Rango’s Smash Column – How Smash Gets You to Try New Series.

It’s no secret that Nintendo has used Super Smash Bros. to market their series for decades. Even when Roy was included in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Nintendo has continued this tradition through the release of Byleth in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. However, this marketing method dates even further back than Melee. The original title, Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64, introduced players into many series as well. In this week’s Smash Column, I’ll go over the importance of Smash Bros. for marketing and how it’s impacted us as players.

Super Smash Bros. (1999)

The original Nintendo crossover started with 8 characters. Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, and Fox were among the many classic staples with a legacy on NES, SNES, Game Boy, and N64.  I had not yet played Metroid or Kirby until sometime after Smash’s release, so I did not feel as familiar with Samus or Kirby. However, because I enjoyed playing as Pikachu, and summoning the Pokémon out of Poké Balls, Smash got me into Pokémon. It was the first of many times that this series would influence my gaming choices.

Pikachu Pokeball ACT

When you fulfilled certain conditions, you would unlock four characters: Luigi, Jigglypuff, Captain Falcon, and Ness. Luigi’s inclusion was due to being in a game with his brother, Mario. You would think it was an obvious inclusion. Yet, after the release of Super Mario 64, his lack of appearance spawned many rumors and questions as to why he wasn’t there.

Jigglypuff, on the other hand, became a favorite among the Japanese audience who watched the anime. This would later lead to the inclusion of Pichu, Mewtwo, and Lucario. All of these Pokémon had anime movies featuring them.

However, Captain Falcon from F-Zero and Ness from EarthBound were two characters I was completely unfamiliar with. Captain Falcon comes from the F-Zero series, Nintendo’s racing series that predated Super Mario Kart. In those games, you don’t play as Falcon outside of his Blue Falcon vehicle. He only appears in the SNES title’s manual and in the select screen of F-Zero X.

Just who was this person? Why was he dressed as a superhero and why were his quotes so memorable? Falcon’s battle quotes, including his popular Falcon Punch, became popular Smash Bros. memes throughout much of the series’ existence.

Ness, on the other hand, came from the SNES title, EarthBound. Before JRPGs became big in the west, EarthBound was known only to a small niche group. Even among RPG fans, Nintendo’s worst attempt to market the game may have turned away potential fans. Whoever this Ness kid was, however, must have been a big deal in Japan. America largely knew nothing about him. But before long, Super Smash Bros. would invoke the curiosity of many players wanting to try EarthBound. Not only would people emulate the title on their computers, but copies of the game would sell for absurd prices on eBay.

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Melee introduced a plethora of new characters and worlds from even more series than the original. Not only did Peach, Bowser, Zelda, Ganondorf, Young Link, and Falco join the fray, but it introduced new series as well. While the inclusion of Ice Climbers, and Mr. Game & Watch, took a page out of Nintendo’s ancient history, an even more surprising introduction gained immediate notice: Fire Emblem.

Introducing Marth and Roy, the characters became an immediate hit due to their character design, fighting style, and their memorable theme music. Fans speculated if Nintendo’s Strategy/RPG series, Fire Emblem, would ever come to America. Smash series creator, Masahiro Sakurai chose to include Roy, in Melee, prior to the release of his home game, Fire Emblem: Binding Blade, in Japan.

Featured in the staff credits of Fire Emblem: Binding Blade.

Nintendo ultimately chose to keep these mysterious characters in the western release, opening us to a revolution. Fans demanded Fire Emblem be localized and Nintendo gave in. This preceded the American release of Fire Emblem: Blazing Blade in 2003.

Not only did Fire Emblem’s characters fascinate players, but the introduction of trophies gave us a new dimension to look through Nintendo’s history. Fully rotatable, 3D rendered models of characters, items, and stages fascinated us. But the lore that came with it introduced its history.

At the end of each description, Nintendo listed the original title that featured the trophy. For anyone interested in trying out these games, this little database gave them what they needed. I spent hours reading these descriptions and admiring the models.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

In one way, Brawl did the opposite of the past two games. As opposed to introducing us to series we weren’t familiar with, Snake’s surprise inclusion invited fans to demand another popular video gaming mascot – Sonic the Hedgehog – into the roster. While your average gamer needed no introduction to Sonic, Metal Gear Solid was known primarily as a Sony PlayStation title. While Snake had appeared in several Nintendo games, Snake’s inclusion in Smash would introduce many Nintendo fans to a new world.

In addition to various new characters, stages, and Trophies, Brawl also introduced the Masterpieces collection. These featured 1-2 minute demos of Nintendo games from their past consoles. Each game also invited the player to download these games to their Wii via the Virtual Console. For anyone new to these games or series, this was the ideal introduction to new series.

Masterpieces later appeared in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

The inclusion of Lucas also prompted fans to demand the release of Mother 3 in the west. Being the second EarthBound character to join Smash’s roster, fans of EarthBound wanted to know more about Lucas’ origins. While a fan-translated product was eventually released, Nintendo has yet to officially translate, and release, the title outside of Japan.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U

Smash 4 featured fully animated trailers featuring new characters. One trailer even introduced two characters – Lucina and Robin – from Fire Emblem: Awakening. While these two characters were popular among series fans, this would inevitably lead to the “too many Fire Emblem characters” discussion prominent among the Smash community.

Both Smash titles featured DLC expansions to the roster. In Smash 4, Sakurai introduced the “Smash Ballot.” Fans could vote for a character and the winning character would be added to the roster. While that winner was Bayonetta, Sakurai added one character just for his popularity: Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII. Appearing from one of the most revolutionary JRPGs, Cloud was a heavily demanded, but unlikely, favorite.

Despite the love for Cloud, much like Snake, fans were well-aware that Final Fantasy VII’s only console release was on the PlayStation. This also meant a world of introduction for people who have scarcely ventured outside of Nintendo. Notably, Final Fantasy VII would not appear on a Nintendo console until its release, on Nintendo Switch, in 2019.

While Fire Emblem Fates had been released in Japan, the title would not come to America for several more months. Similar to Roy’s inclusion in Melee, Corrin would enter the Smash roster prior to the release of their home game in the west. Despite Nintendo’s obvious attempt to use Corrin’s inclusion to market their game, their efforts resulted in Fire Emblem Fates becoming the best selling title in the series.

Sakurai’s passion extended through his characters by giving these DLC characters special videos explaining to players their fundamentals and origins. He would remark about their home game,  the game mechanics, and how he translated them directly into Smash, including the sound effects.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Ultimate’s new roster featured many leftover favorites which came from unrequited fan demands. Prior to the game’s release, Ridley (Metroid), Simon and Richter Belmont (Castlevania), Isabelle (Animal Crossing), Chrom (Fire Emblem), and King K. Rool were all added to the roster. Sakurai’s fulfillment served as a sign of good faith representing the relationship between the fans and himself. The DLC introduced five characters. While some included heavily requested characters, several came out of nowhere and shocked the world.

Joker

In terms of marketing,  Joker’s reveal might have had the biggest impact. Coming one year off of winning RPG of the Year at The Game Awards 2017, Persona 5 had introduced many new fans into a cult favorite series. At The Game Awards 2018, Joker and The Phantom Thieves stole the show with Joker’s surprise reveal trailer airing during the broadcast.

