- Jun 7, 2013
- US (Mountain Time, -7 Hours)
- 3DS FC
Welcome to the Support Thread for Nintendo's JokerFAQ:
This Joker is the design featured on Nintendo's Western-styled "Trump" playing cards. In 1902, shortly following Nintendo's inception in 1889 as a hanafuda playing card company, Fusajiro Yamauchi (the founder of the company) began manufacturing the first ever Western-style playing cards in Japan. (Western playing cards were introduced to Japan by Portugese traders in 1549, but were banned in 1633 when Japan closed off all contact with the Western world.)
Originally intended for export, the Western cards proved popular domestically as well; so popular, in fact, that Nintendo became the dominant producer of Western playing cards for Japan. By 1951, Nintendo had changed its name officially to the Nintendo Playing Card Co. Ltd, and was selling several varieties of hanafuda, Portugese-inspired karuta (including komatsufuda, unsun karuta, kabufuda, harifuda, and hikifuda), uta-garuta, iroha karuta, and Western Nintendo All-Plastic cards. (Nintendo still sells these cards today.)
Nintendo's popularity in the playing card market was unmatched in Japan. They partnered with the likes of Disney in 1959, Popeye in the early 1960s, Snoopy in the 1980s, and several Japanese brands: Ultraman, Space Boy Soran, Obake no Qtarō, and Space Ace, to name a few. The sheer number of decks Nintendo produced is incredible; it likely numbers in the hundreds or thousands. Dozens of varieties of Nintendo All-Plastic were produced, but some quirkier cards also were made over time: Make-your-own Cards, Magic Cards, and several Pin-Up Girl decks that I'll refrain from linking to here.
Okay, but what does this have to do with Smash Bros.?
The previous three (four counting SSB3DS as a separate title) Super Smash Bros. games have included characters that personify a part of Nintendo's long-running history.
Mr. Game & Watch was inspired by the characters found in Nintendo's Game & Watch games, which became Nintendo's first major financial success (selling 43.4 million units) and first handheld, cementing their place in the video game industry.
R.O.B. was an accessory for the NES which was used to market the console as a novel toy to retailers and consumers in a market which had reservations about home video game consoles following the North American Video Game Crash of 1983. The inclusion of R.O.B. with the system convinced major retailers to sell the console, ultimately leading to the success of the NES and the revival of the entire Western video game industry. (Source)
Duck Hunt is a character which is a little less obvious about its historical ties. However, I would argue that the character represents not only the extremely well-selling Duck Hunt video game, but also the light gun as a whole. This included much earlier points in Nintendo's history, including the Beam Gun, Laser Clay Shooting System, Wild Gunman, and Duck Hunt products released in the 1970s. These products, while technically not "video games" are an early example of electro-mechanical games, which greatly contributed to the rise of the early arcade industry.
Nintendo was the predominant producer of light guns for the home in Japan at this time, and they had obtained a contract with Magnavox to produce the light gun peripheral for the first home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey. Nintendo's involvement in the project gave them direct insight into the soon-to-be burgeoning home console market and to the North American video game market in particular, which likely influenced them to bundle a Light Gun (alongside R.O.B.) with the NES in North America. In fact, if it weren't for the Light Gun connecting them to Magnavox, Nintendo may have not decided to enter the home video game market at all.
If this trend continues, it makes perfect sense to include a character to represent the earliest parts of Nintendo's history. Nintendo has always been a card company, and the Joker is their trademark character in that industry. If Sakurai feels so inclined, I believe that the Joker would be a wonderful surprise character.
Smash Bros. is a fighting game, though. How would it fight?
Well, thankfully, there's no shortage of ways to make a card character interesting. My personal take on the character would utilize cards from each of the decks Nintendo has produced. Remember how I mentioned the plethora of card varieties they manufactured? Well, there's plenty to pull from in each of those decks to create a fun and interesting moveset. I'll probably work on a comprehensive moveset in the future.
The Joker can't be included in Smash Bros. because he isn't a video game character.
This is a common argument, and a fair one. However, Historical Characters seem to be something of an exception from that rule. R.O.B. was an electronic toy created to interact with the NES, and as such is only related to video games. Mr. Game and Watch technically isn't a video game character either; he's from an electronic game, not a video game.
I understand, of course, that this is a bit further removed from video games than either of those examples. However, Smash Bros. is a celebration of Nintendo too. It makes perfect sense to include a character that pays homage to Nintendo's origins as a card maker.
Why this Joker? Aren't there other designs?
It is true that there's another Joker commonly seen in Nintendo's cards.
This mermaid-like figure is found in some decks alongside the more jester-like Joker. However, it seems to have been a much later creation than the Joker was.
Note that this deck has a sticker on it. This sticker is noting the tax on paper goods that existed in the first half of the 20th century, and gives an indication of the age of the deck. The other Joker design was a more modern creation than the tradional Joker, which is also still used in decks today. If a Joker is chosen for Smash Bros., it will be this one.
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