It’s Friday, and you know what that means around these parts. It’s time to talk about what we’ll be playing this weekend. This week, I’ll go ahead and kick things off. Then the floor is all yours.
My friends and I have been sucked back into Super Smash Bros., Nintendo’s series of frenetic fighting games starring characters from across its vast oeuvre. There’s a new Smash on the way for 3DS and Wii U, which I played and enjoyed very much at E3. I’m guessing the sudden revisit has a lot to do with how much I’m dying to play that, as well as the residual excitement that rubbed off on me after watching the Evo fighting-game tournament. Plus, I’m still suffering the effects of The Great Video Game Drought Of Summer 2014.
It’s been odd coming back to Smash after all these years. I’ve spent most of my time with Melee, Smash’s GameCube incarnation, which was a game that defined my social life for several years. Getting back in the swing of things wasn’t easy. My first few matches were a disaster. Everything moves so quickly! I spent most of the time hitting absolutely nothing and jumping to my death. Preteen Matt would have wiped the floor with that sorry excuse for a smasher. After grinding it out for a few hours, though, it feels like I’m closing in on those heights again. What I might lack in raw skill and dexterity—compared to my younger self—I now make up with patience and cunning. That’s what I like to tell myself, anyway.
With friends, however, I’ve been playing Project M, which is a fan-made reworking of Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii. While Brawl still has a community of passionate players, Melee has been held up as the gold standard. The changes Nintendo made to Brawl—slowing the game down and turning it into a more defensive affair—rubbed a lot of players the wrong way, including my friends and me.
Enter Project M, which seeks to take the core of Brawl (with all its additional characters and stages) and make it feel more like Melee. It’s undeniably successful and very easy to install. (All you need is a copy of Brawl and an SD card with a capacity of 2GB or less.) It’s been nice to finally enjoy all the weirdness that Brawl has to offer—like the odd spectacle of Solid Snake throwing grenades at Mario and friends—and not wish I were playing Melee the entire time. Plus you can play as Mr. L! You know, from that time in Super Paper Mario where Luigi got brainwashed and became a bad guy.