What makes a casual game competitively popular? Why did Smash blow up?

zeechzeech DismemberJoined: Posts: 578
Disclaimer: I've never played any of the games I mention in this thread, apart from some of the Naruto ones.


This thread is actually about Smash. I don't know anything about Smash, so I was wondering why it got so big competitively when other casual FG games like Powerstone, or various anime-show fighters like DBZ, Naruto etc, never did.

Does Smash have superior gameplay to these other games? Or is it some other reason? Or just a historical accident of some kind?

Edit:
Let's get some definitions out of the way so we don't argue semantics. For the purposes of this thread, Smash is a FG. Heck, Virtual On or Gundam VS is a FG. Guardian Heroes is a FG. Catherine is a FG :)

As for "casual", I define it by the intentions of the developers. If they are aiming towards a younger audience, a broader audience, a non-competitive audience, or an audience that they don't expect to devote a lot of time and practice on the game, then I call it "casual".
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  • NickRocksNickRocks Knock Knock Joined: Posts: 22,836
    lolsmashbroslol
    smash isnt a fighting game
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  • eltroubleeltrouble Joined: Posts: 5,718
    Probably because of its wide appeal. It was a pretty unique game when it first came out, and really drew in a big crowd of casual players who liked it. Some of them wanted to make it more competitive than your average 4 player party came, and so tried to bring it out to the tournament scene.

    I just think Smash, is the most popular casual "fighting game", MUCH more popular in comparison to anime fighters or stuff like that. Whenever you get that many people interested in a game, inevitably, some of them are going to turn hardcore.
  • ElderGODElderGOD GOD Joined: Posts: 9,800
    Smash isn't a fighting game, not a traditional one anyway. Also, while it may be a party game, it's competitive and not casual.

    Some obstacles in the way of casual games from becoming competitive include lack of balance, randomness, non-consecutive path of improvement, some element FGC members refer to as "dat bs" or glitches, etc.
  • tatakitataki misplaced Joined: Posts: 7,702
    There's so such thing as "casual".
    There are only better games and worse games. Better players and worse players. People who love the games more and people who don't love them as much.

    Also a "fighting game" depends on the set of rules you choose to go by when you define the genre, because the purpose of giving something a name is to be able to transfer your accurate thoughts to others. Clearly we focus on a very specific type of multiplayer action games which includes rules like 2D camera view, 2 types of defense, character automatically facing opponent etc. etc.
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  • NickRocksNickRocks Knock Knock Joined: Posts: 22,836
    serious answer: the scene is what makes a game casual or competitive. if no ones playing it, it's obviously not a competitive game
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  • ElderGODElderGOD GOD Joined: Posts: 9,800
    serious answer: the scene is what makes a game casual or competitive. if no ones playing it, it's obviously not a competitive game
    VS.

    No one is playing it but it's a competitive game.
  • zeechzeech Dismember Joined: Posts: 578
    Shrug, let's get some definitions out of the way so we don't argue semantics. For the purposes of this thread, Smash is a FG. Heck, Virtual On or Gundam VS is a FG. Guardian Heroes is a FG. Catherine is a FG :)

    As for "casual", I define it by the intentions of the developers. If they are aiming towards a younger audience, a broader audience, a non-competitive audience, or an audience that they don't expect to devote a lot of time and practice on the game, then I call it "casual".


    So it seems one theory is that, because Smash is so massively popular in the first place, it became competitive because a certain critical mass was reached due to a certain percentage of its players wanting to be seriously competitive with it. I guess a necessary precondition is that the gameplay is sufficient to allow some level of competition.
  • ElderGODElderGOD GOD Joined: Posts: 9,800
    Shrug, let's get some definitions out of the way so we don't argue semantics. For the purposes of this thread, Smash is a FG. Heck, Virtual On or Gundam VS is a FG. Guardian Heroes is a FG. Catherine is a FG :)
    Then DFO is a fighting game:
  • zeechzeech Dismember Joined: Posts: 578
    Then DFO is a fighting game:

    For the purposes of this thread, yes, yes it is.

    If you abstract it enough, Tennis is a fighting game. The only reason its not, is because we dont associate hitting a tennis ball back and forth as "combat".