Sakurai not only included the Mementos stage, and music, from Persona 5. He included a blue and yellow thematic, representing Persona 3 and Persona 4, as well. These also included musical themes from those respective titles as well as their victory themes should Joker win on the stage. As someone who loved Persona 5, I heard good things about the other titles. But I think playing in the Persona 3 thematic prompted me to finally play Persona 3 FES, a game released in 2007, for PlayStation 2. Likewise, beating Persona 3 FES lead me right into playing Persona 4 Golden which, at the time of this writing, I’m about 20 hours into. Keep in mind I also did not own a PlayStation Vita, or TV, to play it on until I felt the need to try P4 Golden.

Even the littlest details could influence my decision. One of the featured songs, “Time to Make History,” appears exclusively in Persona 4 Golden. This re-release of Persona 4 came out exclusively to PlayStation Vita.

Despite owning a digital copy of Persona 4, on my PS3 (via PS2 Classics), I could only appreciate this song more if I played Golden, the game it came from. Researching the laundry list of exclusive content, and improvements, over the original title only helped persuade me to purchase a PS Vita with Persona 4 Golden.

Hero

When Hero from Dragon Quest was revealed, it was followed by a trailer of his home game, Dragon Quest XI, coming to Nintendo Switch later that year. While many westerners scratched their heads wondering, “who,” Dragon Quest had always maintained a heavy following in Japan. Nintendo’s method to introduce new Dragon Quest fans in the west involved clever marketing idea.

That idea involved showcasing his trailer to reveal, not just who he was, but where he was from, and when his game was coming out as well. This, in turn, helped lead to Dragon Quest XI receiving some of the best sales in the series history. Dragon Quest’s newfound success in the west further cemented Smash’s success in marketing game series including those not developed by Nintendo.

For a rare change of pace, Smash itself did not get me into Dragon Quest XI. Rather, it was one of the top Smash competitors, Nairo, who influenced my decision to try the game. As a fan of the player, I also checked into his Twitch streams from time to time. One of those streams happened to be Dragon Quest XI, which had not yet been announced for Switch at the time. The gorgeous design of the game and its polish really caught my attention. Eventually, I caved in and chose to buy it for myself.

Banjo & Kazooie

Banjo-Kazooie, stars of the legendary N64 title, finally entered the Smash Bros. roster in summer of 2018. Given their large fanbase, they became one of the most massively requested characters to enter the series. However, I’m going to shorten this section because there was little marketing involved. While Banjo-Kazooie’s feature included a fantastic throwback to a legendary game, from 20 years ago, there was no real “marketing” involved, per se.

Banjo-Kazooie still remains absent from the Nintendo Switch and has not been released on a Nintendo system since the N64. Until there’s any sort of re-release of the game, Banjo-Kazooie’s reveal served a purpose similar to Sonic’s. Rather than market the game, they wanted to introduce fans to a character largely loved and remembered by fans.

Terry

Months later, Terry Bogard, from SNK’s Fatal Fury, would debut in Smash. Despite western Smash fans once again bewildered with confusion, Sakurai gave fans an entertaining history lesson on Terry in a video explaining the origins of Fatal Fury as well as his recommended choice for series beginners. Incidentally, these titles went on sale, for discounted prices, on the Nintendo Switch’s eShop. Any curious player immediately had the chance to see what Terry was like in his home game.

As someone largely unfamiliar with Terry at the time, I resonated well with this video. Sakurai’s history lesson invited me to get into a series I never thought I would love as much as I do now. Furthermore, the King of Fighters Stadium stage boasts the largest number of music, including remixes, of any of the DLC character stages. The love Sakurai showed for the SNK music marketed not just good music and arcade classics, but showcases an impactful level of passion as well.

Byleth

With Fighter Pass 1 wrapping up with its last character, the inclusion of Byleth gave way to controversy as well as positive reception for the character. On one hand, it brought forth anger from Smash fans who felt the roster was, at this point, overly saturated with Fire Emblem characters. On the other hand, Fire Emblem: Three Houses won numerous accolades, including the Player’s Voice award at 2019’s Game Awards. This highly successful title immediately became one of the best selling in the series. Given that it had quickly become one of the most popular titles on the Switch, Nintendo had already decided to add the character to Smash in order to boost sales and introduce fans to Three Houses.

While Sakurai himself admitted that Smash has too many Fire Emblem characters, he gave Byleth a trademark ability to distinguish him from the other swordsmen. By allowing him to wield three additional weapons, his varied playstyle added new flavor to the roster. The additional weapons gave Byleth a different flavor than most would expect from a Fire Emblem character. Despite the initial protests, Byleth eventually made themselves at home in Smash along with several noteworthy tracks to add to Smash’s already renowned soundtrack.

The Importance of Music in Smash Bros.

Final Thoughts

Nintendo has used Smash Bros. to market gaming series for over 20 years. Fans, like myself, got into Metroid, Kirby, EarthBound, Fire Emblem, and many more. I was fascinated by the music, the stages, the characters, and the Trophy lore. This introduced me to countless worlds of wonder and many new series I would love for years to come.

While Fighter Pass 2 has already confirmed the first character to be from the Nintendo Switch fighting game, ARMS, five more characters will be revealed over the course of the next year. Therefore, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will come to Smash. Given that many of the most-requested characters have entered Smash, it truly becomes anyone’s guess as to who will enter. Nintendo has already chosen their picks for Smash Ultimate, so perhaps they’ll be used to market an upcoming Switch title. We will keep you updated with the next wave of Smash info. In the meantime, stay tuned for our next Smash Column!

What series has Smash gotten you into? Let us know in the comments below.

How Are Video Game Companies Preserving Their Titles for Future Generations?

Over the last decade, we’ve seen publishers release a tremendous amount of remakes and remasters. Some have given us incentive to play an even better version of a beloved favorite. Others, ever so rarely, have left players with a bad aftertaste.

However, one can’t deny the importance of re-releasing classics. Not only have publishers given longtime fans a chance to replay a favorite. But they’ve also introduced their legacy to a new generation of fans. With that said, I want to list a few noteworthy game companies that have put some effort into preserving their video game library for generations to come.

Capcom

Known for their many re-releases of Street Fighter II throughout history, Capcom has remastered many of their titles over the years. They’ve maintained Mega Man, Street Fighter, and several more as household names thanks to their countless re-releases. Mega Man Legacy Collection, Mega Man X Legacy Collection, and Mega Man Zero + ZX Legacy Collection feature a massive chunk of their classic platforming series. Capcom even released the Beat ’em up bundle which features some titles never seen on consoles before.

Notably, you can find the entire Resident Evil series on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Plus, this generation saw the re-release of Okami HD, onto modern platforms, as well as Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen remastered for modern consoles. Capcom also released Devil May Cry 1-3 on Switch with DMC3 receiving some hearty new additions.

Perhaps even more noteworthy would be to consider Capcom’s remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3. Much like Resident Evil 1’s remake, 2 and 3 were completely built from the ground up. These new features incorporate modern-day enhancements, controls, and storytelling fitting for a game of the current era.

