5 hopes for Spectate Mode in Smash 5


That's Yoktastic!
May 20, 2014
Everywhere and nowhere, all at once
I've been so excited about the upcoming Smash 5 that I dug out my Wii U and booted it up for the first time in months just to play Smash 4. Most of that time has been spent in Spectate Mode, because absolutely nobody is playing this game outside of the occasional 1-on-1. Still, spectating these matches can be quite thrilling.

You could see a dazzling display of gamesense and character knowledge one match, and watch two newbies blunder their way to a hilarious outcome the next. Spectate Mode is one of the most consistently surprising, and thus most enjoyable, lo online modes in Smash.

But it's clear that Spectate Mode and the Replay Channel aren't quite as polished as they could be, and I'd like to bring up a list of suggestions for making spectating more fun.

5. Uninterrupted Streaming

Watching replays on the Replay Channel isn't nearly as seamless as such a name would imply. When one match ends, there is no countdown to the next. You're stuck on the results screen until you press A a couple of times.

It would be nice if you could set up a few parameters for what kinds of replay you want to queue up and leave the Switch to play a continuous stream of those replays with no further input. You could study the replays to improve your own play style, play the replays in the background while doing other tasks, or just veg out to nonstop Smash action.

4. No For Fun Matches in Spectate Mode

Let's ignore the fact that half of all For Fun free-for-alls are taunt parties. After all, the name of the game is For Fun. If exploring the mechanics of the game in an uncompetitive environment with players who have no interest in winning or losing is how one has fun, who are we to say such fun is somehow invalid?

But even in For Fun matches where all players are seeking victory by any means necessary, gambling on the outcome of such a match seems contrary to the spirit of the mode. "Here's a place where you can do whatever you want without having to worry about whether you win or lose, but everyone is watching you and judging you and there's money riding on this so for the love of God PLEASE DON'T **** UP."

You should still be able to watch For Fun matches without betting on them, though, because such a thing would be Fun, and that's what the mode is For.

3. Higher betting limits

I'm glad that Spectate Mode doesn't allow wagering every last coin a player has to spare, but a 100 coin limit is ridiculously stingy. There's not a single trophy in the game buyable with that much currency.

The maximum betting limit should instead be a significant percentage of the player's current coin total, say about 10% or so. That way they're encouraged to bet on who they expect to win, not just whoever has the highest payout rate.

2. More Stats

When deciding who to bet on, Spectate Mode gives you three crucial stats: the fighter, the player's win rate, and an arrow which (presumably) indicates how that win rate has changed over time. But when these stats aren't enough to make a confident choice, it would be handy to have more information on the players.

Displaying too many numerical stats would overwhelm more casual spectators, so perhaps a good approach would be to point out just one fact about each player, such as these examples:

"Player 1's most played fighter is Character A."
"Player 2 has played x matches in a row."
"Player 3 wins against Character B x% of the time."
"Player 4 likes using Character C's side smash."

Additional interesting facts about the players and their fighters could appear during the replays, providing further insight into the competitors.

1. Spectating with a Crowd

A less observant player may assume that Spectate Mode is already live, but the timer is a deception. Spectate Mode actually streams pre-recorded replays. While this doesn't make any practical difference to the end user, except on the rare occasion when a replay is played a second time, it does take away some of the thrill knowing that you're betting on a match that has already been won.

But the alternative, spectating a match as it happens, would be more trouble than it's worth. What if the match you've queued up takes forever to start because nobody can choose their character? What if a player backs out of a 1v1 at the last second? What happens when the servers inevitably become as empty as Smash U's?

Instead, let's keep spectating pre-recorded matches, but arrange it so that every spectator watches the same matches at the same time. While a match is loading, spectators could see a breakdown of coins bet on each fighter. During a match, spectators could communicate with preset messages and emotes. After a match, the game could congratulate spectators that achieve certain milestones, such as achieving a long winning streak, earning a certain coin value through betting, or just consistently betting on a specific fighter.

And if we're talking real pie-in-the-sky dreaming, imagine if this stream was officially mirrored on Twitch! You could tune in and bet your Smash coins even if you didn't have your Switch with you. You could be notified when you're about to appear on the stream through the Switch Online app and tune in within seconds to see yourself in action. You could even be rewarded with a share of the coins that players bet on you!

Whatever they have planned for Spectate Mode in Smash Switch, I'm hoping it's even better than its predecessors. What do you think could be done to make Spectate mode more enjoyable?


Smash Hero
Apr 28, 2008
What I would like with Spectate Mode is the option to select 1v1 or FFA. It doesn't make sense going from 1v1 to FFA or vice versa. As noted in the initial post, people might just do taunt parties or mess around. You end up having to back out and re-enter or just suck it up and risk the gold you received from your last win. I'd rather be able to put my gold down for what I want to spectate.


Smash Apprentice
Apr 30, 2018
Some good stuff in here. I'm going to add one.

Profile Settings > Highlight "Accept Comments"
Accept Comments [On|Off]

If On, anytime you access a replay you were involved in, you will be able to see messages that other players (spectators) attached to them. There would be two categories: Kudos and Tips. This is to promote positive vibes, not destructive trash talk. Of course, players can block and report those who are cruel while being completely unhelpful in their messages.

So I watched your match. I say "That was great, but look @2:22. When your opponent did ____, there are several really good options to shut that down. This, this, and that! Keep up the good work!"

And players can shoot "Thank you" to players whose comments they appreciated.
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