During the late 1990s, a video game developer named Masahiro Sakurai wanted to make a four-player fighting game. With the blessing of Satoru Iwata, Sakurai spent his weekends at HAL Laboratory creating the framework for such a title, but came across a little problem: at the time, fighting games had flooded the gaming market, so if he wanted his project to stand out, it needed something unique. To make a long story short, Sakurai threw various Nintendo characters into his prototype without telling the company, with Nintendo begrudgingly greenlighting development as a Japan-exclusive budget title following its presentation, believing the title to be doomed to limited success. It wasn't. Due to its unexpected success, Nintendo decided to give the game an international release, from which it only garnered further popularity, setting the stage for the IP developing into one of the biggest fighting game franchises in the mainstream eye since Street Fighter.
Super Smash Bros.note is a 1999 Mascot/Platform Fighter video game developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. It's the first game in the Super Smash Bros. series, and as such, is the simplest and most modestly-intended entry in the franchise, having only 12 fighters, 9 stages, no side specials, and a set Classic mode (here called 1P Game) reminiscent of single-player modes in more conventional fighting games.
Playable Roster:Note: Bold denotes unlockable characters.
- Earthbound: Ness
- F-Zero: Captain Falcon
- Kirby: Kirby
- The Legend of Zelda: Link
- Metroid: Samus
- Pokémon: Pikachu, Jigglypuff
- Star Fox: Fox
- Super Mario Bros.: Mario, Luigi
Stages:Note: Bold denotes the unlockable stage.
- Kirby: Dream Land
- The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule's Castle
- Metroid: Planet Zebes
- Pokémon: Saffron City
- Star Fox: Sector Z
- Super Mario Bros.: Peach's Castle, Mushroom Kingdom
- Kirby: Maxim Tomato, Star Rod
- The Legend of Zelda: Heart Container
- Pokémon: Poké Ball
- Pokémon that can spawn include: Charizard, Blastoise, Clefairy, Chansey, Goldeen, Snorlax, Mew, Beedrill, Meowth, Onix, Hitmonlee, Koffing, Starmie
- Super Mario Bros.: Bob-omb, Fire Flower, Green Shell, Red Shell, Super Star
- Donkey Kong: Hammer
- Super Smash Bros.: Barrel, Beam Sword, Bumper, Capsule, Crate, Fan, Home-Run Bat, Motion-Sensor Bomb, Ray Gun
This game provides examples of:
- Artificial Stupidity: The AI will do nothing offstage to defend themselves or evade edgeguarders (excusable because air-dodging does not exist), and if hit during their recovery, they will just fall instead of trying to use their recovery again.
- The Big Guy: Donkey Kong's the physically largest in the cast, and the strongest. He's also the only one who can jump while carrying a crate.
- Difficult, but Awesome: Ness' highly nonstandard moveset is powerful and great for catching players off guard, but also very unwieldy, especially the recovery move. It isn't uncommon for an inexperienced Ness player to die from flubbing a PK Thunder recovery more than anything else.
- Door Closes Ending: A variation. After defeating Master Hand on Classic, the camera zooms out to reveal the room from the title sequence, followed by the screen going black to the sound of a door shutting. Cue credits.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- There is only a 12-character roster, with 4 unlockable, and they were all protagonists in their respective series.
- There are also fewer stages to fight on, with only one stage unlockable. These stages also have simpler gimmicks, and the stage backgrounds are simply background images instead of being 3D-rendered.
- Final Destination and Battlefield are in the game... in 1P Mode only. They also have more "runic, ancient" kind of looks rather than their reincarnations in later installments (Final Destination got more of a high-tech look later with the universe as the backdrop, whereas Battlefield was changed to look similar to Final Destination in Melee but became more of a lush, green landscape in Brawl onwards). Battlefield is also referred to as "Duel Zone" by official media, although Final Destination keeps its name.
- Items and minor characters such as Poké Ball summons and background characters are rendered as 2D sprites instead of 3D models.