Absences

Despite releasing Darkstalkers, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Breath of Fire, and Power Stone for PSP, however, we have not seen these games in over a decade. Capcom did release several of their Marvel vs. and Darkstalkers titles during the last generation, but have not been seen since. Furthermore, we have not seen the likes of Viewtiful Joe since the 2000s. Capcom keeps some of these series alive, so to speak, as costumes in Street Fighter V. But we would love to play them as full games again.

However, given that Capcom does continue to release some of their best games every generation, new players will get to try Resident Evil , Okami, and many other classics. Perhaps we may yet see more long-missing names appear in this decade.

Square-Enix

The company’s habit of re-releasing titles dates back to the early 2000s. You could find Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI, on Game Boy Advance, all remade with extra content. Chrono Trigger, the 1995 SNES classic, also came out for DS in 2008. All of the aforementioned games would later come to mobile devices and Steam Despite coming out to various levels of reception, Square-Enix would continue to update and polish them for a new generation to enjoy.

Despite their noble intentions, the sprites could use some work.

One of the biggest walls Square-Enix smashed was when they announced the remaster of Final Fantasy VIII, in 2019, for modern systems. The new version of the game includes redone character textures, upscales the title to HD, and features other minor improvements. This came with a slew of other announcements featuring remastered games.

Among those included in the announcements, Square-Enix released The Mana Collection, which features the original 90s Mana trilogy. This includes Trials of Mana, previously known as Seiken Densetsu 3, which was never released in the west. Similarly, Square-Enix released Star Ocean: First Departure R, Romancing SaGa 3, and SaGa Scarlet Grace Ambitions on modern consoles. With that being said, expect to see the newly-announced remaster of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, as well as NieR: Replicant, within the next year.

Speaking of remakes…

Super Mario RPG

Despite the love Square-Enix has shown for many of their series, one particular game stands out missing in action. Due to the copyrights involved, Square-Enix owns the rights to many of the characters in the 1996 SNES classic, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Mario’s breakout RPG remains heralded as one of the greatest JRPGs of all time.

While it was released on the Wii and Wii U Virtual Consoles, you would never see more than a passing mention from Nintendo’s social media accounts. However, it released on the SNES Classic along with Final Fantasy VI. Despite this, though, unlike many of the aforementioned titles, Super Mario RPG has never been re-released as more than a direct port without any updates.

Many fans want a remake or a true remake or sequel to Super Mario RPG. While Square-Enix has done well for preserving their most famous series, fans would love to see Nintendo and Square-Enix collaborate on another classic featuring its sorely missed characters.

Bandai Namco

Perhaps the single most impressive re-release Bandai Namco has published is Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition. Once lost to history as the Japan-exclusive release, the Definitive Edition includes all of the story content, new characters, and battle improvements never seen in the west. Save for Troy Baker, voice of Yuri, it also includes the original voice actors reprising their roles for the newly dubbed lines.

Meanwhile, Bandai Namco has stayed busy reviving SoulCalibur in 2018 as well as maintaining Tekken 7. These include songs from their past respective entries which you can add to any stage. If you love SoulCalibur music, you won’t be disappointed.

Also, if you’re a fan of Pac-Man, you can download it on mobile apps and play newly released maps. Namco Museum Arcade Pac for Nintendo Switch also includes a number of their old arcade hits, like Galaga and Splatterhouse.

Perhaps one day, though, Bandai Namco might release more Tales games in the west. While we’ve never gotten Tales of Destiny: Director’s Cut, Tales of Destiny II, or Tales of Rebirth, hope never truly fades.

Sega

With each generation, Sega releases new Genesis collections. You may have seen them released as Sega Genesis Collection, Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, or even Sega Genesis Classics. Let’s also not forget the release of the Sega Genesis Mini microconsole.

I’m a little sad knowing that the Sega Genesis Mini in America does not have Yu Yu Hakusho: Makyo Toitsusen.

Even though, for some reason, re-releases of Sonic 3 & Knuckles are apparently rare, Sega generally does a good job of keeping their Genesis games afloat. Sega even released a Dreamcast Collection, featuring several hits, on Steam, as well as the Saturn classic NiGHTS into Dreams…

As of late, it seems Sega has become more interested in releasing some of their classic series. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD recently came to modern consoles. Following that, Sega released the Panzer Dragoon Remake on Nintendo Switch. Also noteworthy includes not only the remaster of Shenmue I & II on modern consoles, but the release of Shenmue III, which released over 15 years after Shenmue II.

But one more thing I want to cover is how Sega has distributed their classic series to different studios to develop their games. They collaborated with Christian Whitehead and his team to develop Sonic Mania, one of the best reviewed Sonic titles of all time. Now, with April 30th around the corner, Dotemu is set to release Streets of Rage 4, the first official title in the illustrious beat ’em up series in over 25 years.

While we would certainly love to see the return of Skies of Arcadia and Billy Hatcher, Sega has done a surprisingly stellar job of releasing classic titles and new entries onto modern-day consoles and PC. Since they own the rights to Puyo Puyo and its characters, I would also love to see the Madou Monogatari series return.

With that said, I’m even more surprised that I didn’t have to name many absent franchises this time. Sega has done a surprisingly stellar job of releasing most of their classic entries into the current era. Well done!

Nintendo

Over the last decade, Nintendo has built up a bit of a resume remaking classics we grew up with. One example includes Fire Emblem Gaiden, for Famicom in Japan, which never came to America until it was released as Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia for 3DS. Nintendo has also released four Legend of Zelda remakes, three of which were developed by GREZZO. The latest remake includes Link’s Awakening for Nintendo Switch. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD was developed by Nintendo EAD, which built the GameCube classic from the ground up and added several upgrades.

Furthermore, Nintendo has released many of their unsuccessful Wii U titles – largely due to the failure of the console itself – onto the Nintendo Switch. You’ll find some amazing software like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Captain Toad: Treasure Trackers, Bayonetta 2, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, released with a visual update and some noteworthy updates.

However, I feel Nintendo still needs help when it comes to keeping some of their franchises alive. It goes without saying that we’ve seen more than a decade without the release of F-Zero or Golden Sun. The Nintendo Switch Online’s SNES Classics library misses a number of heavy-hitters such as Super Mario RPG and Donkey Kong Country. The lack of regular updates does not help its relevance who wish to see more titles. Even compared to the Wii Virtual Console from 14 years ago, Nintendo could do much better with the Switch online.

Puyo Puyo 2 imported on the SNES Classics libary? Now that’s a surprise.

In the past, Nintendo released the Ambassador Program for 3DS. Featuring ports of GBA titles digitally released for 3DS, this feature was only available for people who owned the initial release of the 3DS. They were not seen again until they were released on the Wii U eShop For 3DS owners who enjoy playing these games on a handheld, this did not help them at all. Also, as many players are aware, Nintendo still refuses to release Mother 3 in the west.

For Nintendo, it’s a mixed bag. They remake classic titles and the upgrades make them even better. The Switch releases of Wii U titles give players hope we could see more classics like Super Mario 3D World embraced by fans who didn’t own a Wii U. But Nintendo also seems finicky, even compared to the aforementioned companies, when it comes to keeping their abandoned series fresh.

