Smash 64 - Only played 4 matches at a friend's house. Didn't know Nintendo well at the time (despite owning a NES). So I only recognized Pikachu, Kirby, Luigi, Mario, and Jigglypuff at the time. However when I saw Link, Samus and Fox, I was like "who are these people and how can I know more!?"making me interested in buying the game. Fox stood out above the rest because he seemed like the most badass character around.
fox but at the time I didn't have the reaction time to handle smash. Then later on when level 9 CPUs were the hardest challenge I could fight, it was just too annoying to deal with their perfectly timed attacks, especially with perfect blocking. So I dropped fox.
Learned Melee with
Link, and he was waging war with
Marth to become my main in Melee for years until I eventually ended up sticking with Marth since his sword moves were better. Trying to use projectiles on CPUs in Melee was annoying because they reflected with perfect blocks basically every single time. Sometimes I used to pretend to be Sephiroth when I played Marth in Melee. Then I totally forgot about that until Sephiroth's reveal because there weren't even any 3rd parties in Melee so I thought it was impossible. At some point I did try out
Mewtwo, but since he was (and still is) my worst character in Melee, I quickly learned out you shouldn't love a character for how strong they are. Later on I'd learn to love Mewtwo for other reasons and his story is cool, but it was never the same as how I viewed him when I was a kid.
Pichu gave me an epiphany because I thought guys were never supposed to like anything "cute" at the time, yet there was Pichu who made me extremely happy whenever I played them. Though I shrugged it off because "eh, I only like them as a joke character, no other reason!", though pichu's cuteness would leave an impact on me throughout life. Nowadays I'm fine with cute things, I partially blame pichu in smash for opening my brain up to that. In an alternate timeline I would've tried to main Pichu in Melee. Just about every other character in Melee felt too weird for me to want to play.
Brawl didn't let me have much time to play with characters since I got it really late and Smash 4 got announced soon after I bought it. I wanted 1 character in Smash, and it just so happened to be
Meta Knight. I knew I would main Meta Knight, so I just focused on 100%ing the game, and figuring out who my secondary would be before Smash 4 got released so I never got to play Brawl Meta Knight much. However Brawl meta knight feels so good, so it makes me sad to see what happened to him in later games (glide + tornado movement options, and him having a bit more range was so nice). Figured pretty quickly Lucario was going to be the one. However, since Smash 4 was coming out, I wanted to learn the differences between the spacies
(with an emphasis on Wolf because cool and didn't think he'd come back) and play
Snake because I figured he wouldn't come back as well. This is where I learned how to be good with Fox and fight humans because the AI was actually pretty good in Brawl compared to Melee. Gave me a big boost up against people in Smash 4.
This is when I started trying to be competitive, bought the Wii U specifically for smash. Throughout Smash 4 online was just me absolutely shredding through any player I came across unless they lived and breathed the game, which only happened once every few days.
Early Smash 4 - Learned the game using
Link, and would duo main Link and
Samus for a good chunk of early Sm4sh. I learned how to use items properly with Link here, and I grew to be addicted to watching the sudden shift in opponent's behavior once I have a fully charged charge shot. To this day, my Samus in Smash 4 and Ultimate has not lost to any of the spacies. I know you want to reflect that charge shot so bad, so I'm just gonna punch you in the face instead!
Testing phase strong main candidates:
Charizard and Cloud felt so perfect, but their simplistic nature and ease of use led me to feeling like I mastered them outside of frame perfect stuff so I got bored and went to look at other characters. Then never got the chance to go back to them.
- Dude, the small miis were so friggin fun to play in Smash 4. Ultimate they are very sluggish by comparison, but at least a bit fun.
Robin - Sword + magic = fun character. Extremely simple character that is easy to pick up.
Mewtwo - I had to try him again, this time I loved him. Got decent enough to hold my own, but didn't spend the time to feel like I "mastered" them.
Duck Hunt - Satisfies that itch of throwing tons of projectiles for various reasons that Link provides me. However he's so insanely hard to play because you have to focus on the can as well as what you normally would with most players. Thought he'd just be another dumb character, but you actually have to make so many decisions constantly with him that he's very tempting to main.
Greninja - Like playing Sheik, just you can't toss things out constantly, so he feels more calculated. Though for a large portion of Smash 4 he just felt too weird for me.
