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The Rumble menu in Super Smash Bros. Melee

Rumble can refer to either a function found in the various controllers available for the Super Smash Bros. series or to a menu found in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Controller function[edit]

A Rumble Pak, attached to a Nintendo 64 controller.

The idea of adding haptic feedback, more commonly known as vibration, to controllers was first introduced by the Nintendo 64 console in 1997, following the release of Star Fox 64. The peripheral, called the "Rumble Pak", connected to the expansion port built into the Nintendo 64 controllers and used a motor coupled with an unbalanced weight to enact its effects; whenever the motor spun its axle, the weight would cause rapid shifts in inertia in the controller, leading to the vibrating mechanism.

Initially expected to be a novelty, the "Rumble Pak" later spread, with many games later supporting the accessory, and some older games were actually re-released in order to take advantage of the peripheral. Among the games to feature Rumble Pak compatibility was Super Smash Bros.; the game would make the controllers rumble whenever the player's character was hit or performing an attack, amongst other events.

The later GameCube, Wii, and Wii U consoles all had controllers that would vibrate, but in these cases, the mechanism was built into the controller, as opposed to the Nintendo 64. The Classic Controller and Nunchuk, however, lack rumble mechanisms, though the Wii Remote they are connected to will still vibrate. In later games of the series, the controller began to rumble more often, such as before the Results screen and before starting matches in the Classic Mode.

Controllers for the Nintendo Switch were created with a new feature called HD Rumble. This feature has the ability to change the way the controller vibrates in real time depending on context. Aside from all uses of rumble from previously games, Ultimate uses HD Rumble in a few unique ways. The main way is that whiffed attacks cause a weak vibration while an attack that connects causes a much stronger vibration. This mechanic is mainly used as tactile confirmation of the attack connecting in case of ambiguous situations. Kazuya has a specific effect where the controllers will vibrate to simulate a heartbeat while he is in his Rage mode.

Menu setting[edit]

Melee, Brawl, Smash Wii U and Ultimate have a "Rumble" settings in the Options menu, where the player can select whether or not they want their controllers to vibrate or not. Individual names also can have Rumble features on or off; in these cases, selecting the name overrides what the player's controller port is set to. The Wii, Wii U and Nintendo Switch have their own Rumble setting in the menu; turning this feature on is required to make Wii Remotes, the Wii U GamePad, Joycons and Wii U/Switch Pro Controllers rumble in the respective Super Smash Bros games.

In Smash Wii U and Ultimate, it is not possible to disable rumble to specific ports, potentially due to how the game handles them on the character selection screen. Instead, the functionality is handled entirely by the Controls menu, where a single button will disable rumble completely for all compatible controllers. Similar to Melee and Brawl, names which have rumble enabled will override this option during gameplay.

As the Rumble Pak can simply be removed from the Nintendo 64 controller, there is no Rumble menu in the original game while rumble is not present in the Wii Virtual Console version. In Ultimate, the ability to turn rumble on or off has been folded into the button settings screen in the Controls menu.

In tournament play[edit]

While Rumble is enabled by default in all games in the Smash series, players in tournaments can choose whether or not to enable the feature on their controllers. Some players disable Rumble, as they find the effect to be distracting, and some controller mods even focus on removing the rumble motor from controllers as to prevent the need to manually disable the feature before matches. Other players leave Rumble on, as it can potentially act as a stimulus for Smash DI, or simply because they do not find the feature distracting.



  • In Ultimate, the Joy-Cons will rumble as soon as the game determines that a hit has occurred. Due to the 6 frame display lag the game has, this means the Joy-Cons will rumble perceptibly earlier than the hit will be displayed on screen, and for fast enough attacks, even before the attack animation begins.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Melee, when the word "GAME!" appears after finishing a battle with the Master Hand glitch, if Master Hand wins, the controller will vibrate constantly until the game is reset. This is because the controller vibrates until the character appears in their victory pose on the results screen, but as Master Hand does not have a victory pose, the game freezes and the controller never receives the signal to stop vibrating.