Konami

Until recently, Konami seemed to completely neglect digital preservation. In fact, they seem to have completely ignored the console and PC gaming market entirely. After the unceremonious departure of Metal Gear creator, Hideo Kojima, and Castlevania Producer, Koji Igarashi, their studio had become bereft of classic titles.

During the 2000s, the company released amazing titles like Silent Hill 2, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, Metal Gear Solid 3, and Contra 4. The 2010s, on the other hand, saw the controversial reboot of Castlevania (Lords of Shadow) and what many deemed to be an unfinished title, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Even P.T. Silent Hills, a horror demo many players looked forward to, was scrapped completely.

The last few years, though, saw the release of Super Bomberman R, a return to form for the classic Bomberman series. Konami later updated the title with several free DLC releases as well as ports to the PS4, Xbox One, PC. In 2018, they also released Castlevania Requiem, which featured Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night (PSP version) for PS4.

But perhaps last year showed the biggest change in tide. Castlevania Anniversary Collection, Contra Anniversary Collection, and Konami Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection included many releases from the 80s and 90s. These titles even featured Japanese versions of their respective games as well as exclusive interviews. Even more impressive was that these were the first official releases of Castlevania Bloodlines and Contra Hard Corps, both initially released for Sega Genesis, in over 25 years.

We don’t know if this means Konami is throwing a bone to their fans or if they’re pushing back into the right direction. We can only hope to see them return to form as the gaming giant they once were.

Final Thoughts

While it’s important for game companies to keep pressing forward, by creating sequels and new IPs, it’s also important for fans to know where they came from. Releasing older games creates praise from players who want to try a new experience or relive their past memories. Furthermore, it establishes a relationship between the developers and the fans by listening to their requests.

As long as video game companies set a precedent, it might encourage other publishers to follow. Let’s hope that we can see the best of old and new from this decade onward. Maybe one day Sony might even release a remake of the PS1 JRPG classic, The Legend of Dragoon. Just maybe.

Which games do you wish to see return one day? Let us know in the comments below!

Celebrating Fire Emblem’s 30th Anniversary.

On April 20th, 1990, Nintendo released Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light for the Famicom. The Japanese Strategy/RPG series followed with several installments that never came to U.S. shores until the 7th entry. Thanks to Marth and Roy’s appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001), and largely due to fan demand to release the series outside of Japan, Nintendo would eventually release Fire Emblem: Blazing Blade (2003) in the west for Game Boy Advance.

Why do people love Fire Emblem?

Perhaps one of the most defining traits of Fire Emblem is its character design. Super Smash Bros. Melee created icons out of Marth and Roy. But the series is widely known for its colorful artwork and memorable character designs. While the fantasy storyline tasked you with saving the world, you would also learn about the backstories of your comrades-in-arms.

Fire Emblem: Blazing Blade quickly became popular thanks to its addictive Strategy/RPG (SRPG) gameplay. The grid-based gameplay offered movement similar to Chess. However, the level of flexibility and variety Fire Emblem offered, in its map design, classes, and overall gameplay, resonated well with fans.

But Fire Emblem introduced the permadeath mechanic. Lose a unit and they will stay dead. Your option would be either to press forward without them or restart the entire map and give them another chance. Note that later games, from Awakening onward, became much more forgiving in that department.

While the west had seen other SRPGs, such as Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre, and Shining Force, prior to Blazing Blade’s release, Fire Emblem offered more to the genre. Fire Emblem quickly became known for its addictive gameplay. You could promote your units, earning a new weapon and more powerful stats. Plus you could support units, growing their bonds, and even giving them a special ending together. Blazing Blade featured several difficulty modes, including one that let you play through Hector’s Route. This began a series tradition where you could replay a title to see another part of the story.

Additionally, Fire Emblem is known for its remarkable storytelling. Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn speak of relevant, worldly themes such as racial and class divide. It showcases horrors of war and even pit former friends against each other, something you would see in Fates and Three Houses. Even the Japanese-exclusive titles, like Genealogy of the Holy War, weren’t afraid to showcase dark themes, such as incest and genocide.

Fire Emblem also gained recognition for its music. The map, battle, and recruitment themes all share special recognition. Many of them appeared as remixes in the Super Smash Bros. series. “Together We Ride,” the recruitment theme from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, stood out as being one of the most famous due to its inclusion in Melee.

Decline and Rise

Despite several releases appearing in the west, none of them sold as well as Blazing Blade. In fact, the remake of Mystery of the Emblem, for DS, never came to America. Plus, due to its poor sales, the series began a major decline. It was thanks to every possible effort by developer Intelligent Systems and Nintendo to make Awakening the success it would become. What could have been the final game in the series breathed new life into Fire Emblem.Thanks to heavy marketing, new mechanics, and broadening the fanbase, Fire Emblem: Awakening would go on to become the series best-selling title. It would later be succeeded by Fire Emblem Fates, also released for 3DS. Nintendo would continue to appeal to fans, and reel in new fans, with spin-offs, such as the free-to-play mobile title, Fire Emblem Heroes, which was released in 2017.

Most recently, Nintendo released Fire Emblem: Three Houses, for Nintendo Switch, in summer of last year. The title features over 100 hours of gameplay and story and quickly became one of the Switch’s most successful titles. Among its accolades includes a score of 89, at Metacritic, and winning the Player’s Voice award at last year’s Game Awards. Additionally, Three Houses’ success would also influence Nintendo’s decision to include Byleth into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

How is Nintendo celebrating?

In Fire Emblem Heroes, Nintendo has released a new orb banner celebrating the 30th anniversary. This includes a throwback, of sorts, to Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem. These two stories feature Marth and the origin of the series. Keep in mind that Mystery of the Emblem’s “Book I” is a remake of Shadow Dragon, for the Super Famicom (SNES), while Book II continues the story after.

In this banner, you can summon childhood versions of Marth, Caeda, Merric, Palla, and recruit Minerva as a free unit. As a duo-unit, Palla also comes with her little sisters, Catria and Est. This throwback also features maps based on the original Shadow Dragon. Nintendo will continue posting updates on their social media channels for Fire Emblem Heroes. Keep up to date with their Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts for more info.

Additionally, Nintendo and Cygames’s collaborative mobile JRPG, Dragalia Lost, will also hold another Fire Emblem crossover. While the series has crossed over in the past with Fire Emblem, as well as Mega Man, this event will also center around the series’ 30th anniversary. You can check it out in the tweet below.

How are the fans celebrating?

Twitter has already begun trending #FireEmblem to celebrate the series’ 30th anniversary. If you search for the trend, you will find numerous works of fanart and cosplay dedicated to the series. Be sure to check them out!

Meanwhile, some of the series’ voice actors are also celebrating the anniversary.

Many players will surely celebrate Fire Emblem’s 30th anniversary by clearing routes in Three Houses. I, for one, hope to clear my Golden Deer run before the month ends. Also, if you own Three Houses but haven’t done so already, be sure to check out the Cindered Shadows DLC from the Three Houses Expansion Pass, which released earlier this year!

