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.

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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.

The Nintendo Direct

So, the newest Nintendo Direct was released.

Nothing for the new mainline Pokemon and Fire Emblem games that we still know very little confirmed knowledge of save for the fact that they exist. (Either E3 or a standalone announcement, I suppose, which makes sense given their size and prominence). So, that disappointment was there-if you can call it a disappointment.

As for me, well, it was like “ok, stuff that looks kinda neat, stuff I’m not really interested in, oooh-No More Heroes, ok, ok, Undertale for the Switch-Whoa! Ok, ok, hmm, that was decent, port announcements, ok, uh, uh, so I suppose it’s-uh, wait-SMASH BROTHERS! WHOA BABY IT’S SMASH BROTHERS!”

It is, indeed, the announcement and reveal of the newest Smash Bros. My delight can hardly be contained.

From “Pseudo-German” to Teutonish

So, I wanted to make a character best-described as a “pseudo-German” (that is to say, from a fictional country in a fictional world that’s obviously a reference to old Germany).

Enter an eccentric early-20th century language inventor called Elias Molee. Molee was both strange (his disdain of capital letters, more than a century onward brings up Undertale references to me), and his dream of unified Germanic peoples is understandably creepy in light of later events.

Molee’s life project was a pan-Germanic conlang he called (with various spellings) Teutonish. So I took one version of Teutonish (whose public domain text can be found here) and I was set. Now that character has a “real” native language.

Urban Dead

I loved this game, and was fortunate enough to play it at its height. But I can also see the reasons for its decline.

The free browser zombie game Urban Dead was an example of player-driven gameplay. With no NPCs, humans and zombies could organically fight for territory, set up groups and plan battles with real consequences. It was a unique and fun experience.

It was also a horrifically and inherently unbalanced game that managed to give both sides gigantic advantages, in likely unforeseen ways. Individual humans could do far more than individual zombies. Zombies essentially cannot communicate in game at all, and it’s far easier for a human to build barricades than a zombie to destroy them. In individual play, a human can do a lot more.

However, groups of zombies are more or less unstoppable. Because they can just stand up after being killed, in a weird “DETERMINATION”-style system that preceded Undertale by a decade, the only method of actually beating them was to outlast the willpower of the players controlling them. And zombie metagamers turned the in-game communications weakness into a strength, setting up out of game networks.

Because of the PVP nature of the game, any balance changes were bitterly contested, making the community an often unpleasant place. This, combined with the inherent limitations of the game, made the playerbase drop.

There are other factors, most notably the game being incredibly beginner-unfriendly. But its balance was, in my opinion, the biggest reason.

Now, it’s exacerbated. A human can hide in a heavily barricaded building and be safe in normal play (too bad there’s little to do), to a ridiculous extent. Yet with even malls being virtually empty, a small organized group of zombies can attack with basically no resistance. Like its namesake, the game is reduced to shambling on.

But it was fun in its heyday. I remember playing it when I was younger, finding it through (what else) Spacebattles.

Writing On The Blank Slates

So, what do I do when confronted with a semi-blank slate character?

Make up an incredibly ridiculous backstory, of course. Undertale is a good example in point, because of how deliberately vague everything in it is-given my fertile imagination. Obligatory spoiler warning despite the game having been out for quite some time now.

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The main character of the game is intended to be a blank slate. Their low-res appearance is intended to be of an ambiguous gender.

Nearly of my Frisks are girls, based solely on me thinking the sprite looked more like one. But more importantly, all of them have extant human families. The story of the one who climbed the mountain varies a lot-ranges from the child of two wealthy financiers to a struggling parent, to a crackpot “analyst”. But the one variable is that all of them are kind and loving. The worst I got was an unscrupulous and hideously ambitious “stage mom” who pushed her daughter too hard and, post-pacifist end, sees her as a way up-but who is still ultimately caring and not outright abusive.

I tend to dislike kicked-puppy backstories, and for someone like Frisk, it makes even less sense that an abused, beaten child could be as friendly and forgiving as them (to say nothing of their incredible will to live).

One of my crazier, not serious ones is Frisk as a Little Sister style test subject, the antithesis of that. One of my crazier ones is her as a descendant of a Circle Trigon fighter, but that’s just me liking that crazy taxpayer-funded Esperanto empire too much.

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Chara, the other human in the game, is a harder case. A kicked-puppy background is easier to justify for them, as they “hated humanity” and ended up committing suicide.  At first, I made Chara a boy named Charlie, but now they’re sometimes a girl with that as their proper name.

To be honest, Chara never held that high a place in the story for me. They’re long dead by the time Frisk drops into the underground, and that’s that. No genocide route and none of the increasingly twisted “narrator Chara possession” theories.

But I still wanted a backstory, and my most recent attempt at one was surprisingly large. Chara’s father was a war criminal who met a violent end, leaving his/her De’Londa Bryce-esque mother to try and preserve her lavish lifestyle on his dwindling ‘prize money’. When Chara got old enough, reading about their father’s actions and mother’s stress made something in them snap and they ran off to the mountain where it was rumored no one returned from. The rest was history.

Although, the words “war criminal” and “cutesy Earthbound homage” don’t exactly go well together. Oh well…

 

On Trying to Not Be Spoiled

I’m trying not to be spoiled by blockbusters until I finally read/watch/play them. It’s harder than it seems, but I’ve managed it on more than one occasion. I got most of the way through Undertale without being spoiled, and my experience was all the better for it.

Though I have to admit there’s little middle ground with games for me. It’s either a bumbling blind playthrough or a robotic walkthrough.

Another one where I wasn’t spoiled before experiencing it was the name of the traitor in Payday 2′ Hoxton Revenge. Then again, I only had a <30 minute mission to sit through, not a long, detailed game.