3DSWii

Super Smash Bros Brawl Had It All!

by James Charlton - May 10, 2012, 8:20 am PDT
Total comments: 17

Features Nintendo can learn from Brawl to make Wii U the best online console ever. Confused? Read on!

Achievements

One my the first (and best) implementations of achievements was in Goldeneye back on the N64. Completing levels under certain times gave you meaningful unlocks, such as cheats and other bonus options for multiplayer such as turning off the radar. In the current generation of consoles however, achievements (or trophies) have been changed into a point system, mostly with the purpose to spur you on to beat your friends. Good achievements give you incentives to explore more, beat levels you wouldn't normally attempt or go places you wouldn't try to normally. In Smash Bros Brawl you had the best of both of those systems, meaningful unlocks like back on Goldeneye, but also incentives to try new and challenging tasks like beat a certain score or amount of enemies. Your rewards were extra characters, trophies, soundtracks, pieces for custom levels and more. For the truly impossible tasks you could even use a golden hammer to skip the ones you know you'd never achieve.

How could it be refined and improved for Wii U?

The problem with the Brawl system was the fact it was only ever used in Brawl. I was hoping for a similar setup in Super Mario Galaxy or Mario Kart Wii, but we saw no such things. This may go against some of Nintendo's long-term policies, but I really think they need to use this, or a similar system across all games. I'm not saying the Brawl way was perfect, but I think it's a unique 'Nintendo take' on the current achievement systems. I think Sony made things a little more complicated with the levels system and different types of trophies, but it was at least a unique take on it. I don't want a copy of the existing systems, I want something with a Nintendo twist, something fun, meaningful and unified across all games. If 3rd party developers don't want to reward players with extra modes, artwork, characters, soundtracks etc, they could just cop out and give an Xbox style list with points (But where's the fun in that?). If Nintendo could somehow incorporate Club Nintendo coins into all of this, it'd be all the better for it. Heck, why not just make them the same thing. I'd rather get 10 coins for getting all the gold trophies in Mario Kart than filling in a survey. You got all 100 achievements in Galaxy 3? Congratulations, you now have 100 coins to spend on a VC game of your choice.

Masterpieces (Classic Game Demos)

Nintendo and demos, two words that were not usually in the same sentence. Back in the N64/PS1 days, I'd often lament at the fact that my Nintendo magazine would never have a shiny demo disk taped to the cover, thanks to the insistence on using cartridge based media. Then the GameCube came along, which is when it started being weird (only a handful of demo disks ever made), then finally with the Wii and it's WiiWare/Virtual Console download service it just started feeling like downright stubbornness (until they fixed it many, many years later). To this day I've never understood Nintendo's previous stance on demos which boiled down to something along the lines of; "If people want to buy a game, they'll go out and buy it". That's why it was such a nice surprise to see a whole batch of classic game demos included in Brawl, especially considering many were available on the Virtual Console at the time. Nintendo could have easily just included links to the shopping channel to buy these games; "If you liked playing as Pit, why not buy Kid Icarus!" However, you might have seen a lot of people beginning to dislike Pit after playing two minutes of his hard-as-nails NES debut. The timed demo idea was genius, as developing a one level demo of an NES game would mean going into the original code and modifying it, a very time intensive and ultimately pointless task, not to mention that some NES games might not be structured that way. The timer gave you a short time to get an idea of what the game was about, or if this was how you remembered it from your childhood.

How could it be refined and improved for Wii U?

Nintendo are slowly coming around on the idea of demos. For starters they brought back all the WiiWare demoes, then they started doing them on the 3DS eShop - such progress! The whole play-count limits may be a strange thing to do, but these are all baby steps for a company who've never allowed demos before. It's a shame they aren't available for all games at all times, but we're getting there. On Wii U, the timed demo system for Virtual Console games could be an easily implemented feature across ALL VC games on ALL legacy systems from day one. Stop me if the following has happened to you browsing VC games; you spot a title you've heard of but the tiny grainy pictures and short explanation doesn't help you. You download the game anyway and it's either not the game you remembered or it's no where near as good as you thought it was. On the Wii U a 'two minute trial' button could be added on the store, allowing players to quickly remind themselves of the game and make sure their childhood memories aren't misleading them. This way I'm sure a lot more people would buy a lot more VC titles, knowing that they aren't about to download a retro stinker. It seems like such an easy and cheap to implement idea that Nintendo might go for it, remakes with online play are another thing entirely, but I'm willing to reign in my dreams and bring them down to a doable (by Nintendo) level.

Online play

In response to the lack of voice chat in Brawl, Sakurai famously said "if you're really desperate for it, you could set up Skype by your game station." Looking back, maybe that was a fair warning of just how broken the online play was going to be! Despite the online play being basically unplayable, the fact remains Brawl did have online for up to four players, with a lot of things exploding and ricocheting across the levels. It was at least very ambitious. Not only were regular matches online, but a lot of the bonus games such as the home run contest were too. A cute feature implemented due to the fact the Wii had no headset, was the taunt/messaging system. Brief messages could be programmed to the d-pad to taunt your friends online. Mine were always varying comments on the slowdown and whether we should quit playing now.