How are you celebrating the 30th anniversary of Fire Emblem? What’s your favorite game in the series? Let us know in the comments below.

The Nintendo Switch Features We Want to See Most.

Nintendo recently released version 10.0.0 for the Nintendo Switch. The new update features a controller button mapping system, news bookmarks, and the ability to transfer software data between the console and the MicroSD card. If you were expecting more from the update, then I’m afraid that’s all there really is. As the Nintendo Switch has been out since March 2017, people have been clamoring for numerous features to be added to Nintendo’s latest console.

Unfortunately, even after three years worth of updates, Nintendo Switch shows itself as a gaming console with bare-bones features otherwise. While Nintendo’s previous handheld, the 3DS, was capable of multiple features, Nintendo seems much more conservative with updating the Switch for reasons unknown. With that said, we’ll go over some of the most demanded features players want Nintendo to implement.

Themes

Topping the list of most wanted features, people have wanted Themes on Switch for years. While themes have been a part of consoles since the Sony PlayStation 3‘s release in 2006, even Nintendo’s handheld, the 3DS, implemented them within 2 years of the system’s release. Featuring a pretty background with music accompanying it, themes add all kinds of life to your menu. Unfortunately, the Switch only has two themes: Light and Dark. Despite fans clamoring for it for years, Nintendo has remained silent on the subject.

Apps

Netflix, Crunchyroll, WWE Network, and other streaming apps all appear on modern consoles like PS4 and Xbox One. Even the Wii U, Nintendo’s last generation console, had Netflix on it. With the Nintendo Switch, it’s entirely possible to take the system with you and it should be able to play most of the same apps as other systems. Yet for some reason, Nintendo has once again decided to take a step back on their console’s possibilities. The only multimedia apps available for the Switch right now are Hulu and YouTube.

Avatars

While Nintendo featured avatars from Mario, Zelda, and Kirby, fans believed that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would open the floodgates for dozens of profile pictures to be featured. Yet again, Nintendo failed to deliver on an opportunity. Even with the release of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Nintendo never bothered to update their avatars with the game’s characters. But at least Nintendo updated it with Animal Crossing: New Horizons characters, right?

Folders

If Nintendo added folders, this would make it much easier and more compact to find the games you want to play. Yet another feature missing from the 3DS, folders allowed for easy organization for games. Instead, you have to scroll all the way to the right of the menu just to pull up the library and find the game you want to play.

Music for eShop

The eShop in Wii U and 3DS played catchy music. In fact, this even dates back to the Wii’s Shop. The music was so catchy it was even added to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a remix. Why the eShop remains silent to this day no one knows. Much like with Themes, this would bring out more life in the Switch’s potential.

Pro Controller Disconnect

Specifically for Smash and potential fighting game players, Pro Controller Disconnect would become a massive help for the tournament scene at large. Right now, the only way to desync your Pro Controller is manually. Otherwise, you’ll have a synced Pro Controller prevent a character select screen from progressing into the tournament match just because the controller is still active. Without a way to immediately desync controllers by simply removing the USB cable from the Switch, this will continue being a nightmare for tournament organizers and pool captains wishing to go home from an event.

A Georgia Smash tournament even used it as a name for their event.

Final Thoughts

The list itself isn’t big by any means. It’s a few simple requests which Nintendo has chosen to stay silent about. Even after a 10.0.0 update, “stability enhancements” are about the most constructive thing Nintendo has done with the console save for one or two little features, such as zoom. While people will continue supporting the console due to its extensive software library, many fans remain skeptical that Nintendo will ever bother updating the system with the aforementioned features. But if the day comes, better late than never, right?

Which features would you like implemented most? Let us know in the comments below.

Rango’s Smash Column – The Importance of Music in Super Smash Bros.

When Super Smash Bros. released in 1999, it brought with it 12 characters from 10 different franchises. With each character, a stage, and with each stage, a song from their respective game. These throwback tracks, arranged by Kirby composer, Hirokazu Ando, brought forth the love of Nintendo’s 18 year history. But when Super Smash Bros. Melee arrived in 2001, it changed the gaming music landscape forever.

Melee’s soundtrack changed the landscape thanks not only to its orchestral remixes, but the sheer quality and quantity of music. Not only did each stage feature one of these beautiful arrangements, but some of the stages even had a “hidden” track which could play if you held the correct button down while picking the stage. In addition to both F-Zero and EarthBound gaining a stage, Nintendo even brought over Fire Emblem’s recruitment theme, “Together, We Ride.” This piece in particular became an instant favorite among players. In fact, it created so much impact that Nintendo even re-used the theme as the recruitment theme for the first western release of the series, Fire Emblem: Blazing Blade, in 2003.

You can listen to Melee’s orchestral playlist here.

My Music

When Super Smash Bros. Brawl arrived for Wii in 2008, director Masahiro Sakurai once again changed the gaming landscape. Introducing the My Music feature, players could pick and choose which songs they wanted to hear. No longer limited to one or two tracks per stage, each stage featured a handful of tracks dating back years to the series’ respective history. Brawl’s soundtrack even included music from series not represented by characters in Smash.

Not only did My Music bring in a much wider variety of tracks, but it introduced multiple composers to compose on the same game. Final Fantasy veteran composer, Nobuo Uematsu, composed the game’s opening theme. And various songs would be handled by well-known composers of video game music. Yoko Shimomura, Motoi Sakuraba, Yuzo Koshiro, and more would contribute to a singular soundtrack. This tradition would continue through Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Smash 4).

In Smashville and Town & City, K.K. Slider would appear, on Saturdays, to play one of his songs.

One particular thing to note, unfortunately, is Square-Enix‘s lack of contribution to Smash’s music. When Cloud came to Smash 4, he was given only two battle themes from Final Fantasy VII. Neither were remixed. While fans lauded Cloud’s debut in Smash, many of them sent backlash towards Square-Enix, accusing them of being stingy.

The Ultimate Soundtrack

When Super Smash Bros. Ultimate came out, it featured over 900 tracks. This includes nearly every track from the Smash series history as well as new ones featured for many of the stages. Even Capcom, creators of Street Fighter and Mega Man, let Nintendo use nearly their entire Street Fighter II soundtrack just for the Suzaku Castle stage. Plus, some stages received a prominent number of remixes. Wily’s Castle received a dozen new remixes alone just for the love and recognition of the Mega Man soundtracks.

Michiru Yamane, one of the composers for Smash 4, composed music for the Castlevania series. One game later, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would introduce the Castlevania series to the line-up. Sakurai would later showcase this in a Nintendo Direct. Much like Mega Man, Castlevania is highly reputable for its music among fans.

DLC

When Joker, from Persona 5, debuted in Smash, Sakurai did something special with the character’s stage, Mementos. Featuring remixes from Persona 3, 4, and 5, the song you picked on the stage would change the stage’s very color and thematic. Even Joker’s victory theme would come from the respective game that the song was playing.

Once again, however, with the debut of Dragon Quest‘s Hero in Smash, the character was given zero remixes and only a handful of songs from Dragon Quest’s legendary soundtrack history. Much like with Final Fantasy’s lack of music in Smash 4, fans would once again react similarly to Square-Enix’s reported stinginess.

