Welcome to Mechanically Beautiful, where we look into the widely debated topic, “Are Video Games Art?” I am here to say that yes, I do believe video games are a form of art and I’m going to give you readers amazing examples of why I believe this. If you are not a believer of this idea, then maybe these articles will change your mind. But even if they don’t, you will get a chance to hear about and maybe look into some beautiful games in the industry. Today I’m talking about Nintendo’s super smash hit “Super Smash Bros for WiiU/3DS.”
Bad jokes aside, I’m sure I don’t really have to explain to anyone what “Smash Bros” is. For that one guy that doesn’t know, I’ll explain. “Super Smash Bros” is a fighting game with non-conventional mechanics that pits big Nintendo mascots against each other in a fight to the death; well, until defeat. Rather than other fighting games where you focus on combos, mix-ups, and health meters, “Smash” is all about knocking your opponent off stage and watching them fly or fall to their death off screen. “Smash” is about positioning, chaining attacks, timing things out, and outsmarting your opponent. It breaks down the fighting game genre into the basic idea of directional and special attacks. The game is pumped with content and is one of Nintendo’s biggest sellers. In all this fighting goodness, though, is a game of Nintendo’s color beauty. Nintendo has a very set kind of style they use for basically everything they make, and “Smash” is no exception. The characters and stages are colorful and nicely detailed, the items have all sorts of cool, crazy effects, and the battle plays out in nice, elegant animation.
All of the characters in the game are big Nintendo fan favorites. Well, actually, that’s a lie. There are three non-Nintendo fellows; Mega-Man, Pac-Man, and Sonic. Each character keeps their happy, colorful-looking selves and they fit in nicely together. Bowser and Mega-Man battling it out look like they fit together; there is no style clash even if they come from different games. That is a bigger deal than it sounds; because the roster had widely different styles for each game, things would look weird if they didn’t match. Color is, of course, always big in Nintendo’s stuff, so every character has eight or more colors and/or costumes to choose from. Being able to play as shiny Greninja or dark red Greninja, my favorite, adds that nice flavor. There are also some funny outfits like American Mario and wire mesh Little Mac. Heck, you can even play as red and pink Bowser if you’re feeling it. It’s Nintendo; bright, saturated, colors is what they are all about, sometimes even overwhelming amounts of color. I don’t even have to talk about character design. Even some of my least favorites, like Mario, look cool while punching and kicking each other.
“Smash Bros” has you jumping around in several different games throughout each level, all with great detailed animation in the background and foreground. Everyone loves the Halberd stage that appeared in “Super Smash Bros: Brawl”, where Meta Knight’s huge battle ship zooms around in the background as you battle on a floating stage that eventually lands on the ship itself. One new stage that I love for the color and lighting, although I never fight on it, is the Kirby stage The Great Cave Offensive. The stage is blasting with green, red, purple, and blue colors everywhere with a sprawling, castle-like building in the background. The Windy Hill Sonic stage looks like a piece of a “Sonic” level cut out of the ground, floating in the air with the bright green colors of a Sonic world expanding off endlessly into the backdrop. I could go on and on about stages like Orbital Gate Assault or Kalos Pokemon League, but you get the idea. The stages are gorgeous, high-detail, and showcase the best parts of their game.
Now, we can’t forgot about the items you throw around in “Smash”; they are one of the biggest deals of the game for a lot of people. The items in this game are nuts and, just like the stages, span every game of the character roster and more. Crazy things like the sledge hammer, Poke Balls, the ore club, beam sabers; the list just goes on and on. Every item has crazy effects, from being an invincible hammer swinging mad man to summoning Arceus, a.k.a the Pokemon God. The important part here, though, is that all of the items look awesome and do things that look awesome. The flaming pillars that blast out from the X-Bomb, the extended slash of the Beam Saber, or some peoples’ absolute favorite — the satisfying crack and blast of color you get from landing a hit with the Home Run Bat. The lovely blue explosion from the “Mario Kart” Blue Shell is pretty great to see, too. One of the coolest parts of a lot of the items, though, is that all of the characters have different animations and ways they use the items. Mewtwo, for example, literally does not touch anything and uses his mind to handle all items in the game. Pit, when he uses the Sledge Hammer, swings it like he is back in his original 8-bit game. This kind of attention to detail when there are so many items took a great amount of care for the great visuals that Nintendo has. My favorite item of the whole game is the Smash Ball. Breaking the Smash Ball gives every character a unique super-attack to crush your enemies with; it is a “finisher” of sorts. Mega-Man, for example, summons all five of his incarnations to blast the opponents away. Mario unleashes a swirling blast of fire across the stage. Pit unleashes the Three Sacred Treasures. Every attack is unique, awesome looking, and very well animated.
I won’t go on for super long about this, as you know my feelings for animation. If you animate a game really well or really poorly, it is a big deal. Nintendo is a master of their craft, though, and “Super Smash Bros” has the same excellent animation quality you would come to expect from them. Every attack, jump, special ability, and taunt has that Nintendo goodness to it.
“Super Smash Bros for WiiU/3DS” or “Smash 4”, as many people call it, is in my opinion the best of all the “Smash Bros” games and a great piece of video game art. Nintendo holds up its style and care and keeps the game looking great. I have probably put somewhere around 200 hours into “Smash 4”, and I must say. it is currently my favorite fighting game that is out there. It is a game that is good for both casual and hardcore players. I would suggest that anybody who likes Nintendo, fighting games, or just some party fun to buy this game.