Should Smash 5 be rethinking what's an "old" character?

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#1
Ever since Melee, we got at least one of the so called "retro" characters as a playable fighter per game. All of them from the 80s, the NES era.

The thing is, it has been long enough for newer generations of players to grow up playing Smash. Meaning, many of those were born after the "retro" characters debuted, so they aren't nostalgic to them, they just have this cool "vintage" value.

Meaning, could, or should, Smash 5 be thinking to expand what is an "old" character to 90s/early 00s characters, basically characters from SNES, N64, GB, GBC and early GBA and GCN? Or at least, think of a slot in the roster for a character from this time, also having the nostalgia value in different way?

The gaming industry also has been tapping a LOT on this 90s nostalgia, with games such as Sonic Mania, the Spyro and Crash trilogies, Yooka-Laylee, even Mario Odyssey by going back to the Mario 64 roots...
SSB4 did kind of get a character from this with Cloud, but maybe extending this to their franchises as well?

Also, a fun fact: requested 90s and 2000s characters such as Geno, K. Rool, Isaac, Andy or Saki are now older than how old the Ice Climbers were back when they debuted in Melee. That's why I thought of this topic actually

Anyways, what do you think?
 

MoonlitIllusion

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#3
Expanding into 90's era characters is a good idea, idk about 2000's tho, that just feels to recent. Isaac's last game was in 2010 and Advance Wars was in 2008, I really can't consider them "retro" characters. And K Rool and Geno being part of a franchise that has continued without them kinda disqualifies them in my mind too.

Honestly the problem is that in the 90's and onwards Nintendo largely stopped making new ips so there aren't even that many characters from this era to pick from.
 
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#5
They should absolutely start considering games from the SNES, GB and N64 retro. I think they’ll probably start with SNES and GB with this game, but by the time Nintendo puts out a N64 Classic it’ll be cemented. GBA-GameCube era seems kind of like a grey area to me yet.

That said, I think there is a distinction to be made in that Ice Climbers were added as an NES rep, not a retro character necessarily. At least for Sakurai.
 
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#6
I'm not gonna lie; I thought it was obvious that 90's characters are considered retro at this point. They're at least 20 years old, so they ought to count.

Plus we have to remember that a large swath of the gaming community is made up of gamers in their late-20's and early 30's who grew up with characters from that decade. And guess which demographic brackets largely make up Nintendo's market?
 
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Lyndis_

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#8
I doubt the purpose of retro characters was ever nostalgia. They definitely didn't go into Melee, Sm4sh or Brawl expecting the target audience to have nostalgia for Ice Climbers, Pit, G&W, DHD or R.O.B.

It seems like more of a callback to that era where Nintendo was just getting into video game development and the industry as a whole was very new. We may see SNES era characters, but I don't think they'd be added for the same purpose.

We also simply haven't run out of NES era characters yet. There's the balloon fighter, takamaru, excite biker, mach rider, goku (yuyuki), bubbles (clu clu land), urban champion, among many others.
 

FamicomDisk

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#10
Yeah, I’d like to see them branch out! Retro characters we’ve gotten are Ice Climbers, Mr. Game and Watch, R.O.B., and Pit, and Duck Hunt. All but one of those originated from the NES, and hadn’t had many games - if any - since their release (though Pit got a new one after his entrance into Smash).

Sure, nostalgia for the NES isn’t going to go away, nor should it - it was Nintendo’s first foray into video games. But we’ve already got 4 characters that were basically NES exclusive since their first game, so I’d like to see some more diversity! Not even just with retro characters, but also some more obscure picks in general from all parts of their history. A character from Marvelous, Lip, DeMille, Nick from Captain Rainbow, and etc. I want to see them mix it up more! Not that there aren’t any NES characters I’d like to see - Mike Jones, for example, is a character I do actually want - but in general I want more picks from obscure/forgotten games from more than just the NES days!

