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Smashing For Fun With Dignity

Gary Luber January 27, 2019 1


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It’s so easy to hit that right analog isn’t it?

Ganondorf raising that beautiful long sword over his head, arching through platforms, and crashing into a small crowd ahead. K. Rool rearing back his fist, lunging out with a lunkhead sense of power, sending sad Kirbys shooting off into the foreground. If something that powerful is at the tip of your right thumb, and all you have to do is tilt a half inch over, then why even bother learning anything else?

Because you’re better than that.

This is coming from someone who is a true amateur. I haven’t even played any iteration of Smash since Melee, and barely thought about the series until Ultimate dropped last month. So it’d be real easy for me to waltz into a bunch of online quickplays fucking around, having a comfortable remove from any feeling of responsibility to skillful play. I’m not Zero. I’m not Anti. I’m not going to spend 100s of hours learning the ins and outs of characters, matchups, Nair combos and chains or fucking whatever. I’m just here to relax on my Sunday off, fire up Mewtwo, float around smash fools off the screen a couple times, and call it a day. And if I’m doing it with reckless abandon, tossing aside any thought behind my actions, then fuck it, right? As long as you’re having a good time doing it, who cares?

You should care.

Not about the goofball throwing his controller because you’re spamming him to death with PK fire though. No, that guy just needs to calm down and pet a cat. You should care, because this is a beautifully crafted game, that allows a multitude of ways to express yourself, and customize your experience. I know its human nature, being drawn to the simplest motions to perform your task with an acceptable level of efficiency. Especially because its just a fucking game, and most of us play to let off steam, smile, and feel a little competition. But, when you have so many options to express yourself, customize your appearance, and fight like you imagine, why fight like everybody else?

Take your time with Smash Ultimate. When you play any character, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with their moveset. Don’t be afraid to try things and look stupid. Use the moves! It might feel dumb casting a fishing lure with Isabelle at first, but there’s a reason the programmers put every piece of this game into place, and there’s a way to use it with dignity and grace. Even as an amateur.

Appreciate variety. Use your environment. Let your fighter express themselves in their own voice, and you’ll find your own voice through it. If you can commit to that, you’re going to find a rich, more enjoyable experience, where each character feels of its own.

You don’t need to be great. You just need to be yourself.

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