
“There wasn’t anything kind of CEO-to-CEO that had to happen,” he said. “People have asked me on social [media]—I’m sure you’ve seen that—over many years: ‘Would I welcome having Banjo in Smash?’ and I’ve always been open to that.”
Obviously we’re not talking about Halo’s Master Chief here. The bear-bird combo of Banjo and Kazooie debuted in games on the Nintendo 64 that were developed by Rare back when Nintendo had a significant ownership stake in the studio. Microsoft bought Rare in 2002 and published Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts in 2008 as well as a compilation of classic Rare games, including remakes of the first two Banjo games, in 2015.
Spencer noted that Microsoft has worked with Nintendo for a long time, publishing games on 3DS and Switch, and letting classic Rare games like the Donkey Kong Country series show up on Nintendo back-catalogue services. “The licensing relationships between the two companies, they’re there and are kind of ongoing,” he said. “The reason it’s not some interesting, deep conversation is because with us owning Rare and the history between those two things, there are a lot of conversations over the years about, ‘Hey, we want to do “X” is that okay?’”
“I think it’s cool that Banjo is going to be in Smash,” he added.
The highly anticipated Joker from Persona 5 has finally been added to the roster of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a platform fighter that’s rapidly reaching Wrestlemania levels of “everybody is here—even, somehow, that guy.” Thankfully, with Joker, Smash Ultimate continues to hit it out of the park with newly designed fighters who continue to be both faithful to their source material and full of surprises.
In Persona 5, Joker is a high schooler who was expelled from his prior school after attempting to stop an assault and instead being blamed for it. Dealing with the trauma from that, he becomes a bit of an outcast at his new school. There, he takes on supernatural powers as part of an alter ego called “Joker” with the help of Arsene, a manifestation of Joker’s internal malevolence. When using these powers, he shifts from a coy, somewhat ambivalent high schooler into the “phantom thief,” a brash and passionate trickster. Persona 5’s vibrant, flashy aesthetic and sexy soundtrack contribute to Joker’s vibrant character, but when he returns to being just a high schooler, life can look pretty drab.
Smash Ultimate’s incarnation of Joker completely reflects this double life. After he fills up his “Rebellion Gauge,” he summons Arsene, who alters his moveset and boosts the strength of his attacks. That meter fills up when Joker takes damage or has fewer stocks than his opponent. It also fills up when Joker uses his down special, the Rebel Guard. It works a little like a counter, absorbing most of the damage done to him.
On his own, Joker is a bit of a joke. While he can move quickly, his tools include a dinky little gun, a small knife, a mediocre energy projectile, and a grappling hook that can grab opponents but is tricky to aim. His smash attacks are all right, and thankfully, his aerials have some good range. Overall, however, he isn’t much of a threat. With Arsene’s help, Joker dramatically transforms into a powerful, maybe overpowered, monster. His “Rebellion Guard” down special turns into an exacting counter that can reflect projectiles and counter melee attacks. His pitiful little grappling hook becomes the Wings of Rebellion, which propel Joker far upward and make him briefly invincible. His energy ball gets a huge damage boost. The Rebellion Gauge decreases over time and as Joker takes damage, and once it depletes, Arsene will leave.
Playing Joker requires lots of quick thinking on how to minimize time spent without Arsene. Because taking damage fills Joker’s Rebellion Gauge, and it can be difficult to properly time his meter-filling Rebellion Guard, players will need to come up with good strategies on how to transform quickly without putting themselves at too much risk. Losing a stock also resets the meter to a set point. That added layer of tactics makes playing Joker, so far, feel immensely satisfying and a little cerebral. Waiting for a powerful transformation at the end of a long meter adds a level of hype recognizable from traditional fighting games.
Even when he’s just an angsty high schooler, Smash Ultimate’s Joker feels as true to form as can be. His movement and animations are impeccable recreations of his Persona 5 incarnation. The role-playing game’s recognizable bold, bright colors appear alongside Joker when certain attacks hit. His victory pose in Smash is the same as his post-battle animation from Persona 5, complete with his catlike friend Morgana. Joker’s final smash attack summons his Phantom Thieves friends, who coordinate an “All-Out Attack”: another feature from Persona 5. All of this generates the feeling that Nintendo rolled out a big red carpet for Joker’s arrival in the game.
Charizard may be the final evolution of one of the strongest Pokemon starters of all time, but in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate he’s kind of shit. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun playing as him, especially by trying to pull of this deadly two hit combo that few of your friends will see coming.
The sequence, shared on the Smash Brothers subreddit by user JukeRemix, begins by damaging your opponent. Once they’re in the 50 to 100 percent range, depending on the fighter, up throw your opponent and then immediately go into a Flare Blitz across the screen at them. If your opponent doesn’t dodge in time, they’ll go flying right off the stage.
