The Codec Conversations are Snake's Smash Taunt on Shadow Moses Island in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where he talks about other fighters with his support team, consisting of Colonel Roy Campbell, Hal "Otacon" Emmerich, and Mei Ling. When fighting Falco, Snake also talks with Slippy Toad.
This Smash Taunt is based on the optional codec conversations that recur throughout the Metal Gear series, where Snake is given information about his current whereabouts, objectives, or actions. By calling certain frequencies, Snake can talk to different characters who specialize in different subjects and roles, including Colonel Campbell, Otacon, and Mei Ling, the three members of his support team who appear in Smash.
The codec's appearance is based on how it is depicted in Metal Gear Solid and its remake, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, using the same ringing sound effect from the latter game. Characters within the codecs are portrayed as hand-drawn portraits. Snake's portrait is subtly modified from its original version, reflecting his visible stubble in Smash. The same voice actors from the original games reprise their roles. Within the conversations, characters occasionally allude to events and characters from the Metal Gear games. In series tradition, they also tend to "break the fourth wall", referring directly to their status as characters in a video game.
The Codec Conversations are initiated by inputting the down taunt command for just one frame. If done correctly, Snake will kneel and touch the codec receiver in his ear. The codec message will begin after a few seconds, provided Snake is left undisturbed. He can only perform the Smash Taunt once per match, even if he is interrupted during the initial animation. In matches where Snake has more than one opponent, the subject will be selected randomly.
Each character Snake talks to has their own way of describing his opponent. The Colonel's descriptions are blunt and cautionary, and he usually offers Snake careful advice about the character, encouraging him to attack. Otacon's descriptions are the most in-depth, as he is analytical and somewhat nerdy; however, he is also very temperamental, and his attitude can range from excited to paranoid. Mei Ling, the most well-read character, also has the most emotional descriptions; she'll usually talk about the characters' backstories, generally giving them sympathy and showing disdain towards Snake's indifferent comments.
In Ultimate, the Codec Conversations from Brawl return alongside Snake and Shadow Moses Island. Unlike Palutena's Guidance, no new Codec Conversations were created for characters not present in Brawl and no existing ones were changed or updated aside from Link. Takeshi Aono, Roy Campbell's Japanese voice actor, passed away in 2012 from a stroke, and as a result, future Metal Gear titles do not feature the character out of respect for Aono. This is likely why no new Codecs were recorded, instead simply reusing the conversations already present in Brawl; however, no official reason has been provided.
If Snake tries to perform the Smash Taunt in a match where no other participants were playable in Brawl, he will simply perform his regular taunt. It also cannot be performed on the Ω form nor Battlefield form of Shadow Moses Island. If Stage Morph is on and a codec is activated, the morph will be delayed until the conversation ends.
Note: In the English version, when Snake says "Falcon Punch", only the "Falcon" part of it is extended. However, in Brawl, the text shows it as "Punch" extended (which mainly fits the Japanese dialogue more closely). The error was fixed in Ultimate.
This conversation is also a voice actor joke in the Japanese version of the game, as Otacon's Japanese voice actor, Hideyuki Tanaka, also voiced Captain Falcon in the anime F-Zero: Falcon Densetsu (known to Western audiences as F-Zero: GP Legend).
Note: Otacon's line about edible peanuts is only true in Brawl, as Peanut Popgun no longer drops edible peanuts starting with Smash 4.
Note: Otacon states that Mario and Donkey Kong still have an ongoing rivalry, but in Smash 64 Donkey Kong's character profile states that the two have "patched things up". Otacon might be implicitly referring to the concept of friendly rivalry, which does not invalidate the statement made in the N64 game.
Note: This is the only codec that does not feature any of Snake's normal contacts. The number "140.85" (Roy Campbell's codec number) appears in the Codec screen, indicating that Snake intended to call Campbell, but Slippy interrupted the transmission and showed up instead.
Note: FOXHOUND was a special forces group that Snake and Colonel used to work in before it fell into the hands of Liquid Snake (one of Snake's brothers and the main antagonist in Metal Gear Solid) and became a terrorist group. Also, one of Snake's friends, Gray Fox, betrayed him. Finally, it could be referencing the fact that foxes are snakes' natural predators. Any or all might explain Snake's disdain for foxes.
Campbell refers to the Lylat System as a galaxy, but it would be more accurate to refer to it as a solar system that may or may not be within the Milky Way galaxy.
Note: The "blood bond" that Mei Ling mentions is a reference to the strong sense of camaraderie between Popo and Nana, being a "two-in-one" fighter in all of their playable appearances. Snake's mentioning of the Ice Climbers fighting each other to see who gets to the top first is a reference to one of the two-player modes in Ice Climber in which both players must compete against each other in order to reach the summit first.
