This week Nintendo unveiled their 2014 E3 plans, which include hosting a Smash Bros. Wii U tournament, and letting the gamers try out the game for themselves at Best Buy. Obviously this is going to be the year of Smash Bros. for Nintendo, so why don’t we take a look back at the original Super Smash Bros.?
Smash Bros. may have a large, rabid fanbase now, but it essentially started as the hobby project of a couple bored Nintendo employees. Here are a few things you might not know about the little game that would spawn one of Nintendo’s biggest blockbuster franchises…
1) Super Smash Bros. started as a Super Nintendo game. Much like Super Mario 64, Super Smash Bros. was conceived back in the SNES days and intended to be a Super FX chip powered game ala Star Fox. Thankfully the guys behind Smash Bros. quickly realized that while the Super FX chip can do triangular spaceships pretty well, it probably wouldn’t be able to handle more complex models like Mario or Donkey Kong.
2) A team of two guys developed Smash Bros. initially. In it’s earliest stages, Smash Bros. was essentially the after-work hobby project of Masahiro Sakurai (the creator of the Kirby series) and Soturu Iwata. Yes, that Iwata — the guy who’s now Nintendo’s banana contemplating president.
Keep staring buddy — maybe the answer to “What will make the Wii U sell?” is in there somewhere.
Sakurai would design the game after work, then send his ideas to Iwata who programmed the game himself. Slowly but surely over the span of many months, a primitive version of Smash Bros. began to come together.
3) Early versions of the game didn’t feature Nintendo characters. And I mean it when I say “primitive”. Early versions of the game didn’t even feature Nintendo characters! Yup, the ultimate crossover game didn’t even start as a crossover.
Originally the game was supposed to be an original IP with the hilariously generic/cheesy title Dragon King: The Fighting Game. This early version of the game only featured generic dummy characters, which made the game kind of confusing — one guy looked the same as the next, so it was easy to lose track of your character. Nintendo would never greenlight this confusing mess! Ah, but then Sakurai had an idea! What if he inserted Nintendo characters into the game? It would be easy to communicate what he wanted the game to be if he had Mario and Donkey Kong in there, and once he’d sold the concept he could go back to original characters later. Or, uh, never.