Impractical in any number of truly competitive scenarios, the combo is nonetheless extremely satisfying to watch unfold, as evidenced by the compilation JukeRemix made highlighting the move, which has now been dubbed the Airblitz.
As several players commenting on the video noted, it’s hardly an easy one-two punch to pull off. But that’s part of the appeal, especially since Charizard is one of the game’s weaker characters. A number of guides rank him as a C-tier fighter or worse. William “Leffen” Hjelte, a former Melee pro now competing in Ultimate, routinely rags on Charizard as being one of the game’s most trash characters. The Airblitz move doesn’t change any of that—the power to buff Charizard lies strictly with Nintendo—but it does make him a lot more fun.
The Airblitz makes it fun to wreck your opponents with style. To those who worry they don’t have what it takes to pull off the move, JukeRemix says, “Don’t let your memes be dreams, no harm in trying.”
Hundreds of PAX East attendees crowded around a small stage in the expo hall last Saturday afternoon to see if Seth, one of the top-ranked Smash players in Chicago, could keep his team alive in Nintendo’s North America Open against his opponent Poltergust. As both players deployed deadly items and Final Smash attacks, the hall blew up with shock and cheers until Poltergust eventually edged Seth out. The crowd erupted in applause, but for many diehard Smash fans, this wasn’t the tournament they’d wanted to see.
The event drew such a large crowd that some gave up on trying to watch from the show floor and instead walked up to the sky bridge overlooking the stage and watched through the glass walls. A few attendees had brought camping chairs. Others sat on the ground with their legs crossed, some of them playing Smash Bros. Ultimate on their Switches during the tournament’s commercial breaks. Almost all of them seemed confused by the setup. Smash Balls? Assist Trophies? Team battles? I overhead a few people mocking the rules, but they stayed and watched nonetheless, “Ohhh-ing” and “Ahh-ing” with everyone else. One of the vocal non-believers still screamed “That was savage!” in awe every 30 seconds.
Nintendo announced its North America Open tournament on January 22. At first, fans were excited. Then, they read the actual rules, and the news became the latest flashpoint in the Smash community’s ongoing debate over how its competitive scene should grow and evolve. Many had been waiting for a long time to see Nintendo take a more active role in shaping and supporting competitive Smash, but the North America Open, the first Smash Ultimate tournament hosted by Nintendo since the game released, wasn’t what some had had in mind.
Rather than gaining entry into the finals by performing in local events, players had to compete for spots through a series of online qualifiers. The PAX East finals had an unusual format, too. Instead of matches being one-on-one, the finals would feature four teams of three players, each team representing a region of the US. These teams would compete in a series of Squad Strike battles in which each side would go into a match with roster of three fighters at one life each. Most blasphemous of all (at least, for hardcore competitive Smash fans), the matches would have items and Smash Balls turned on, which could potentially provide some players with big advantages if they were simply enough to scoop up a powerful item or ultimate attack before their opponent.
Fans voiced their surprise and confusion in the comments under the Nintendo Versus Twitter account’s announcement of the tournament, as well as on a thread sharing the news posted on the Smash Bros. subreddit. “This is a joke, right?” wrote one person on Twitter. “Do they not know the tournament standard?” wrote another on Reddit. Others were more open to the ruleset, seeing it as a way to appeal to a broader audience and even finding the prospect of Squad Strike grand finals enticing, but many still took issue with Nintendo’s approach. “Items are fun. Final smashes are fun. Differing formats offer unique experiences,” wrote a player on Twitter. “But given how long [Nintendo] has ignored our community, it hurts when they won’t use the ruleset widely agreed to be the most competitive.”
DTFaux was one of the players to come up through this system. A 28-year-old based in Virginia, he’s played Smash Bros. for two decades now, but had never been to a tournament on the scale of the North America Open until now. He almost didn’t make it, too, failing to enter the first round of the qualifiers due to an administrative error and then losing in the finals of the second wave. On his third try, however, he managed to go all the way and win a spot on the Northeast team.
“I would say—personally, I can’t speak for anyone else—there’s room in the community to allow all different types of tournaments, even if it’s not the usual kind that the majority of the community might like,” DTFaux told Kotaku during a phone interview. “It gives multiple people a chance to shine.”
Though DTFaux has participated in a dozen or so local tournaments, he said he was never an aspiring pro player, just someone in love with the game in all of its forms. In a way, he’s the ideal sort of player for a hybrid event like the North America Open, offering a bridge between a rarified scene dominated by top-tier players and the game as every passionate but casual fan has experienced it in their own home.