    To be clear, what I'm calling a FG in this thread is a game that allows player vs player combat, where the control focus is on one main character per player (to differentiate between FG and RTS) and where there are no AI targets or other primary objectives during matches (to differentiate between FG and MOBA). Since I've never played Powerstone, Gundam VS, Smash, or DFO, I don't know if they violate any of these rules. But from videos they dont seem to.
  • HavatchuHavatchu Joined: Posts: 4,734
    For the purposes of this thread, yes, yes it is.

    If you abstract it enough, Tennis is a fighting game. The only reason its not, is because we dont associate hitting a tennis ball back and forth as "combat".

    Um, no. Tennis is a sport.

    And the game ElderGOD linked is just an awesome multiplayer beat em' up.
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  • ArachnofiendArachnofiend Double Uzis and a Wink Joined: Posts: 2,058
    Any game that has a player fighting another player is competitive. I think you're looking for "tournament worthy" or something.
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  • zeechzeech Dismember Joined: Posts: 578
    Um, no. Tennis is a sport.

    And the game ElderGOD linked is just an awesome multiplayer beat em' up.

    I meant Tennis video games. And I dont see how DFO is much different from Guardian Heroes, which I have already classified as a FG for the purposes of this thread :)

    Any game that has a player fighting another player is competitive. I think you're looking for "tournament worthy" or something.


    Competitively viable / competitively popular also works.


    Can we please move on from semantics now? Although maybe my question has already been answered, if noone else has any different opinions.
  • scytheavatarscytheavatar Joined: Posts: 2,447
    This thread is actually about Smash. I don't know anything about Smash, so I was wondering why it got so big competitively when other casual FG games like Powerstone, or various anime-show fighters like DBZ, Naruto etc, never did.

    SSB: 4.9 million
    SSBM: 7 million
    SSBB: 9.4 million

    Number of copies sold. That's possibly more than the entire Street Fighter series added together.

    Then something is wrong if you don't respect Melee as a legit competitive game (Brawl is a different matter....), considering how hype that game is and how it's actually quite execution heavy at high level.
  • KefKef Joined: Posts: 3,170
    Where's that vid... alright here:


    I am not trying to turn this into a SSB discussion, but I think that's a good example of kind of what Nick said. I think the community ultimately makes the games they play more competitively the more they play it and "develop" it. It's a hard topic, because defining a "competitive" game can bet taken in different ways. Mario Party could be a competitive game because they are people competing against each other?
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  • zeechzeech Dismember Joined: Posts: 578
    I wish I could change the thread title so it said "competitively popular" rather than "competitive" :/

    So far, it seems like being "popular" and supporting competitive play are the only conditions necessary for something to become competitively popular?

    Has there been any FGs released that sold as much or more than Smash but never took off competitively? I guess certain games like Gundam VS never really took off in the west but they seem to be popular in asia. Also, maybe sports FGs like Fight Night?
  • Mr. XMr. X Non Stop ∞ Climax Joined: Posts: 20,239
    You're over-analyzing it. Developers hardly had influence on what we did to their games.
    You did not go back in time, this is how the forums look.
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  • zeechzeech Dismember Joined: Posts: 578
    You're over-analyzing it. Developers hardly had influence on what we did to their games.

    What are you trying to say? That gameplay doesnt matter?

    Or are you replying to my "intentions of the developers" statement? Because that was purely about how I define "casual" vs. "not casual", as a convenient label.
  • ElderGODElderGOD GOD Joined: Posts: 9,800
    You're over-analyzing it. Developers hardly had influence on what we did to their games.
    Developers are fighting game gods that know all possible combos, even those that don't exist.

    More random videos:


  • scytheavatarscytheavatar Joined: Posts: 2,447
    Has there been any FGs released that sold as much or more than Smash but never took off competitively? I guess certain games like Gundam VS never really took off in the west but they seem to be popular in asia. Also, maybe sports FGs like Fight Night?

    How many games has broken the 5 million mark, let alone how many fighting games have broken that mark? All MK, SC (except SCV) and DOA games sold well but the scenes of these games never took off. SCV's scene has taken off and that game was a sales flop. So people wouldn't still be playing the SSB games if there's not a certain amount of quality in it.
  • Mr. XMr. X Non Stop ∞ Climax Joined: Posts: 20,239
    What are you trying to say? That gameplay doesnt matter?

