The Home-Run Contest (ホームランコンテスト, Home-Run Contest) is a minigame introduced in Super Smash Bros. Melee and returning in all games since then, although it was initially absent from Ultimate until the 5.0.0 update. The player(s) must knock a Sandbag as far as possible, usually with the Home-Run Bat given. The player has ten seconds to rack up damage to lengthen the home-run. The most effective technique for dealing high damage very quickly is known as bat dropping.
The player starts on a platform with a Sandbag in the center, and the character about 1/3 of the way from the left of the platform facing right. On the left edge is a Home-Run Bat, which can be used to hit the bag extremely far. Hitting with the very end of the bat, known as a "tipper", makes Sandbag go farther than hitting with the middle of the bat, which goes farther than a close hit. Halfway through the game, the announcer will start the countdown just like in a standard timed match with only five seconds remaining before the player hits the bag with the bat or an attack. When the Sandbag lands on the field, that will be the player's total distance for the game.
In Melee, it is also possible for some characters to hit the Sandbag with the handle of the bat, causing what is known as a no-ping hit, which sends the Sandbag at a much sharper angle. A no-ping hit only does 8% damage rather than 20%, but the change in angle causes the Sandbag to fly much farther when its damage is relatively low (lower than about 120%). For example, using a no-ping hit when Sandbag is only at 35% damage sends the Sandbag over 1000 feet (304.8 meters). Pichu, Pikachu, and Mr. Game & Watch can take advantage of their unique swing animations to perform a no-ping hit simply by walking next to the bag, facing away, and swinging. Most other characters require the bag to be in the air to perform a no-ping hit. The characters that cannot do a no-ping hit or it does not go farther than their normal Home-Run swing at any percent are Dr. Mario, Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Captain Falcon, and Ganondorf. While the technique is possible in Brawl onwards, it is unconfirmed whether they have similar uses as in Melee; the fact that most characters' Home-Run swings have been standardized to a single unique animation may be relevant.
Changes in Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Additionally, the Home-Run Bat sports its own unique Smash attack animations, allowing Captain Falcon and Sheik to properly use it for the contest.
Changes in Super Smash Bros. 4
Changes in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Moves that can hit farther than a Home-Run swing
Due to differences in knockback scaling, certain moves can send the Sandbag farther than a Home-Run swing once the Sandbag's accumulated damage has become high enough.
Exact damage thresholds for some moves are unknown and are only given as bounded ranges. For example, if a move is listed as outperforming the Home-Run swing after "100% - 200%", the Home-Run swing is confirmed to be better at 99% or lower, and the other move is confirmed to be better at 200% or higher, but it is not known which move is better between these two numbers and the actual threshold may be as low as 100% or as high as 200%.
The following lists only include moves potentially viable for record strategies; for example, moves that would require an unreachably high damage to outperform the Home-Run Bat are not listed, nor are moves that could outperform the Home-Run Bat but would always be outclassed by another move by that point.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Smash Bros. 4
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Note: in theory any move with a higher launch angle than 30˚ would eventually outperform the bat due to maximum horizontal launch speed being restricted, however in practice the 999% damage cap prevents this from being a reality.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Competitive Home-Run Contest
Since almost the beginning of Super Smash Bros. Melee, Home-Run Contest has been played competitively. Originally, before the game's release in Europe, North America and Japan had a competition between each other for the highest Home-Run Contest scores. This then moved out to include Europe when the game was released in its PAL version. This competitive nature has continued and grown onto Super Smash Bros. Brawl and both versions of Super Smash Bros. 4, especially due to the replay function (thus making video production easier) and video streaming sites such as YouTube. However, due to the large technique changes from game to game, most notably the introduction of the barrier and multiple bat drops in one jump in Brawl, there is very little player overlap between games.
The Home-Run Contest world records' list was maintained on the smash site All is Brawl but its record keeping was lost upon the site's demise. A history of Home-Run Contest and its milestones up until about 2005 can be found on the site Folderol, but note that the Home-Run Contest record's list is out of date.
The Home-Run Contest was notably played competitively during the 2017 Nintendo World Championships.
In competitive Home-Run Contest, there are several subcategories, which use unique playing styles. The most popular two (which have been around the longest, since the start of competitive HRC) are:
Two other subcategories that were created during Melee's lifetime were BMO and NJA:
Since Brawl's lifetime, with the advent of the barrier, three additional subcategories have been created and become quite popular, in chronological order:
In For 3DS
In For Wii U