‘Super Smash Bros.’ competitive theories and the art of fighting

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Sound On Sight is dedicating all of February to spotlight one of our favourite companies, Nintendo. Kicking off our month-long theme was our list of the 100 greatest Nintendo games, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that Super Smash Bros. for the WiiU and 3DS made the cut. In my brief capsule review I called it the greatest fighting game made to date. It isn’t just the roster of 49 iconic characters to choose from, or the assortment of weapons, nor the 8 player mode; it’s every painstaking detail, every pixel, every move set, in this smooth, 60 frames per second masterpiece. Every fighter uses the same button-presses to execute attacks and special moves, but each has their own distinct style, many of which are difficult to master. If there’s one term that defines what a good fighting game is, it’s yomi: a Japanese term which came from the Virtual Fighter community, meaning “Knowing the mind of the opponent.” Yomi is about overcoming huge shortcomings, outsmarting the enemy, and possessing the ability to anticipate your opponent’s next move, and act appropriately. Whether you achieve this by conditioning the opponent to act a certain way, or simply working your way into the head of your opponent, yomi is just that: the ability to familiarize yourself with his or her patterns. Anyone can play Super Smash Bros. by simply pushing a random number of buttons, and they can perhaps even compete in occasional online matches, but competitive pro players are on entire different level. It’s not just about knowing how to execute your special moves, or stringing together one or two combos; there’s a lot of theory and practice at play. This new video series from Rush Hour Smash does a fantastic job in explaining the art and complexity of learning how to fight well and properly defend in Super Smash. The three lessons so far covered are as follows: Neutral Game, Zoning and Reads. Check out the video essays below and be sure to subscribe to their channel. Enjoy!

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