    Or are you replying to my "intentions of the developers" statement? Because that was purely about how I define "casual" vs. "not casual", as a convenient label.
    You have Catherine and Smash in your first post. Do you think either developer expected those games to have anything resembling a competitive scene? The Smash guy hated it so much he tried to make Brawl as non-competitive as he could and yet Brawl still has one.
    You did not go back in time, this is how the forums look.
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  • TebboTebbo Play. Joined: Posts: 5,709
    the reason smash is 'competitive' while those other casual friendly fighting games aren't?

    the characters. smash is all about being something everyone can enjoy playing who has ever owned a nintendo console. so you get a huge amount of people interested, and some really enjoy it and want to push the game. so they find other like minded people and play it somewhat competitively.

    i think it's really just a numbers game.

    that and it's just a fun game.
    Play more.
  • El_CorEl_Cor Tiers Are For Queers Joined: Posts: 488
    Developers are fighting game gods that know all possible combos, even those that don't exist.
    Woah, woah, woah, no.

    Do you know why patches come out to patch infinite or expansions tweak characters? Because of emergence. This is when something completely different happens from what a developer intended for their game. A combination of elements with the randomness of a player will essentially lead to a newfound element that they did not know. For instance, wave dashing in Melee, and option selects in Street Fighter. Developers are usually the least skilled in their game. The playtesters are the ones who become good at them. All the developer is doing is making a game where characters fight one another. They have an idea of how the attacks work due to tweaking their frame data, speeds, and such, but in the end, it's usually to help fill a role the character fights as rather than knowing all possibly combos with it. For instance, Zangief shouldn't have10 chain combos, at least easy ones, while Juri should be able to at least do 15 hit combos on a good day.
  • MimeBentoshEtaMimeBentoshEta Joined: Posts: 8
    What makes a casual FG competitive?

    if there is people willing to compete on the game, then it is competitive
    you will be surprised of how many games that anyone would say that have not competitive value or that are casual games, have competitive scenes around them
    yes developers can make the game with competition in mind, but the players at the end, are the ones that make the scenes and the ones that take the competition seriously
    Mario Party could be a competitive game because they are people competing against each other?

    its funny that you mention that game, because i have seen tournaments for many iterations of mario party in the past
  • thats mind gamesthats mind games fgd scumbags Joined: Posts: 1,102
    Shrug, let's get some definitions out of the way so we don't argue semantics. For the purposes of this thread, Smash is a FG. Heck, Virtual On or Gundam VS is a FG. Guardian Heroes is a FG. Catherine is a FG :)

    Let's get some definitions out of the way, specifically, my definition that I made up and the only one that anyone's allowed to use and also, you're not allowed to question it.
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  • thats mind gamesthats mind games fgd scumbags Joined: Posts: 1,102
    Secondly, why is there a Smash thread in Fighting Game Discussion? There's a Smash forum on Shoryuken, if you didn't know. This is off-topic and needs to be moved.
    99% of ppl on shoryuken are neanderthals that like to "learn" how to slam a joystick and buttons around, put this in your sig if you're one of the 1% left that like to use their brain to win at fighting games
  • HaikuWarHaikuWar The Best Looking Player EVER Joined: Posts: 2,094
    SSB: 4.9 million
    SSBM: 7 million
    SSBB: 9.4 million

    Number of copies sold. That's possibly more than the entire Street Fighter series added together.

    Then something is wrong if you don't respect Melee as a legit competitive game (Brawl is a different matter....), considering how hype that game is and how it's actually quite execution heavy at high level.

    Sales dont mean shit tbh. Just because a bunch of kids bought it and made up bs tactics and tier list doesnt mean it gets respect as a competitive fighting game.

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  • PreppyPreppy act like you're used to it Joined: Posts: 14,296 admin
    Retitled thread, punting to Smash thread. This thread doesn't make any sense to me.

