An E3 Retrospective: Part 1 - Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001)


This will be a four part series briefly looking over Smash's presence at E3 before E3 this year

With Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch expected to have a big showing at E3, now is a good time to reflect on the series' previous E3 showings. While the series has found more activity in recent years at other events, particularly Nintendo Directs, it is fascinating to see how the marketing for Smash has changed from almost invisible to it's own form of a beast. People may have their preferences, whether they want every single moment of the hype train seized, or they only care to get as minimal as possible.

While the original Super Smash Bros. wasn't revealed at E3, nor was Smash for Switch, the previous three Super Smash Bros. games were. Today, we'll be focusing on Super Smash Bros. Melee's reveal at E3 2001. During the initial announcement, Melee's trailer and demos revealed the following characters: Mario, Samus Aran, Princess Peach, Captian Falcon, Bowser, Yoshi, Kirby, Donkey Kong, Fox McCloud, Link, Ness, Pikachu, Ice Climbers, and Shiek.

What's most interesting is Melee's reveal was mostly spearheaded by its opening cutscene. This was a pretty daring and gambling move that definitely paid off for the game. The opening trailer was crafted in such a beautiful way, similar to Super Smash Bros. 64, but with an even more powerful bang to it. For almost every character on the roster, this was the first time that they would be making an appearance on the GameCube. Some of these designs would stick (Donkey Kong, Pikachu), while others would be changed drastically (Link, Fox McCloud).

To also note, this was at a time when E3 (or any event, really) didn't quite have the same live stream interaction as they get today. So, there's not as many interactions to it recorded as we wish.

Here's some reactions to it,

What we can take away from this for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch is both games had very little time from initial reveal to the release date, so we might see more similarities to Melee at E3 than any of the other games.

Author's note: Were you old enough in 2001 to remember this? If so, what were your thoughts at the time? If not what do you think? Let us know in the comments below!
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Lucas "Thirdkoopa" Guimaraes


A few of the scenes shown there, particularly the ones with Link and Sheik, have been altered for the game's release.

This intro was definitely revolutionary for the time, although it did set the expectations for the game dangerously high for the little time the developers had.

Also, I bet everyone thought Ridley was going to be in the game from this intro. lol