With Overwatch due out on the Switch next week, it’s obviously time for fans to start incessantly calling for characters like Pharah and Mercy to make an appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The loudest voice among them, though, will belong to Blizzard themselves.
In an interview with IGN, Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan was asked which Overwatch character he’d like to see in Smash, and replied, “To the Smash Brothers team, whatever character you want, we love them all. They’re all our babies, you can have any single one of them. We have 31 to choose from.”
“Tracer’s our girl, Tracer’s our mascot. She’d be my first choice,” he added. “There’s a lot of great runners up. I think a lot of people can immediately see Doomfist gameplay applying to Smash, but if it were up to me, I’d like to see Tracer.”
Or Reinhardt. Or Reaper. Or Sombra. Or Zarya. Or, look, like he says, any of them, they’d pretty much all fit.
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.
Super Smash Con, a Super Smash Bros. tournament and convention, has announced they will no longer be permitting a controversial competitor to attend the event in Chantilly, Virginia this weekend due to his alleged history of causing trouble in the community, which includes a recent incident at a tournament in Florida.
Super Smash Con has steadily grown into one of the most important Super Smash Bros. tournaments of the year since being established in 2015. The event regularly features competition in every official Smash game, as well as side events like the Super Smash Bros. 64 combo contest, and this year the event surpassed 3,000 attendees for the first time in its relatively short history. When pool assignments were released, however, several players noticed James “Osiris197” Grolig was going to be in attendance. Some began sharing their misgivings about him on social media.
Players described Grolig’s past behavior in various terms, ranging from him supposedly doing “dumb stuff” to harassment. The most recent incident involving Grolig was a physical altercation at the Florida-based fighting game tournament Community Effort Orlando. During a confrontation with fellow competitor Michael “RiotLettuce” Heilman, Grolig threw a punch, forcing event staff to break up the two attendees and escort Grolig out of the tournament. Both players made statements online about the fight afterwards, and although neither seemed to agree on who started it, Grolig did acknowledge wrongdoing and partially blamed his actions on alcohol. He then promised to restrict his drinking at future events.
When Heilman realized Grolig would be attending this year’s Super Smash Con, he reached out to the organization for a response. He shared an alleged screenshot of his private conversation with Super Smash Con on Twitter earlier today that indicated the event would allow Grolig to attend but that he would be subject to a “very strict one-strike policy” to keep him in line. Kotaku has not been able to verify this information with Super Smash Con itself, but Grolig has confirmed to Kotaku that this was the deal he was given since he had already booked travel arrangements.
This proved to be an unpopular decision. Top player Jestise “MVD” Negron publicly called Super Smash Con’s ruling “garbage,” and several members of the community reacted similarly, asking the tournament to rethink its decision to allow Grolig to attend. It only took an hour for the Super Smash Con organizers to release a further statement on Twitter explaining that they would be reversing their original decision. This move that seemed to please previous detractors.
“[James “Osiris197” Grolig] will no longer be attending Super Smash Con 2019,” the message reads. “Safety of our attendees is the absolute priority. We have heard your feedback on how his presence will make many attendees feel unsafe, which is the last thing we want as an event.”
Speaking to Kotaku, Grolig said he understands Super Smash Con’s decision and doesn’t blame them for having to do what they did. That said, he also explained that he feels his ongoing punishment for previous incidents is “excessive and ridiculous.”
“I’ve already been disciplined by my college for what happened at Community Effort Orlando,” he continued. “I’ve had to enroll in rehab and therapy sessions and have done a few already. I was suspended from a school team and banned from everything within 200 miles of me. I would not even think about doing anything to stir up issues or draw attention to myself at this point, too much has been lost over stupid and unnecessary decisions by me. I was not planning to drink or get involved with anything like that whatsoever at Super Smash Con. I just wanted to compete, top my past major placement, and see my friends.”
Attendee safety has been a major concern at fighting game tournaments since the tragic shooting at a Madden event in Florida. Many major events have instituted bag checks, and some have gone as far as to set up metal detectors to screen attendees before they enter the venue. Last year, the organizers of SoCal Regionals at one point decided that they were even going to ask players to unscrew and open their arcade stick peripherals so that staffers could check inside of them. That policy ended up getting reversed before the event.
