The match timer is an element that appears in the top-right corner of the screen (top-center in Melee). It shows how much time is left in a game before it ends. It is present during a Time or Stock battle with the timer turned on. The timer can be adjusted between a minimum of 1 and maximum of 99 minutes (with thirty-second intervals for matches under two minutes in Ultimate) in the Rules section prior to the start of the match. Normally the format of the timer is "MM:SS.ss" (minutes, seconds, centiseconds); the only exception is the original Super Smash Bros., whose timer does not display centiseconds. In Smash 4, if the timer exceeds 60 minutes, it will include the number "1" to display the hour instead of the usual format. In addition to Versus matches, the timer can also appear with predetermined time limits in minigames like Trophy Rush and Target Blast, or boss battles such as Master Core, as well as on the Online Practice Stage when waiting in a lobby for the current match to end. There are instances throughout the series of unique time-based gameplay settings.
Depending on region and language, timers are different audibly. While numbers stay the same visually, text such as "GO!" or numbers spoken by the announcer greatly vary. For simplicity, only English is presented in this article.
The pre-match timer is an element that appears before the start of a match. The announcer will count down starting from three and say "GO!" to commence the match and start any timer. Depending on which game, characters will make their on-screen appearance during this time, and the music track will be briefly displayed in the top left-hand corner as well (Brawl, Smash 4, and Ultimate). Prior to the start of the countdown in Ultimate, a versus splash screen will appear, showing the fighters for that match.
In Melee, the countdown is replaced with a meter depleting, with the time in centiseconds going down (though this is purely aesthetic and goes down quickly), and the announcer will instead say "Ready...Go!" while the fighters play their "trophy coming to life" animation. A variation of this without the time is used since Brawl during single player modes such as All-Star and Adventure Mode: World of Light. Unlike in Melee, on-screen appearances will be absent during this time.
In all games, Sudden Death will trigger another timer as it begins.
In Super Smash Bros., the timer uses a light sequence starting from red and while the timer counts, the lights will change to yellow from left to right. When the light turns blue, the match begins. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the pre-match timer uses numbers and has different colors for each of them: three (blue), two (green) and one (yellow). All numbers are red in Smash 4, and then to flaming orange-red in Ultimate. When "GO!" appears onscreen, it will have a different color depending on the game: vermilion (Super Smash Bros.), blackish-yellow, (Melee), brown (Brawl), silver (Smash 3DS), gold (Smash for Wii U), and flaming orange-red (Ultimate).
Final countdown timer
The final countdown timer is an element that appears at the end of a match. When there are only five seconds remaining, the match timer will disappear (except for Super Smash Bros.), and the announcer will start to count the time down. Afterwards, the announcer will call "TIME!" ("TIME UP!" in the Japanese version for Melee onwards, the Korean version for Brawl onwards and the Chinese version of Ultimate, as well as the original game in all regions; except for Target Blast and the Home-Run Contest) to signal the end of the match and declare a winner, or commence a Sudden Death match to break the tie.
In competitive play, this event is usually referred to as a "time out"; sometimes it is performed intentionally in order to win by stock or percentage lead alone. In addition to VS. matches, the timer appears in single-player modes like Race to the Finish and Trophy Rush.
Each remaining second is punctuated by a large number in the center of the screen (with each number getting subsequently bigger except in Smash for Wii U and Ultimate). Just like the pre-match timer and the "GO!" message, the numbers have a different color. In Melee, the numbers are crimson before it was changed to red in Brawl and SSB4, and then to silver in Ultimate. In SSB4, the final countdown timer's appearance activates the countdown-affected equipment, and prevents Star KOs and Screen KOs from happening. This also applies to the Finish Zoom in Ultimate during timed Stock or Stamina matches. There is only one known exception to this.