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 during a game before it ends. It is present during a Time or Stock battle with the timer option set to on. The timer starts counting down once the announcer says "GO!". The timer can be adjusted between a minimum of 1 and maximum of 99 minutes in the Rules section prior to the start of the match. Normally the format of the timer is "MM:SS:ss" (minutes, seconds, 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 Vs. 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. While numbers stay the same visually, text such as "GO!" or spoken numbers by the announcer greatly vary. For simplicity reasons, 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 seconds. 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 and Smash 4). When "GO!" appears, the game begins, as well as the match timer if applicable.
In Super Smash Bros., the timer uses a light sequence starting from red and while the announcer counts down, the lights will change to yellow from left to right. When the light turns blue, the announcer gives the "GO!" signal and the match begins.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee, the announcer says "Ready...GO!" instead of counting down from three. A meter is shown visually onscreen to be counting down from three, displaying the time with centiseconds, though this is purely aesthetic and counts down quickly in less than three seconds. This variation is also used in Brawl and Smash 4 during single-player modes including Events and All-Star. On-screen appearances will not play with this countdown method.
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.
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 down with each number getting bigger onscreen. The announcer will then call out "TIME!" ("TIME UP!" in the Japanese version and original game), the match will come to an end and a winner will be chosen based on the highest total score each fighter has during the match, depending on the game mode. In the event of a tie, a Sudden Death match will play out. 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. If Target Blast and the Home-Run Contest is played, then "TIME!" won't be called after the final second appeared onscreen but if it's played in a Multi-Man game, then the announcer will call out "GAME!" (GAME SET! in the Japanese version) when time is up.
Just like the pre-match timer, the numbers have a different color. In Melee, the numbers are brown before it was changed to red in Brawl and SSB4. The 10-second timer on the bomb in Target Blast starts from green and for each second the bomb takes, it changes to yellow, orange, and then to red when the bomb explodes. In SSB4, the final countdown timer's appearance activates the countdown-affected equipment, and prevents Star KOs and Screen KOs from happening for fairness purposes. There is only one known exception to this.
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