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Broken Base / Super Smash Bros.

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Sometimes, there is an issue in the fandom too big to just "Settle it in Smash." To briefly describe it, the fanbase has been divided on several aspects: which game is the best of the series, and whether the games should be played casually or competitively, which leads to divisions regarding the use of items and which stages to play with, creating Character Tiers, and of course who should be on the roster. Many unofficial Super Smash Bros.-themed boards and forums, such as Smashboards or /r/smashbros, generally have a large divide between casual and competitive players, with the most vocal being seen as the stereotypical fans.



  • Jigglypuff: When Jigglypuff was first included in 64, they were one of the more popular characters in the anime, but as time went on the character went out of focus, causing a drastic drop in overall popularity; despite this, Jigglypuff has a perfect attendance record in all Smash titles. One half of the fandom values the character despite how out of place they are, usually due to nostalgia and a feeling of fondness for them being one of the original 12 characters. The other half loathes them for existing for the sake of tradition, accusing it of stealing roster spots from more desired characters, whether they be newcomers or veterans. 20 years of fighting later, Ultimate finally laid the argument to rest at E3 2018, where every single veteran made their return and several highly coveted newcomers (the Inklings, Daisy, and Ridley) were introduced in one fell swoop, satisfying both ends of the spectrum at last.
  • Zero Suit Samus: She was Brawl's darkhorse for her interesting moveset, and added more variety to Samus' playstyle. As the game's most famous example of Ms. Fanservice, her beautiful looks and serious but alluring personality also won over the hearts of many fans. However, a separate, large faction despises her for being a much better character than Varia-suited Samus (which completely violates Metroid canon), attracting people uninterested in the Metroid games, and giving Samus too much of a reputation as a "sexy blonde chick" rather than a powerful warrior — a debate that spills over to the Metroid fandom. There's also the issue of her alleged oversexualization in 3DS/Wii U largely due to her Combat Stilettos; she retains them in Ultimate, but complaints around her reduced ever-so-slightly by turning her into a genuine Amazonian Beauty and toning down her Ms. Fanservice assets slightly, and by even more deliberately distancing its depiction of Samus Aran from her reviled Metroid: Other M personality - a game where complaints about Samus' sexualization (Zero Suit and all) came to a head.
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  • The for 3DS/Wii U version of Charizard: Did Charizard deserve to be its own character separate from the Pokémon Trainer? Was it popular and iconic enough to warrant that status, or was it just unfair to Bulbasaur (Ivysaur) and Squirtle fans? Did its solo moveset make it into a solid heavyweight or a dysfunctional character (especially given its Tier-Induced Scrappy status early on in the game's lifespan) due to it still using a moveset designed to work on its former team? And did the Trainer's return in Ultimate fix the aforementioned problems by providing fans of all three starters with a viable and dynamic team character, or did it strip Charizard of its identity, make it more inconvenient to solo-main it, and make it seem out of place next to Greninja and Incineroar as solo characters (along with Mewtwo and Lucario still using Mega Evolution for their Final Smashes)?
  • Lucina: As one of the most popular modern Fire Emblem characters, she was added to the game as a Moveset Clone of her ancestor Marth. Her fans enjoyed her addition as a cool-looking female swordfighter, especially those who liked her character in Fire Emblem Awakening. Detractors lambasted her for allegedly adding to the Fire Emblem "overrepresentation" in the game, much like with Dark Pit and Kid Icarus. As of Ultimate, however, Lucina became more universally accepted due to clone characters' rebranding as "Echo Fighters" and her becoming one of the most popular characters in competitive play, with many of her complaints instead transferring to Chrom (below) in a milder form.
  • Cloud: His announcement came as a shock to everyone, and he became a very popular character to download and play for the sheer Rule of Cool factor in pitting him against Nintendo's greatest — especially his longtime unofficial rival Link. However, Cloud's addition was also found to be insulting for many, because instead of a character from one of the Final Fantasy games that were on Nintendo consoles, Smash gets a character from Final Fantasy VII, the game that marked the point where Final Fantasy became more associated with Sony than Nintendo. Others are okay with his inclusion on the basis that Cloud is essentially the face of the Final Fantasy franchise for most people, regardless of whether or not he's been on a Nintendo console before. There’s also the fact that Final Fantasy VII in general has been the subject of Hype Backlash-induced Broken Base for a long time. This died down significantly in Ultimate when Final Fantasy VII was finally announced for release on the Nintendo Switch, which some attribute outright to Cloud's inclusion in Smash.
  • Chrom: As another Fire Emblem character, this reaction was inevitable. As the face of the most popular game in the franchise, some feel his inclusion is welcome, while others find him to be an insulting addition. Even among Fire Emblem fans, some find his inclusion to be indicative of favoritism to the 3DS era of games. On the flip side, some find him to be a harmless addition, given that he's simply an echo fighter of Roy rather than a full-fledged newcomer, and was revealed alongside multiple fighters they prefer.