Note: In Ultimate, this codec will not activate if Ike is in his Radiant Dawn costumes. While this may be because Ike's Path of Radiance design was the only one available in Brawl, it is nonetheless unusual given that Alph and the female Pokémon Trainer can still activate codecs meant for Olimar and the male trainer.
Note: Snake's comment about the marshmallow is a semi-accurate translation of the original comment in Japanese, in which he compares Jigglypuff to a dessert because Jigglypuff's Japanese name is "Purin," which is also the Japanese word for "pudding." Colonel also breaks the fourth wall, mentioning Brawl by name.
In Ultimate, this codec remains unchanged, which causes the Colonel to still refer to the game as Brawl.
Note: While what exactly King Dedede is supposed to be has never been stated, the common assumption among fans is that he is some sort of penguin, hence Snake's asking about the subject. (Coincidentally, in Smash 4 and Ultimate, King Dedede is given a black alternate costume that makes him resemble a great penguin.)
Note: In the original Japanese conversation, Otacon refers to Kirby as "Hoshi no Kaabii", meaning "Kirby of the Stars", instead of "Kirby from Dream Land". This is the official name of the series in Japan, as well as the animated series (known as Kirby: Right Back at Ya! outside of Japan). Snake calls Kirby a marshmallow just as he does to Jigglypuff.
Note: This conversation pokes fun at Snake's tendency to be carrying a heavy assortment of weapons and equipment, up to and including 2 rocket launchers and 3 cardboard boxes, in a sort of hammerspace at any one time. Snake Eater attempted to alleviate this by imposing a carrying capacity limiting the amount of weapons the player can carry at a time, as well as their combined weight having an effect on their stamina.
In Ultimate, the mention of Link's Clawshot is cut out, as Link no longer has it due to him being based on Breath of the Wild.
Note: While Lucario is often referred to as an "it" in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Snake and Mei Ling use male pronouns to describe it. This is likely because this Lucario is based on the one featured in the eighth Pokémon movie, which is referred to as a male. Additionally, Lucario has a 7:1 male-female ratio, which carries over from its previous evolution, Riolu. In the Japanese version, Snake and Mei Ling use gender-neutral terms, which are more common in Japanese grammar and conversation.
Note: The "hardships" that Snake mentions are a reference to his internal conflict with his so-called "family" from Les Enfants Terribles, such as dealing with his twin brother Liquid Snake due to Liquid's "inferiority complex." Throughout the Metal Gear series (except Metal Gear Solid 3, Portable Ops, Peace Walker and Metal Gear Solid V, where the player plays as Snake's "father", Naked Snake/Big Boss), Snake frequently has to battle one of his "family members" as a boss fight, and most of the plot involves the evil deeds of one of his "family members" (particularly Liquid).
This conversation is also a reference to Mother 3, namely the relationship between Lucas and Claus, Lucas' twin brother.
Note: The "La li lu le lo" is a nickname for an anonymous group in the Metal Gear series only known by their codename, "The Patriots". The Colonel's speech during this codec call is a direct reference to an event in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, when the main character (Raiden) realizes that the Colonel that he had been taking orders from for the whole mission was just an artificial-intelligence look-alike of the real Colonel Campbell that Snake took orders from, in the first Metal Gear Solid. During the final parts of the game, the AI Colonel goes haywire and begins to utter disturbing statements (i.e. "Raiden, turn the game console off right now!" and "Honestly, though, you have played the game for a long time. Don't you have anything else to do with your time?"). Another thing to note is how in Metal Gear Solid 4, soldiers and PMCs who are under the use of nanomachines cannot simply call The Patriots by name — their nanomachines force them to refer to the Patriots as "La li lu le lo" (which, in Japanese — note the vowel order — reinforces the anonymity of the group, since the conventional "L" sound does not exist in the language, thus coming off as senseless gibberish). This line is one of the strange phrases that the AI Colonel says to Raiden, which is also directly referenced in this conversation.
This conversation is also a subtle reference to the relationship of Solid Snake and his brother, Liquid Snake in MGS1. Liquid Snake lived under the shadow of Solid Snake, which contributed to the former's megalomaniacal nature. As well, it references the inferiority complex Luigi is assumed to harbor towards his brother Mario (much like the one Liquid Snake felt towards Solid Snake), as well as the condescending attitude the AI Colonel showed towards Raiden in MGS2. Finally, Snake's last line is actually a reversal and parody of his "Game Over" line ("Snake? Snake?! SNAAAAAAAKE!") from the Metal Gear Solid series.
Note: This message appeared in the Snake Joins the Brawl video on the Smash Bros. DOJO!!, also found in-game in the video archives.
Note: Snake is referring to the fact that in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, he found out that his war buddy Gray Fox was one of Big Boss' men. Big Boss himself was once Snake's commander, and he betrayed him much like Gray Fox did. It should be noted that betrayal is a common occurrence in the Metal Gear series.
