Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Smash Bros. Brawl (大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズＸ, Great Fray Smash Brothers X), often shortened to "SSBB" or "Brawl", is the third installment in the Super Smash Bros. series published by Nintendo. The game was designed by Masahiro Sakurai, who also created the two preceding Super Smash Bros. games, and was developed by an ad hoc development team consisting of Sora, Game Arts, and staff from other developers, beginning in October 2005. The game uses an engine called Havok provided by an Irish company of the same name.
The game released on January 31st, 2008 in Japan, March 9th, 2008 in North America, June 26th, 2008 in Australia, and June 27th, 2008 in Europe.
Brawl supports four types of controllers - the Wii Remote alone held horizontally, the Wii Remote and Nunchuk together, the Classic Controller/Classic Controller Pro, and the GameCube controller. Up to four players can engage in local multiplayer battles at any given time with any combination of controllers, while Brawl also supports online play through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, the first game in the series to do so.
While Brawl continues to include the tournament-like "Classic" and "All-Star" single-player modes, Melee’s Adventure Mode has been replaced with The Subspace Emissary; a much more extensive side-scrolling beat-'em-up mode featuring both the playable characters and many enemies specifically created for the game. The resulting mode includes an involved plot and numerous pre-rendered cutscenes, as well as some platform game elements during gameplay.
Following the trend set by earlier games in the series, Brawl showcases a wide selection of characters from Nintendo and its second parties, setting them to fight in several different types of matches. Unlike its predecessors, however, Brawl also includes two third-party characters in Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog. In total, the number of playable characters was increased from Melee's 25 to 35.
Most of the game's musical score is made up of newly-arranged versions of pieces that originated in earlier video games starring the characters featured in Brawl, with the remainder taken directly from the original games. The new arrangements were composed in a collaboration between 38 renowned video game composers and has been critically acclaimed for its representation of different generations in gaming history.
The limited edition release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl came inside an extra cardboard sleeve depicting all of the characters available by default, and came with two postcards, providing a biopic on Zero Suit Samus and Zelda, giving a short summary of them, and showing images of their special moves.
Following the release of the game in Japan, a bug was discovered in the game. This bug causes the game to display an error message when it starts, however, players can close the error message and play the game as usual. There has since been a replacement program.
The game requires 128 free blocks of memory in the Wii System Memory. No data, except some vault data, can be copied to an SD Card or transferred onto another Wii. If the player does not create a save file when they start, he or she will not be able to play via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and vault data will not be saved. As of May 20, 2014, the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection has been closed, so Brawl can no longer be played online.
In the opening movie of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the cinematic utilizes scenes from The Subspace Emissary, along with a few selections of Versus Mode matches, as opposed to featuring unique footage in the manner of the game's predecessors, Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Main article: List of Super Smash Bros. series characters
The cast of 35 playable characters (39 if Sheik and Zero Suit Samus are included and the three different Pokémon of the Pokémon Trainer are treated as individual characters) includes 20 (21 including Sheik) returning veterans from Melee and 15 newcomers (18 including transformations). Of these, 21 are starter characters and 14 need to be unlocked. Many of the returning characters have been updated or refined since their last appearance, either in terms of appearance, fighting capabilities, or both. For example, Link and Fox McCloud have taken on new designs from more recent titles, while Samus Aran has gained the ability to change into a new form, Zero Suit Samus, by using her Final Smash or by the player pressing a certain button after picking Samus and before picking a stage.
Five characters do not return from Melee: The Legend of Zelda's Young Link, Pokémon's Mewtwo and Pichu, Fire Emblem's Roy, and Mario universe's Dr. Mario. Of these, only Mewtwo was not a moveset clone, and it is assumed to have been the furthest into development of the cut characters. Except for the Mario series, each series gained new characters added to the roster: Toon Link for The Legend of Zelda, Lucario and Pokémon Trainer (who controls Charizard, Squirtle, and Ivysaur) for Pokémon; and Ike for Fire Emblem.
Several franchises already represented in the Super Smash Bros. series gain additional character slots, with the Kirby universe the biggest gainer, as both King Dedede and Meta Knight make their playable Super Smash Bros. debuts. Otherwise, EarthBound sees Lucas join, the Star Fox franchise adds Wolf, and the Donkey Kong universe adds Diddy Kong, while Metroid has Samus's aforementioned "Zero Suit" form, which originally debuted in Metroid: Zero Mission, added as a transformation for its sole character.
