I am not a Nintendo fan.
No, no, that would mean that my love for the Big N is pure, unbridled joy celebrating everything that funny little (gigantic) company from the East decides to grace our North American shores with. Sadly, that is not the case.
Instead, my relationship with the House that Miyamoto built is more junkie and junk. I’m a beggar for Bowser. Desperate for Donkey Kong. Genetically predisposed for Pikmin. If it’s got the Nintendo Seal of Quality, I don’t want it. I must have it.
Of course, this means that I have an unruly, borderline-disturbing obsession with the Super Smash Brothers series. I’ve spent more time playing the series than I have talking to my grandparents. It was my wildest dream turned digital, and Mewtwo help my social and work life when the next two (two! Can you believe it?!) are released.
However, with the new releases, I’m wary. While Smash Bros. has certainly given us some truly thrilling and unique character choices (Pokemon Trainer? Solid Snake? Mr. freaking Game and Watch?! Genius all!), there have been far too many clones (Wolf, Ike, Lucas) and a few stinkaroos (Pichu…*shudder*). One of the best parts of anticipating a new Smash Bros. game is daydreaming about who (or what, R.O.B.) will make the cut. It’s like Christmas times fantasy sports season only with Pikachu. All the wondering, waiting, and wishing…
While many sites post articles about who they hope to see, rarely do I see editorials about who we don’t. And as much as I love all the characters about to be listed, it’s not often they’ll be my five-stock, high-item drop (sans Mr. Saturn), Pokemon Stadium pick. Today I’ll be picking three SSB regulars who I hope are retired, and who I think should replace them.
3! 2! 1! GO!
Calm down, hardcores. I am a younger, taller brother, so I personally identify with Luigi in a way that most gamers can’t. I refuse to play as anyone else in Mario Party, Golf, Tennis, or Kart. If Mario is Luigi’s blood brother, than I am most certainly his spiritual.
But he never did much for me in Smash Bros. He made me laugh, which I really can’t say for anyone else (except maybe Donkey Kong’s “cheer” in the first SSB,) but laughs only have so much shelf-life and his final smash just left me feeling queasy. I guess it makes sense that the original palette swap in all of gaming fills the role again in the Smash Bros. series. Yeah, yeah, I know, his move set isn’t *entirely* the same but c’mon it’s close enough, and Mario’s definitely a more effective fighter, especially his screen spamming fireball final smash.
I adore Luigi and I’m glad that he finally got his own entire year as well as a new solo game that didn’t involve missing brothers or history trivia. The more Luigi the merrier, I say, but unless he gets a radical shift, maybe really embrace his Luigi’s Mansion ghostbusting aesthetic and abilities or maybe his brainwashed “evil” Mr. L counterpart from the Paper Mario series, I say make this a solo plumber show.
Still not happy? Well, how about if we replace him with…
REPLACED WITH: PROFESSOR E. GADD
Inventor of Luigi’s Mansion’s Polergust 3000 and Super Mario Sunshine’s F.L.U.D.D., Professor E. Gadd is Nintendo’s most underutilized characters. Yeah, you heard me, Pit. While his gadgets and gizmos a’plenty have made appearances here and there throughout the Marioverse, this kooky creator has yet to get his due and proper in a position of gaming prominence.
The concept of items and ingenuity go hand-in-hand with Mario games, and here we have a character where Nintendo designers can throw everything and the kitchen sink at to see what sticks. The diversity that could exist with E. Gadd as a fighter is almost endless. Think Batman’s utility belt meets Dexter’s Lab. In the wide and weird world of Mario with the variety of items that could put Ruby Tuesday’s salad bar to shame, the possibilities for play could be as goofy as it is invigorating. Everyone loves a mad scientist. And fears them. Love and fear: always fun.
Nintendo, this is your answer to Iron Man. Throw him in.
I look at The Legend of Zelda the way I do bacon, cheese, and oral sex: they just make everything better. Potentially my favorite of all the Nintendo franchises, I grew up cursing Water Temples and excusing Princesses. I’ll defend Link’s Crossbow Training as a legitimate day til the cuccos come home and I’ll always always ALWAYS be jealous of freaking Chris freaking Houlihan.
Zelda’s big bad has always been a personal favorite (gotta love that ginger beard!), and while Beast Ganon is a pretty rad looking final smash….that’s really as far as my affection for Ganondorf goes when it comes to Smashery. It always felt like everything he did, another character did better. Want a good heavy? Go with Donkey Kong or King Dedede. Need a competent magic user? There’s a reason it’s Zelda’s legend. Hell, want a more effective, arguably cooler looker final smash beast form? Beast Bowser is legitimately intimidating and way more useful.
Love the character plenty, but it always just felt like he was cribbing his fellow fighters. And again, I’d rather have unique characters than a clone saga. But I still want my Triforce to feel complete! Who in all of Hyrule has enough distinction and determination to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of gaming’s heaviest hitters? What venerated and celebrated character could we pluck from the Light or Dark World to replace the Hero of Time’s eternal enemy?