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  • AionAion Is a Pre-Madonna Joined: Posts: 1,034
    Smash Bros Melee is actually an amazing fighting game. Those who hate on it don't have a damn clue and are biased as heck.
  • HavatchuHavatchu Joined: Posts: 4,734
    I meant Tennis video games. And I dont see how DFO is much different from Guardian Heroes, which I have already classified as a FG for the purposes of this thread :)

    Sorry, but that's still wrong. It would either just be called a sports game or a tennis game. If your criteria for a fighting game is competition than that means that racing games, also in their own category, are in effect fighting games, which they are not. Also racing is considered a sport, so there is that as well.

    Sorry if I'm sounding like a jerk, maybe I'm not reading your posts the way you intended or something.
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  • AlMoStLeGeNdArYAlMoStLeGeNdArY Optimize or Die Joined: Posts: 2,348
    It's more or less what made VS a serious game. While smash isn't a traditional fighter it takes easily recognizable characters and pits them against each other. So when you say DK vs Mario in a fight first it's like LoL and then you learn that it's not to be taken lightly.
    Sales dont mean shit tbh. Just because a bunch of kids bought it and made up bs tactics and tier list doesnt mean it gets respect as a competitive fighting game.

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    This is funny how many top players want to see young new blood in the tourney scene? For example look at Noah and how talked up that kid got. For a scene to be able to grow you're going to need young people buy into the scene. Like I said early in the post certain characters are easier to recognize. Comic books now a days aren't nearly as popular as they were back in the day. However, nintendo is still running Mario DK Zelda and Metroid at you. Pokemon is still running and you got fans of that also.

    Capcom however ditches their franchise established stars and gives the middle finger to him (megaman). Yeah you can say megaman fanboy as much as you want but the truth is that's how you get casual people and let the scene grow. Then you throw some money at it and grows even further from there.

    There's a big difference between how Nintendo does things and how Capcom does thing. If Nintendo even bothered to show half the interest to support the competitive scene as Capcom did it wouldn't even be a question.
  • ChampionshipEditionChampionshipEdition He got tired of being a family man Joined: Posts: 15
    I think the only way you can say Smash Bros is not a "fighting game" is if you suddenly retcon the definition of "fighting game" to be 1 on 1 players only. Which while many or most fighting games have been, not all have been. Even the fact that the characters in Smash can navigate stages behind merely moving left and right, doesn't mean a lot. That's imposing an artificial limit on the design of fighting games; who says a fighting game takes place on a single plane with characters always facing one another? Then Bushido Blade wasn't a fighting game?

    Ironically Smash is more like a traditional 2D fighting game than a lot of other games within the genre - 3D games are all over the place, some with free omni-directional movement (SoulCalibur), others with complex stages that can be climbed within (Bushido Blade).
  • ArachnofiendArachnofiend Double Uzis and a Wink Joined: Posts: 2,058
    I think one of the core aspects of fighting games is a total lack of randomness. Everything is in the frame data; even if things are moving too fast to predict it still isn't random. Vanilla Smash Bros. doesn't really fit this but the way it is played on a high level (no items/hazard stages banned) does.
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  • MimeBentoshEtaMimeBentoshEta Joined: Posts: 8
    How many games has broken the 5 million mark, let alone how many fighting games have broken that mark? All MK, SC (except SCV) and DOA games sold well but the scenes of these games never took off. SCV's scene has taken off and that game was a sales flop. So people wouldn't still be playing the SSB games if there's not a certain amount of quality in it.
    just sayin, justin bieberga has sold a lot of copies of his trash, but that doesnt mean its good
  • zeechzeech Dismember Joined: Posts: 578
    Let's get some definitions out of the way, specifically, my definition that I made up and the only one that anyone's allowed to use and also, you're not allowed to question it.

    I did this specifically to avoid derails into the subject of what is or is not a FG. Because that's not what the thread is about. It's fine to create a "local" definition that exists purely in the space of this thread for that purpose. Is it my real definition, or yours? Maybe not. But it saves arguments from retards and makes things easier.


    So getting back to the question, why did Smash blow up competitively when other games like Power Stone, Naruto, Gundam VS, Virtual On, DBZ, etc did not?

    Sure, I think most people in the Smash subforum would say the gameplay of Smash is good enough to stand up as competitive game - but I would assume we would all agree that at least Virtual On, Gundam VS, and some of the Naruto/DBZ games also possess good enough gameplay to be competitive.

