Toxicity? In MY video game fanbase? It’s more likely than you think.
Super Smash Bros. is a lot of things to a lot of people. For some, It’s an intense competitive fighting game. For others, it’s a casual party blast. For me, it’s probably one of my favourite games of all time, with over 400 hours sunk into it. But for many online, Smash is an excuse to wage flame wars on twitter over which characters join the roster. Nintendo’s premier crossover fighting extravaganza never fails to get the internet buzzing with hype whenever a new character gets announced. Fans even crashed Twitter’s servers for about 15 minutes due to the influx of tweets when Minecraft’s Steve was announced to be joining the cast of playable characters. Yeah, the pixel guy from Minecraft! You can make him beat up Pikachu, and my inner 10 year old still isn’t over it. Needless to say, Smash gets people talking, so why was the fan community up in arms over the most recent addition to the roster, Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s Pyra and Mythra?
Well…that depends on who you ask. Many take issue with the fact that the two characters are “more anime swordfighters”, which is a bit of a touchy subject within the smash community. Many characters added to the game tend to skew more anime-style in terms of their character design, and many of these characters fight with a sword. Fire Emblem draws a lot of this rage from fans as the series is much less popular in the West. To boot, all 8 of their characters in Smash fight with swords. Do these fans want more diverse and interesting characters? Do they just not like the types of games they come from? Are they just jealous their favourite character hasn’t made it into the game yet? The answer to all of those is…kind of. Take a look at the fan reaction for yourself.
Maybe I’m cherry picking the funniest and most outlandish answers here, but a quick glance at the responses to Nintendo’s tweets about the two characters will give you all of the above and more. Entitled gamers are hurling insults and memes at fans of the new characters, and it begs the question; what needs to happen in your life to get you to argue with someone on Twitter about a children’s fighting game? Twitter is an awful place for discussion in general, as the small character limit really does remove nuance from text and forces people to sensationalize their opinions for flashy headlines. Not to mention the sense of entitlement from certain fans. It’s OK to not be happy at the new additions, but what’s gained from whining about it on Twitter?
As for my take on Pyra and Mythra? I am…whelmed. I played a bit of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and wasn’t a big fan of it, so I didn’t care much for the duo’s addition. That being said, the two characters are actually fun to play within Smash itself. The mechanic of swapping between Pyra and Mythra is interesting enough to set them apart from the rest of their sword wielding contemporaries. They’re fun, and that’s really all that matters to me.
So what’s the takeaway here? Twitter makes fools of us all. I advise Smash fans to take a step back and try not to get so emotionally invested in online flame wars. Smash may be my favourite game of all time, but it’s also the game where Princess Peach can throw hands with Sonic the Hedgehog. It ain’t that deep.