Extra: When Smash Bros. Don’t Brawl

On April 28, 2014 by Jose Angel Salado

There were many reasons to get excited about Super Smash Bros. Brawl as its 2008 release came closer and closer, one of the biggest of which was online play. Sure, the options were limited when it came to slugging it out against strangers, but you were playing online. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long and the “Basic Brawl” mode (online play against random people) has since morphed into one of the strangest activities that I have ever seen in a game.

When you play a fighting game, the point is to fight each other. Not just stand there, repeatedly taunt, or attack the air. Yet this is what Brawl online turned into. Well, it’s actually stranger than that. At some point in Brawl’s life, people just decided that when they play against random opponents online, they weren’t going to attack anyone. The only rule, and again, somehow universally agreed upon, is if someone attacks a player that isn’t doing anything, all other players retaliate. Basically, if you don’t conform to doing nothing for the two minutes that Basic Brawl lasts, you’ve got yourself a one-on-three match.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a video I took of an eventless Basic Brawl I joined as Lucario:


Throughout the years, I could never figure out why at least 80% of my online matches turned into one-vs-three battles. There was no way to have a friend join the lobby locally, or online for that matter, so conspiring buddies were ruled out. It wasn’t until recently that I decided not to attack immediately and then it became clear: no one bothered anyone. Why would someone go online and not play? Why? I joined countless different lobbies with different players and it was always the same. It was like I was playing a different game. They even have a simple way of communicating. If someone hits me and repeatedly ducks down, it means they are sorry. If that hit kills me, they wait for me to hit them back and then commit suicide to give me a point back. As strange of a way as this is to play Brawl, the players are at least very polite.

It’s unclear how this bizarre way to play came about. Some have suggested that because of the terrible lag problem that plagued almost every online match, people decided not to fight and just sit there. We may never know the specifics of why it happened, but it will be ending soon. As of this writing, we are under a month away from the May 20 shut down of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. That means no Brawl online and none of this strange online loitering. If you still have your copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and want to see these players first hand, take advantage while you still can. I guarantee you will encounter a match that will be anything but a brawl!

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