Talking Smash Bros: 2018 Edition

Super Smash Bros for Switch was just announced last week, but it’s never too early for Smash Speculation! (I’m so happy to get to use that post category again.)

Actually, I’m even a little late to this particular topic. The biggest debate on the internet right now is whether the new Super Smash Bros game for Switch will be a new game or a port of the 3DS/Wii U games with some new bells and whistles. Me, I’m firmly on the side of this game being Smash 5. It’s a new game, it has to be. Or, it doesn’t have to be, but give me some time to explain my way of thinking.

Firstly, and I feel like this is the most salient point: Nintendo did not specify that this is a port. In my opinion, if they’re going to be porting over the WiiU version, they would make that clear. It’s okay not to say anything specific if it’s a new game, but you would definitely want to make note of when you’re re-releasing something for a new machine. That’s the kind of thing you need to tell people up front. I get that the hype around Smash is maybe even more important than Smash itself, but people are going to be pissed if you only reveal that it’s a port once the hype has already gotten out of control. Be honest and rip that band-aid off ASAP.

Following that, we also need to take a look at the game’s title. It would have been called “Super Smash Bros for Switch” or something like that if it were a port of the WiiU game. But rather, it’s just “Super Smash Bros (working title)” and nobody ever uses (working title) for ports. It’s never happened in the history of mankind. (Working title) only happens when a game in development doesn’t have a final name yet, and ports already have a name built in. You just paste a DX or Complete Edition or some other meaningless qualifier on the end. There’s no way they wouldn’t have already decided on what that qualifier would be if that was what was happening.

Look at the logos, too. And you know, they are pretty similar. Yes, they use the same typeface, but every Smash since Melee has had a very similar typeface. What makes them all unique is how it’s stylized. The Switch logo is very plain. Sleek, simple. This is unheard of. There is always a border effect, with a coloured gradient inside the letters. Maybe this is a placeholder logo? Well, that’s possible, but it wouldn’t make sense for a port when they have a perfectly good logo already. Nintendo doesn’t appreciably change their games’ logos for ports. From Wind Waker HD to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, they retain the original logo and tack on the qualifier. Besides the completely different design style, the Smash Switch logo has one completely unique feature: the “Smash Cross” is cut through the lettering itself. That’s never happened in a Smash logo before. Someone added that in on purpose. Someone put that there to make it unique. Someone put thought into designing this version of the logo. Sure, it’s simple, but that’s sort of the whole design philosophy behind the Switch in general. Minimalist design all over the place.

It’s worth noting that despite having many different features, the Smash 3DS and Smash Wii U logos are the exact same, with the only difference being the colour scheme. It stands to reason that if the same game were being retooled for Switch, they would stick with that trend.

Probably the biggest question I had after seeing the teaser is this: Will Masahiro Sakurai be involved in this project? Considering how burned out he was said to be after Smash WiiU/3DS, I was skeptical that he’d be on board if it were a port of those games. But he has confirmed that he is the lead on this project. It doesn’t really mean anything either way, but I feel like having him at the helm is a good sign of a new installment. He also confirmed that his next project was decided and underway once all the DLC for Smash WiiU/3DS was out, so this has been in the works since at least February 2016. That’s a lot of time to dedicate to a port.

The only bigger reveal than Super Smash Bros actually coming to Switch (it was always just a matter of when) is that the Inklings from Splatoon would be joining the roster. Yeah, they could be added in as some extra incentive to buy the Wii U version again on Switch (they were also the added characters for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe). I don’t think it’s as simple as that, though. Link has been shown to be appearing in his Breath of the Wild incarnation, which is potentially huge. BotW strayed so far from the regular Zelda formula that Link’s traditional move set would make no sense for BotW Link. He wouldn’t need to be rebuilt from the ground up, but there would need to be some radical changes. And at that point, why not just make him a wholly new character? That then, begs the question of how “classic” Link fits in. Will there be three Links now? Will Toon Link be cut to prevent an over-saturation of Links? There is so much mystery surrounding what seems to be a simple costume change!

While the addition of the Inklings and Link’s new look don’t offer a lot of insight into Smash Switch’s uniqueness, it’s the other character reveals that say a lot more about this being a new game. Or rather, the lack thereof. All we know for sure are the Inklings, Mario, and Link. There was a silhouette of roughly a dozen other characters shown, but it’s hard to place exactly which guys are in or not. It’s easy enough to pick out well-defined shapes like Donkey Kong, Bowser, and Kirby, but there are plenty that are much more difficult to identify.