Shulk- I like outranging opponents with huge swords, and I love stance changing things to confuse my opponents. He felt so good.... outside of the fact that he was so insanely slow in sm4sh.
R.O.B.- I had a blast playing him, though due to not being confident in myself at the time, people complaining about fighting rob on top of feeling like you're in disadvantage for years got to me so I dropped him.
Fox - Had to try the character that got me the most interested in smash again... Only to play him for a couple weeks before moving onto the next person.
testing phase weak main candidates that didn't make the cut for one reason or another:
(btw Palutena was so bad in Sm4sh, so it feels weird see her be top 5 in Ultimate). I did try the other DLC but they didn't really strike me at the time. Also I didn't try to main them I would play a lot of
Ganondorf, Ike, and Captain Falcon. Funnily enough Ganondorf was my secret weapon because I could only short hop with Link and Ganondorf at the time because my fingers weren't fast enough. Making Ganondorf one of the speedier options, then on top of that I just read everyone like a book, and then he just thrives because of that.
Then for a long time I went into a period that I like to call "asylum training". Basically growing up if I wasn't good at a game, I'd just skip sleep to get better at it and it always worked. However Smash and other fighting games require more of you so you can't get away with that. So I spent an ungodly amount of time playing
Meta Knight and Lucario, all while barely having any improvement if any at all because I was too tired to improve.
Not realizing that was the problem yet, I decided to do something different to not be so demoralized by lack of improvement. Started doing 100 matches with every character in the game. However, I would soon get dragged away from sm4sh for other non-smash games, but at least I got a few:
I was teaching a Pikachu main how to play better, figured I'd pick up their character to give them a better understanding of how to play them. We had some pretty even dittos but I was slightly better. He has perfect control over his character, mine was sloppy because inputs were never my strong suit. So I just beat him in neutral a million times and did the simpler but reliable combos. Now in Ultimate he's the best player I've ever faced, he goes to tournaments and moves like ESAM does. This time with Pikachu would in turn make my time trying to learn Pichu in Ultimate terrible because they are actually much more different than I originally thought. Pikachu having so much more range to cause whiffing as pichu is the biggest reason.
Zelda - Picked her up because my niece wanted to main her. Thought she'd be simple, but she ended up being much more complex than I thought because she had a stronger emphasis on doing combos in Sm4sh. Now she just has an easy time with everything in Ultimate. Still gotta space perfectly, and do teleport cancels to be truly terrifying though.
Sheik - I could lose all day with Sheik and still have a blast. Good thing too because she's so friggin hard to play since you need those combos, and my fingers are not good enough with inputs for her yet.
Corrin - I love playing swordies and Corrin is really interesting. In Ultimate you can make him do some really wacky movement. In Sm4sh he was absolutely hated by anyone who fights him because of the DLC hate which was weird to me because I'm used to seeing people praise my character selections, and no one ever hated fighting my meta knight and would often say Meta Knight was amazingly fun. Corrin's counter definitely needed a nerf though.
Mario - Picked to help my Pikachu friend with the matchup since it was one of Pikachu's few bad matchups. Mario be super easy, versatile and OP. I can see why Pikachu struggles now.
Lucina - Wanted to play something simple 'cuz sad. Was originally going to go Marth afterward. Had some fun matches, and it made me realize how popular she was because of all the dittos I got.
Kirby - I didn't actually get to finish the 100 matches with him as he was the last one I did the challenge with. Let's just say Kirby has some difficult things to him and it leaves me scratching my head when people recommend him to newbies. Promoting cheesy strats to start, then having the rug pulled out from underneath you when you gotta start doing combos and his crouch and stuff in order to improve, all while him being too slow to deal with a lot of things opponents can do.
Learning Ultimate -
Meta Knight. Used Link to get used to stuff, then brought in Meta Knight and just decimated everyone who would fight him. I would then not use Link for most of the game because I can't decide between the 3 Links to play. Smash 4 Link basically doesn't exist in Ultimate, and he feels like he got split into BOTW Link and Young Link. Former taking more from his long range hard hitting sword play, the later taking his combo game to the extreme. I would off and on play Meta Knight throughout Ultimate.