    So, after all of that, is it just popularity and the size of the player base? Or did something else happen? (eg. putting aside how good/bad Starcraft is, that game became the biggest esport purely due to South Korea, PC LAN Cafes, and historical accident.)
  • HavikHavik Joined: Posts: 434
    Just throwing this out...The creator of Smash hates the competitive community, but here's the bitter sweet part...Capcom actually considers Smash a serious fighting game. Crazy ain't it? If you want proof of that statement. Give me a shout.
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  • ViolentDjangoViolentDjango KEEP CALM and EWGF Joined: Posts: 1,170
    Just throwing this out...The creator of Smash hates the competitive community, but here's the bitter sweet part...Capcom actually considers Smash a serious fighting game. Crazy ain't it? If you want proof of that statement. Give me a shout.

    Capcom sees the potential of Smash as a fighter, as they do with many games (that's why they support CC2). The creator of Smash hates the competitive community because he wanted the game to be fun and enjoyable and entertaining, and competitive communities tend to sap that out of games with a lot of elitism and belly aching.
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  • HavikHavik Joined: Posts: 434
    Capcom sees the potential of Smash as a fighter, as they do with many games (that's why they support CC2). The creator of Smash hates the competitive community because he wanted the game to be fun and enjoyable and entertaining, and competitive communities tend to sap that out of games with a lot of elitism and belly aching.
    Took the words right out of my mouth. I wish the creator would grow some balls and understand the game is still fun that way. How could you hate your own game that got to EVO without no support from you?
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  • ph00tbagph00tbag Joined: Posts: 96
    It depends. Are other games intended to be casual fighters as unintentionally deep as Smash? I know Power Stone is pretty shallow, as are FG cash-ins like TMNT Smash-Up and Shaq-Fu, but I don't know about the DBZ and Naruto games.

    Fact is, in addition to being popular on its own account, SSBM is an exceptionally deep game, one that can be played for ten years, and people are still finding new tactics to abuse, and new counters for the new abusable tactics. There's a depth to this on level with Guilty Gear, MvC2, Third Strike and Darksiders. It also helped that there was a highly motivated and deeply passionate community driving the game's growth.

    And I'm probably going to be flamed for saying this on this particular forum, but MLG did a lot for the Smash community. MLG 04 through 06 gave competitive Melee a lot of exposure and set the tone for just about every Melee tournament that followed.
  • zeechzeech Dismember Joined: Posts: 578
    It depends. Are other games intended to be casual fighters as unintentionally deep as Smash? I know Power Stone is pretty shallow, as are FG cash-ins like TMNT Smash-Up and Shaq-Fu, but I don't know about the DBZ and Naruto games.

    Fact is, in addition to being popular on its own account, SSBM is an exceptionally deep game, one that can be played for ten years, and people are still finding new tactics to abuse, and new counters for the new abusable tactics. There's a depth to this on level with Guilty Gear, MvC2, Third Strike and Darksiders. It also helped that there was a highly motivated and deeply passionate community driving the game's growth.

    And I'm probably going to be flamed for saying this on this particular forum, but MLG did a lot for the Smash community. MLG 04 through 06 gave competitive Melee a lot of exposure and set the tone for just about every Melee tournament that followed.

    Well, I'm not a high level player in any game so it's hard for me to say, but I often wonder if some casual games might have some depth, but it never gets discovered due to them not being taken seriously by competitive players. But maybe I'm mistaken? The only experience I've had with casual fighters recently is the PS3 Naruto games, and it certainly seems like some people have tried to be competitive with them (and got annoyed at how broken / stupid they are) so maybe people -do- try to explore these games.
  • SynikaLSynikaL Melee Prophet Joined: Posts: 1,699
    VS.

    No one is playing it but it's a competitive game.



    The mechanics of a game can be irrelevant. What makes a game competitive is a group of people willing to play said-game with a competitive mindset. You can attempt to contrive mechanics that competitive players have grown to value in hopes of catering to them and hopefully engineering a competitive outlook for your game, but that's compromising and potentially deleterious imo.


    After all these years, people on SRK refuse to understand how absolutely meaningless terms like "casual" are when applied to not just fighting games - but video games in general.
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