Meanwhile, Mei Ling is referring to Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, in which Marth's former ally Hardin is crowned emperor and becomes the game's primary antagonist. Overtaken by grief and despair upon acquiring the Darksphere, he betrays Marth and the kingdom of Altea. Mei Ling's statement is slightly incorrect, as Altea is the name of Marth's kingdom; the land as a whole is named Archanea.
Snake's comment about building an army from his enemies could also be a reference to Portable Ops, where Big Boss could capture enemy soldiers to fight for his side (which can also be done in Peace Walker and The Phantom Pain, released after Brawl).
Note: This is a reference to, and foreshadowing of, Outer Haven, Liquid Ocelot's ship seen in MGS4. There is a Mt. Rushmore-like structure on the ship that includes all the faces of Snake's family (or rather, everyone who has "Snake" in their codename, excluding Raiden, who only received the name "Snake" for a short while). Also, Snake claims he's seen the Halberd, which could be a reference to the Subspace Emissary, where he was a stowaway in the ship.
Note: Otacon says Game & Watch characters look like numbers on a calculator. A calculator is what inspired the invention of the Game & Watch.
Note: Psycho Mantis, a Russian renegade FOXHOUND member, appears in Metal Gear Solid as a boss. Like Ness, Psycho Mantis uses psychic powers to create devastating attacks. Snake's enquiry about mind reading refers to Psycho Mantis' main ability, which involves using telepathy to predict his opponent's attacks. In the game, his "mind reading" had the game read the player's memory card, and reference games the player has played before fighting him (in the original version, these games are Azure Dreams, Suikoden, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Vandal Hearts, and, in the Japanese version of the game, Policenauts and Tokimeki Memorial - notably, all games published by Konami like Metal Gear Solid; in the GameCube remake, the game list is changed to Super Mario Sunshine, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, and, notably, Super Smash Bros. Melee). He also used his telepathy to predict the player's move inputs on their controller. To prevent this, the player will need to plug their controller into the player 2 slot.
Ness actually did have telepathic abilities in EarthBound, albeit limited to use on animals. Ironically, the Colonel's remarks on pyrokinesis are false, as it was Paula, not Ness, who learned that move in EarthBound, though Ness can use such abilities in all the Smash games he has appeared in.
Note: Mei Ling saying that the Pikmin "carry, fight, multiply...and get eaten" is a reference to the lyrics of the song used to advertise Pikmin in Japan, Ai no Uta, which also features in Brawl.
In Ultimate, Mei Ling still refers to Olimar even if Snake is fighting Alph.
Note: Snake's comment about Ocelot's old torture device is a reference to the torture scene in Metal Gear Solid in which Revolver Ocelot runs high voltage through Snake's body after Snake was captured. In nearly every Metal Gear game, the main character gets captured and sometimes gets tortured.
Mei Ling's comment about capturing Pikachu may parody the several codec requests that Naked Snake (the playable character of Metal Gear Solid 3, more commonly known as Big Boss, or Snake's father) receives from his radio team, asking him to capture some type of flora or fauna. However, it is more likely that Mei Ling is imitating a Lass from the Pokémon series; one Lass in Pokémon Red and Blue begs her father for a Pikachu early on in the game.
Note: Snake's comment about Pit's "Game Overs" could be taken either as a breaking of the fourth wall or poking fun at Kid Icarus' somewhat infamous difficulty. The Metal Gear series features many scenes that do indeed break the fourth wall, this being one of them in a sense.
Note: The irony is that the Colonel gives Snake orders (like the Trainer) while Snake is constantly sent into the field of battle (like the Pokémon). It is also similar to what Big Boss does during Portable Ops and Peace Walker, though he also takes part in missions on the field himself.
In Ultimate, masculine pronouns are used even if the Trainer is female.
Note: This conversation is a fairly direct translation from the Japanese version, hence Otacon using the name "Robot" at first. However, this can be seen as in-character for Otacon, as he is an otaku obsessed with Japanese culture.
Note: Otacon's first comment is referencing the first Metroid game, where Samus' gender was kept ambiguous (with the English guide specifically referring to her as male, where the Japanese was gender-neutral; some people even assumed her to be a robot) until the very end of the game, where she removes her Power Suit after the credits; the idea was added later in the game's development, at the suggestion of one of the staff members.
Note: Snake's disbelief in magic is a bit unusual, because the Metal Gear Solid series has two infamous characters (Psycho Mantis, a legitimate psychic from Metal Gear Solid, and The Sorrow, a medium from Metal Gear Solid 3 who was in fact already dead at the time the game was set and is encountered as a legitimate ghost) who have abilities that defy all forms of conventional science, even with the advances of nanomachines and genetics in the Metal Gear universe.
In Ultimate, Mei Ling still speaks as though Zelda transformed into Sheik even though both characters were split starting with Smash 4.
