Happy Birthday, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!

Yesterday marks the 1 year anniversary of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, my go-to fighting game in anytime and anywhere. Games are considered a form of art in my dictionary, so buckle up buckaroo, and lemme tell you about this great series made by Nintendo.

Smash Bros. started its first entry on the Nintendo N64 with one simple formula: “Duke it out as your favorite characters.” (I kid you not this is exactly what Smash 64’s box art said) Despite being simple and quite stupid, everyone loved it on first sight. Let’s be honest, having Mario slap Princess Peach into orbit is the most entertainment (and dosage of irony) anyone can get in any day. So Smash was selling like hotcakes, and it became an unspoken rule among people that every Nintendo console needs a Smash Bros. game. Smash Bros. Melee on the Gamecube, Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii, Smash 4 on the 3DS and Wii U, and Smash Ultimate on the Switch.

Smash has a lot of unique attributes that are worth mentioning gameplay-wise(It’s been on the EVO international fighting game championship for almost 2 decades), but I’m pretty sure you can find lots of articles talking about it on the Net. Today, we’re taking a look at this man.

Masahiro Sakurai from Sora Ltd. Despite looking like a 20-year-old, he’s born in 1970.

Masahiro Sakurai ( 桜井 政博 ), the brains and the heart behind all 5 Super Smash Bros. games. As a game designer, he has made worldwide renowned game series like Kirby, and has an entire vault of video games for work and for fun. As a game enthusiast, his eye on detail is admirable, enriching Smash Ultimate’s story mode with easter eggs and references from all of the contestants’ original series with his vast knowledge of games.(The spirit battle of The Boss from Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater is a perfect example)

What made him make Smash Bros. and continue to make 4 more entries then? The reason is his friendship with Nintendo’s former president, Satoru Iwata ( 岩田 聡 ).

Iwata was there before Sakurai’s first day in the game industry. He believed the “electrical appliance store clerk” before him can do more than his current job and encouraged him to do what he liked: video game development. They worked together on Kirby and Smash Bros. on the N64 as the company HAL Laboratories, faced challenges, doubts and all sorts of difficulties. Iwata would eventually leave HAL and lead Nintendo, and Sakurai would leave HAL because its new president and policies were limiting his freedom of creation. However, Iwata’s connection with Sakurai didn’t break apart. Sakurai’s new studio Sora Ltd. and Nintendo under Iwata were still working together.

In 2005, Iwata surprisingly announced a Smash Bros. game is in development on its new console Wii, and immediately gave Sakurai the great responsibility of making Smash Bros. Brawl. To Iwata, Masahiro Sakurai is the only man capable of handling Super Smash Bros. In 2011, Iwata, suffering from cancer, made his final request to Sakurai that is create a new Smash Bros. game. Sakurai made it clear that Smash Bros for the 3DS and Wii U will be the last entry in the series, and this “final entry” didn’t disappoint.

After Iwata’s death, Sakurai did the unexpected. He announced Super Smash. Bros ultimate on March 8th, 2018. A Smash Bros. that has all the previous characters, maps and soundtracks. To him, Smash Ultimate is a relic of his 30-year-friendship with Satoru Iwata, the man that acknowledged him and treated him like a true friend.

Smash Bros.’s entire history as a game series and Mr. Sakurai as a game developer are all too great for me to judge. So I’ll just end this spiel of mine with this twitter.

“Finally it’s done. It’s OK to cry a bit for now, right?”

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