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Super Smash Bros: A Look At The Series' Evolution

With Super Smash Bros. confirmed for a Nintendo Switch release this year, we look back at how the series has grown over the past two decades.

Nintendo has a number of big games lined up for Switch this year, but the most anticipated is undoubtedly Super Smash Bros. Despite only offering a brief but tantalizing glimpse at the title during its March 2018 Direct presentation, Nintendo has already captured ignited fans' imaginations at the prospect of another installment.

With all the excitement surrounding Super Smash Bros. Switch, it's almost hard to believe the series is quickly approaching its 20th anniversary. What began as another Mario spin-off on N64 has grown into one of Nintendo's most beloved and popular franchises, as evidenced by the wild reaction fans had when the company unveiled the upcoming Switch installment.

In the video above, we take a look back at the evolution of the Super Smash Bros. series, from its first game on N64 all the way through the most recent installments on Wii U and 3DS. While there have only been four proper installments in the series thus far, you can see just how dramatically it has changed over the course of the past 19 years, going from a simple, pick-up-and-play mascot fighter to a star-studded celebration of Nintendo's history.

Super Smash Bros. arrives on Switch later this year, although there is still much we don't know about it, including whether it will be a new game or a port of the Wii U game. You can watch us share our thoughts on the matter here. Aside from the Inklings and a few familiar faces, we also don't know who will show up on the roster, but you can see 20 characters we hope appear in the game. You can expect to learn much more about the game at E3 2018 in June.

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Avatar image for nofreikinleoms

dam they really half assed the wiiu version didnt they

Avatar image for nintendians

ssb - it's good at it's time.

melee - fast pace was better than the rest, but when you throw opponents to the side with some character, they end up next to you where they could dealt damage to you with standard attack when percentage is still around 10 to 30.

brawl - the subspace emissary (story mode) is the only thing that intesting.

wii u/3ds - camping cpu (even on level 9).

for me: a mixture of ssb and melee gameplay would be better and a optional idea of a sequel to subspace emissary would be nice.

Avatar image for Herosuperdude

@og_gamerzzz: I can see that argument with the newer Mario Kart games (Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, and Mario Kart Double Dash had significant changes), but each Smash Bros game is very different from the last. Also, Nintendo Games are $60, not $80. And the Labo is not $70-$80 for Cardboard. It has a video game and programming software. Now, I do think Labo is overpriced, but your critique is inaccurate.

Avatar image for xgalacticax

@og_gamerzzz: LOL! Must boil your blood to see Nintendo succeed. Your tears are sweet.

Avatar image for muddrox

@xgalacticax: Nintendo is succeeding. Have you checked the sales of the Switch? Don’t be such an elitist. It’s okay to like Nintendo just as much as it is okay to like any other console.

Avatar image for muddrox

@og_gamerzzz: I swear, these paid review conspiracies never cease to make me crazy. People like Nintendo’s games. Just because your opinion doesn’t match up with the minds of critics doesn’t mean they were paid off. Just agree to disagree and chill out with the review conspiracies. I love Nintendo games, does that mean I’m paid off? I also love playing games on PC and PS4, did they pay me off? No.

Avatar image for PyreofKoL

Contrary to most here, I've loved the whole series save for 64. Melee was the very first game I ever bought with GameCube, which is the first console I ever bought. I also bought two more controllers so my younger brothers could play with me. Every Friday night we'd get home from school, toss our book bags and play Smash until we couldn't stay awake any more. I had certainly seen the commercials for the original Smash, but I didn't play it until a couple years after I bought my GC and Melee. The game oozes with charm, but the leap in gameplay between 64 and Melee is painfully obvious and just makes 64 a chore to play. I loved Brawl for all the focus on single player content. Subspace Emissary was absurd, well-designed and a lot of fun, and I loved the sticker system as it added both depth to the gameplay and another excuse for Nintendo to jam even more characters in there. U/3D has been my favorite by far, though. Portable Smash was long overdue, and I love how the 3DS and Wii U versions had a number of version exclusive stages, though I wish they'd done the same with characters as I'd really hoped to see Golden Sun characters on the 3DS version. I also love the Mii fighters. They aren't anything amazing in terms of balance and tiers, but I've always, always loved being able to create characters, and the wealth of in-game and DLC costumes as well as customization options from the Mii creator made that a ton of fun to mess with. I'm just hoping that this is a brand new entry, though I'm sorely tempted to finally pick up a Switch even if it's just a port as I want the already confirmed new characters and I want to see how Link's moveset has changed now that he's been updated the Breath of the Wild version.

Avatar image for lionheartssj1

I had a few friends that would get off the bus at my house so we could play Smash on N64 until dark every day.

Avatar image for games100

N64 version is still the best if you ask me, it's simplicity is what makes it better than the others.

Avatar image for Reuwsaat


I feel this way about Mario Kart as well.

Avatar image for nintendians

n64 - better throwing distance when you throw opponents off to the side.

ngc - better in offensive and defense, quicker feel of gameplay.

wii - subspace emissary was a interesting adventure story mode i like about.

wii u - none i liked about and a 1-on-1 with a lv. 9 cpu, the cpu camp and spam projectiles.

Avatar image for PrpleTrtleBuBum

This one perfectly encapsulates when and why I found things to be stagnant. N64 version was fun at the time, but it looked, flowed and had depth terribly. Melee overhauled everything to damn near photorealistic and epic levels. Brawl and Wii U versions - meh.

The evolution is the same with most other games. I'm not sure what I'm expecting modern fighters, FPSs and adventure games to evolve into, but I think developers are pondering the same question.

Avatar image for Litchie

@PrpleTrtleBuBum: It's often just the graphics that evolve. Many devs forget what makes the actual games good.

Look at FPS genre, for example. Take DOOM, Quake, Half-Life. Which new FPS is even close to as good as these? None. At best they're good because they have taken enough ideas from way earlier good games to cover for their crappy parts (DOOM 2016 is a good example of that).

Most devs these days are lost. These days, make flashy trailers and fool people that their game is good because it looks pretty is way more important than doing anything that's actually good.


Avatar image for Homefree122

Melee >

Avatar image for Sepewrath

Some of things I hope to see return in the next Smash is: Subspace Emissary or a similar adventure mode, target smash, a remastered Saffron City stage and the Ice Climbers.

Avatar image for doctor_mg

@Sepewrath: An adventure mode was supposed to be in the Wii U version, but someone leaked spoilers in development so Nintendo canned the whole thing.

I can't say it was the best decision for Nintendo, but I bet leaks are frustrating for developers.