The 'Shroom:Issue 200/A Budew's Brawlers
A Budew's Brawlers
Either in a month-to-month format or as a special section, I have brought to this newspaper, on multiple occasions, Smash Bros. character speculation. I’ve done my best to explore how I believe characters could play if they ever joined the all-star lineup, with special attention given to faithfulness of character and series of origin. Occasionally, I have given my thoughts on the realistic chances of them making it into Smash too, my own biases set aside.
Today, I would like to invite us all to disregard any pretense of what Smash Bros. is, ignore what we can reasonably expect from this series, and allow pure, unadulterated biases and wants to guide our hand.
Let me take your arm and pull you towards a simpler time. Before the advent of today, before the hardships of presidencies and quarantines and becoming an adult, there were the early years. Childhood. The time of imagination and limited worries, the time where one could sit and dream of their video game-ic dreams. For me, this period of intrigue in gaming and the untethered possibilities of what games could be was in the early 2010s. As I moved through my knowledge and fascination with Nintendo series – Mario, Pokémon, Kirby – I found myself imagining within the lap of my favorite speculative series: Smash Bros.
This prelude delivers us to 2012. At some point shortly beforehand, a young Rose was given a book with their name on it and the promise of storing all of their ideas for… well, anything. I envisioned everything from comics to card games when I was 10; because of this, many pages in this big book are filled with their own unique concepts, most of them hardly pursued more than their initial writings. And one day, in the year of 2012, a young Rose decided that they would write out what characters they would be interested in seeing in Smash Bros., as their own pseudo-formal Smash roster.
Today, I’m going to share with you this roster of characters, and explore the “why” for each character I wanted to see. Be it personal attachment or passive internet influence, all of these scrimblos are the ones I had at least some investment in being put into Smash Bros. So without further ado, let’s see how wild our crossovers can get. Beautiful ‘Shroom readers, I present to you:
My 10-year old Smash Bros. roster!
...I can explain.
Let’s start off simple. Our expected series mainstays are here – Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser. I doubt there’s anyone who has imagined a Smash Bros. without them. Worth noting is the effect that Super Smash Flash 2 had on my imagination of characters at the time; in the then-current version of the game, Peach used the Star Spirits from Paper Mario to summon a massive damaging beam of light onto the stage, and I envisioned this as Peach’s new Final Smash.
Hammer Bros., Bowser Jr., and Lakitu are all a little more interesting. The ideas for Bowser Jr. were from before he became super-glued into his Clown Car, so while I did imagine him using it for his up special, I was in a similar boat to others who wanted to see him wield his Magic Paintbrush, alongside other attacks. I even wanted him to summon Gobblegut from Galaxy 2 for his Final Smash! As for the other two, I would attribute their inclusion to Mario Party 8, of all things. Hammer Bro. was my preferred character in that game, and I'm sure that it put my brain on the concept of Mario enemies being playable in other games. Hammer Bros. would've specifically been a duo fighter akin to Ice Climbers, with certain attacks that would serve as sharing hammers between them; Lakitu would've had different manners of throwing Spinies and keeping stage control.
Hey this is future Rose looking back at this section in shock, because I did not realize that Lakitu was also playable in Mario Kart 7 in 2011! 2011?! That game came out the same year as Kirby's Return to Dream Land?! It's almost 12 years old?! Huh?!?!
Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong are here, as expected for a post-Brawl world. Dixie Kong is the unique inclusion in this one, and while I'm sure some influence came from Internet opinions for that choice, part of it was undoubtedly from Donkey Kong Country 3, which was the only Country game I owned when I was younger... for some reason? I made some really odd purchasing choices on the Virtual Console, believe me. I bought Sonic & Knuckles without Sonic 3 attached. What were my parents thinking, giving me that kind of purchasing power?
Legend of Zelda
This set was more out of a place of obligation for a younger me - not because I strictly disliked Zelda, but because it was one Nintendo franchise I was not attuned to. My mom and sister are big fans of the series, though, and I like them being in Smash! Sheik was still Zelda's down special at the time I wrote this, though I don't know if I ever attributed a moveset to him, the poor persona. The new inclusion in here is Skull Kid, which is another Internet idea ingestion, as I had not yet played Majora's Mask at the time I wrote these out. I was interested in "creepier" things in video games around then, so I did attach myself to Majora's Mask in concept. What's actually most interesting is that I gave Ganondorf the Final Smash "Triforce of Power", which kind of became Zelda's Final Smash in Ultimate. I'm expecting my royalties any day now.
I think the most surprising part of the Pokémon section is the fact that I only have six reps from it. From how important Pokémon was to a younger me, I would've expected like twenty characters, especially with the disproportionate representation of some... other series on this list. The notable ones here are Zoroark, Mega Mewtwo, and Victini. Mega Mewtwo was likely done because... hm. Sorry, I'm confusing myself on timeline. Maybe I made this roster in 2013. The point is, Mega Mewtwo (specifically Y form) was revealed and was cool and I thought it would be a fun character refresh.
