Super Smash Bros. (series)
Super Smash Bros., known in Japan as Dairantō Smash Brothers (大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズ, Great Fray Smash Brothers), often shortened to Smash Bros. or simply Smash, stylized as SUPER SMASH BROS., is a series of crossover fighting games published by Nintendo, featuring characters from franchises established on Nintendo systems. The series had a successful start in 1999 with the game Super Smash Bros. released on the Nintendo 64. It achieved even greater success with Super Smash Bros. Melee, released in 2001 for the Nintendo GameCube, becoming the best selling game on that system. The third installment, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, was released on the Wii throughout the year of 2008. The fourth game in the series, Super Smash Bros. 4, was first released for the Nintendo 3DS in September 2014, while the Wii U version was first released in November 2014. The most recent game in the series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, was released for the Nintendo Switch on December 7, 2018. Masahiro Sakurai has directed all five games despite HAL Laboratory handing the series to a new developer for Brawl.
Super Smash Bros.
Main article: Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros. was introduced in 1999 for the Nintendo 64. It was released worldwide after selling over a million copies in Japan. It featured 12 playable characters (eight characters from the start and four unlockable characters), all of them created by Nintendo or one of its second-party developers.
In the multiplayer (Versus) mode, up to four people can play, with the specific rules of each match being predetermined by the players. There are two different types that can be chosen: Time, where the person with the most KOs at the end of the set time wins; and stock, where each person has a set amount of lives, and when it is gone, the player is eliminated.
This game's one-player mode included an adventure mode that always followed the same series of opponents, although the player could change the difficulty. Other single-player modes exist such as Training and several mini-games, including Break the Targets and Board the Platforms. All of these were included in the sequel, with the exception of "Board the Platforms".
In Versus mode, there are nine playable stages. However, there are eight stages available from the start; and are based on each of the starter characters (including Peach's Castle for Mario, Congo Jungle for Donkey Kong, Hyrule Castle for Link, Planet Zebes for Samus Aran, Yoshi's Island for Yoshi, Dream Land for Kirby, Sector Z for Fox McCloud, and Saffron City for Pikachu), and the unlockable Mushroom Kingdom (which is the one unlockable stage).
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Main article: Super Smash Bros. Melee
Super Smash Bros. Melee was released November 21, 2001 in Japan; December 3, 2001 in the Americas; May 24, 2002 in Europe; and May 31, 2002 in Australia for the Nintendo GameCube console. It had a larger budget and development team than its predecessor did and was released to much greater praise and acclaim among critics and consumers. Since its release, Super Smash Bros. Melee has sold more than 7 million copies and was the best-selling game on the GameCube.
Super Smash Bros. Melee features twenty-six playable characters; of which 15 are available initially (more than doubling the number of characters in its predecessor). Altogether, 15 characters are starter characters and 11 are unlockable characters). There are also twenty-nine playable stages (however, 18 stages are starter stages and 11 are unlockable stages). It introduced two new single-player modes alongside the Classic Mode; Adventure (which is an enhanced reissue of 1P Game which didn't return proper in Melee) and All Star. Adventure has platforming segments similar to the original's "Race to the Finish" minigame, and All-Star is a fight against every playable character in the game, allows the player only one life in which damage is accumulated over each battle, and the character is allowed to use only three recovery items which heal all taken damage in between battles. There are also significantly more multiplayer modes and a tournament mode allowing for 64 different competitors whom can all be controlled by a human player, although only up to four players can participate at the same time. Additionally, the game featured alternative battle modes, called "Special Melee," which involve some sort of alteration to the battle (ex: all characters are giant by default, players may only use their jump and standard attack buttons, etc.), along with alternative ways to judge a victory, such as through collecting coins throughout the match. In addition, the game introduced the Home-Run Contest, where players use a Home-Run Bat to send Sandbag flying while damaging it for ten seconds.
In place of Super Smash Bros.' character profiles, Melee introduced trophies (called "figures" in the Japanese version). The 293 trophies include three different profiles for each playable character, one unlocked in each single-player mode. In addition, unlike its predecessor, Melee contains profiles for many Nintendo characters who are either non-playable or do not appear in the game, as well as Nintendo items, stages, enemies, and elements.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Main article: Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Although a third Super Smash Bros. game had been announced long before E3 2006, Nintendo unveiled its first information in the form of a trailer on May 10, 2006, and the game was named Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The trailer featured Solid Snake, of Konami's Metal Gear fame, marking the first time that a third-party character had been introduced as a playable character in a Super Smash Bros. title. A second third-party character, Sonic the Hedgehog, from Nintendo's former rival Sega was also confirmed as a playable character on October 10, 2007. Brawl is also the first game in the franchise to support online play via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The game was released on January 31, 2008 in Japan, and on March 9th for North America.