  • Incineroar: Fans of Decidueye/Mimikyu/Lycanroc/Tapu Koko believe it would have made a better "rep" for Generation VII, and others felt that Pokémon characters were already too excessive (much like the Fire Emblem examples above) and didn't need another. Even among fans of the character, there are many who believe that having him be the final base-roster newcomer to be revealed was underwhelming. On the other hand, its fans find it to be a fun, unique character due to its over the top heel wrestler persona, bringing a brand new archetype of fighter to the series.
  • Piranha Plant: Is it a fun, quirky addition that manages to be the type of completely unpredictable and objectively ironic inclusion the series is known for? Or is it a lame novelty that wore out its welcome shortly after its reveal and stole a potential spot on the roster for a far more popular and requested Mario character, like Toad, Waluigi, Mallow or Geno? It debuting as a low Tier-Induced Scrappy on release did not help matters in the slightest.


  • Perceived Over-representation: Multiple franchises have been hit with periodic outrage, arguing that they have too much focus on them, while smaller series languish from a lack of content. The fans of those franchises are similarly vocal in their pleasure that their series is receiving so much love, and point out how it's the right of the developers/publishers to decide what's most deserving of a push or not. People are generally understanding of this treatment being given to Mario and Pokémon, which are Nintendo's two biggest and most popular franchises with Loads and Loads of Characters, but other series with more than one or two characters have fallen into this on occasion.
    • Fire Emblem: People were fine with the series in Melee, where it only had Marth and his Moveset Clone Roy, and Brawl, where it dropped Roy and replaced him with Mighty Glacier Ike, but 3DS/Wii U is when this became a big debate. The game began innocuously with two new fighters from Awakening, Lucina and Robin, being added to the roster, one of which was a bonus Moveset Clone character, but the DLC for the game is when the base broke. In addition to bringing back Roy from Melee as a semiclone of Marth, Corrin from Fates was also added, meaning Fire Emblem became the only series to get two DLC slots, while their playable character count tripled from two to six in a single game; since then, it's become impossible to talk about FE in Smash without arguments over how many FE characters there are versus how many there "should" be, whether Nintendo is shilling the series too hard, and so on. Chrom and Byleth's additions in Ultimate only stoked the flames further, as Fire Emblem now had eight characters in Smash, one short of Nintendo's flagship Super Mario Bros. and two short of the massive Cash Cow Franchise Pokémon (counting all of the Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon separately) in spite of FE not being near the same level as either in the public consciousness.
      • Representing the Latest: Within the Fire Emblem fandom, there's some infighting over how their series' representation in Smash always seems to skew towards the latest release (with Marth being the only one who didn't come out at or near the time his games released), sometimes involving how this representation taints the view of the series for non-FE fans. In particular, the fact that Awakening has three fighters in Smash is either perfectly fine because the game was a Killer App for the 3DS and introduced a large number of new people to the series, or completely unreasonable because of the blatant favoritism and the fact that there's more than 20 years of games with plenty of unique and beloved characters to pick from.
  • Swordfighters: The idea that there are too many characters who fight with swords is a recurring point of mockery for a major chunk of the player base, deriding how it makes several characters feel similar and especially how the games insist on adding Fire Emblem sword-users when the series has a variety of weapons to choose from. The other side argues it is a needless complaint, especially when taking into account how a similar number of characters fight with their hands/feet or with guns and that in a series with multiple types of weapon, such as Fire Emblem, it's customary for the main character (i.e. the one with the best chance of being featured in a large-scale crossover like Smash) to use a sword as his/her Weapon of Choice.
  • Professional Play: Easily the oldest conflict in the fanbase is whether or not the games should be played or treated competitively. Proponents note how the uniqueness of Smash as a game makes for a competitive experience that cannot be found elsewhere, and that the banning of certain in-game supplementaries (items, chaotic stages) are necessary for reducing cheesing/randomness, to ensure a more skill-driven game. Detractors state that the pro-scene's existence is a major insult to Sakurai's vision for the series — a fun casual game for friends to party around with — and that they are refusing to the play the game the way it was meant to be played. Accusations of elitism, Scrub-ism, and overall non-pleasantries are thrown abound, and even after Sakurai openly decided to design the games with the pro-scene in mind, it shows no signs of ever stopping.
    • Advanced Techniques: A core part of the division between the aforementioned groups is whether or not certain exploits/glitches — usually dubbed "Advanced Techniques" — should be used. (Whether any given technique even counts as a glitch has also been subject to debate.) Those in favor argue that they add new levels of depth to gameplay that can't be offered elsewhere. Those against argue that since most ATs aren't part of the game, they shouldn't be used at all, as they weren't part of the game's design philosophy, and thus throw the balance out of whack. The addition of complexity has its own subset — is the extra mechanical skill good for showcasing talent, or bad for increasing the skill ceiling to an unwittingly high level that most can't hope to achieve?