“If the people agree to play by those rules then they have to expect that,” he said. “They can get salty, but if they agree to play by that then they have to accept the results.”
Smash players have spent decades analyzing, debating, and refining the competitive rulesets used for most premier tournaments in order to try and remove randomness from the equation. Smash Balls and items are seen as anathema to that, as well as certain stages that strongly favor some fighters over others.
In some pivotal moments, Saturday’s tournament showed why. In the first round of the bracket, Northeast played Northwest on Gerudo Valley, a stage where it’s easy to knock opponents off the sides of the screen. Early on, a player named Mystic was fortunate enough to pick up a Gust Bellows item. This allowed him to simply blow his opponent, Seth, off the stage, putting Northwest ahead in the set that would eventually end up sending Seth’s team down into the lower bracket.
D’Ron “D1″ Maingrette, a Smash Bros. Community Manager on Twitch and a longtime caster, told Kotaku at the event that it’s moments like these that make him hope Nintendo adopts more standard rulesets for at least some of its tournaments in the future. “If you really want me to be 100% real, just [use] our rule set, that’s it,” he said. “We do so much already behind the scenes when it comes to figuring out what helps eliminate random wins. It’s not like we’re try-hards, we just want to eliminate any factors that can make someone feel robbed of a win.”
Despite making it to the North America Open grand finals with items turned on, Seth agreed that items can undermine the spirit of fair competition. “In a lot of my matches, I felt I was unlucky because my opponent would have stage control thanks to items spawning in favor of them,” he told Kotaku in an email. “I think all my opponents were skilled, but the outcome of the sets certainly could have been different without items changing the pace of games.”
Smash Balls are another point of contention. First introduced into the series in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, a Smash Ball is a special item that spawns at random and hovers around the stage until a player manages to break it. The player who does so then starts to glow and, after a button press, they can unleash an ultimate attack called a Final Smash. The random nature of the Smash Ball plays into the series’ party game origins and cuts against its more traditional fighting game elements.
“If there was a way to make Final Smashes where if you threw it out and got punished for it and it was super risky, so that when they actually do land, it’s insanely exciting, it would be a lot more fun,” Austylavista, a Smash Bros. esports commentator told Kotaku in an interview. “But right now, as it stands with a lot of final smashes, people don’t have to think, they can just use B and probably get a kill.”
He contrasted that with moments in Saturday’s tournament during which talent and knowledge helped make a Final Smash deadlier than it otherwise might have been. At one point during the finals, John Numbers, a 2015 Nintendo World Champion playing for Northeast as Wii Fit Trainer, managed to blast his opponent off stage, even though his Final Smash had been launched in the opposite direction. That’s because there’s a small range from which the attack can hit from behind, which Numbers was able to deploy to corner his opponent. The crowd exploded when they saw Numbers’ gambit was successful. His victory in that moment was both exciting to watch and, also, felt earned.
While the event didn’t seem to convince anyone that Nintendo’s ruleset was superior to the hardcore Smash community’s, it helped open up space for both to evolve. “I think it was a fun tournament to watch, but if you’re going to talk about more serious prize pools, you don’t want people to be able to say ‘Oh, he only [won] cause of X,’ you want it to just be ‘He was the better player,’” said Richard Corey, a Smash fan who had watched the event live and talked to me on the show floor afterwards. He and his friend, Ben Rudy, said they were used to traditional Smash tournaments, but after watching the North America Open, they both said they wouldn’t mind seeing Squad Strike tried out more in those other settings. “I don’t think it’s necessarily uncompetitive,” Corey said. “I think the team that won [today] had really good players and played really well.”
One thing they didn’t want to see ever come back were items, especially Assist Trophies. “The Assist Trophies are just so random on top of random,” said Corey [or Ben idk]. The player who gets this item never knows what AI-controlled ally they’ll be blessed with. The Nightmare trophy, for example, causes the entire screen to go dark, which happened at one point during Saturday’s tournament and wasn’t fun for anyone, including the audience.
The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate World Championship tournament is set to take place in June in the run-up to E3. Southeast, the winners of the North America Open, will represent the US at the event, but the company hasn’t yet disclosed what the ruleset will be. Whatever the rules end up being, players are still waiting for Nintendo to take its involvement beyond these exhibition tournaments and finally sponsor something like an official circuit, or at least a national tour—especially given the blockbuster status of the Switch and Smash Ultimate at the moment. Even with its unusual format, the North America Open still drew some of the biggest crowds at PAX East by far. Clearly, fans want to watch high-level Smash.
“In that one trailer where they revealed the Switch, they had the stadium and all that stuff, it kind of made people dream about that and think ‘Oh, this could actually happen,’” said Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada, one of the best players to come out of the Smash Bros. Wii U era, at PAX East. “It hasn’t happened yet, but it doesn’t mean it can’t ever happen.”