On the flip-side, however, Banjo & Kazooie’s entrance into Smash brought many wondrous tracks from their titles into Smash. Sakurai even noted that this was the first time he collaborated with a western composer for music in Smash. The composer in question was none other than Banjo-Kazooie series composer, Grant Kirkhope. He would arrange the series’ main theme for Spiral Mountain stage.

Also noteworthy was Terry Bogard’s debut into Smash brought perhaps the single biggest selection of new tracks, including remixes, to the King of Fighters*** Stadium stage. Not only did this introduce many new fans to the wondrous tracks of Fatal Fury and SNK’s history, but even Sakurai showed his love for their music in his Nintendo Direct.

Finally, Byleth’s inclusion to Smash introduced the final bit of first-wave DLC. Their reveal included a stage – Garreg Mach Monastery – along with a new arrangement of their game’s main theme. The stage also received tracks from the critically-acclaimed Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

Mii!

Finally, one of the biggest surprises for fans was the debut of Sans, as a Mii Fighter, from the notable RPG, Undertale. In addition to the Mii Costume entering the game, Sakurai featured a remix, arranged by composer Toby Fox himself, of Megalovania. Fans reacted with great joy upon hearing this news. Similarly, Cuphead’s Mii Costume also featured Floral Fury, a boss theme from the game, but it was not a remix of the song.

Final Thoughts

One cannot understate the importance of Smash’s musical presence. It contains over 40 years of history and roughly 1,000 tracks of memories and new introductions to players. All of these tracks either came from their respective games or were remixed by talented composers.  Furthermore, you can even take your Switch with you and play it using a Playlist feature. This debuted initially in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. With each game’s soundtrack building over the last, it would not be a surprise to state that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has one of the best soundtracks in gaming history.

What are your favorite songs in the Smash series? Let us know in the comments below.

5 Essential Resident Evil Titles You Must Play

With the recent release of Resident Evil 3, Capcom has surged the series back into full mainstream. Following Resident Evil 7’s revival of the series and Resident Evil 2’s heavily successful remake, we want to promote the five best Resident Evil titles. Whether you’re a newcomer to the series or have played one or two games, this list will help you find the best games to play in the series. And the good news is that all of them are currently available for modern consoles and PC.

#5 Resident Evil 3

Starting with the most recent release, Resident Evil 3 successfully breathes new life into the 1999 classic. Featuring Jill Valentine, you’ll escape from Raccoon City while being pursued by a powerful B.O.W.: Nemesis. This variation of the Tyrant comes armed with heavy weaponry, moves faster than Jill, and will confront you throughout the game.

Utilizing the RE Engine from RE2 and RE7, this title features gorgeous animations using the over-the-shoulder perspective and the survival horror experience. Despite being only 12 hours long, with only one scenario campaign, Resident Evil 3 packs a punch from start to finish. Every element feels incredibly well-polished.

Original vs. Remake

To be honest, though, I struggle to pick a version of the game to recommend here. I have a soft-spot for the 1999 release. I loved the Live Selection and I preferred the structure of Nemesis’ pop-up encounters over him becoming a chase segment in the remake. For impact, I found it to be the best of the original PlayStation trilogy due to adding elements like ammo crafting, dodge step, and 180 turn.

On the flip-side, however, Carlos and several other characters got some amazing redesigns. The gorgeous visuals, sound, and animation really make the remake pop-out and breathe new life into it. If you loved the Resident Evil 2 remake, I can recommend it. If you’re not willing to spend full price on a shorter adventure, though, wait for a price drop.

However, keep in mind that major parts of the story were altered, as well as the level designs. Unlike Resident Evil 2’s remake, this feels like a total re-imagining in every conceivable way. With that said, I recommend the remake for newer players. But if you’re curious and want to see how Resident Evil 3 started, I cannot recommend the original enough. You can pick it up for $5.99 on the PSN Store for PS3 or Vita. It doesn’t have the gorgeous resolution of the Dreamcast or GameCube releases, but it’s the original version of the core game and definitively worth the price and then some.

#4 Resident Evil Remake

When series director, Shinji Mikami, stated that the 1997 Resident Evil hasn’t aged well, he set out to remake the title. Rebuilt from the ground up, Resident Evil (dubbed REmake) featured a new mansion layout, dialogue, voice acting, and boss battles. While it was largely the same game, it became a massive improvement over the original in every conceivable way. The gorgeous visuals stood out well enough to still be considered among the best on the GameCube even today. This definitive classic set the precedent for survival horror and what a proper remake should be built like.

In the past decade, REmake was released for HD consoles as well. Scaling up the resolution made a pretty game even prettier. On PS4, the title also runs at 60 FPS. And on the HD version, you gain access to new costumes as well as the ability to move much easier. You can choose to keep the infamous tank controls, but you also gain the option to run freely for smoother control.

Perhaps the best way to play this game is to purchase Resident Evil Origins Collection. You’ll pick up REmake as well as Resident Evil Zero in one fell swoop. But you can also purchase REmake standalone digitally. It’s all up to you if you want the main game or to take a dive on the series prequel as well. In addition to PS4, Xbox One, and PC, Resident Evil: Origins Collection is also available for Nintendo Switch.

#3 Resident Evil 7

Go tell Aunt Rhody.”

The chilling song in the opening tells the story. It tells the story of a man trying to rescue the wife he thought dead. As he enters the Baker Household, he finds grisly sights, dead bodies, and his wife, now turned by some kind of mind control.

Resident Evil 7 tells the story of the revival of survival horror. Bringing back tight corridors, monsters around the corner, and limited ammo, your attempt to escape this madhouse brings horror to a new level. Not only are you fighting zombies and members of the household, but you’ll come across grisly sights that will test your nerves. In a way, it’s RE’s foray into psychological horror as well, disturbing the player with gory sights wherever you turn.

I would argue Resident Evil 7 has the best narrative in the series. Even though it originally seems disconnected from the rest of the series, you’ll eventually read documents that help tie in with the rest of the series. Some lore alludes to the Raccoon City incident. Meanwhile, you’ll also discover involvement with Chris Redfield, who even has his own DLC campaign. It will also delve further into the mind of a psychopath featured in the main story.

Resident Evil 7 offers multiple modes and mini-games as well as two DLC campaigns. If you buy the Gold Edition, these come with the game for free. They’re several hours long each and worth the purchase to bring the story full circle.

As a whole, Resident Evil 7 revitalized the genre in the best way possible. Resident Evil 7 isn’t just a numbered title in the series, but a revolution. If you want the true meaning of horror, disgust, intrigue, and tragedy, I cannot recommend this one enough. Finally, be sure to check out some of the accolades befitting this title.

#2. Resident Evil 2 Remake

Using the aforementioned RE Engine, Resident Evil 2 successfully delivered a remake of the classic 1998 title. Featuring the over-the-shoulder camera from past Resident Evil titles, the engine allowed for fantastic animations, controls, and lighting. Dimly lit rooms of the RPD obscured enemies with all but a flashlight. Despite facing even tougher enemies than before, the ability to aim, craft ammo, and save without ribbons gave players much more control and freedom in the survival horror world. Note that if you played on Hard Mode, you would need to procure ink ribbons to save. In doing so, it offered a challenge for everyone.

