Today isn’t the anniversary of Super Smash Bros. Brawl’s launch…
However, today is the anniversary of Nintendo’s beloved Wii console, which came out 12 years ago on November 19th, 2006!
As we are counting down to the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I wanted to take this time to celebrate the most under-appreciated entry in the entire franchise: Brawl.
While most of the community avoided this game like the plague and complained about its slowness, floatyness, and admittedly horrendous balancing, I ignored the haters and invest a record amount of hours into the game (700 to be exact). This title came out during the time in my life where I had the least amount of responsibilities and the most free time to play video games.
It also served as my introduction to the competitive scene! I beat most of my friends most of the time, so naturally I thought I would win my first tournament. What a rude awakening that was.
Yes, there were still plenty of people playing Brawl in bracket (alongside Melee). Though the game didn’t lend itself to tournament play by design, an interesting meta did evolve around the few most viable characters, and the mindgames necessary to secure a victory with low-tier characters like Ganondorf.
Nintendo’s marketing team has mastered the Hype Cycle for Super Smash Bros., but it all started with Brawl. During the game’s development, Sakurai would update a blog every single weekday with detailed announcements and sneak-peaks at the game. His daily updates have continued on Miiverse and other social media for subsequent games, but never were his posts so lengthy, exciting, and rich as on the Brawl Dojo website. You could wake up, log on, and find a character reveal! Nowadays those are saved for Nintendo Directs.
Upon the release of Ultimate, Smash 4 will largely be retired. However, Brawl is still fun to go back to once in a while.
Thanks, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, for bringing us third-party characters, customizable controls, Stage Builder, Subspace Emissary, and much more!
P.S. Tripping may very well be the worst idea any game developer has ever had.