Trophies represent various characters, items, and other elements from the many games released by Nintendo (and from some third-party franchises, since Brawl). They range from well-known to obscure, including some that were released in Japan only (or were not released until after the Smash Bros. game in question). Collecting them is optional, and does not affect the gameplay of the other modes (excluding the Birdo trophy, which unlocks a multiplayer stage for Super Smash Bros. Melee).
The backstory of the Super Smash Bros. series from Melee onwards depicts characters as coming to life from trophies (and in Smash 64, plush dolls). While an occasional misconception is that the fighters are living figurines in a literal sense, the implications of this concept demonstrate otherwise and have varied as the series has progressed. In Melee and Brawl, the fighters exist as trophies when dormant or dead and transform into living beings to fight against each other. In Ultimate, trophies do not exist at all within the game (aside from Assist Trophies) and have been stated to merely exist as the fighters' forms in the "real world", whereas the characters exist as living beings in the "world of imagination" in which the game takes place.
In the game's opening sequence, Continue screen, and ending sequence, all characters are depicted as plush dolls that appear to come to life; Melee later introduced on-screen appearances where characters are depicted as trophies that come to life before battles, and Brawl later made this a central plot point in the Subspace Emissary.
Furthermore, Smash 64 includes profiles of the twelve playable characters, with the eight starter characters' profiles available from the start and the remaining four unlocked at the same time as those characters. Similar in presentation to trophies, the model of the character is animated, displaying various attacks, animations and poses for the character, as well as providing names for their special moves. The model can also be rotated by holding the Z button and moving the Control Stick. Later games had most of these features, though these profiles did not include moving models of the subject.
Trophies made their first appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. There are a total of 290 trophies obtainable through regular play in the NTSC and PAL versions, with three additional trophies only accessible with an Action Replay (see below).
The Trophy menu
From the main menu of SSBM, a Trophies option exists. From here, players can view collected trophies, or gamble to collect new ones.
There are several methods in which to collect trophies:
Changes between versions
Trophies continue to appear in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Conceptually, they are unaltered from Melee, but their number was nearly doubled to 544 trophies, with repeat trophies given new 3D models and text. Some unlockables in the game are also gained by collecting enough trophies.
More 'backstory' is provided to trophies in this game: in The Subspace Emissary, the storyline states that fighters who fall in this world in battle are forcibly reverted back to Trophies. These trophies of fallen smashers appear as greyed-out, shiny, full-size statues instead of the smaller trophies or statuettes seen in the Trophy Gallery.
In the Trophy Gallery, trophies can be sorted by series (universe), or by type, which has the following categories: Fighter, Fighter Related (most trophies originating from non-Smash universes), Final Smash, Item, Assist Trophy, Poké Ball, The Subspace Emissary, Enemy (Subspace Emissary enemies, bosses, and the Fighting Alloys), (stages and background characters), and Other (trophies from non-fighter universes, such as Animal Crossing, and other trophies).
As in the previous game, the trophies can be all collectively viewed at in the Trophy Hoard mode.
Trophies can be obtained through the following means:
This is a feature that is automatically incorporated into Brawl. Accessed from the Trophy Hoard, the player can pick any of the available backgrounds, and follow this up by choosing up to four of their trophies and positioning them against the background. Then, the player can use something similar to the photo menu found in Multiplayer Brawl to position the camera and take a picture, which can be saved to the Wii's internal memory or an SD card.
Collectible trophies appear in both versions of Super Smash Bros. 4. The Wii U version includes trophies based primarily on home-console games, while the 3DS version primarily focuses on trophies based on handheld games, with the trophy models varying as well.
While the Wii U version of Smash 4 can display up to two games of debut, as well as the system information and date of release, the 3DS version notably lacks this information.
With trophies depicting Ubisoft's Rayman, Globox, and Barbara, as well as Gaijin Games's Commander Video in the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. 4, the game marks the first time that third-party franchises without a playable character within the game have trophies.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS alone features 685 trophies in the vanilla game and 707 trophies with DLC, while Super Smash Bros. for Wii U features 716 trophies in the vanilla game and 743 trophies with DLC.
While still informing players of the origin and details of trophies, the trophy descriptions in Smash 4 take on a considerably less serious tone than in either Melee or Brawl; trophies can feature puns, jokes, wordplay, references to popular culture, and descriptions that directly address the player.
A new feature exclusive to Super Smash Bros. for Wii U are Trophy Boxes for displaying collected trophies. These boxes are mostly themed after the source game(s) of what the trophy depicts. Another Wii U exclusive feature is the Photo Studio, an improved version of Brawl's Diorama, in which players can now resize trophies, rotate them in any direction, and remove their stands.
Like in Brawl, trophies can be sorted by series (universe), or by type, which has the following categories: Fighter, Fighter Related (elements that are part of a character's moveset), Final Smash, Item, Assist Trophy, Poké Ball, Enemy (stage bosses and enemies in Smash Run and Smash Tour respectively), Stage (stages and background characters), Series Related (elements belonging to fighter's universes) and Other (trophies from non-fighter universes). Trophies can now be listed by order of which the player obtains them.
Trophies can be obtained by the following means:
Trophies do not return in Ultimate. Instead, Spirits serve as their successor, whose in-game concept is similar to that of the Stickers from Brawl. As a result, this makes Ultimate the first Smash Bros. game since the original where trophies do not appear. Like stickers, Spirits lack descriptions, with the only information given being what game series the Spirit originated from.
The entire concept of fighters originating from toys, while still present, is downplayed and nearly absent from the content of the actual game. As seen in multiple character reveal trailers and one of the bad endings to Adventure Mode: World of Light, characters can die normally and no longer turn into trophies when killed as in The Subspace Emissary. Also unlike previous games, characters' Classic Mode endings do not depict either a trophy or a plush doll landing in the real world. In the November 1, 2018 Nintendo Direct, Masahiro Sakurai re-asserted that the characters exist as toys in the real world, compared to the world of Smash Bros. which is a "world of imagination" where the fighters exist as living beings. The toy bodies exist as a means for the fighters to return to the real world (as seen in the Classic Mode endings of previous games), while Spirits are unable to do so because their physical forms have been destroyed. This aspect gets tied into the plot of the game's Adventure mode, where during the Direct it was explicitly stated that Galeem's attack was what destroyed the characters' bodies.
Real-world amiibo for the game still stand on a Trophy Stand, and in World of Light's second opening cutscene, the imprisoned Mario is also depicted atop a Trophy Stand (the only time one can be seen in-game).