I've always thought Zoroark is a Pokémon primed to be in Smash, and if Smash 4 happened earlier than it did, I'm certain it would've made the actual fighter roster. Victini is an oddball pick, but honestly not a horrible one. I wasn't that attached to Victini, though. If my younger self were to have chosen any mythical Pokémon to make the cut, I would've guessed that I'd choose Celebi. Recency bias wins again!
So, uh, yeah, how about them Kirbys? There's a lot of them on this roster! Waddle Dee would more specifically be identified as Bandana Dee today, but I generally wanted that fourth character from recently-released Return to Dream Land to make it in. I envisioned him using a parasol alongside the spear, and likely some other Waddle Dee related items. I don't need to explain much of the basis for Landia and Magolor, though among Real Speculation TM, I would never expect to see Landia mentioned today, nor was she brought up during the Smash 4 cycle ever. Still a fan of Magolor being included someday. I love that conniving goober.
Marx is prevalently in Kirby Super Star Ultra, which remains as one of my favorite games of all time, and one I played on loop when I was little. His inclusion is little surprise. A greater surprise is Bugzzy, which feels like a left field choice. My best bet for its inclusion is that Bugzzy is also in Super Star Ultra, but specifically you can play as it in the Helper to Hero boss rush mode. Being a physical character focused on throws likely helped out a bit too.
It's him, the dinosaur! Not a lot to say here, except that I considered Shy Guy and then put them in this section! Shy Guys are all over the place in Yoshi games, so no surprise there. I believe I gave them a specific mechanic where they could change their clothes color to get different elemental effects on their attacks. Is this a thing Shy Guys ever actually do in any Mario or Yoshi game? Nope! Did I like mechanically-changing characters when I was younger? Apparently!
Sonic the Hedgehog
This one is actually a little baffling to me, in that I was never THAT much of a Sonic fan when I was younger. I like Sonic games and did then too, but enough to put seven characters on this roster? Lord Almighty. I do believe that any of these characters I put here would genuinely be a good fit for Smash, though. Well, maybe besides Vector. My one guess for his presence here is the fact that I did enjoy Sonic Heroes a lot when I was younger. You might think, "oh, so that's why Metal Sonic is here too, right?" The answer is no. Metal Sonic is most definitely here because of Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games.
A final fun note on Metal Sonic is that I envisioned his Final Smash turning him into "Mecha Sonic" as a standard beef-up transformation Final Smash. When I say Mecha Sonic, I am referring to the killer character from Super Mario Bros. Z. So yeah, that would never actually happen. Doesn't change how cool that sounded to young Rose, though. Super Mario Bros. Z was their shit.
Here's where the weirdness truly begins.
An important bit of context for my Paper Mario experience is that at the time, I had only played Super Paper Mario. This explains Dimentio on the roster, which is all well and good, and Vivian was a character I included because of her boisterous online fanbase. At least she has a reasonable presence in The Thousand-Year Door. The question I would love to ask myself is, why is Little Mouser here, and why are they a Paper Mario rep?
I was extremely attached to this idea, to the point where I can still recall some of the move ideas I had for them - a neutral special involving throwing SMB2 Mouser bombs, a side special shadow dash - but I have absolutely no reason I can think of to want Little Mouser in Smash. Maybe I just thought they have a cute design and that's enough?! Who can truly say. In passive conversation with Pitohui and Waluigi Time while writing this section, they weren't exactly repelled by the idea, so maybe there's promise here. Nintendo hire this Roserade
Mario & Luigi
... So, yeah, I loved Mario & Luigi when I was younger. More specifically, I thought Bowser's Inside Story was one of the best games ever made (it is). There's a lot of potential justification I still need to give these characters, though. Let's start with the first four, our BIS set. Fawful is straightforward enough, and Midbus makes reasonable sense for a BIS superfan. The other two... Important to note is that in the original write-up of this roster, I had Junker in front of Fawful, meaning that it was actually the first character I envisioned from this series. If nothing else, it's probably indicative of which part of the game I was in when I made this character set. I have literally no way to rationalize Wisdurm. Sorry.
The other three are also odd ones. Baby Mario and Baby Luigi are here because of Partners in Time, where they are also player characters. That's alright enough, but they could easily fit into the Mario or Yoshi series, and I also didn't envision them as a duo fighting team as some people will suggest. They definitely would've fought with more hammer attacks and used ice balls instead of fireballs for a neutral special. Birdo is likely here because of her prominence in Superstar Saga, but like... She's really not a M&L character. It would be different if she was paired with Popple, but younger Rose did not have that kind of critical thinking for this roster.
Some of these series are going to have much less to say about them. These were the three Fire Emblem characters in the Smash series at the time, and I thought they were all cool. Moving along.