The finals for the Smash Ultimate North America Open kick off at 1 p.m. ET, live at PAX East in Boston and streaming on Nintendo’s YouTube. This is a Nintendo-sanctioned Smash tournament, so the rules are less strict than your typical competitive Smash tournament. Items will be on (albeit set to “low”), and so will the Smash Ball. The event will be made up of 5-minute rounds instead of stocks. Also, the tournament’s twelve finalists have been divided up into four groups of three and will compete in a double elimination bracket of 3-versus-3 team battles.
There’s also no prize pool. The three members of the winning team will instead receive a “collectible item” valued at $500. All twelve of the finalists already “won” the other listed prize, which is comped tickets to all four days of PAX East, as well as their flights and hotels.
Few of the twelve finalists have any significant name recognition in the Smash scene, perhaps due to the unusual format of this 3v3 no-stock tournament, not to mention its lack of prize money. A couple of the finalists, Seth and Wrath, are known quantities; they’re both former Smash Wii Ucompetitors who’ve since swapped to Smash Ultimate. Another player to watch is John Numbers, who placed first in the 2015 Nintendo World Championships and as a runner-up in the 2017 Championships.
On the other side of the United States, NorCal Regionals in San Jose will run pools for a much more traditional Smash Ultimate tournament on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, streaming on the Team Spooky Twitch channel. NorCal Regionals hosts several other high-profile fighting game events; pools for Tekken are already underway today, with Dragon Ball FighterZ pools slated to start around 7 p.m. ET, also on the Team Spooky Twitch. Tomorrow, NorCal’s Street Fighter V pools will stream on the CapcomFighters Twitch, where the finals will also air on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET. Here’s the full schedule.
In Grapevine, Texas, The Big Deal: 3D, America’s largest annual rhythm game tournament, starts today and lasts all weekend. TBD3D’s Dance Dance Revolution tournament will stream live on Twitch starting at 12 p.m. ET, with the Top 16 finals starting at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Donkey Kong is stronger than ever in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but there are still two big glitches holding the super heavyweight fighter back from reaching his true potential. His fans are desperate for Nintendo to set things right.
For a couple months now, players have been getting used to the latest version of Donkey Kong. His grab attacks have been improved, and he has more options for getting back onto the stage. The increased speed of Ultimate across the board makes him that much more deadly. Calib “Konga” Byers managed to place third as DK at last year’s Don’t Park on the Grass tournament, while Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey, arguably the best DK player in the world, took first place at January’s Glitch 6 tournament with DK in his rotation.
Unfortunately, the latest Smash iteration of DK also has some big problems. Most notably, his giant punch suffers from two glitches that can be extremely costly. As Smash player BaneGanondorf recently explained on the game’s subreddit, DK’s giant punch has a tendency to magically go through other players without hitting them, which can be extremely frustrating when you take into account that the attack requires being charged up. Ultimate is a 2D platform fighter, but character moves are animated in 3D, and while it’s unclear what the precise cause of the glitch is, the Smash community speculates it’s related to how the giant punch is animated along the Z-axis.
DK is also supposed to get super armor after releasing the giant punch, a mechanic that temporarily makes him invulnerable. However, when the giant punch is used in midair, the super armor frequently fails to trigger. This can be especially bad when a player is trying to recover onto the stage from a ledge grab. Because of the super armor, a well-timed giant punch can be a great defensive maneuver for coming back onto the stage. It’s especially easy to punish, though, when the armor misfires.
DK isn’t one of the most popular Smash fighters of all time, but he certainly has some of the most passionate fans. Many have taken to Twitter and YouTube to call for justice for the Kong using the hashtag #fixpunch. There are all manner of screenshots and video clips showing DK getting completely demolished thanks to his glitched punch.
There’s even an entire channel on the DK Smash UltimateDiscord dedicated to the #fixpunch effort. “The following pictures contain gratuitous Z-axis shenanigans and graphic whiffs,” reads the intro. “This is not for the faint of heart. You have been warned.” It’s dedicated to DK mains commiserating with one another over their defeats from the glitched giant punch, and the results are actually really funny.
Despite three substantive patches since Smash Ultimate was released last December, DK fans still haven’t gotten any relief. A Jan. 29 update tweaked dozens of characters, but all DK got was a shorter landing time for one of his air attacks. Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether it’s aware of the glitches, though the game’s 3.0 Version is slated to go live sometime this spring.
It’s possible that this next batch of changes will arrive some time after the Nintendo-sponsored Smash Ultimate tournament at PAX East this weekend, but until that time comes, all DK mains can do is continue to document their collective giant-punch-induced misery.