Featuring two campaigns to get the true ending, the game would take roughly 20 hours to finish, if not a little more. Even after you clear the game, you could play some of the extra modes. These served as sort of escape missions where you fight off hordes of zombies to make it to your goal. They offered a score attack element almost akin to The Mercenaries from past titles. If you died, you would do a little better next time.

Resident Evil 2 excelled past expectations and brought forth a new definitive chapter in survival horror experience. It would later go on to be nominated for 2019 Game of the Year at The Game Awards and win the GotY award for the Golden Joysticks.

#1. Resident Evil 4

It goes without saying Resident Evil 4 tops this list. This revolutionary title introduced a camera angle that not only standardized modern Resident Evil, but many other popular games as well. Titles like God of War 4, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Horizon: Zero Dawn all use this angle as well. While loyal fans saw the direction of survival horror drift towards fighting off hordes of undead, the gameplay offered perhaps the single most polished experience in the series.

While fighting off impressive enemies and using various close-combat mechanics, Leon was given many ways to defend himself. Along with vaulting over rails and hopping out of windows, this gave the player tons of freedom over control. In doing so, it optimized the gameplay and set a new series standard. Even after you beat the game, you could play a New Game+ and carry over your goods and unlocked costumes. Those seeking a challenge could also try their hand at Professional difficulty.

Even after you beat the game, you could play through The Mercenaries mode. You could play as 5 characters in 4 different maps. This score attack mode pre-loaded you with an inventory, arming you to take down as many B.O.W.s as you could while extending the time. 5-star rewards would unlock weapons.

All-in-all, Resident Evil 4 is the defining gameplay experience with some memorable dialogue and narrative. The extras it offers remains unparalleled to this day. Plus, every release after the original GameCube version featured Assignment Ada – an extra story mode – as well as new costumes. Resident Evil 4 is currently available on all modern consoles, in full HD, including on Nintendo Switch. If you’re looking for one of the single greatest games of all time, I cannot recommend this one enough.

Final Thoughts

Resident Evil’s best games range from quality survival horror to groundbreaking titles that were heralded among the best of all time. They all feature impressive enemies, boss battles, exploration, and music. If you want to try the series, these are the best ones to start with. Depending on your experience, you may want to start with Origins Collection to play the story in order. Otherwise, you can jump into RE4 to play the best game, 7 for the new start, or 2 and 3 if you want to try the latest remakes. It really doesn’t matter because which one you start with. Each title sets itself apart well from the others, offering their own experience. Go with the one your heart tells you to because you’re in for a treat if you enjoy survival horror.

Do you have a favorite? Which one appeals to you the most? Let us know in the comments below.

Momocon Officially Canceled.

Momocon 2020

Earlier today, Momocon’s officials have canceled this year’s event. The annual cosplay convention, which celebrates gaming, anime, and other nerd culture, will miss its first event since its conception in 2005. Held in Atlanta, GA, Momocon takes place every year at the Georgia World Congress Center and the Omni Hotel.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the convention will be canceled until next year. While Momocon previously announced the event would be postponed, this update outlines the full cancellation. If you signed up for the event or registered for anything, please refer to it for any refunds.

Momocon has brought forth a wide-variety of events, including panels and gaming tournaments. The convention also hosts a massive game room. Among its tournaments include various competitive titles, like fighting games, but perhaps its most prominent claim to fame is its series of Super Smash Bros. tournaments. Beginning in 2015, the Super Smash Bros. Wii U tournament, won by Fatality, would eventually bring in more players. Each year, Momocon would pay out pot bonuses for the Top 8 players. From 2016 onward, Momocon would be attended regularly by top players, such as Nairo. This year, Momocon would have hosted a $10k pot bonus.

Smash Tournaments

In particular, Momocon has a history of hosting iconic moments in the Smash community. In 2017, Nairo faced Fatality in grand finals as both players won in 2016 and 2015, respectively. Nairo would win and become double-champion. Fatality, prior to the match, also defeated ranked #1 player ZeRo in bracket.

Nairo and Fatality would face each other once more at Momocon 2018.

Momocon 2019 also became the first S-Tier tournament in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. With over 1,000 entrants, Momocon would receive the largest turnout in their own Smash history as well. The tournament would be won by MKLeo, the currently ranked #1 player, showcasing his Joker and continuing his reign of dominance.

Known as a Smash major tournament and Georgia’s largest Smash tournament, Momocon adds to a growing list of canceled tournaments. Due to its handling of multiple events, Momocon’s cancellation deals a blow to competitive gamers as well as anime fans and cosplayers looking forward to panels. Its unique focus on esports, anime, and cosplay focus brought in a record attendance of nearly 40,000 people last year. Unfortunately, as with many others, Momocon followed suit and canceled this year’s event.

Please make sure you follow procedures, stay indoors, and stay safe from possible contagions. In the meantime, continue following our news for updates on upcoming Smash tournaments, southeast cons, and updates on the Coronavirus. We’ll update you once gaming events are up and running again. We look forward to returning to conventions as much as all of you.

We’d like to hear your thoughts. If you’ve attended Momocon in the past, when did you start going? What brings you to Momocon and did you have plans to attend this year?

Rango’s Smash Column – Everyone Plays Wi-Fi Tournaments Now.

Wi-Fi Replaces Real Life Tournaments

Notice: We will be moving to a biweekly format after this edition of Rango’s Smash Column. Stay tuned for more tips and Smash news on AllCoolThings and be sure to follow our social media channels!

Hello and welcome to our weekly Smash column. This week, we’ll discuss the growing surge of online tournaments in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate community. While the last offline tournament, CEO Dreamland, brought in over 600 competitors, it left many players wanting more. Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus, many quarantines line the nation. As a result, these regions have all canceled their offline tournaments to avoid spreading the disease. This also includes major events, such as Momocon, which notably brought over 1,000 players to register at last year’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament.

Thus, the seeming “bane” of Smash – online play – now receives a second lease on life. Despite its notorious lag and netcode issues, competitive players still want to play Smash Bros. While online ladders and tournaments have always maintained a presence in the Smash community, only now have top competitive players garnered interest in the scene.

Nairo, noted player and streamer, has hosted the “Naifu Wars” WiFi series since Ultimate’s release. With the prevalence of online play, his latest tournament has already capped its maximum entrants. Notable commentators, such as EE and Hazmatt, will participate in the event as well.

The tournament begins on March 28th. You can check out the details here.

Local Scenes

Additionally, local tournament scenes have also begun hosting online tournaments. Some of them require players, of the tournament’s respective state, to enter. 4o4 Esports will continue hosting online tournaments in Georgia. Until the Coronavirus begins to clear up around the world, expect more online tournaments to appear over the next few weeks. In the meantime, we will keep you posted with news regarding the Coronavirus and its impact on gaming events. Stay up to date on AllCoolThings for more news every week in Rango’s Smash Column!

What does the future hold?