Grolig ended his statement by saying that he doesn’t believe people are “genuinely” scared of him but that they are calling for his banning out of spite. “I don’t know at what point that stops,” he concluded.
Hello! Today we long to ride a motorcycle, discover the corn man, think about tricking pirates on a deserted island and ruin(?) Smash Bros. with dicks. It’s Morning Checkpoint!
Great Kotaku Content From The Past Week
Like most weeks, Kotaku was filled with some great stories. Here are a few of my favorites!
Humanity once again proves we can’t be trusted with too much power and freedom.
Why even put that awesome ride in the cutscene if you ain’t going to let players jump on it and take a spin? Just to tease us, Blizzard!?
No Man’s Sky has become very similar, in my mind, to EVE Online. They are both awesome looking games and have amazing communities and stories around them, but I will never try to play them again.
The only way this could be even more anime is a long lost brother appeared and beat them both and the dad and son teamed up to take him down, after 12 episodes of training and sparring.
I remember long ago playing some Call of Duty Modern Warfare with a friend on Xbox Live. They were getting their ass kicked by some snipers and they were getting very angry about it. Eventually, their dad popped into their room and said: “If you aren’t having fun, stop playing the game!!” Which, hey, fair point.
Finally, someone is using the stage builder in Smash for a good and worthwhile reason.
I’ve never met the corn man, but I can tell you this: If I do meet the corn man, I too will love him. Corn is great and someone who can provide me with that wonderful, starchy and yellow veggie sounds pretty cool.
Some Good Comments
We’re on our way to lifetime, cradle to grave streamers. I’m so old.
Go beyond that. We aren’t that far away from someone streaming their pregnancy, the birth of their child, that child then streaming through their adult life and until death and then a final stream of their coffin being slid into the ground. RIP in the chat for…me.
I’ve occasionally marooned myself on an island and just wandered around for a few hours exploring the lagoons and caves, watching for approaching ships. Nobody has stopped at my island yet, but if they do I’m not sure what I would do. I could stay hidden and pull some tricks on them, I could stowaway onto their boat and try to steal their loot, or I could ask to join their crew for a bit. If they have voice chat enabled that would make the decision much easier.
I really love the idea of someone hiding away on an island and other folks visiting that island and a rumor starts among those who visit that the island is haunted.
The neat thing about this is it’s the opposite of black magic – it’s extremely easy to do and pretty straightforward. The hard part is just getting the idea.First, the textures in your SNES games are pretty good- you’re seeing them as they’re ‘supposed’ to be now. What makes then look like smeary crap in your games is the limitations of the SNES’s mode 7 hardware (and normally the emulators try to reproduce those limitations).The first fix here is to take your SNES textures and upscale them 4x using nearest neighbor, so one green pixel turns into 16 green pixels. Then it does the scaling and rotation on those higher resolution pixels. That makes a huge improvement (see below). The great thing is that this takes no high resolution packs or anything, you can just use the game’s own textures. No weirdness like neural network upscalers, it’s completely deterministic.The next thing it does is use much better scaling and rotation math than the SNES could afford, so pixels go where they should be, rather than distorted – this was causing a lot of the ‘noise’ in the F-Zero shot up there.
There’s more to this comment, explaining how Mode 7 works, why it looked so bad and how modders are fixing it. I always love these deep and informed posts about stuff I always wanted to know more about.
Trailers & Videos You May Have Missed
I can’t wait to play this and try building stuff that ends up being terrible and I feel bad. Just like Little Big Planet!
I’m always down for some new mobile games that look great. Maybe it will be fun to play?
I love how much effort NetherRealm Studios puts into their story modes. As someone who rarely plays fighting games online or competitively, these modes are awesome.
Morning Checkpoint is all about catching you up on the past week, getting you ready for the next week, answering some questions, sharing stories and having a good time. You can email me anything you want or drop a comment below. Suggest tweets, comments, ideas, new sections and more for next week and thanks for reading!
In addition to adding a new playable character, the latest Super Smash Bros. Ultimate update also included a creative mode that gives players the ability to make their own elaborate stages. While many have used this new mode to craft all sorts of phallic fighting arenas, a few have lifted their minds out of the gutter long enough to put together similarly silly places to duke it out with Mario and his ever-expanding gang.