Note: In the Metal Gear Solid series, the "Les Enfants Terribles" is a cloning project that created Solid Snake as well as his "brothers" (Liquid Snake and Solidus Snake). They are all created from the DNA from their "father," Big Boss (in addition, the younger version of Big Boss almost looks like Solid Snake, insofar as Snake's appearance in Brawl being patterned after Naked Snake's in Snake Eater).
Note: While there has been a lot of speculation on the matter, no adequate explanation for Snake's animosity towards Sonic has arisen, and no reasons for the cryptic codec conversation have been provided by any official source. This may reference the fact that hedgehogs are natural predators to snakes. It may also reference to how the announcement on Sonic's inclusion in Brawl overshadowed the vast majority of the hype built up on Snake's inclusion, or that Snake's Japanese VA, Akio Ōtsuka, is the son of the late Chikao Ōtsuka, who played Sonic's nemesis, Eggman (coincidentally, Chikao also voiced Big Boss, Snake's father, in Metal Gear Solid 4). Otacon also breaks the fourth wall by mentioning that Sonic is featured in Brawl, which caused a lot of excitement amongst players when he was first revealed.
In Ultimate, like Jigglypuff's, this codec remains unchanged, which causes Otacon to still refer to the game as "Brawl". However, the "the" in "Sonic the Hedgehog" is no longer capitalised.
Note: In the Metal Gear universe, at least five people have had the codename Snake - Naked Snake, later known as Big Boss (Metal Gear Solid 3, Portable Ops, Peace Walker, Metal Gear Solid V), Punished/Venom Snake (from MGSV: The Phantom Pain, an MSF medic surgically remade into an exact physical and mental duplicate of Big Boss), Solid Snake (known as Old Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4), Liquid Snake (Metal Gear Solid), and Solidus Snake (Metal Gear Solid 2). In Metal Gear Solid 2, there is another character called Raiden who had assumed the name "Snake" early in a mission and was being manipulated into playing the role of Solid Snake in a simulated recreation of the Shadow Moses Incident from Metal Gear Solid. His codename was later changed to Raiden to not confuse him with the enemy's leader's codename, who was also falsely going under the name of Snake.
Note: This message appeared in the Snake Joins the Brawl video on the Smash Bros. Dojo!!, also found in-game in the video archives. Also, when the Colonel says "If his belly starts to bulge, watch out.", it could be a reference to the trailer where Wario's stomach expands and then lets out a huge Wario Waft around all of the other characters. It could also be a reference to the visual cue Wario gives when his Wario Waft has reached maximum power.
Note: Snake's comment "kind of strange for a wolf to have friends" seems a bit odd, since wolves are famous for hunting in packs, although some species do keep to themselves. It's most likely a reference to Sniper Wolf, a Metal Gear Solid villian who, unlike other snipers, could shoot at Snake without help from a spotter. He could also be thinking of him as a "lone wolf".
If one listens carefully, the words "that's a" can be heard mumbled quickly in Snake's second line (too fast to be recorded as text in the conversation). Thus, the line is, "'Wolf'. [That's a] real imaginative name..."
Note: Snake wondering how Yoshi tastes could be a reference to Metal Gear Solid 3, where the protagonist, Naked Snake (later known as Big Boss, the father of Solid Snake), had to capture live animals and eat them to restore stamina. Whenever his team mate Para-Medic mentioned a new animal that she had found, Snake would always ask about its taste, much to her disgust.
Note: This is a reference to Sniper Wolf, one of Snake's female enemies in Metal Gear Solid, who doesn't show herself often and rarely moves from her position when threatening Snake.
Note: Not mentioned in the conversation is that Samus was not just trained but literally enhanced, via Chozo genetic engineering; without her Power Suit, Samus is still supernaturally agile and strong, as well as highly resistant to harsh environments.
In Ultimate, Snake still treats as though Samus transformed into Zero Suit Samus even though both characters no longer transform starting in Smash 4.
E3 2006 Trailer
The following quotes are not in the game but they were used in the E3 2006 Trailer for Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Colonel and Snake speak in Japanese here.
Note: This is the only codec message which features three-dimensional models instead of two-dimensional illustrations, similar to conversations depicted in Metal Gear Solid 2. This is also the only codec message in the English translation that is not dubbed from Japanese.
If Snake gets KO'ed during a codec conversation, the conversation is cut off and these special messages will appear, based on which of the four characters Snake is talking with. These messages are a reference to the Metal Gear Solid series when it is Game Over and Snake dies.
Note that these messages do not play if Snake loses his last life in a stock battle.
"Snake, do you copy? Snake! Snaaake!!"
"Snake! What's going on? Snake! Snaaake!!"
"Snake! Don't quit now! Snake! Snaaake!!"
"Snake! Get up! Snake! Snaaake!!"