Friday, 21 June 2013

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is rife with problems for a newb

Can we just discuss this game called Super Smash Bros and what it means to newbs like me?

It means terror.

Absolute terror.

It's one thing to play a single person adventure game like Legend of Zelda or Super Mario RPG and it's quite another to put me on a moving pirate ship playing a game character I've never heard of while experts pick up glowing balls and magically beat me  even with their handicap at 50.

I call foul. (Or fowl if we were in A Link to the Past. I'm so proud I can make gaming jokes now. I have only a few games in my reference arsenal but I'm gonna use 'em!)

The first time I played it was maybe a couple years ago. I played for one game and passed the controller to someone else. It was at a small party where all attendees were gaming nerds who actually knew to use buttons other than A and B in a frantic exaggeration of the word "smash" in Super Smash. I quickly went through all my lives after my heart rate perked up to a level I was not comfortable with. And I swore I would never play with those nerds again. I would watch from the corner while doing dishes. That was my party strategy.

Every now and then they'd try to give me the controller and, if there were other newbs there also, I would occasionally say yes. It would be a pitiful site of three girls screaming while my one girlfriend masterfully beat us all and the guys all laughed. I think it's fair to deem that as a low point of feminism in the gaming world.

And then, a few weeks back, the Super Smash started up again. There were only four of us. Three girls, one guy; two experts, one skilled Pikachu and me.

I decided to play Smash the same way I play mini golf: for fun with the slight purpose of sucking that way when I did suck it wasn't as embarrassing. The two experts put on handicaps, and I picked characters at random. Things weren't doing super well when I was Mario. They got worse when I was Luigi. They got better when I was Ganondorf and got real when I was Peach. Ice Climbers often ran away from each other and off the moving platforms. Star Fox characters sucked about as much as the game they came from. Bowser moved slower than molasses when I try to make gingersnap cookies. And Link was uncontrollable.

The problem with Super Smash is threefold.

First, I don't know the characters because I don't play the games and therefore I don't know what secret powers and abilities they hold until I'm faced with my expert friend as a super bitchy, fire-throwing Zelda.

Second, I find it difficult to play with more than two buttons, so the fact that I have to use my toggle, A button, B button and the C toggle as well as up, Y, X and the foreign buttons on the back of the controller means I am lost in a mess of endless button combinations. It's like I'm trying to crack open a safe in The Italian Job but I have neither Donald Sutherland's skills nor Charlize Theron's tools.

Thirdly, how do you pick things up and use them?! People are changing screen directions, throwing things in slow-motion, getting big and tall like Alice when she eats a cookie and beating me with a fan at a speed that is inescapable. What's a girl to do other than hide behind a pillar while the two experts and a skilled Pikachu beat on each other?

One of these days I'll learn how to survive. And when that day comes, I will enjoy the fame for but half a second until I see how pitiful my KO count is and go eat some cookies.

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