Some of the earliest creations have predictably focused on recognizable memes and other internet-based humor. This first stage brings the oft-parodied “Steamed Hams” bit from The Simpsons to the world of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, complete with the requisite Mii versions of Principal Skinner and Super Nintendo Chalmers.
Tails might not have followed Sonic to the Super Smash Bros. roster, but he can now make an appearance with this reference to the long-running absurdist webcomic “Tails Gets Trolled.”
The reference in this next one was completely new to me, but apparently, there’s a hot new meme going around that depicts a cute little puppy dog offering the viewer a joint. I look forward to The Kids telling me this is already super old and that I’m out of my element. Anyways, here it is in Ultimate.
And what kind of roundup would this be without someone’s take on Ctrl+Alt+Del’s infamous “Loss” comic. Hell, why settle for one when you can have a dozen?
As you would expect, many stages are built to be references to other games. Anyone else feel compelled to belt out Norihiko Hibino’s beautiful “Snake Eater” all of a sudden?
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s Temple of Time is perhaps one of the most iconic areas in video game history, and it’s finally been made part of the Super Smash Bros. universe, thanks to this ingenious fan.
The same creator also added a bit of Melee flair to Ultimate with an ode to the former’s “Break the Targets” mini-game. Can you beat their record?
Rivals of Aether is a 2D brawler that takes a ton of inspiration from the Super Smash Bros. series, and multiple fans have recreated one of its most popular stages, Air Armada, much to the delight of developer Dan Fornace.
The references aren’t confined to video games, either. With Avengers: Endgame coming out next week, one Smash player took it upon themselves to make a pretty decent replica of Avengers Tower.
Super Smash Bros. isn’t a series known for its existential dread, but now players can ponder the potential of human evolution while beating on their friends, thanks to this Neon Genesis Evangelion stage.
Anyone who has spent an excessive amount of time waiting for their DVD player’s logo to hit perfectly in the corner might be able to find some sort of sick enjoyment on this stage.
Of course, not every custom stage being made in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a big joke. This one, for example, seems perfect for competitive play.
And I’m sure we’ll see this one on display at Evo later this year.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players are slowly starting to learn the ins and outs of what’s possible with the stage creator. Take, for example, this early concept for a transforming arena.
Various stage components and hazards can also be used to allow characters to pull off complex combos that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
Like with similar customization options in other games, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s stage building mode has a ton of potential. Memes are fun and all, but history tells us that folks have only started to scratch the surface of what’s possible. We’ll probably never see any of these player-made stages considered legal at tournaments, but that’s the beauty of Super Smash Bros.: it’s just as fun to play with a few buddies on the couch. I can’t wait to see what else the community’s most creative minds are able to come up with to torment my friends and family.
Oh, and yes, you can finally pet a dog… with a little work.
Ian Walker loves fighting games and loves writing about them even more. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.
Over the weekend, an entire venue of Super Smash Bros. competitors and spectators lost their collective minds over the actions of one Jigglypuff player. Did he cheat in some way? Go overboard after a win? Destroy a CRT? Yell obscenities at the audience? No, he simply played to the Pokémon’s strengths in a favorable matchup, causing his opponent to get so frustrated that he unplugged his controller and left in a huff.
Fighting games are all about matchups. Since characters often differ from one another in terms of move lists and play styles, competition can sometimes begin right at the character select screen. In Street Fighter, for instance, Dhalsim is almost always going to have an advantage over Zangief due to the way he can control space with his stretchy limbs. Super Smash Bros. Melee has a similar matchup in Jigglypuff vs. Ice Climbers, in which the floaty Pokémon is able to run away as soon as she gets a life lead, thereby keeping distance between herself and the duo’s scary mixups and grabs.
This exact scenario played out at Battle of BC 3 in Vancouver, Canada this past weekend. As the event’s Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament reached the finals, Alejandro “Chango” Gastelum played to Jigglypuff’s strengths in a match against Ice Climbers main Chaucer “Fauxhebro” Gilson, using Puff’s hit-and-run gameplay to keep his opponent at bay. Fauxhebro, wearing a custom shirt emblazoned with #FreeFaux to protest the tournament’s banning of the Ice Climbers’ controversial wobbling technique, fought back admirably and ended up forcing a crucial fifth game to decide who would remain in the tournament. Throughout that fight, though, he looked frustrated. In previous games, Fauxhebro regularly shook his head in apparent disapproval of Chango’s tactics, and as he entered the final game of the match, he changed his in-game name to ‘PLAY’ as a way to signal his criticism of Chango’s keep-away game.
