Approaching Smash Bros. Games on Their Own Terms

Over on the Smash Bros. subreddit a poster by the name of Revven made a post advising people not to go into the upcoming Smash Bros. games hoping to find the key aspect that makes it more like Melee (the competitive gold standard of the franchise) but to approach it on its own terms.

In order to help people understanding this point, I wrote up an analogy that’s turned out to be pretty effective, so I’m posting it here for posterity.

Imagine that Melee is pizza. People love it, it’s got all of this flavor and depth.

Then Brawl comes out and it’s chicken soup.

Obviously, a lot of people would prefer pizza over chicken soup, but then you hear some of the complaints: “What the hell is this? This tastes all wrong!” people declare. “I’m trying to pick up a slice but my hands just get all wet, and I try to eat it with a fork but I barely get anything!”

But there are people who are eager to “prove” that chicken soup is fine, and all it takes is finding and adding the right key ingredients. “Hey, it might be chicken soup now, but if we add some mozzarella and some tomato sauce, you’ll see that it’s great!” No matter what they do, though, it just doesn’t taste like pizza, it doesn’t feel like pizza, and people are disappointed in it even more.

In the end, it’s not wrong to like pizza more than chicken soup, and it might even be possible argue that pizza is a superior food in general. Hell, maybe Brawl wasn’t even a particularly good chicken soup and was just soup in a can. However, because people were unable to see or accept the fact that chicken soup isn’t pizza, they also failed to approach it on its own terms. Instead of trying to add the right seasoning that would match the flavor profile of chicken soup or using a spoon, all they had were hands dripping with broth, and a look of dissatisfaction.



6 thoughts on “Approaching Smash Bros. Games on Their Own Terms

  1. I was once told that perspective makes up a lot of what people think, which is just a long way of saying you’re right. It applies to something like the first two Zelda games, or an oddity like G Gundam within that whole franchise. Still both good on their own. Would people hate the chicken soup of Brawl, if it was a different franchise?

    Many people are simply unwilling to consider other perspectives or criteria, as we’re taught that changing criteria is ‘flip-flopping’ or contradictory. Solid, unwavering demands from our franchises are King.

    Though on Gundam oddities, a lot of people tried Build Fighters and accepted that on it’s own terms, a refreshing phenomena. Will the new Smash Bros get this kind of acceptance? The subreddit you linked shows at least someone will try! I hope more do so too!


  2. Since i play brawl for fun, I sent that analogy to my friend that plays Melee for tournaments. His response was that Smash 64 was cheese pizza, Melee added pepperoni and that Brawl was uncooked dough. I laughed too much to make a comeback to that one.


      • In that case, instead of just taking issue with the uncooked dough and asking where the other ingredients are, we would be better off deep frying it and making some zeppoli.

        (This analogy only goes so far)


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