It seems that GBA era is becoming the new retro and many people have been asking for characters from that era such as Andy, Starfy, Isaac, and DeMille. So yeah I agree.
Yeah, it’s not too surprising - the GBA is almost 20 years old at this point. It’s got a huge library of fantastic games, and Smash should have more characters originating from it! As a side note, I’m glad to see that DeMille was one that stood out to you from the the GBA characters. For those who haven’t seen it yet, come check out his support thread! :)

I doubt the purpose of retro characters was ever nostalgia. They definitely didn't go into Melee, Sm4sh or Brawl expecting the target audience to have nostalgia for Ice Climbers, Pit, G&W, DHD or R.O.B.

It seems like more of a callback to that era where Nintendo was just getting into video game development and the industry as a whole was very new. We may see SNES era characters, but I don't think they'd be added for the same purpose.

We also simply haven't run out of NES era characters yet. There's the balloon fighter, takamaru, excite biker, mach rider, goku (yuyuki), bubbles (clu clu land), urban champion, among many others.
I agree with you that they were added as nostalgia for the NES, rather than nostalgia for the specific characters. I think the idea is more that they should branch out into other consoles and their histories, rather than just the NES.

The argument that we haven’t run out of NES characters strikes me as a little odd, though! Smash is never going to have every popular pick from a specific console.
 
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FunAtParties

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#11
Ever since Melee, we got at least one of the so called "retro" characters as a playable fighter per game. All of them from the 80s, the NES era.

The thing is, it has been long enough for newer generations of players to grow up playing Smash. Meaning, many of those were born after the "retro" characters debuted, so they aren't nostalgic to them, they just have this cool "vintage" value.

Meaning, could, or should, Smash 5 be thinking to expand what is an "old" character to 90s/early 00s characters, basically characters from SNES, N64, GB, GBC and early GBA and GCN? Or at least, think of a slot in the roster for a character from this time, also having the nostalgia value in different way?

The gaming industry also has been tapping a LOT on this 90s nostalgia, with games such as Sonic Mania, the Spyro and Crash trilogies, Yooka-Laylee, even Mario Odyssey by going back to the Mario 64 roots...
SSB4 did kind of get a character from this with Cloud, but maybe extending this to their franchises as well?

Also, a fun fact: requested 90s and 2000s characters such as Geno, K. Rool, Isaac, Andy or Saki are now older than how old the Ice Climbers were back when they debuted in Melee. That's why I thought of this topic actually

Anyways, what do you think?
Absolutely. A good chunk of Nintendo's history just gets overlooked in Smash. I don't expect the "retro" pick to ever come from an era other than the NES era, but I think, in general, they should attempt to add characters from the SNES, GB, N64, GBA, and GCN eras in the same manner (i.e. don't worry about popularity or relevance).
 

Sheng Long

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#12
Yeah, it’s not too surprising - the GBA is almost 20 years old at this point. It’s got a huge library of fantastic games, and Smash should have more characters originating from it! As a side note, I’m glad to see that DeMille was one that stood out to you from the the GBA characters. For those who haven’t seen it yet, come check out his support thread! :)
Well Tomato Adventure IS a Nintendo rpg that was on GBA like Golden Sun and Advance Wars, it just needs more attention. I think that if it were not kept in Japan, it would have been really popular. But man do I really want to play that game, it needs a remaster or remake.
 
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#13
I hope someday we get a Smash game that has only new franchises represented. Nintendo has so many IPs it’s almost criminal how few they actually use. I love seeing them come out with new things like ARMS and Snipperclips, but I also need a Drill Dozer 2 dammit.

Imagine the timeline in which every forgotten franchise gets their own Fire Emblem Awakening and becomes one of the top dogs on the Switch.
 

osby

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#15
I don't think retro characters are added just because they are old. They represent old hardwares and character designs. I mean, Duck Hunt and Ice Climbers have very simplistic designs that you can't see in any 2000s game pushing their hardware.

