An item is an object, that either randomly appears on-stage during a match or is summoned by a character's special move, that can be picked up and used by characters. Many items can be wielded once picked up, while others apply an effect, and almost all can be thrown at opponents. Items are a large part of the gameplay of the Super Smash Bros. series, but problems with randomness and inconsistent risk/reward balance results in tournament rulesets universally requiring that random spawning of items be disabled using the Item Switch before starting the match.
Items appear from stage-dependent designated locations at various times throughout a match based on the frequency set in the Item Switch. Characters can pick up items by standing near one and pressing the attack button; items (except Crates, Barrels, Barrel Cannons, Rolling Crates, and Grass) can also be grabbed in midair starting in Melee with the grab button, or grabbed during dashes and aerial attacks in Brawl and SSB4. Characters can only hold one item at a time (if Villager's Pocket ability is discounted). If an item is left alone, it will eventually disappear, flashing briefly beforehand (Pitfalls, Green Shells and Ore Clubs being exceptions). Items that are picked up by characters can be dropped or thrown with the grab button, and they may be dropped if the character takes a hard hit. The damage done by a thrown item depends on how fast it's moving. Most items can also be swallowed in Brawl and SSB4, and in the latter, can even heal these characters when they do so, unless the item is an explosive. In SSB64, items (except for Super Stars) have a small triangular indicator above them. This feature was dropped in Melee and reintroduced in SSB4 (Food and Smash Balls also do not have the indicator).
In Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee, the chance of a character dropping their held item when hit is (hitbox damage)/60. Thus, if a hit deals 6% damage, the chance of it causing an item drop on a given frame is 10%. Roy’s fully charged Flare Blade in Melee deals 50 damage, so it has a drop chance of 83.333%.
In Brawl and Smash 4, this probability was decreased; normal items now use the formula CEIL(hitbox damage)/70. In addition, certain non-standard items use different formulas. In Brawl, this includes Dragoon pieces and the Smash Ball, where the drop chance = INT(hitbox damage)/50. In Smash 4, the chance of dropping each Dragoon piece was decreased to INT(hitbox damage)/100. This formula also applies to the Daybreak. The Master Ball item also has a non-standard drop chance, but the formula is not known.
Types of items
Items can be grouped into several categories based on their effects.
In addition to the above, certain items can be heavy, which limits those that pick them up into walking slowly (or not at all in SSB) and throwing. Only Donkey Kong can move quickly or jump while carrying a heavy item.
List of items
These items are available in the item switch menu. Some items like containers are grouped together, but the player can toggle all of these items on or off.
These items are still available in matches, but never have any feature to turn them on or off. If items are turned on, they all can appear in the games they're in regardless of characters being used, the stage, or presense of other items.
Items found in the table below are exclusive to character(s), stage, presense of other items, or match rules. Some of them may be impossible to obtain in normal matches without hacking, and require the player to play another gamemode to find them.
* Appears in Smash games but not as an item.
** Appears in Smash games but as a stage hazard.