New character slots which go to Nintendo series previously unrepresented include Pit, the first appearance of the Kid Icarus series since the 1991 Game Boy game Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters; Wario, originally a Mario spin-off but long launched into a franchise of his own; Captain Olimar from the Pikmin series; and the NES accessory R.O.B..
List of characters
Bold denotes unlockable characters.
Main articles: Trophy, List of trophies, Sticker, List of stickers (complete list), CD, and Coins (collectable)
The number of Trophies, statuettes of Nintendo characters and objects which can be collected in-game, was almost doubled from Melee. A related feature was the introduction of stickers, small pieces of Nintendo artwork which can be picked up from offline and online matches, along with the Smash Service's "Spectator Mode." Stickers also make an appearance in the single-player and multiplayer modes, such as the Stadium mode. Stickers also act as a sort of enhancement to the characters' abilities when using attacks in Adventure Mode: The Subspace Emissary.. Through the Trophy Hoard and Sticker Album, players can place trophies and stickers onto virtual backgrounds and take snapshots, all of which is recorded into the Wii's internal hard drive or onto SD cards depending on the player's choosing. From this point, these virtual items can be sent to other players via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, "WiiConnect24".
The inclusion of a new Super Smash Bros. element, collectable CDs, which, when obtained, offer new music selections for playable stages. Although this can add more variety to the music played on a stage, the music selection will always be at random. However, the player can adjust how often a track can be played from the options menu. 
By completing stages in Classic Mode, All-Star Mode and The Subspace Emissary, coins can be earned. The coins can be used to play the Coin Launcher to win more stickers or trophies, to "pay" for Continues in Classic and All-Star Mode, to bet on the outcome of Spectator Mode matches and to choose stages in online play.
Main article: Masterpieces
Brawl introduces "Masterpieces", time-limited Virtual Console game demonstrations, to the Super Smash Bros. series. The international release has twelve such games available, each of which features one or more of the playable characters from Brawl. Seven games are available for play to begin with, with five more unlockable by completing Challenges, which range from Mario's debut in Donkey Kong to the critically acclaimed late Nintendo 64 title The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The time-limits on each individual play last between 30 seconds (Donkey Kong), to five minutes (Ocarina of Time).
On May 22, 2007, Sakurai revealed a list of 38 composers providing the musical score for the game. In his accompanying statement, Sakurai said that he had asked the composers, who come from a variety of companies and have written music for first, second, and third-party games, "to listen to an elite selection of Nintendo music and arrange several of their favorite songs."
Each of the game stages have multiple musical tracks which players can listen to using the new "My Music" feature, including some songs that were taken directly from other games without any modification or special arrangement. This feature also allows the player to adjust the frequency of how often a music track is played on a given stage. Collecting CDs expands the range of music available.
Main article: Stage
Brawl features many stages that can be fought on. Most of them are new, but a few return from Melee. On some stages, such as Shadow Moses Island, Smash Taunts can be performed. Brawl also has an option to create custom stages with the Stage Builder.
Bold denotes unlockable stages.
At the pre-E3 2005 press conference, the president of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, announced the next installment of Super Smash Bros. was not only already in development for their next gaming console, but would be a launch title with Wi-Fi compatibility for playing online. The announcement was unexpected to the creator of the Super Smash Bros. series, Masahiro Sakurai. Back in 2003, he had left HAL Laboratory, the company that was in charge with the franchises' development and was never informed of this announcement despite the fact shortly after resigning from the company, Iwata said if a new game was to be made, he would be in charge. It was not until after the conference Sakurai was called to Satoru Iwata's room on the top floor of a Los Angeles hotel where he was told by Iwata, "We'd like you to be involved in the production of the new Smash Bros., if possible near the level of director". Although originally announced to be a launch title, Sakurai stated "I decided to become director. And as of May, 2005, I was the only member of the new Smash Bros. development team". Development of the game never actually started until late 2005, and just for its production, Nintendo opened a new office in Tokyo at the beginning of October 2005. Nintendo also enlisted outside help from a company who, at that point in time, just finished development of a major title. Sakurai also stated that these people had spent excessive amounts of time playing Melee. The team had access to all the original material and tools from the development of Melee, courtesy of HAL Laboratory.