As it stands, there are no plans to host offline tournaments in the U.S. With the nation under quarantine, players will continue using online as a means to enter tournaments and win money. Most recently, YouTube star Alpharad hosted the Quarantine Series. This appears to be the first of a series of Smash tournaments. Note that Kola, who won Soaked Series and placed 2nd at CEO Dreamland, won this inaugural event.

Perhaps this serves as a successor to the Smash World Tour, which was put on hold due to the Coronavirus. However, please note the names in the chart. All of these players are currently on the fall PGR. With offline tournaments on hiatus, the top stars of Smash’s tournaments now use online to continue building their resume. Until the quarantine lifts for Coronavirus, expect to see more top talent rise up to online play while we see more online tournaments hosting big names and big prizes. As always, remember to check smash.gg to see the list of upcoming online tournaments which you can enter!

Do you plan on entering online tournaments? If you’re entering or watching, let us know if you see any worth checking out!

How Animal Crossing: New Horizons Affects the Gaming Community During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Animal Crossing and the Coronavirus

With the COVID-19 affecting many public gatherings and gaming events, people in the U.S. have been instructed to stay at home to avoid spreading the disease. While much of the internet has shown the most serious effects and repercussions of the Coronavirus, others have tried to lighten up the severity a little. In fact, some gaming websites have already taken their jab at the virus.

However, with Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ release on Nintendo Switch this past week, one can’t deny the impact it’s had across the country. While players are cooped up in their houses playing games, one of Nintendo’s single-most anticipated titles have swept the globe’s attention. Already reaching the #1 Best Seller status on Amazon, Twitter has also added several hashtags featuring emotes to celebrate the game’s release. Meanwhile, top gaming personalities have begun streaming the game. Among these include top competitive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players who have been unable to attend tournaments due to multiple events being canceled.

Perhaps the most fitting thing about Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ release is its  timing. For those quarantined in their house during this pandemic, many consider it to be a silver lining to the crisis.

All in all, this might be one of the single-most unifying events in gaming culture since the release of Pokemon Go. For anyone who remembers Pokemon Go’s release in 2016, the phenomenon involved bringing players together to venture outside, attend public events, and catch Pokemon together. In a similar vein, Animal Crossing unifies the gaming community, inviting players to join each other’s islands.

Online Features

One primary feature of online play allows you to visit other people’s islands and vice-versa. You can set up online codes or invite friends to play together, on your island, as well as visit theirs. You can also use text chat to send each other messages.

New to the series is NookLink. While used as an in-game smartphone app, you can use NookLink on your own smartphone as well. Download the Nintendo Switch App and you’ll find connectivity to Animal Crossing: New Horizons within the app! Once you connect, you can check your friends’ statuses, access voice chat, and even download outfits and designs online! This features scannable QR codes where you can share outfits you designed or download those from others. You can find social media groups where you can share designs.

Be sure to check out Animal Crossing: New Horizons which is now available for Nintendo Switch!

Rango’s Smash Column – Post-CEO Dreamland, Roy, and New Matchups.

Smash Column 3/19/20 – Using New Characters

Welcome to this week’s Smash Column on All Cool Things™! In this entry, I’ll be going over my time at CEO Dreamland and what I’ve learned involving character matchups. You can read about CEO Dreamland here.

Long story short, I lost to a Pichu and a Palutena in my bracket. After that, I challenged multiple players to money matches, which I won several while losing others. Moving forward, this helped give me a fresh start on what direction I should approach while picking my characters.

Counterpicking

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a counterpicking game. One character alone will seldom win tournaments at high-level play. It pays to know your options and work on learning other characters. As an Ike main, I’ve made matchup charts looking over his best and worst matchups. This month, however, I learned – the hard way – that he actually has more struggles with more characters than I was willing to admit. Chalk that up largely to online experience. Without playing against high-level players, who use Palutena, Peach, Donkey Kong, and Zero Suit Samus, I was not ready for the top tier character meta.

-2 means heavily losing matchup while +2 means heavily winning matchup.

Always keep in mind that matchup charts are neither gospel nor absolute. The meta evolves and character mains can learn new tech to stay in the game. These matchup charts are merely estimates of a character’s advantages and disadvantages against the roster. With that being said, I’ve used multiple secondary characters to counter Ike’s worse matchups. Most recently, I’ve been using Terry and Wolf. After CEO Dreamland, however, I made a chart on how I approach my matchups using which character.

I’ve used Terry to moderate success over the past few months. Since his release in November of last year, what I initially thought was a low-tier character ended up saving my hide from several of my bracket rivals.  I’ve used him to counter ROB and Daisy while knowing they could seriously damage Ike and put me at a disadvantage.

Here’s an example of counterpicking in action.

However, after my matches at CEO Dreamland, I can’t say for sure that Terry is the right call to use against certain matchups. Even though his neutral game and high damage combos make him incredibly effective, his glaring weaknesses keep him from being up to par with much of the current meta. His lack of range, poor disadvantage state, and poor recovery render him an extreme example double edged sword. Either he wipes out stocks quickly or gets taken apart before he gets a chance to return to stage. Unfortunately, I couldn’t rely on Terry to take down some of my harder matchups after losing a round with Ike.

Roy’s Our Boy?

Meanwhile, Georgia’s #1 ranked player, Kola, has made impressive waves using Roy. Known as a high-tier character, Kola’s performance with Roy has helped him win a number of matches against high level players. His most recent placing includes taking 2nd place at CEO Dreamland, eventually losing to Samsora‘s Peach in grand finals. Going over my counterpick chart once more, Roy seems to cover a number of matchups already listed in Terry’s section, including ROB and Fox.

As I’ve been practicing Roy – and his Echo Fighter, Chrom – I’ve been considering using him as a counterpick choice. Much as I would hate to look like a copycat player, Roy suits my own playstyle well with his approach options, edgeguarding, close and mid-ranged combat, high damage combos, and high KO power. Plus, I can allocate some of those threats, such as Peach and Daisy, to Roy or Wolf if I must. One thing I learned from my opponents is how effective Wolf would be against some of Ike’s tougher matchups.

The Benefit of Counterpicking

My parting notes for players is to not be afraid to counterpick. Sometimes, Smash culture will involve players telling you to solo-main. If you’re losing to someone who knows your character matchup, repeatedly facetanking with that character will not help you improve. Learning new characters will help you improve as a player by opening your mind to new methods and techniques. Not only will this grow your knowledge of playing new character, but you may pick up on new methods which can affect how you play your main as well.

They say “you’ll never be ready” and that couldn’t be more true. If you feel like your first character won’t beat a tough opponent, not allowing yourself to switch to a different character means sticking to your main with a high possibility of losing. While some players feel comfortable solo-maining, the most adaptive and flexible players will surely seek new tools in order to secure their victory.

Learning a secondary character will definitely take hours of play. You’ll have to learn them online and at tournaments. Sometimes you’ll lose matches you could have won with your main. But that’s the price you might pay due to inexperience. Eventually, you’ll master that character and have a new tool to work with against tough opponents by throwing them a swerve. Don’t limit your potential when you can expand it with newfound knowledge.

If you enjoyed reading this article, leave a comment with your main and secondaries. Let us know how you’ve sorted your character choices!