How could it be refined and improved for Wii U?

It goes without saying that all Wii U games should have online features in some capacity. Of course, Nintendo will never force it like Microsoft does, but here's hoping that all 3rd parties will show Nintendo how it's done and include it in all their games. I like the idea that even the smaller, mini/side games and modes can be played online, (like the home run contest, sandbag etc) and not just the obvious online version of the main multiplayer modes you see in most games these days. In Mario Kart it would be great to play the mission modes together or even collaborate on a kart emblem drawing session. I really hope that online sessions start as the game loads up and only end when you quit the game, not when you back out of the online multiplayer screen.As for the quick messaging system, this could obviously now be assigned to the touch screen, but why not go one step further and make voice messages an option too. For times when you can't scream the obscenity of your choosing at the top of your voice, why not pre-record a message and press the button at the appropriate time - the people sleeping in your house will be none the wiser. Just remember to wear headphones.

SO my conclusion is that Brawl had it all....but we want Wii U to have even more. Sound off below for what (unique or otherwise) online features you'd like the Wii U to have!

Talkback

geoMay 10, 2012

The ability for a 5th player to use the tablet controller to play as the 'stage.'  This could be a unskilled younger brother, someone mischievous, or the ref of your tournament.  They then control any hazards on the stage, can 'drop' in special items at key times and places, Draw platforms on a swapnote level, move platforms on a mario stage, maybe make some disappear.  Obviously, this could be a special mode or only work on certain levels, but it would be amazing.

I also want "skins" for characters (instead of clones).  Mario and Dr. Mario can both be mario w/ different skins.  Simple as that. 

Edit: Skins could be DLC. League of legends handles all alternate skins as DLC.  They're optional so it's optional to pay for them as well.  The rest of league of Legend's content can be acquired for free (including a new playable character every couple of weeks) if you rack up enough in-game currency.

As for my stage on wiipad idea, that, too, could be included in the online multiplayer :p

I'd also like new stuff to be added through DLC.  New mario game came out AFTER smash, but has some cool level concepts... DLC!  New nintendo IP released after new smash?  Characters become DLC!

AdrockMay 10, 2012

I don't think you read the article.

Anyway, I expect voicechat to play a much bigger role in Wii U.

CericMay 10, 2012

I'll finish reading in a minute, but I want to say something on Achievements.

If Nintendo just implements the achievement system in Kid Icarus: Uprising with toast notifications when you get them I think that would be excellent.  Each achievement unlocking at the very least a new part of a large overall picture and then some of those picture pieces have there own parts like music.  Think about your achievements from a Mario game openning up parts of a Mario Rube Goldberg Machine.  It be much more interesting then static trophies.  Something to show to friends who will know you got the achievements but not be able to see what they created.

That would be cool.  Now think about being able to explore a castle with your achievement widgets ala Mario 64 with your Mii if you didn't want to just do a gallery type of view.

TheLastMetroid21May 10, 2012

How about the level uploading? I downloaded a ton of stages on brawl and I'd love to see that kind of stuff on the Wii U.

Maybe with mario kart or NSMB.

lolmonadeMay 10, 2012

They could literally release the same game without tripping and an online system that actually works and i'd be completely happy.

OblivionMay 10, 2012

That's pretty funny, considering tripping helps me in all instances and I've never had an issue with the online.

DasmosMay 10, 2012

I always see people complaining about tripping, I guess I must have just had a different version of the game where I only tripped about once every 3 matches or so, it must suck playing the version most people had where you trip over every five seconds.

Also the online code for Brawl was junk, but I think that was mainly due to Nintendo's limited experience in online titles. I expect the new games to be far and away improved in this regard.

TJ SpykeMay 10, 2012

I think tripping was even more rare for me, like maybe 1 out of every 5 matches. And even when it happened it didn't really affect me.

Online play was perfectly fine for the first couple of months. I played it online every day for the first two months and only had problems like 3 times. It was only when I came back to it a few months later that I got the problems.

famicomplicatedJames Charlton, Staff AlumnusMay 11, 2012

The article was referring to the potential for Wii U's online system as a whole, not the next Smash Bros games.  :D
Although always nice to hear ideas for that too!


@Ceric I haven't got K.I:U (yet?) but from what I've heard that achievement system sounds pretty hot.
Maybe Sakurai should just design the Wii U system-wide achievements system!!?


I just lament the fact that the modern systems are:
-Kill 10,000 enemies.
-OK, for what?
-10 achievement points.
-OK, that gives me what?
-A higher number than before.
-Oh great thanks.


SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION ALERT: My blog from 2009 on achievements.

