'Super Smash Bros.' is a blast for casual players, too

(Image Courtesy of Nintendo) (Image Courtesy of Nintendo)

In Malcolm Gladwell's 2008 book "Outliers: The Story of Success," he writes about "The 10,000 Hour Rule," which posits that mastery of a skill occurs after people put the time into becoming exceptional at a given task. This is an oversimplification of Gladwell's thesis, but people have responded to it in a big way. Rapper-turned-haircut Macklemore wrote a song about it, even.

As anyone who has lived in a university dorm can tell you, millennials have taken to this idea, too. As a result, there is a frightening abundance of young people who are way too good at "Super Smash Bros.," a game that was so obviously intended to have a low barrier of entry compared to other fighters. What once used to be a great party game to play among friends has evolved into a terrifying display of cutesy brutality; an adorable Pikachu in the right hands can dole out the kind of harshness that gives people nightmares.

Thus, people who just want to see their favorite Nintendo characters duke it out without breaking their controllers have become a separate breed of player. For those looking for an in-depth analysis of the new "Super Smash Bros." for the 3DS, read Damion Julien-Rohman's review, as he is very in tune to what hardcore players come to expect from this beloved franchise. Those who cannot tell their "Kid Icarus" from their "Fire Emblem," however, have come to the right review.

"Super Smash Bros." for Nintendo 3DS rests on an odd plane of existence. It is the first entry in the series on a handheld device, giving developer Namco Bandai the challenge of translating a big-screen television experience onto a display smaller than the average hand. All the while, there has never been more stuff to do in a game like this before. With almost 50 characters and more than half a dozen core game modes, this is a massive game with hundreds of hours of value.

This is made all the more amazing by the fact that the Nintendo 3DS is more or less a handheld Nintendo 64, the console system that the first "Super Smash Bros." game called home. In comparison, that game had three modes and twelve characters. The improvements do not stop there. While the N64 version had relatively sluggish controls and small game maps, the 3DS version controls like a dream, allowing for player interaction with vast, lush locations to smash on.


The only real complaint to be made about this game is that sometimes its maps are too big and beautiful. As the camera pulls out to allow more action to occur on screen, characters become impossibly small, allowing for all sorts of frustration that might end in a 3DS being thrown across a room by the more aggressive among us.

Some modes also work better than others. The casual player need not mess with online play, as playing against The 10,000 Hour Club is not much different than playing in the offline Cruel Smash mode, designed solely to cause sadness and dismay. Smash Run, exclusive to the 3DS version, is not nearly as fun as the Classic and All-Star modes, where players will almost certainly spend most of their time trying to obtain the game's treasure trove of unlockables and challenge rewards.

There is so much to do and see in Nintendo's newest "Super Smash Bros." title that anyone with even a passing interest and a 3DS collecting dust on their shelf should rush out and buy this game. Anyone can easily read a detailed description of what it is like to inhabit the role of the Wii Fit Trainer and use the seven chokras to knock Pac-Man off a spaceship. It is much more rewarding to get into these situations yourself.

Let's face it, at the end of the day, who doesn't want to see Mario and Luigi punching each other in the face?


You may tell the reporter he's just really bad at video games at zheltzel@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @zachheltzel.

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