Repeat after me, “Tingle, Tingle Kooloo-Limpah…”
REPLACED WITH: TINGLE
“BLASPHEMY TO THE GODDESSES OF HYRULE!” I hear you shout.
Look, folks, the name of the game here is originality, and love him or hate him (or fear him or feel kinda…gross about him) Tingle is one-of-a-kind. Arguably the weirdest character to ever come out of LoZ (and when you think about folks like the Happy Mask Salesman, the house full of Spider-people, and Oocoo, wow that’s saying something), Tingle has become a staple of the Zelda series, and with Nintendo releasing multiple Tingle solo adventure games, this…very tight-outfitted mapmaker ain’t riding Farore’s Wind away any time soon.
So let’s embrace him. Um…figuratively. Haven’t we had enough grim n’ gritty? Honestly, the color landscape of most of modern gaming is muted browns, greys, and general earth tones. Sickly colors. Deathly colors. Lifeless colors. Let’s illuminate the horizon. Characters like Tingle honestly give me hope for the future of gaming, and with Nintendo especially. It’s easy to make a tormented soul. To create something somewhat unsettling, somewhat hilarious, and totally inimitable takes talent, and Tingle’s a singing and dancing perfect example.
His unpredictable nature is what will make him a viable character. It wouldn’t make sense if Samus pulled out a ninety-foot force gem to juggle at your face. It would seem strange if Fox danced while balloons carried him across the screen. With Tingle it all just makes an odd jumble of sense. Visually he could be incredibly compelling and as far as gameplay goes, if Mr. Game and Watch can attack with sausages, Tingle can find a home on the character select screen.
The second-most third party character everyone wanted (Mega Man being number one and holy bananas he’s finally in!). A hundred thousand arguments from a hundred thousand 90s recess yards were finally rested when the Blue Blur miraculously found himself running for Pokeballs alongside Link and Wario. It was your wildest SNICK watching, Ecto-Cooler drinkin’ dreams come true, and it was pretty neat.
Sonic felt like a last-minute add-on mostly there for nostalgia’s sake. And when you learn about his inclusion in Brawl you find out…that’s kinda true. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a bad character, there was just nothing about him I found terribly exciting. Especially when you compare him to other third-party entries like Solid Snake and, I’m sure, Mega Man. He was fast and he had sublime nostalgia-stroking sound effects, but, for me, not much else.
Maybe this the Nintendo fanboy in me still sore over Nintendon’t, but if Sonic returned to chili dogs and robot frogs for the next Smash sequels, I wouldn’t be too…yeah, you guessed it…blue.
But among the more giddy fun goodness of the Smash system is the inclusion of third-party characters, so what wild card can we add in to make things messier?
Hey, wait a second…
REPLACED WITH: THE JOKER
Much like how Mega Man cut his robot teeth in the fighting arena with the Marvel/Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom series, The Joker has established himself as a viable fighting game candidate with his giggly and gruesome appearances in the ho-hum Mortal Kombat VS. DC Universe and the truly terrific Injustice: Gods Among Us. Super Smash Bros. has always been a madcap series, and no one’s madder than the Clown Prince.
Like you wouldn’t lose your mind? The freaking Joker firing a BANG! gun at Diddy Kong? Forget it. Sure he’s a bit of a naughty nemesis with a penchant for vileness and violence, but hey, Solid Snake made a living appearing in mature titles, and he worked beautifully. And, even better, Snake was made all the more entertaining when the maturity of the Metal Gear Solid universe clashed against the somewhat silly Nintendo nature. Go check out all the MGS easter eggs in Brawl, they’re a riot.
Who would be better to be in on the joke than the former Red Hood? Tag-team Joker and Wario for a big-toothed terrible twosome. Have him do some marksmanship practice with Fox McCloud. Let’s have a big bad brawl between Joker, Bowser, Meta Knight, and um…Wii Fit Trainer?
And is there a bigger guarantee for money in the bank? With Nintendo a bit more in the Mario red right now, a Smash hit is just what they need. The Dark Knight made a billion bucks. Folks loves jokes. Time for the Warner Brothers to hook up with the Mario Brothers for…well…ya know.
GAME! That’s it for now, Unrealtors! Agree? Disagree? Fight’s on, let’s hear it!
Adam Esquenazi Douglas is a playwright who was born in Texas, grew up in Arkansas, was raised by a Jewish man and a Cuban woman, and, somehow, he doesn’t have an accent. His plays have been produced across the United States, as well as in Canada and Japan.
He is co-host of two podcasts, The JimmyJew Podcast Extravaganza and Schmame Over, which can be found at http://jimmyjew.libsyn.com/ and http://schmameover.libsyn.com/ respectively, as well as on iTunes. He is a contributing writer to www.GamersSchmamers.com.
He currently lives in Brooklyn where he drinks far too much coffee.
If you’re in the New York City area, tickets for his play “Forever 27”, premiering Saturday, April 19th as part of the Downtown Urban Theater Festival can be purchased at DUTFNYC.COM