    • Banning Meta Knight: In the Brawl competitive scene, Meta Knight outclassed every character in the game, causing an over-centralized meta-game involving playing Meta Knight and trying to beat him. One party wanted him banned out of fear that he was making the game too stale and that viewership/entrants would die out due to his overt presence, as well as annoyance over how dominant he was. The other party, consisting of the people who played him/liked him, were against it, as he was ultimately in a boat to the similarly powerful Melee Fox, where despite being so dominant, he could still be fun to watch/play, and removing a player's main from the game would gimp too many people. The test of time reveals that the former group had the right ideanote , but only after the conflict became so vicious that the Brawl competitive scene died from the fire.
  • Fighting Game Characters: Whether or not Smash should include characters from other fighting games such as Tekken and Mortal Kombat, an argument that has been around at least since the inclusion of Ryu from Street Fighter as DLC in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, and would continue on with Ultimate including Ken from Street Fighter at launch and Terry from Fatal Fury and Min Min from Nintendo's own ARMS as DLC. Detractors state that fighting game characters are inherently more boring than characters from other games, as translating their gameplay into a Smash moveset would supposedly involve simply lifting their moveset from their original games wholesale, and that a big part of the appeal of Smash is seeing non-fighting game characters and their movements from the original games being translated creatively into a Smash moveset, and that is to say nothing of these characters retaining their traditional command inputs to perform objectively better versions of their special moves, which a lot of detractors believe not be conducive to the Smash engine. Proponents argue that translating fighting game characters to Smash would still be interesting on some level as it would involve taking a moveset from one fighting game and translating it to another that plays completely differently (not unlike when Street Fighter X Tekken took characters from the 3D fighting game Tekken and translated them into 2D style gameplay, or how two of the guests from Tekken 7 - funnily enough, both again from Street Fighter and Fatal Fury - replicated their 2D gameplay in a 3D plane), and they also point out that with Smash now being a celebration of video games in general, excluding characters from popular and influential fighting games that have made their own mark on history such as Heihachi from Tekken and Scorpion or Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat simply because of the genre of their home series would seem very arbitrary.
  • Third-Party Characters: While third-party characters have been around since Brawl (and were nearly included in Melee), the fanbase has become increasingly divided over how many third-party characters are too many. Some believe that since the series started out as a celebration of just Nintendo, it should have stayed that way and the multitude of third-party characters the games often bring in detracts from this, while others follow a similar train of thought and see the addition of third-party characters as coming at the expense of first/second-party characters who would make for an excellent addition to the games. Conversely, other fans (including people at Nintendo itself, notably) tend to see Smash nowadays as a celebration of video games as a whole (that just happens to be made by Nintendo exclusively for their current console) and that being in Smash is the highest honor that any video game character can get, so thus, there being a bevy of third-party characters is no big deal. Even some people who don't care for them acknowledge that their inclusion gets people who don't care about/aren't fans of Nintendo's franchises to buy Smash just to try out the third-party character they like. The debate got especially heated during Ultimate's life-cycle due to not only all of the previous third-party characters returning, but adding three more in the base roster and (as of October 2020) five more via the Fighters Passes on top of that, for a total of 15; to put that into perspective, more than 1/6th of the current Smash roster has now hailed from third-partiesnote .
  • The Better Adventure Mode: Some prefer the Subspace Emissary because it felt more like an adventure, with beautifully designed cutscenes and platforming level designs, in addition to having co-op. Others prefer World of Light because while there weren't as many cutscenes, they felt it was unimportant and the sheer amount of content and references to past Nintendo games were more than enough. Let's also not forget Melee's adventure mode, which was the shortest of them all, but was praised for its structure, great tributes to the characters' franchises, and hidden secret battles.
  • Spirits Becoming Playable Characters: After Ultimate's launch, there was infighting over whether characters who appear in the game as spirits could be DLC fighters or not. One camp said that being a spirit in the base game meant a character could be DLC, and one camp said that being a spirit disqualified the character.note  Nothing in Fighters Pass Volume 1 proved either side to be correct: the first four members of the first Fighters Pass (Joker, Hero, Banjo & Kazooie, and Terry) are from series that are entirely new to Smash, and Byleth is from a game that was released after Ultimate that had no spirits before they joined. As an aside, Piranha Plant was always planned to be DLC during the base game's development, so the base game's list of spirits reflects this. As of Byleth's introduction, there's also the fact that old spirits can be renamed, as Zelda's Dimitri and Hilda had the name of their origin series added to differentiate them from the same-named characters from Three Houses, and as of the Cuphead spirit event, there's the fact that Spirit Battles can be changed depending on whether or not you own the DLC.note  These debates can get heated as the sides argue that certain popular character requests who are all in the base game as spirits, like Geno, Bandana Waddle Dee, Rayman, and Shantaenote , can or can't be implemented as DLC fighters in the future. It took until June 22, 2020 to settle the debate once and for all; Min Min from ARMS was the first character in Fighters Pass, Volume 2, and she was already a spirit when this happened. Min Min's reveal thus proved that characters who are spirits within the base game are eligible to become full-fledged fightersnote .


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