Pickle Fork
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Pickle Fork

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, I’m a Smash Bros. Kid

Me buying Smash Bros. Opening Day

I don’t wanna grow up

I’m a Smash Brothers Kid

Masahiro’s filled the roster

With all I can play with!

There’s Pit, and Snake

And Shrek (No, that’s fake)

It’s the greatest flagship there is

Gee whiz!

I don’t wanna grow up

Cuz baby if I did,

I wouldn’t be a Smash Brothers Kid!

In my 31 years on this planet, I’ve never pre-ordered a game. I’ve never even made a Day 1 purchase. And yet I accomplished both milestones when I paid my hard-earned cash for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch.

I grappled with the decision in the months leading up to the game’s release. Do I really need it? Will I actually play it enough to justify the purchase? What if the game doesn’t live up to expectations?

I had been burned before; in the previous year, I gave into the lure of nostalgia and purchased Yooka-Laylee at full retail value, hoping to capture the same fun and excitement I had when I first played Banjo-Kazooie on the Nintendo 64. What I got instead was a game that looked damn fine with the Playstation 4 graphics, but felt empty and sterile; a half-hearted facsimile of everything that had enticed me to buy the game in the first place.

I would feel increasingly disillusioned with modern video games. After a disastrous run with a PlayStation 2 game in which I invested an ungodly amount of time only to be unable to defeat the final boss, I was ready to hang up my gaming gloves and officially call it quits from video games.

…That is, until my boyfriend blindsided me with a Nintendo Switch for Christmas.

The first moments playing Super Mario Odyssey were touch and go. Is this going to be Yooka-Laylee all over again? Will this be a lazy attempt at greatness? Have I just lost the thrill of the jump, man?

But no — after only a few hours, the dual Joy-Con controllers felt natural in my hands, as if I had always known how to use them. Indeed, I kinda did; growing up in a Nintendo household, I was well-versed in the peripherals spanning from the Classic Nintendo Entertainment system, all the way to the notoriously popular Wii. Thus, using a Nintendo controller always felt more intuitive than using a PlayStation or an Xbox controller, even though each iteration seemed a more revolutionary departure from convention than the last.

But back to Smash Bros.

I didn’t even own a Wii U, and yet when it was first announced the console would be getting its own version of the game (in conjunction with Nintendo’s handheld, the 3DS), I made sure to pay attention.

When cross-platform heavy hitters such as Bayonetta and Cloud were added to game through the crowdsourced “Smash Ballot”, I couldn’t help but get giddy with hype-infused elation along with other gamers. I would watch character reveal reaction videos on Youtube just to live vicariously through the unadulterated SQUEEs grown men emit when realizing they can play as their favourite childhood characters.

And — no pun intended — I think that’s ultimately why the Smash Bros. franchise has been so popular, and why it remains a flagship among Nintendo’s storied library of games.

Nintendo leverages nostalgia.

It’s not like Ready Player One, where the audience is assaulted with references without any context or bearing to plot. (Remember “It’s f-cking Chucky?”)

When Nintendo taps the well, it’s intentional, and feels as such, but always feels oh so good.

Nintendo — Masahiro Sakurai in particular — knows what the fans of the game crave. They constantly have their ear to the pulse of conversation (“Ridley’s too big to be in Smash!”) so that they exceed expectations every time.

It’s why I love Nintendo, and why now, even as a 30-something woman with a full-time job and the weight of adult responsibilities on my shoulders, I keep coming back for more.

The week following the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I have a work holiday dinner I must attend. I contemplated spending the weekend dress-shopping, but thought against it, opting instead to spend the money on the video game.

You may argue against the decision, reasoning that a new dress would do more to impress my peers than a game ever could. And you might be right.

But to that I say: you can invest in how others perceive you, or you can invest in yourself.

When it comes to living my best life, I’ll invest in my childhood every time.

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Letting creative juices flow.

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Sylvie Soul

Sylvie Soul

She/her. Former fanfiction writer turned published author, providing insight for the aspiring writer. Buy Me a Coffee https://ko-fi.com/X8X8IB92

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