Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Thinking Out Loud: Super Smash Prescience

If you're the kind of person to keep up with the Smash Bros Ultimate news, like I am, you'll know that expansion characters two and three are The Hero (from Dragonquest) and Banjo Kazooie. Now, I'm not going to rant too hard about another JRPG sword character joining the roster (but, like, really? Another one?), but I am naturally ecstatic to see Banjo and Kazooie coming down the pipeline, Banjo Tooie being one of my favourite games from the Nintendo 64. As always, there was outcry from fans that their personal pick didn't make the cut, especially the Waluigi set, but here's the thing kids; Waluigi is coming, I guarantee it. Much like Ridley and King K Rool, fans have been clamoring for Waluigi to join the Smash Bros roster since the Melee days, so of course he'll be appearing soon; if I had to guess, he'll be number five. Now, I'm not keen on Waluigi, I find him off-putting and simply don't get why he has such a following, plus there's already too many Mario characters in Smash, but I get that he will have his place soon enough and I'll deal with it. As it stands, I'm very much aware that I prefer the "mascot" characters to the more human ones, because that, to me, is part of the charm of the Smash Bros series. 

Where one draws the line between the mascots and the "realistic" humans is completely arbitrary, of course, I let Captain Falcon slide (and dive, punch and kick) despite never having owned an F-Zero game, because his cartoony behaviour charmed me in an instant. In contrast, the only Fire Emblem character I ever cared anything for was Roy, because he had a fun set of moves in Melee. Although I play neither, I really like that Sonic and Mega Man joined the roster over the years, because, to me, as someone who grew up with a SNES and a N64, that's what video games looked like, and Smash Bros was the crossover I had always wanted. The days of the "Mascot Platformer" dominating the market are long gone, but still I find myself more interested in characters like Rayman, Dixie Kong, Mouser and Daroach joining the game, probably because I'd much rather throw stars and/or bananas than swing a sword in a slightly different way to how at least nine other characters already swing a sword. See also; I'd much rather a Booster Gold film than another take on Batman. 

So, ok, let's talk about Goku again, because that's still a thing apparently. Personally, I'm a little disappointed that Jump Stars isn't coming to Switch anytime soon, but will live with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, and doesn't that game just make more sense as a crossover vehicle with Goku in it? I could totally see Goku as DLC in any of the many anime crossover fighting games, but the only anime ascetic in Smash Bros is leftover art style from JRPGs, with most of the classic mascot characters having more in common with the art styles of Disney and Hanna Barbera than anything else. If Smash Bros continues into the future far enough, I'd happily see it expand to include Anime, Film and Television, but to my eye, there's so much more scope for video game characters before that kind of branching out happens. Not just some of the classics I would enjoy like Lara Croft, Bomberman and Starfy, but also some of the newer icons along the lines of Shovel Knight, Cuphead and Sands. I understand the reality that I have absolutely zero influence over who will join the roster in the future, but I hope to see more Banjo Kazooies and fewer "The Hero"s. Dragon Quest is cool and all, but why not let me play as a Metal Slime? C'mon. 

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