Of course, Nintendo has always been a part of my gaming life. Zelda II was my first ever video game, Kirby’s Adventure was the first game I completed on my own, and Donkey Kong Country took up almost all of my early teenage life. But my Nintendo experiences were narrow in my early days.
We weren’t necessarily poor growing up, but we didn’t have too much in the way of luxury items. I had my SNES when the N64 was just picking up, never actually owning the N64 until my adult years, skipping that generation entirely for an original Xbox. I missed out on quite a bit of Nintendo, even though I was still playing games a fair bit.
Then the Wii was announced, and it was weird and interesting enough for me to pick one over an Xbox 360 or PS3. I had Twilight Princess, the first Zelda game that I completed solo, and Metroid Prime 3, the first Metroid game I ever played full stop. It suddenly dawned on me just how much Nintendo I had missed out on, and how daunting it would be to get back into it all.
After leaving high school, I went to the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, mostly because the one constant in my life was gaming and I had no idea what else I could do for a career. While it didn’t really pan out for me, I did meet my still best friend there, who also happened to be much more into the Nintendo world than I was.
He introduced me back into Pokemon with Diamond and Pearl, and a deep appreciation for the Kirby franchise- one that I had connection with established very early on in my life. When we moved into our second year at AIE, he ended up staying at my place for the year, leading to one of the funniest moments in my life.
One morning, I was leaving to catch the bus while my friend had slept in a bit, chugging a glass of milk and sprinting to the bus. Unfortunately, sprinting and milk don’t mix… he managed to put his hands in front of his face – which directed it all forward onto the person sitting in front of us. We rush off the bus in a panic and take the day off, whereSuper Smash Bros. Brawl from the US arrived in the mail that day!
To relax, we take my homebrewed Wii (I promise, no piracy!) and hook it all up with Smash Bros. for what will always be a fond memory of my first foray into the wider world of Nintendo.
If it weren’t for Smash Bros., I never would have found out about Fire Emblem. Awakening was the first game in that series I jumped into, after reading that it was a more entry level type of game for newbies. Kid Icarus was completely unknown to me, so when the 3DS enhanced version was released, I found out I sucked at it. I did buy Uprising, only to find the controls were very uncomfortable for my giant hands.
I ended up really enjoying Samus in Brawl, which is a character I still play today (though… Dark Samus). I only really knew her from Metroid Prime 3, but I finally took the time one day to play just about all of them to give more context to her character and world. This meant when Ridley and Dark Samus were announced for Ultimate, I was beyond excited!
Basically, my story of Smash Bros. is how it turned me from a casual Nintendo fan, into a fan that could identify and contextualise all these characters from different franchises. I’ve far from played every single game that all these characters are from, but it’s really made me more open to the idea of trying them out.
More recently, I played both Bayonetta games after he inclusion as DLC in Smash for Wii U/3DS. I’ve learned more about the world of Xenoblade, and I’m currently trying to wrap my head around how to look into Castlevania. Little Mac was a fun character in the last Smash, which prompted me to the fantastically presented Punch Out on Wii.
Smash really is just a museum and reference for Nintendo’s history. It’s not just the fighters, but the levels and music too. It’s a celebration of some of the most influential gaming icons in the last couple of decades, which is a fantastic opportunity to introduce fans of one franchise to many, many more. And even though I’m no fighting game expert, I’ll always take the time to enjoy everything Smash has to offer.