But the “who’s in/who’s out?” question is secondary to the fact that they are playing this game again in the first case. A massive part of the Smash Hype Cycle is where a dozen or so guys are revealed along with the game, and then more are slowly revealed as the release date draws closer. So here’s my question: why go through this process for a port? Again, I know that the hype cycle is very important to Smash, but it seems silly to do it for a roster that is already defined. I could see some third-party characters losing their spots, but I really don’t expect that the roster would change in any meaningful way for a port. Yeah, we’ll get Inklings and Ice Climbers will return and maybe one or two new guys (calling it: Spring Man and Rabbid Peach), but there’s no reason to drip-feed all of the returning fighters if it’s just going to be a port.

Obviously, all of this is just speculation, and I’m sure there are already many more smartly-written dissertations on why Smash Switch is a port. But it’s fun to theorize, and I really do believe we’re looking at a new game. It’s also important to distinguish just how different a new game and a port will likely be (read: less different than you may think), but that’s an essay for… let’s say next weekend. Yeah, there are going to be a lot of Smash Speculation posts throughout the rest of the year. Let’s all get on board that hype train!

RE: Crystal Shards

You know, it’s funny. Despite my affinity for both the Nintendo 64 and Kirby games, I’ve never really written at length about Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards.

I like to think the direction we’re going from here is obvious.

In anticipation of the release of Kirby: Star Allies today, I have been doing a replay of Kirby 64. And it’s going by pretty quick, almost speedrun fast. Though speed is actually the first thing I want to talk about: Kirby 64 is kinda slow. Not quite as slow as Kirby’s Dream Land 3 (which is why my attempted replays of that game never go far), but nearly every action cuts Kirby’s forward momentum, if not stopping him dead in his tracks. While this a common among most Kirby games, Kirby’s dash seems slower than usual here, and so many other games at least provide dash attacks for a lot of powers, where this one does not.

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Designer Diary: Episode 3: The Shootening

I took last week off of working on my GameMaker project because of the way that a lot of other events lined up. This isn’t to say that I was too busy to do any work on it, but rather that I made the decision to put it off in favour of other ways to pass my evenings.

This may have been a huge mistake. I’m not sure how to explain it, but it’s like, taking that one week off set a precedent for me ignoring the project, and now that I’ve broken the chain, so I don’t have to feel that obligation for follow-through. And on week three! Look how quickly I’ve fallen off the wagon! Sad face.

But I hopped back on this week and sat down to absorb tutorial #3: giving my guy a gun. So now he can run and jump and shoot in every direction. There was even a little extra bit on the end to give the gun a little recoil animation. It doesn’t really make sense because I drew my gun as a stereotypical cartoon raygun, but there’s recoil!

This particular tutorial was a fun learning exercise, but the fact of the matter is that I don’t want to make a shooting game, so it’s only somewhat relevant. Even if I did, I would never use mouse aiming. Obviously there may end up being some way in which I incorporate some of what I learned into other things, but the guy’s not going to have a gun in the end. At least not for the game I have in my head. Though at this point I’ve actually been entertaining the idea of making a shoot-em-up, just because it would be a moderately simpler project. Way fewer animation frames necessary :p

You know, now that I think about it, I’m like halfway to the point where I could create my own ripoff of Deep Space Waifu. That certainly would be a thing! I think next week’s lesson is on making enemies, so that’s pretty much all I would need to know. That, power-ups, and menus.


I randomly clicked into the oldest archived posts on Nintendo World Report yesterday, only to find… Silly little bloggy-type posts. Just like you’ll find if you go back to the beginning of my own archive. I mean, yeah, I’ll still post something silly and irrelevant every once in a while, but it definitely hit me in the nostalgia for blogging all those many years ago.

And… I actually really miss the old “Page of Death” look, with all its poor design decisions, gaudy article backgrounds, and text of every colour on a single page. Actually I think a lot of it is that I miss designing everything from the ground up. Whether it looked good or not was irrelevant; I put thought into every aspect it! Now it’s just mash text into a box and hit the “schedule” button.

Well that went in a completely different direction than I’d intended… Oh well. Happy Wednesday!

Knack is not the best game

Hey hey hey, it’s that time again! Time for Ryan to complain about a game that he’s been playing for free! On this edition: the PS4 launch game, Knack.

I went into Knack with hope in my heart. A quick check on Wikipedia confirmed that the critical consensus was not great. But I figured, this is kind of a cutesy action platformer, right? I should dig it. Only I’m not. I’m really not. Because Knack is, at least on the gameplay side, incredibly bland. It also sits quite firmly on the wrong side of the difficulty fence.