When Chango continued to play defensively, Fauxhebro’s barely-contained irritation boiled over. Five minutes into the game, Chango held a slight 3-2 stock advantage thanks to his ability to float from platform to platform and avoid Fauxhebro’s Ice Climbers assault. Unable to make any headway, Fauxhebro simply stopped moving. Chango, due his life lead, had zero reason to approach an opponent that excelled in close-quarters combat, and waited at the opposite end of the stage, leading to a standstill. The commentary team complained. The audience complained. A fellow Super Smash Bros. Melee player, Johnny “S2J” Kim, held up two middle fingers in the front row to protest the Jigglypuff-fueled inaction on stage. Everyone booed, even the commentators. But in spite of all this, Chango sat stone-faced, refusing to engage until Fauxhebro finally unplugged his controller and walked off stage.
In the war of attrition, Chango had won, but no one seemed happy about it. Later on, popular Twitter account theSirToasty posted an edited clip of the match with the caption, “Melee at its worst.”
The above video immediately caused divisions in the greater fighting game community on social media, split along predictable lines. Classic fighting game players saw nothing wrong with Chango’s play, comparing it to Justin Wong’s famous ability to play “lame” or “turtle” through many of his matches. The Smash scene, however, has a very different idea of what constitutes legitimate play. Due to the way characters like Fox and Falco have dominated tournaments, the community believes fast, combo-heavy matches should form the basis of competition. Anything else is disrespectful to those watching the fight, or so a vocal contingent of the scene seems to believe. Tactics like those that Chango put on display over the weekend are colloquially known as “camping,” a derogatory term for playing keep-away when there is no reason to approach.
For my part, I find it hard to disagree with traditional fighting game players. Chango played the match beautifully, and forcing your opponent to get up and leave the set using just your gameplay to frustrate them should be a point of pride. At the Evolution Championship Series, I’ve seen audiences separate into similar camps. Folks who focus on games like Street Fighter, Tekken, and Guilty Gear will frequently cheer for Smash champion Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma’s stalling Jigglypuff strategy, while Melee players boo for the exact same reason. What is considered exciting or engaging differs from game to game, due in part to the overall scene being more like a loose umbrella of feudal states rather than a unified community.
While the Smash community has been embroiled in the ongoing wobbling discussion, a separate, less popular conversation has sprung up about the possibility of limiting the ways in which Jigglypuff can camp, with some players even wanting to ban her from competition altogether. These arguments typically revolve around how Super Smash Bros. Melee is perceived by viewers, with some worried that Jigglypuff matches are slow enough that they can turn people off from the game entirely. With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate gaining traction as the new hotness, this anxiety isn’t necessarily unfounded, but it also highlights the differing values of the Smash community in general, where playing to the growing spectator class is sometimes considered more important than allowing competitors to use whatever tactics they need to ensure a win, even if those tactics aren’t that exciting to watch.
“I’ve got a lot to say about wobbling and the whole situation that went down today but all I’ll say is I miss the days when people honored the unwritten rules of Melee and didn’t cry about everything they didn’t understand,” Fauxhebro posted on Twitter after the tournament ended, seemingly referring to the scene’s tendency to shun defensive play. It’s hard to say whether wobbling would have allowed Fauxhebro to compete with Chango on more even footing, but there’s certainly a tinge of irony in protesting your character’s most potent technique being banned while also making a grand show of quitting against an opponent who is playing their character as efficiently as possible. Much like with wobbling, the Jigglypuff conversation is one that won’t be going away for a while, and for better or worse, the Smash community will need to contend with it if they plan to continue supporting this unchanging, 17-year-old game.
UPDATE (7:22 pm): When reached for a comment on the situation by Kotaku, Fauxhebro’s response was brief: “All I’ll say is if he didn’t want to play neither did I.”
Ian Walker loves fighting games and loves writing about them even more. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.