In Super Smash Bros. Melee
Event matches were introduced in Super Smash Bros. Melee, as part of the game's re-tooled single player mode. Only 10 are initially given to the player, with the rest being added as the player fulfils a number of other objectives in the game. There are a total of 51 event matches in Melee.
A majority of event matches allow the player to select their character, though a number of them do require the player to use a specific character. Of note is that, with the exception of Pikachu, all characters from the "Original 12" characters (from Smash 64) have their own dedicated event match (at least one or two). The 16 event matches which have a character from the Original 12 characters as an assigned character (except Pikachu) also match Smash 64's playable character roster.
Unusual to Melee's event matches compared to other single player modes is that some event matches force characters to be in an alternate costume or fight against opponents in an alternate costume, such as in the Trophy Tussle matches.
Unlockable event matches
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
A completely new set of 41 solo event matches was included in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and a separate set of 21 co-op event matches also included. Altogether there are sixty two event matches; 41 solo events and 21 co-op events. Brawl also introduced three difficulty levels for each event match (both solo events and co-op events); Easy, Normal, and Hard. Like in Melee, the player starts with 10 event matches, as well as 8 co-op event matches.
Unlike in Melee (where most of the events allow the player to choose any character), almost all of Brawl's event matches have an assigned character. Only the All-Star Matches and the final two event matches don't have set characters. This appears to be done so that players are forced to use nearly every character at least once. However, only Luigi and Jigglypuff lack an assigned event match. But even then, the two are required in two of the 21 co-op events; Co-Op Event 11: The Great Remodeling Battle (which has Luigi) and Co-Op Event 16: Jigglypuff's Great Comeback (which has Jigglypuff).
Unlockable event matches
Event matches and co-op event matches return in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and function similarly to those in Brawl, but are now arranged on a map instead of a linear list. Completing an event will unlock paths to more events on the map. Additionally, each event will yield a reward if completed under specified conditions, such as playing on a certain difficulty and/or achieving a certain score. Some events also have "hidden routes" that become available if certain requirements are met, such as a character being unlocked. In addition, scores earned will overwrite any inferior scores of lower difficulties; for example, completing an event on Normal difficulty in 30 seconds will also set the Easy difficulty's score to 30 seconds if it was slower or blank. Most events allow the use of customizations, but equipment that has players starting a match with an item will have their extra effect negated; for an example, Beam Sword equipment will not allow the player to start matches with the Beam Sword in any event match. Players can now use different alternate costumes for most character-specific events by picking customized characters who wear them.
All event matches must be unlocked by completing other events, with the only exceptions being the starter events: "The Original Heavyweights", located in the center of the solo events screen, and "A Lurking Menace", located in the top-left corner of the group events screen. Hidden routes have an additional requirement: players must unlock a specific character, or in the case of The Ultimate Battle, all of the characters, to reveal a hidden route.
As for the maps below, each color represents rewards for each event completed. Yellow means gold, Light green means a Crazy Orders pass and Dark green means a trophy. Any path showing a character's icon means that particular character needs to be unlocked before that event can be unlocked.
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