Testing out Main candidates strong choices:
Ridley - He feels like a weird perfect combination of Marth, Ganondorf, and Meta Knight, with a little bit of his own unique flair. Ended up accidentally using him the most because I would pick him if I didn't specifically schedule to train with a specific character. Still tempted to main him, I miss the Ridley + Pichu duo.
Dark Samus - There are differences with Dark Samus and Samus, but for the skill level I'm at, the difference is negligible. Dark Samus fits the moveset better imo (but with the melee moves Samus has been getting in her games lately, her moveset might actually fit her now). Anyways, the moveset feels simpler and more OP in this game.
Pichu - At the time of writing this, still one of the hardest characters for me to play properly. However they give me such an unrivaled amount of joy that I can't say no to them. Something about being something so tiny, and being afraid of being hit by any stray hit is so fun. Makes every fight feel like you're up against a huge boss as well.
Mewtwo - I finally put in the time to make my Mewtwo be able to kick people's butts with ease, and my gosh I love the schmovement you can pull on people. Still a very strange character though. Not sure why his moveset has such a strong emphasis on using his body though.
- Mostly characters I played in the past at some point that I now put time into so I feel so good now. Yoshi I always wanted to try ever since Melee, but finally gave him a shot because he feels good in Ultimate. However he feels too braindead with how easy everything works for him for me to want to use him normally. Wolf and R.O.B. feel stupidly OP in this game while everyone else feels really good.
Testing out main lesser candidates:
I would then try to go back to the grind by playing
Lucario for a long long time because he was the character near the top of my main choices that was the most "fundamental". This was when I finally decided to spend time trying to speed my fingers up so I could consistently short hop because I was tired of constantly full hopping slowing me down so much. However, some friends started missing my Meta Knight during this time because I would forget to bring Meta Knight out sometimes because I was focusing on improving Lucario so much.
At some point I would then play
Dark Pit just for something different and accidentally got him into Elite Smash because I got plenty of sleep and just did not care that day at all. So I was able to focus, and not panic about getting into Elite Smash. It was food for thought as I continued to play Lucario. Then Sephiroth got announced, so I decided to play
Mii Swordfighter imitating Sephiroth until Sephiroth was released using 1221 (not meta 'cuz no chakram), and accidentally got him into Elite Smash. Then Sephiroth got released and easily got him into Elite Smash after a few matches. With 3 characters in and getting Sephiroth in so easily, I started getting addicted to getting characters into smash. So after Sephiroth hype died down I started off with
King K. Rool because I figured he'd be the easiest, and despite not playing him much, I got him in after 2 matches. Then got
Inkling into Elite Smash winning every battle, but took more matches because when I wasn't used to Ultimate I played them too early before I was ready to play them. Then would continue to get Bowser into Elite Smash after 3 matches, and DK soon after that all in one day. Not panicing because I kept going "I already got this many in, I feel fine, so if I lose it's okay". I would then try to get many characters into Elite Smash, but only
Sora got in because I started panicing about getting characters into Elite Smash. I struggle to play when something is on the line, hence why I think Sephiroth is so good for me, because I never panic with him.
As for the ones who couldn't make it into Elite Smash:
It actually shocks me how often I've been floating around 1 game away from elite smash with Samus and Dark Samus.
Everyone plays the Belmonts wrong, like holy crud. With how everyone talks about them I thought they were supposed to spam projectiles and stay away, but that's far inferior to using a projectile to cover your approach. I find a lot of roys when playing belmonts and I can't resist the belmont and roy matchup. There's also quite a few good roys I run into as well.
Not too hard, just Elite Smash panic too much. Also if I lose one match, I cannot refuse rematching the person, which makes me lose tons of gsp, making it so more matches to get into Elite Smash are required because of the win ratio. Just about all of these are within 1-3 wins away from being in Elite Smash.
Now the few good players that I used to play with play other games. All the players that want to play smash now, all are waaaay under my skill level so I crush them everytime unless I want to do some sort of handicap. Leaving only Elite Smash. So I've been trying new characters out, playing 1 hour a day for most days of the week. At this moment going to try to get Pichu and Lucario into Elite Smash since they force me to panic a bunch, but if I need a break from that I just go try to get characters my friends main so I can get a better informed suggestions for them.
When everyone is in Elite Smash, I go back to Sephiroth again. Which may never happen, but if it did, I wouldn't really have a strong goal other than learn how to do cooler looking stuff.