Brawl was absent from Nintendo's Wii showing at its 2006 Pre-E3 press conference. The next day, on May 10, 2006, its first official trailer was unveiled at E3 and at the After-Hours Press Conference, Nintendo officially revealed the game under the name of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. In an interview with IGN, Sakurai said the Wii's motion sensing features might not be included because, "we found that trying to implement too much motion-sensory functionality can get in the way of the game." As far as Wi-Fi play is concerned, Sakurai stated his plan was to include Wi-Fi connection compatibility and online functionality, he goes on to say "one of the primary reasons Super Smash Bros. Brawl was created was that Nintendo, when taking Wii online, wanted to have Smash Bros. to do that". However, as stated on the Japanese version of the Smash Bros. website, "there would be many hurdles to cross," and an online ranking system is unlikely to be implemented. During a test play between Sakurai and Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear series, Kojima stated that the game felt complete and that Nintendo "could put it out right now and it would sell millions of copies." Starting May 22, 2007, the site had updates every weekday until shortly after Brawl's release. Throughout October 18-22, 2007 at the first Entertainment for All Expo show in Los Angeles, California, Nintendo hosted a Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournament.
At the Nintendo Media Conference at E3 2007, it was announced by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime that Brawl would be released on December 3, 2007 in the Americas. However, just two months before its anticipated December release, the development team asked for more time to work on the game. During the Nintendo Conference on October 10, 2007, Nintendo of Japan president Iwata announced the delay, saying:
On October 11, 2007, George Harrison of Nintendo of America announced that Brawl would be released on February 10, 2008 in North America. Apparently, the American English game was delayed again to March 9th.
Inclusion of characters
Sakurai stated that he did not want to emphasize Japan-only characters; in Brawl's cast, only Lucas had not appeared outside of Japan (although Marth had only previously only appeared internationally in Super Smash Bros. Melee, rather than his home franchise). Sakurai also stated there would be no more than three third-party characters; these characters were Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog. The inclusion of Konami-created character Solid Snake may seem to conflict with the Super Smash Bros. paradigm — to only include characters from games made by Nintendo and its second parties — but Sakurai said Hideo Kojima "practically begged" for Snake to be included in Melee, which did not happen because the game was too far in development. This in turn led to his appearance in the following game instead. Similarly, Lucas from Mother 3 was intended to be used in Melee, but was left out because Mother 3 was delayed.
Japanese fans were asked to submit their desired characters and musical themes via a forum on the game's official Japanese site, with some possibly appearing in the game. Likewise, fans from other countries were asked to submit ideas on Nintendo's official forums.
Suggestions were no longer being taken as of June 9, 2006. In August 2006, Sakurai and Miyamoto stated that Nintendo was negotiating rights to other third-party characters. The most requested third-party character, Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog, was announced to be in the game on October 10, 2007.
Several different trailers for Brawl were released before the game came out. The original trailer was shown at E3 2006 on May 11, 2006 and revealed Solid Snake as a playable character. A second trailer was shown at the Nintendo World 2006 convention in December, and revealed Fox's return as a playable character. A third trailer was shown at the October 10, 2007 Nintendo Press Conference, which revealed Sonic as a playable character. A final trailer showcasing Brawl's adventure mode, the Subspace Emissary, was released on Friday, December 21, 2007. This trailer revealed that Ike and the Ice Climbers would appear in this mode, among other things.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl received critically positive reviews and sold successfully. In the United States, the game sold 874,000 units on launch day and 1.4 million units in its first week to become the fastest-selling video game in Nintendo of America's history, according to Nintendo. The game has sold 10.79 million units worldwide as of March 2012 according to Nintendo, which makes it the best selling fighting game of all time. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the 8th best selling game for the Wii, and sold 12.14 million units worldwide, as of March 31, 2014. Brawl currently holds an aggregate review score of 92.84% on Gamerankings and a score of 93% on Metacritic. Despite this, British publication NGamer received criticism for awarding a 93% rating to Brawl, with readers deeming the score too low, especially in comparison to Official Nintendo Magazine's 95% rating. Brawl has reviews with ratings equal or slightly better than Melee. The game's multiplayer was received excellently, but single player, while noted as superior to Melee's, was still only average.
However, since 2013 (five years since its release), Brawl's representation in tournament play has decreased. This is because many changes from Melee likely intended to make Brawl more beginner-friendly have resulted in a less dynamic metagame that gradually became less successful with players and spectators. Arguably the most controversial change is the added ability to act during hitstun, which reduces combo potential for characters; other factors include the generally slower pace of gameplay, the decreased falling speeds, the removal of mechanics such as L-canceling and wavedashing, introduction of random tripping, and very polarized character balance (attempts to universally ban overcentralizing characters such as Meta Knight have proven unsuccessful). Because of these changes, Brawl has a smaller tournament scene than both its predecessor and successor game, although it still appears in some major cross-game tournaments.
Aside from the inclusion of the new characters, stages and items, there are various other changes, including: