FICINT

I have to say this about the FICINT concept after seeing some of it being mentioned. I can see its appeal and use, but I have concerns. So I’m going to sound like I’m more negative on it than I actually am. I’m not against speculative fiction or applying it to real-life possibilities in the slightest.

Where I do have wariness comes from my decade-long consumption of bad fiction. In short, my biggest feeling of caution comes from this: There might be survivorship bias at work. Because my experience reading everything from alternate history timelines to 90s technothrillers is that for every hit, you get a lot of misses. For every Hector Bywater, you get a ton of invasion novels that were as inaccurate as they were overwrought. And that holds true whatever the period. There’s also getting a wrong impression from fiction (a technothriller having an overly optimistic portrayal of high-tech gadgetry, to give one example) or treating stuff that’s still meant to be narrative-first as some kind of counterfactual prediction.

I don’t want to strawman or sound like I’m being more critical than I am. In fact, studying the misses of speculative fiction writers could be just as important and insightful as looking at the hits, if not more so. So I’m not against FICINT, I just think it should be applied cautiously and with a study of past failures as well as present speculations.

The F-35 in Context

So, the F-35 has had both its first USMC attack in anger and its first outright loss. Context needs to be considered with two of the claims I’ve heard floating around about it.

  • “Why is it attacking targets in a low-intensity war?”
  • “If it crashed, does that mean it’s unsafe?”

For the first, the answer is that it’s simply far easier for a high-end aircraft, especially one with the mega-sensors of the F-35, to do low-end activities than it is for a low-end aircraft to do high-end activities. That and it’s fresh, unlike the rest of the US’s very, very battered airframes.

For the second, it’s the first crash in the program’s entire history. This is astounding. Especially compared to say, the Harrier the F-35B in particular is replacing.

It’s been over a generation since the US has embarked on such a gigantic replacement of its fighter fleet. The “teen series” fighters break-in period was not the most efficient or pleasant either. This isn’t to say there’s never been any problem with the F-35’s development, but it needs to be viewed in the monumental context it’s in.

My Fantasy Smash List

So, I have this conspiracy that Nintendo is stacking the Smash Ultimate roster with past characters because it knows that the “fans” will be impossible to please, so it might as well go for safe nostalgic bets. (Besides, this is the best Metal Gear game in a while).

So, what are my unlikely choices for Smash Ultimate? First, and foremost, more than any character.

DOOMGUY (Doom). Rip and tear those huge guts! Not only has Doom been ported to the Switch, it’s a huge part of gaming history, and Doomguy can be a strong character in his own right. Yes, a gory M-rated game doesn’t quite gel with the cartoony Smash-but you could say the same about Snake. In-game, he would be a Bowser-style tank.

From there, a big drop.

_ _ _ _ _  _

FRISK (Undertale). Yes, on the exact opposite end of Doomguy is someone whose gimmick is that they don’t fight. Still, with the Earthbound/Mother characters in Smash, I figure you could do worse than make a character in a mega-homage. Frisk would use the stick and be fast but “heavy” with great recovery (to symbolize their determination).

HECTOR (Fire Emblem 7). Hector would be another tank-brawler with his mammoth axe and “Hector-copter“-based recover. What can I say, I liked the game and Smash could use more axe characters.

LILINA (Fire Emblem 6). Ok, this is getting out of hand. Oh well. Lilina, Hector’s daughter, can work as a light projectile-spammer.

DALLAS/JOY (Payday). Now for the true limiter. Dallas (with Switch-debuter Joy as an echo), can take to Smash based only on appearing in a Switch port that was, from what I’ve heard even more of an afterthought than the other console ports. Ironically, I’m imagining them being loaded with the oddball weapons and playing more like Link than Fox or Snake. Their recovery would feature them using the skyhook balloon from Green Bridge.

There’s my oddball Smash characters for you.