DasmosMay 11, 2012

Yeah, I've voiced my opinion on the current "Acheivement" and "Trophy" systems being pretty much the shallowest reason in the world to extend the playtime of a game. I'd rather unlock something that I can utilise within the game than just get a shiny badge for my online profile.

MichMasteRMay 11, 2012

How can Nintendo hear the fans? Wii U and 3DS needs an achievement system, imagine getting achievements for retro games like Ocarina of Time or Mario World, that would be epic, and it would allow to play the game again even I had finished it a few times on my life, it would be cool to get some extra awards for doing so

TJ SpykeMay 11, 2012

Again, achievements are OPTIONAL. If you don't like them, don't try to unlock them. Compare them to high score tables. Those get you nothing either, they are there for the challenge.

DasmosMay 11, 2012

There really not comparable. High scores can always be beaten or improved upon, they act as motivation to get better at a game. Achievements don't do this, we at least not more than once. After I have achieved this "Achievement" what further purpose does it serve? Nothing.

AilingforaleMay 11, 2012

I wouldn't mind it if they would unify the friend codes.  I think I've heard it so that the next system will have a friend code and not the games themselves.  Now if, while on the WiiU, you could register your 3DS and see your friends online there as well would be pretty cool. 


Also the idea of being able to talk to your friends or send them messages while not playing the same game kind of like the Vita says it does.  Haven't used and don't plan on buy'n a Vita, but some of the features are kind of cool.  Nintendo is "basically" new to the online scene comparatively, but I think they are on the right track.  If they would send updates via online connection as they improve it even more as time goes on.  That would be pretty cool as well.

SerbisMay 11, 2012

High scores and Achievements are not in the same category. Achievement points are basically incentives in a game that you can either try for, or perhaps stumble over while playing the game. High scores take dedication and long instances of playtime to master the game to make a noteworthy high score. Although I like Achieves, I find them mostly a waste of time. There is no incentive to get 100% with a game with achievements. Basically what the OC is stating with SSBB, that made it so unique was that it had unlockable achieves. Meaning these achieves could not only be scored incentives like Achievements, but they could also be ways to get DLC, or other miscellaneous things like Costumes, side quests, minigames, music, new characters, etc. The potential is vast and if Nintendo capitalizes on this, it would bring alot of people back to playing their games, since 90% of them are single player, non-online. Nintendo would be wise to follow Microsoft's lead with having user-based accounts and having them be able to see other friends online. Follow the silver/gold platform. Having silver be free and still able to play online, but unable to use things such as voice chat or free downloads on basic connection speeds. While gold would be like $29.99 for a year and be able to use all of the above and some additions to the side like better download rates and higher console-internet perception.

lolmonadeMay 11, 2012

Quote from: TJ

I think tripping was even more rare for me, like maybe 1 out of every 5 matches. And even when it happened it didn't really affect me.

Quote from: Dasmos

I always see people complaining about tripping, I guess I must have just had a different version of the game where I only tripped about once every 3 matches or so, it must suck playing the version most people had where you trip over every five seconds.


The frequency isn't my primary complaint.  It's that tripping exists in the game at all.  I understand Smash Bros is a (mostly) casual party/fighting game, but my experience was frustration when it occured, and it seemed like it added nothing valuable to the experience.

Quote from: Oblivion

That's pretty funny, considering tripping helps me in all instances and I've never had an issue with the online.


I'm glad your experience was better than mine.  I found tripping a nuisance, and seemed to have nothing but a chugging connection whenever I attempted to play online (the only game i've had this issue with).



I guess I'll just agree to disagree.  It wasn't a game breaking issue to me, but it definitely dectracted from the game experience for me.

CericMay 11, 2012

Quote from: Serbis

High scores and Achievements are not in the same category. Achievement points are basically incentives in a game that you can either try for, or perhaps stumble over while playing the game. High scores take dedication and long instances of playtime to master the game to make a noteworthy high score. Although I like Achieves, I find them mostly a waste of time. There is no incentive to get 100% with a game with achievements. Basically what the OC is stating with SSBB, that made it so unique was that it had unlockable achieves. Meaning these achieves could not only be scored incentives like Achievements, but they could also be ways to get DLC, or other miscellaneous things like Costumes, side quests, minigames, music, new characters, etc. The potential is vast and if Nintendo capitalizes on this, it would bring alot of people back to playing their games, since 90% of them are single player, non-online. Nintendo would be wise to follow Microsoft's lead with having user-based accounts and having them be able to see other friends online. Follow the silver/gold platform. Having silver be free and still able to play online, but unable to use things such as voice chat or free downloads on basic connection speeds. While gold would be like $29.99 for a year and be able to use all of the above and some additions to the side like better download rates and higher console-internet perception.

I do like the idea of putting Voice Chat behind a pay wall in a way.  Wouldn't even have to be an expensive one.  Just enough to make people realized that its a privilege and not a right.

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