For all the frustration I’ve felt while playing Knack, it’s been something of a joy to watch. The cutscenes are fun, and remind me very much of a second-tier CGI film. Like Astro Boy or Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. It’s super colourful, the plot is light but not too fluffy, and Knack is an all-around fun character. It’s no golden-era Pixar, but it’s definitely adequate. Which is good, because there are lots of cutscenes. I’m willing to bet that if I didn’t lose so much time to dying repeatedly, I think there may have been more cumulative time spent watching cutscenes than in actual gameplay.

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Last Month in Movies – February 2018

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters – An anime movie made for Netflix, apparently because Toho isn’t allowed to make a live-action Godzilla until Hollywood’s done with their movies. Also, the first of three!

This movie begins with the remnants of humanity floating through space, after having been chased off of Earth by Godzilla and scores of other monsters. But with supplies dwindling and no prospects for another habitable planet, the plan ends up being to turn around and go back to Earth. After all, time dilation has caused time on Earth to advance roughly 9 thousand years for the eleven years that the people on the ship have experienced. Godzilla has to be long dead, right?

Obviously, Godzilla is not dead, and so begins an operation to expose and destroy his weak point. It’s really convoluted and incredibly padded down with anime/sci-fi jargon, but whatever. It’s still a unique plot for a Godzilla movie, and I dig it. Not as much as I dug Shin Godzilla, but it was still good. I think the only thing that I actively disliked was the 3D animation. It wasn’t bad or anything, but it just didn’t quite work for me. Mostly because despite the fancy animation, it held true to the anime trope of not much actually being animated besides mouths and special effects. Oh well.

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Happy Borntday, Mr. Switch

Saturday, March 3rd was the Nintendo Switch’s first birthday. I celebrated in the best way that I could: I baked a cake and spent the bulk of the weekend playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It was a pretty darn good weekend.

Although I definitely tore through that cake too quickly. My belt is feeling a little too snug…

Anyway! Switch is a year old now, and there’s certainly a lot to reflect upon. Most of them good! That said, I guess let’s start with the more negative things.

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Thinks and Thoks – Nintendo Direct (March 8/18)

Remember last time I did a write-up of a Nintendo Direct, and I wasn’t really interested in most of what they showed off? Well, there was another one yesterday afternoon and it was a whopper. This time, I found myself profoundly interested in nearly all of the titles shown. That said, let’s take a more detailed dive into the presentation.

The first slew of games are all for 3DS, pretty much confirming my theory that Nintendo intends to keep riding the 3DS train until the end of time.

Wario Ware Gold – Yeah, I’m very interested in this. I haven’t played a Wario Ware game for what seems like forever, and they’re always super fun. But I don’t think I’m actually going to buy it. Since my budget is a lot tighter these days, the fact that I already own all the Wario Ware games I need is reason enough to take a pass on this “greatest hits” version.

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Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – February 2018

~ Game Over ~

Monster Hunter World (PS4) – I’ll level with you, I didn’t actually beat this last month. I write up these entries beforehand based on assumptions and when the game turned out to be much longer than I anticipated, couldn’t be bothered to correct it. But it is beat for real now. Promise.

Super Mario RPG (SNES) – Initially, I thought that this was a game one could burn though in a couple quick sessions. That is not the case. It’s actually respectably long! And still a lot of fun!

Uncanny Valley (PS4) – A neat indie horror adventure, which I played to the least satisfying ending and then couldn’t make more time for because of my obsession with Monster Hunter.

RiME (PS4) – I was having a great time up until chapter 2. Then I was having an adequate time up until chapter 5. Then I just sat there and quietly wept for 20 minutes. (More words.)

Thimbleweed Park (Switch) – I thought it would be a brisk run, but it took me 15ish hours to solve this bad boy, and that’s having used the hint system very liberally. …I may just be really dumb.

Lords Mobile (iOS) – I downloaded and played a bit to get free hashcoins in Greasy Money, but the offer expired long before I reached the requirement T_T What a waste of a Sunday morning.

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Now I’m an animator (but not really)

I continued through Chapter 2 of my video game making odyssey last night, wherein I learned the basics of animating a player sprite. So really, I spent most of the time drawing out a crappy little sprite seventeen times for all his jumping and running frames. But hey! Progress! It seems again like I really did very little in the two hours or so that I spent working on this project, and I keep having to remind myself that this is a massive thing I’m trying to do and it’s always only going to move forward in baby steps.

This time I also took a screenshot of my project in GameMaker Studio. You know, to prove that I’m actually doing this. Future Ryan will be filled with so much sorrow when he looks back at this post and remembers giving up on this dream.