Brawl also features compatibility with four kinds of controllers (the Wii Remote turned sideways, the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination, the Classic Controller, and the Nintendo GameCube controller), while its predecessors only used the one controller designed for that system. The player also has the ability to change the configuration of controls and the controller type.
Super Smash Bros. 4
Main article: Super Smash Bros. 4
At E3 2011, it was announced that there will be a fourth entry in the Super Smash Bros. franchise. The game is available on the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U. Development began in late February 2012, and the 3DS version was released on September 13th, 2014 in Japan, and was released on October 3rd, 2014 internationally, while the Wii U version was released on November 21st, 2014 in the Americas, on November 28th, 2014 in Europe, on November 29th, 2014 in Australia, and on December 6th, 2014 in Japan.
Sonic the Hedgehog returned as veteran third party fighter from Sega while new third-parties were also added to this game: Mega Man from Capcom and Pac-Man from Bandai Namco. Later, when DLC was announced for the game, Ryu from Street Fighter was added as the first DLC newcomers. Then, during the November 12th, 2015 Nintendo Direct, Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy was the second DLC newcomer announced, thus adding Square Enix to the list of third-parties represented in SSB4. Lastly, in the final Smash Bros. Direct special presentation on December 15, 2015, the Smash Bros. Ballot winner, Bayonetta, was announced and revealed. Her inclusion, as well as Ryu's, make Sega and Capcom the first third-party companies in the series to have more than one fighter.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Main article: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
In October 2014, a fan asked Sakurai if he was done with developing Super Smash Bros. games, to which he replied, "I'm not done yet...".  Despite this, he stated in Weekly Famitsu that he doubts he could continue game development as a whole if his workload stays the way it was for Super Smash Bros. 4.
On March 8th, 2018, a Super Smash Bros. game was confirmed for the Nintendo Switch, due out in 2018. The trailer, revealed at the end of the Nintendo Direct that day, suggested that the Inklings would be playable. 
During E3 2018, the title for the next game, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, was announced alongside several details, including its character roster which includes all characters in the Super Smash Bros. series, along with Inkling and Ridley as newcomers, Daisy as an Echo Fighter of Peach, and the return of Xander Mobus as the announcer. During the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct on August 8th, Simon Belmont and his descendant Richter of Castlevania fame were both announced as new playable fighters, along with Dark Samus and Chrom as Echo Fighters and Donkey Kong's arch-enemy, King K. Rool. Isabelle from Animal Crossing, who appeared in the previous game as an Assist Trophy, was revealed as a playable fighter at the close of the September 2018 Nintendo Direct, along with a teaser for a brand new entry in the Animal Crossing series on the Switch in 2019. In the second Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct on November 1st, Ken Masters and Incineroar were announced as the final fighters to complete the base roster along with the new Spirits mode, a new story called World of Light, a Piranha Plant as a DLC fighter and the Fighters Pass Vol. 1, which includes five fighters, five stages and extra music tracks as DLC. The first character of this Fighters Pass Vol. 1 was revealed to be Joker, the main protagonist from Persona 5, at The Game Awards 2018.
The game was released worldwide on December 7, 2018. 
Piranha Plant was released as the first DLC fighter, free to those who had registered the game on My Nintendo before the end of January 2019. Joker was the first Fighters Pass Vol.1 character to be released in April 2019. Subsequent DLC announcements occurred at E3 2019: the Hero from Dragon Quest, released late July of 2019, and Banjo & Kazooie, who were released in September 2019. The same month Banjo & Kazooie were released, Terry from Fatal Fury was announced as the fourth DLC fighter, and was released in November 2019. That same month, it was announced that more DLC characters were undergoing development to join the roster. In January 2020, Byleth from Fire Emblem: Three Houses was announced as the fifth and last Fighters Pass Vol. 1 character, and was released later that same month. It was also revealed that another Fighters Pass would be released, under the title of Fighters Pass Vol. 2, and it would contain six characters: Min Min from ARMS, who was announced in March 2020, and was fully revealed/released in June 2020; Steve from Minecraft, who was announced and released in October 2020; Sephiroth from Final Fantasy, who was announced and released in December 2020; Pyra and Mythra as a two-in-one transformation character from Xenoblade Chronicles 2, were announced in February 2021 and released in March 2021; Kazuya from Tekken, who was announced and released in June 2021; and Sora from Kingdom Hearts as the final downloadable character, who is set to release on October 18, 2021.
