Smasher is a slang term that refers to a dedicated member of the Super Smash Bros. community. The term came into regular use in the early 2000s with the rise competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee and has stuck as a part of the vernacular between Smash players. While the term can be applied to any individual that associates with the community, a Smasher is most often used to describe competitive players and professionals, especially those who compete in local, regional, or online tournaments.
Many smashers have earned recognition by participating in (or hosting) tournaments, mostly grassroots events unaffiliated with Nintendo. These tournaments have allowed smashers around the world to connect with others and make a name for themselves in the Smash community, as well as test their skills and possibly earn prizes.
The competitive community expanded to gain national recognition over the years and has grown to one of the largest video game fandoms in history. Fueled by unprecedented enthusiasm and dedication from players around the world, the series earned positions in international tournaments like Major League Gaming and EVO, as well as smaller tournaments organized by local community figureheads. While the scene has yet to reach the mainstream attention and prestige of other games like Counter Strike, Dota, and League of Legends, it is a healthy fandom and by far the largest based around a fighting game.
A spectator is usually defined as an individual who watches an event without directly participating. Spectators often watch Smash- related content from afar. This can include watching live matches in the same room, pre-recorded videos online, or casually watching livestreams. While not mandatory to be considered a part of the community, spectators have usually played a Smash game beforehand, usually at no greater than a casual level, as knowing the basic gameplay elements is beneficial to deciphering what is happening on-screen.
As much as some competitive players refuse to accept it, spectators and casual players are an integral part of any community. This is especially true for video games like Smash, as they make up the vast majority of the player base. The ultimate goal of companies like Nintendo is to make money, and they need to build their products, such as the Smash series, to attract as wide an audience as possible and reap maximum profit. This leads to the most common type of customer buying the game because they found it interesting, playing it for a little while and even keeping up with the community to an extent, but not going much deeper than that. There will be a few that go all the way and become a diehard competitive player, but it is perfectly fine if that is not the case. Those casual players are the reason Smash still receives new games, and as such, deserve to play the game the way they see fit. Additionally, spectators and casual players give a lot of viewership to sites like Twitch and YouTube, which is integral for making revenue.
Commentary refers to comments made and discussions held by commentators (often smashers themselves) during a match in Super Smash Bros. tournaments. Commentators generally have knowledge of a Super Smash Bros. game on an advanced or professional level. There are two basic types of commentators. The first is the "Play-by-Play," who describe what is literally happening on screen. This type is important for larger tournaments, as they might attract viewers that have minimal knowledge of the game being played and need a proper explanation of what they are seeing. The second type is the "Analyst," who take the time to examine the game being played and give their anecdotal opinions and conclusions during less interesting parts of the game. This type is important for creating the "narrative" of the game, as they help invest the viewer with food for thought that influences what to think about the match.
Effective commentators can give a relatively standard match much more weight and elevate it to an event worth coming back to. Sometimes the commentator outshines the game itself; an example being HomeMadeWaffles's commentary of the match wherein the "Wombo Combo" was executed, which became a popular meme within both the Smash Bros. community as well as the competitive gaming community.
The term "commentator's curse" is commonly used to describe events taking place in a match that do not favor the player that the commentator was talking about (making it more of a jinx than a curse). The opposite of the commentator's curse is the "commentator's blessing", where the events instead favor the chosen player.
With the rise of social media sites like YouTube and Twitter, regular people were given the unprecedented opportunity to easily show their creative side to the world. This has greatly influenced what a Smasher can be and has done a huge amount of good to the community. No longer restricted to the inner circles of the community, celebrities and influencers have the ability to expose the series to "outsiders" that would have never been interested otherwise. While many will not grow beyond a casual interest, some may become a dedicated fan, growing the community in the process.
Typical "Smash"-related content includes compilations of gameplay clips, analytical and educational material about the series and its mechanics, fan-created material, and other miscellaneous topics. Other previously established smashers like competitors and commentators are also able to grow their reach even farther by directly communicating and interacting with their fanbases through their. In this context, even Masahiro Sakurai can arguably be classified as a content creator, as he has regularly posted screenshots of several "Smash" games on sites like Miiverse and Twitter along with more generalized content.