- Classic Mode is called "1P Game", and does not feature hidden bosses such as Crazy Hand. Master Hand also has 300 HP regardless of the difficulty setting. All of the opponents are also fixed, with the sole exception being whose power the last of the Kirby team copies. The congratulations pictures aren't just screenshots of the game.
- Master Hand's design is also different from in later games. Instead of his wrist slowly fading into nothingness, it ends with a "cuff".
- Training Mode has its own music theme that overrides the normal stage themes, and replaces the backgrounds with the Smash logo.
- The characters are supposed to be animated dolls instead of trophies.
- Instead of a trophy gallery containing info on a majority of items, enemies, and other stuff across Nintendo's franchises, there are biographies of the playable fighters only.
- The game lacks a lot of mechanics that became mainstays, such as air-dodging, sidestepping, side specialsTechnical note and even Final Smashes.
- Unlike future games, it was possible to accidentally KO yourself by touching the ceiling 'blast line' even at 0% damage if you were to jump away from an attacking opponent while off-screen. Since Melee and onward, you were only KO-ed if you were launched to the ceiling 'blast line' in a damaged state, or if you were standing on a platform that will launch vertically and off-screen.
- The icons on the character select screen are pieces of previously existing stock artwork, rather than art created specifically for the game.
- Matches take a while to start. There's a delay of a few seconds to show the entire stage before the 3-2-1 countdown begins.
- This is the only game to have the Board The Platforms bonus game. Subsequent games have Break The Targets (though it was dropped in Ultimate) and Race To The Finish, but not BTP.
- The game's menu theme is not its Leitmotif; it's the credits theme. Melee is often represented with its menu theme along with its opening music, while later games would have a main theme and a menu theme based on it.
- Every music track is a custom arrangement for this game, all using the same soundfont, and all by a single composer (Hirokazu Ando). Future games would use large teams of composers as well as reuse many tracks from other games outright.
- Gainax Ending: The ending of 1P mode, following Master Hand's defeat, simply has your character drop on the table as a lifeless doll with melancholy music playing in the background, followed by a door closing. What this represents is left up to fan speculation.
- Introductory Opening Credits: Variation; the intro cinematic shows the names of the eight default characters before cutting to scenes of them in action, one after another.
- Live-Action Cutscene: Smash 64 had an ad with real people in Mario, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, and Pikachu costumes beating each other up while "Happy Together" plays over it.
- Mechanically Unusual Fighter: 3 of the 12 had at least one quirk making them different form the standard character template. Yoshi's Up Special was a projectile instead of a third jump, but he became Immune to Flinching during his extended double jump. Ness' Up Special was a remote control projectile that you had to hit yourself with to get an aerial boost, and Jigglypuff had no Up Special for recovery at all, instead a combination of its neutral Special and 4 'double jumps' were used for recovery.
- Mini-Boss: In the 1P Game, the Fighting Polygon Team is found right before Master Hand. The game also had two minibosses at the middle and before the last bonus minigame: Giant Donkey Kong (who was so massive that you got two allies to help you fight against him) and Metal Mario who was hard to launch and very heavy.
- No Antagonist: The only game in the series to feature no antagonistic playable characters.note
- Nonindicative Name: The stage that would later be known as Battlefield is called "Duel Zone", but the only battle fought there (a fight that pits the player against 30 enemies at once) isn't exactly a duel.
- Pause Abuse: If you pause after every frame of movement, then the on-screen timer won't clock forward. This makes it possible to complete the Break the Targets and Board the Platforms challenges with a time of 0:00.
- The Smurfette Principle: Samus Aran is the only explicitly confirmed female character in the roster, with Jigglypuff's gender only being implied by their alternate outfits.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: In the commercial for this game, Mario, Yoshi, DK, and Pikachu are happily strolling along the countryside, while "Happy Together" plays. Fitting at first, but then they start beating each other up, while the song still plays.