Here's some good meat and potatoes. Black Mage is here almost entirely because of Super Smash Flash 2 - he was my favorite character to play in that game's current version. Lich is a little odder, until I remember that Chaos Shrine had the Lich sprite floating around as a cameo thing, and I probably thought he looked wicked and spooky. Rydia and Edge are both from Final Fantasy IV, which is my mom's favorite Final Fantasy and probably one of her favorite video games of all time. I'm not sure where Rydia ranks on her favorite characters tier list, but I know from practice that if I asked her right now what character she'd want added to Smash Bros., Rydia would be her first answer. She was really attached to the character so I became attached too. Edge is much more random, because I would've never been in the room for the part of the game where he even joins the party. My best bet is that I googled "Final Fantasy IV" and then grabbed another character that looked cool. Ninjas are neat, after all. If you asked me to actually pick a FFIV character to be in today, though, I'd toss my hat to Cecil. A stance fighter moving between black knight and paladin? Rad stuff.
A little note about this section is that in the margins of the book, I had a list of spells from each of these characters' magic/special move pools. That's pretty expected, but the actual silly part is that I gave Rydia a bunch of generic magic spells, when literally her entire deal is summoning monsters. Gonna have to rework that idea in the future.
Around this time, I would've had Street Fighter II Turbo for Virtual Console, so I was already connected to the Street Fighter II characters. Ryu, Ken, and Chun Li are all very straightforward choices, especially with Chun Li being my mom's favorite character from the game. I still want Chun Li in Smash to this day. Blanka is very random! Don't have a good answer for that one. Maybe next time, younger Rose will be smarter and put in a random character choice like Vega (Claw) or Cammy instead.
Pac-Man was connected to Mario through the arcade Mario Kart games, so the inclusion felt natural. Why did I put Clyde? Life's greatest mystery continues to unfold.
I'm putting all of these characters in one category because I don't have anything more to say about them other than "they were in Smash and I wanted to keep them." Besides playing as them in the series, I had no particular attachment to any of these scrungles. The one exception here is Ridley, who I included after online fan demand and thinking that he was neat in the Subspace Emissary as a boss.
I had the first Mega Man for Wii Virtual Console, so Mega Man and Fire Man both made it on. I'm not certain why I went with Fire Man, because I don't think he's the most memorable Robot Master from the first game. If I had to throw a dart at the dartboard, I would probably say that it's because there's a number of other fire users in Smash, so I wanted to keep that "thematically appropriate". If you asked me to toss in any of the first Robot Masters nowadays, I would probably answer Ice Man. I love that little fella.
Okay so this part is making me think that I had my timeline wrong, and this had to have been made in 2013. There's no other reason why I would have Villager on here, specifically under that name. I mean, I had Wild World for the DS and held a lot of regard for that game, but I don't have enough faith in younger Rose to put Villager on the roster of their own accord. Villager was revealed for Smash in 2013 though, and that would tie in with the Mega Man inclusion too. Food for thought. Tom Nook is another major Animal Crossing character, so he made my cut. There's still a part of me that hopes he makes it in as a playable character someday.
I clearly had some interest in bringing back Dr. Mario, since he wasn't in Brawl and not yet confirmed to be in 4 when I wrote this. I'd wager that it came from my enjoyment of Dr. Mario in Melee alongside my mom's connection to the Dr. Mario game on NES. It's a game I didn't have a ton of appreciation for when I was younger, but now you can consider me a fan. As for Virus, its inclusion is a big shrug for me. I do recall having a mechanic in mind where you would choose your Virus color before you started the match, and that would reflect in your stats and potential elemental effects. Young Rose, man, did they like elemental effect mechanics.
Ice Climber, Kid Icarus, Pikmin
More Smash reps that seemed significant to Brawl while having little significance to me. Wahoo.
Rounding out our roster is an expected pull for the future of Smash, the Miis. What's worth mentioning, though, is that I did not envision anything close to the Brawler, Swordfighter, Gunner trio of movesets that Smash developed. Instead, I pictured a universal moveset that involved stuff such as the bowling ball from Wii Sports, musical instruments from Wii Music, et cetera. I can't say whether I had specifically envisioned a system of choosing a Mii from your system to play as, but I don't know how I would've envisioned a Mii fighter without that so, let's just retroactively say I had that thought too.
The Cutting Room Floor
That's all of the characters that were written in full pencil on the page, but I want to give a brief shoutout to a set of characters who I had erased from the pages, while still being clearly readable from the remaining pencil marks:
- Ashley (WarioWare)
- LEGO Person (LEGO)
- Firion (Final Fantasy)
I'll let these speak for themselves. I don't think anyone needs me trying to justify LEGO Person.
There's an overview on the Smash Bros. I imagined when I was little. Would I want this roster nowadays? Absolutely not. But at least looking back on this relic can teach us a valuable lesson:
kids are terrible at Smash Bros. speculation.