The Super Smash Bros. series dramatically differs from many fighting games. Instead of depleting an opponent's life bar, Smash Bros. seeks players to launch characters off the stage. In Super Smash Bros., characters have a damage total, represented by a percentage value, which rises as they take damage and can exceed 100%. As characters' percentages rise, they can be knocked progressively further by an opponent's attacks. To KO an opponent, the player must send that character flying off the edge of the stage, which is not an enclosed arena but rather an area with open boundaries, usually a set of suspended platforms. When a character is knocked off the stage, they may use jumping moves to (attempt to) return; as some characters' jumps are longer-ranged, they may have an easier time "recovering" than others. Additionally, some characters are heavier than others, making it harder for an opponent to knock them off the edge but likewise harder to recover.
Smash Bros.'s play controls are greatly simplified in comparison to other fighting games. While traditional fighting games such as Street Fighter or Soul Calibur require the player to memorize button-input combinations (sometimes lengthy and complicated, and often specific to a character), Smash Bros uses the same one-attack-button, one-control-stick-direction combinations to access all moves for all characters. Characters are not limited to constantly facing their opponent but may move around freely. Smash Bros. also implements blocking and dodging mechanics, which can be used both on the ground and in the air. Grabbing and throwing other characters is also possible, allowing for a large variety of ways to attack.
One additional major element in the Super Smash Bros. series is the inclusion of battle items, of which players can control the frequency of appearance. There are conventional "battering items" with which a player may hit an opponent, such as a baseball bat or a sword, as well as throwing items, including Bob-ombs and shells, and shooting items, either single-shot guns or rapid fire blasters. Recovery items allow the user to lose varying amounts of their damage percent. From the Pokémon franchise come Poké Balls that release a random Pokémon onto the battlefield to assist the user; Brawl introduces a new "Assist Trophy" item which serves a similar purpose, albeit being capable of summoning a wider range of characters from a variety of franchises. Brawl also introduces items called Smash Balls, which allows fighters to perform powerful character-specific attacks, known as Final Smashes.
Characters in the Super Smash Bros. series can be divided into two main groups. The primary group that most people refer to when they speak of "characters" are those that are playable in-game. These are known as fighters or playable characters. The second group is those that are non-playable. This is a larger group that encompasses such entities including bosses, generic enemies, and summonable characters like Assist Trophies, to name a few.
Main article: Fighter
There are currently 87 (if Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon count as three characters, and Mii fighters count as three characters) known playable characters in total. Smash 64 has 12, Melee has 26 (if Sheik is put separate from Zelda), Brawl has 39 (if Zero Suit Samus and Sheik are put separate from Samus and Zelda, respectively, and the Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon count as three characters), and Smash 4 has 58 (51 on disc and 7 downloadable), almost five times the amount in Smash 64. Ultimate uniquely brings back all of the characters from past games, as well as 22 newcomers (with two more confirmed to be revealed in the future). However, without counting DLC, Ultimate has 74 playable characters (counting Pokémon Trainer as one character) and like in Smash 4, Samus, Zero Suit Samus, Zelda, and Sheik are all separate characters (so Samus can no longer transform into Zero Suit Samus; while Zelda can no longer transform into Sheik). Many of the characters are available from the start, but some are unlockable, meaning certain conditions must be met before they can be played as.
Main article: Non-playable character
Computer-controlled, non-playable characters appear in the various single-player modes throughout the series, as well as the backgrounds of select versus mode stages. The player can control them only by using various cheat devices and the Master Hand glitch. Most of the non-playable characters were created for use in the Super Smash Bros. series. The only other way to play as a boss is in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where Master Hand can be played as the true final boss. Some examples of non-playable characters are as follows:
Main article: Boss
Throughout the Super Smash Bros. series, most single-player modes have included several non-playable boss characters. These bosses generally have several advantageous characteristics, such as extreme resistance to being knocked off of the screen. Most of these bosses were created specifically for the Super Smash Bros. franchise, though some have made appearances in other games.
Master Hand appears in both Super Smash Bros. and its sequel Super Smash Bros. Melee as the final boss of Classic Mode and the 50th Event match "Final Destination Match". Super Smash Bros. Melee introduced a left-hand counterpart to Master Hand named Crazy Hand, which appears alongside Master Hand in some scenarios. Master Hand also makes several appearances in Kirby & the Amazing Mirror as a miniboss, and partnered with Crazy Hand as the bosses of Candy Constellation. He also makes an appearance in Kirby: Squeak Squad as a gray hand that can shift its shape to form swords and the like.
Master Hand and Crazy Hand look identical aside from their laterality, but Crazy Hand's fingers act more erratically and chaotically. While Master Hand is more relaxed and mature, Crazy Hand is impulsive and destructive and his fingers move differently when he is preparing for an attack. His attacks are wilder and faster than those of Master Hand, hence his name. When being fought simultaneously, Crazy Hand and Master Hand are able to execute moves together, including a series of claps, and the two hands making fists.
