Why do I always see the argument here that items represent a “core gameplay element” of the smash series? It doesn’t make any sense to me. The Smash games have no “core gameplay element” aside from knocking your opponent off of the stage, existing as an option even in Stamina and Bonus modes. Otherwise, how you play Smash is implicitly up to you. The argument loses even more water for me when I go play with non-tourney players who nevertheless take the game seriously, and turn off items without any argument. Even the ones that play with items on turn them off when shit gets real, and man-cards are on the line.
Maybe the characters are more balanced with items on. I doubt this, for the same reasons Albatross gives. But the fact is, items themselves are imbalanced, purely by dint of their randomness. It doesn’t matter if you are more effective at controlling space if your opponent gets a starman from the one item spawn point they control while you have managed to wrest control of seven of them. In Brawl, it’s even worse, because there are no set spawn locations. Ultimately, at the highest levels, it becomes a waiting game, where you hope a low-risk, high reward item spawns right in front of you, and you press your advantage if it does. It’s the definition of a party game.
I have to disagree with this. Generally speaking, it’s pretty easy to tell what’s going to make a stage favor certain playstyles. People say that Smash games are more aerial than other fighters, and while this is true, being in the air still forces a certain limitation on the player–in the end, no matter how long you can float around, you’ll have to fall down again. This means that having to go to the air when it doesn’t complement your existing options is almost always a bad thing, so stages that force the losing player (the one that realistically has to be on the offensive in order to win) to approach from above inherently favor the winning player, moreso than being in the lead at all would inherently favor them anyway. Most of the time, when a stage is banned, it’s banned for this reason.