The on-screen appearance, also known as an intro or entrance, is a minor feature in Super Smash Bros., Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. 4 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It includes a small animation unique for each character entering the battlefield during the countdown before the match begins.
Where exactly on-screen appearances are used depends on the game:
As the announcer counts down before a match starts, the camera will either pan far enough away from the stage to show each entrance or zoom in on each character during the first few frames of their entrance. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, when a match starts, the screen will occasionally focus on the player's own on-screen appearance for the entire duration of the countdown, rather than moving between each character as they appear or showing the entire screen.
It usually has no effect whatsoever on gameplay other than visually dramatic and comedic purposes. The exceptions to this rule are Zero Suit Samus's entrance in Brawl, which allows the players to hit their opponents with the fallen pieces of the power suit; Wario's entrance, which lets Wario charge up his Wario Waft the moment he appears; and Olimar's entrance, which automatically has him pluck three Pikmin. Each entrance usually relates to that character's universe, such as Mario entering in through a warp pipe the way he does at the beginning of Super Mario 64.
Lists of on-screen appearances
Main article: List of on-screen appearances (SSB)
Main article: List of on-screen appearances (SSBB)
Main article: List of on-screen appearances (SSB4)
Main article: List of on-screen appearances (SSBU)
Unique on-screen appearances were removed in Melee. Instead, all playable characters briefly start as trophies that "come to life" while the announcer says "Ready... go!". Only Master Hand and Crazy Hand have "true" on-screen appearances, where they both gradually enter the stage from the background, laughing.
Giga Bowser, when fought in The Showdown and Adventure Mode, has no on-screen appearance of any type; when the countdown starts, he's already standing on the stage, although he does have an introduction clip before being fought in Adventure Mode, which consists of Giant Bowser's trophy being flung back onto the stage, transforming into Giga Bowser. Taking advantage of hacks, Giga Bowser may be fought in Vs. Mode. He then appears as a trophy when the "Must be ON" code from Action Replay is not turned on. When this happens, he will be in a T-pose upon trophy appearance. This freezes on stages that are not part of the Smash universe. The CPU players, including allies, in Event matches are already in the fight when the countdown starts. In Event 50: Final Destination Match, the hands' "true" appearances don't occur; they are already in the fight.