Super Smash Bros. also introduced Metal Mario (originally from Super Mario 64) and a Giant Donkey Kong. Metal Mario is basically Mario, but with increased resistance to being knocked out of the stage as well as a faster falling speed and more attack power, while Giant Donkey Kong is a larger and more powerful version of Donkey Kong. Super Smash Bros. Melee's Adventure Mode introduced more boss characters that were enhanced versions of playable characters, such as the Tiny Donkey Kong duo, Giant Kirby, and Metal Luigi. However, due to items introduced in Melee, such as the Metal Box, Super Mushroom and Poison Mushroom, all of these seemingly non-playable characters (including the enhanced characters that were unplayable bosses in the first game) are indeed playable for short amounts of time as they allow all characters to become Metal, Giant or Tiny. Dark Link, a completely black form of Link, appeared in Melee as a non-playable character. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, gamers are able to play as Dark Link in the form of a color change for Link.
Giga Bowser, known in Japan as Giga Koopa (ギガクッパ), is the giant and powered up version of Bowser introduced in Smash Bros. Melee. He is the secret final boss of Melee's Adventure Mode, only appearing if the player clears Adventure Mode on Normal mode or higher in 18 minutes or less without using continues. Beat him without using a continue to get his trophy. He is also one of the fighters in the final match of Melee's Event mode Event 51: The Showdown (where the player fights Giga Bowser, Ganondorf, and Mewtwo). Giga Bowser has several abilities that the regular Bowser does not. He is so large that he is immune to grabs and similar grabbing moves. As with Metal Mario, Giga Bowser becomes playable for short periods of time in the following game, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, when Bowser performs his "Final Smash" attack. Bowser transforms into Giga Bowser, and is practically invincible until the effect of the Final Smash wears off.
Super Smash Bros. 4 also has bosses that appear on regular stages, such as Ridley on Pyrosphere, Yellow Devil on Wily Castle, and Dark Emperor on Find Mii The game also has an extra boss named Master Core, which only appears on higher intensity on Classic Mode.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate adds new bosses that show up at the end of Classic Mode and in the World of Light mode, such as Marx, Rathalos, and Ganon. There are also several returning bosses, including Master Hand, Crazy Hand, Galleom and Giga Bowser.
Mysterious Small Fry Enemy Corps
Main articles: Fighting Polygon Team, Fighting Wire Frames, Fighting Alloy Team, and Fighting Mii Team
The series' Multi-Man Smash modes pit players against a horde of generic enemies that function near-identically to select fighters, minus effects and special moves, and having their sheer numbers offset by higher knockback and lower AI.
Main article: Enemy
Along with Melee's Adventure Mode came the inclusion of minor, generic enemies, such as Goombas from the Mario franchise and Octoroks from the Zelda franchise. This trend continues into Super Smash Bros. Brawl to an extent; only enemies from the Mario series reappear (Goombas, Hammer Bros, Bullet Bills, and Koopa Troopas) due to Bowser's hands-on role in the SSE as a villain. Waddle Dees also appeared in a cutscene, but they never showed up as regular enemies. Brawl's adventure mode also includes an assortment of original characters to serve as non-playable generic enemies led by the Subspace Army.
Main article: Subspace Army
The Subspace Army are the antagonists of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, appearing in The Subspace Emissary and led by the Ancient Minister. Their goal is to bring the entire World of Trophies into Subspace piece by piece with devices called Subspace Bombs (detonated with the aid of two R.O.B.s), though their motives are a mystery. Among their foot soldiers are the Primid, the primary offensive force of the Subspace Army, said to come in various forms to do battle. They can be seen forming out of strange purple spores that clump together. A variety of other enemies exist; along with the R.O.B. Squad, assorted original enemies include Bytans, small spherical enemies capable of self-replication; Greaps, large robotic figures that attack with large sickles; and Trowlons, enemies with trowel-like bodies that attack by lifting opponents, among many others.
Main article: Sandbag
Sandbag (サンドバッグくん, Sandobaggu-kun) appears in the "Home-Run Contest" minigame in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. 4, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The object is to strike it as far as possible with either a supplied Home-Run Bat or a fighting move. Sandbag's only purpose is to get hit in the Home-Run Contest. Being hit all the time does not hurt it; it actually loves to see players "wind up and let loose," according to the trophy description. During the actual Home-Run Contest challenge, a player will use their chosen character to hit Sandbag off the pedestal on which it rests within ten seconds. Players damage Sandbag as much as possible while keeping on the orange platform so that it will fly farther. In Brawl, the "Home-Run Contest" also features two-player modes, online play, and a shield that keeps Sandbag on the platform while it is being damaged. Players may also practice by attacking Sandbag while online multiplayer matches load.