And it's not like more than a few characters can be added just because they are old.
 

DNeon

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#16
I had a comment about this in another thread, excuse the aggressive tone here I can't remember what lead to that but here it is:

I'm ****ing laughing my head off at the fact that people too young to have even played these Retro' games are deciding what is and isn't 'retro' as if retro means naything more than 'nostalgic throwback to the world I grew up in'. The word is literally just short for 'retrospective'. Has it been co-opted to mean 80's? Some say yes if they grew up when the 80s kids doing retrospectives. Before them people would have said it referred to the 50s, then 60s, then 70s.

Does that make 80's any more 'retro' than 90s? No, guess what, there are people nostalgic for the 90s too. All these characters added in as throwbacks to the 80s aren't any more relevant than characters who are a throwback to the 90s simply because they're older. In fact we've reached the point where the demographic with the free time and expendable income are going to be nostalgic for GBA, late N64 and early GameCube. We've reached the time where some newly senior members of the Smash team are going to have fond memories of those from their childhood. Yes, Sakurai is still involved but he was already more hands off the development of 4 by the time they were releasing DLC. Nintendo itself has been making these changes with the up and coming design teams making their throwback references to the 90s (I mean...just look at Splatoon).

So I can't believe its such a popular sentiment that people genuinely think there's a mystical 'void area' of being so old they're obsolete but not old enough to be up for consideration again?
 
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#17
I don't think retro characters are added just because they are old. They represent old hardwares and character designs. I mean, Duck Hunt and Ice Climbers have very simplistic designs that you can't see in any 2000s game pushing their hardware.

And it's not like more than a few characters can be added just because they are old.
The Ice Climbers were literally considered because Sakurai wanted an NES representative. If their game was on the SNES but nothing else about their circumstances changed, they wouldn't have been in Smash in the first place.

The Ice Climbers being NES characters may not be the only reason why they were playable, but it is the only reason they were considered. So your post isn't entirely correct.
 
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#19
I think they've traditionally focused (and will continue to focus) on the NES era not just because of retro appeal, but more so because of that period being so historically important and foundational to Nintendo's history in the video game industry. Nintendo has always valued their own history completely regardless of what the fans are most nostalgic over, which is why you'll always see NES games few people care about, like Ice Climber and Urban Champion, referenced and ported all over the place.

Retro characters seem to be more often chosen because of historical significance as opposed to mere popularity with fans (Ice Climbers and R.O.B., anyone?). Since Nintendo seems to value the NES era in particular when it comes to historical appreciation, I don't really expect them to "move ahead" to the SNES and beyond when it comes to the token "retro" content in Smash (though they might, if to a small extent). Would I like them to? Yes, to some extent. I do think that Smash tends to place a little bit too much value on games and characters that are either decidedly retro or contemporarily relevant, at the expense of all their history in-between. I would certainly love to see a few fan-favorite or significant characters from the SNES/N64/GCN eras, because I think they matter to Nintendo's history as well, but what matters to me isn't necessarily what matters to Nintendo or Sakurai.
 

Zekersaurus

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#21
I think the rule of thumb should be 20 years. So anything from 1998 and before is fair game.

Another question is, "what about 3rd party characters?". As of right now all the retro characters have been first party.
 

PsychoIncarnate

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#22
I think the rule of thumb should be 20 years. So anything from 1998 and before is fair game.

Another question is, "what about 3rd party characters?". As of right now all the retro characters have been first party.
Everything about Pacman screams retro
 

Zekersaurus

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#23
Everything about Pacman screams retro
I don't count Pacman. I mean he's retro in his design but the Pacman franchise has remained relevant and still makes games. Also, a lot of people were asking for him.

What I mean by retro is a character who last appeared 20 years ago or more. A character that probably comes completely out of left field and no one was expecting. G&W, Duck Hunt, and ROB are the Retro characters IMO.
 
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