Great Strategy, So What?


Super Smash Bros. and Pokemon are my two favorite video game franchises of all time. However, whenever bringing up these two amazing games with anybody (save for a select few), people will usually react in one of two ways. People will either tell me the games are stupidly simple for only kids to enjoy or they will say that the competitive communities for these games overcomplicate what is supposed to be simple in concept. As someone who has been a huge fan of these games since their humble beginnings, I do not believe these people in the slightest. While yes, these are games marketed towards children and yes, there is a huge competitive aspect to Super Smash Bros. and Pokemon that the fan communities are well aware of, these games can be as simple as you the player want them to be and they both have something people of any age can enjoy. In fact, the why I love these two so much is how simple in concept they are, allowing the player to have creative freedom on how to play each game. The competitive communities exist purely for the sake of competition, and the only strategies that exist in the communities are the ones that are known. New strategies for both Pokémon and Smash Bros. are still being found to this day, especially when new installments are added to each series. In fact, many fan communities recognize that the strategies endorsed by them are not the definitive approach in the games and creativity is strongly encouraged by players to play the games how they see fit. Also, it is not required for people to know each strategy by heart in order to stand a chance in Smash Bros. or Pokemon and there have been numerous instances (from both my personal observations and others’) where new players win against skilled veteran players who have played the games for years.

 Promotional artwork for the recently released Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U. These three pictures were made to celebrate the debut of Pac-Man, Lucina, Robin, and Greninja in the Smash Bros. series.
Promotional artwork for the recently released Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U. These three pictures were made to celebrate the debut of Lucina, Robin, Pac-Man, and Greninja in the Smash Bros. series.


smashbros2smashbros3                If anything, the competitive aspects of Smash Bros. and Pokemon are actually very interesting in their complexity. I will not go into great detail as to how complex the strategies in these games, but below are some links to YouTube videos that give a taste of the strategic side of these games much better than I could ever explain. Watch them when you have a free minute. To make a long story short, I, like many others, underestimated the strategic potential of both of these games because I, like many others, associated my childhood games with simplicity. It actually was not until high school, where a busy schedule forced me to temporarily stop playing video games. Since then, I have been interested in the competitive aspects of both Smash Bros. and Pokemon to a degree. While I do love the competitive field of these games, I like not knowing certain parts of the strategies for Smash and Pokemon that either are hard to master (i.e. wavedashing in Smash Bros. Melee) or take a long time to learn (i.e. breeding and EV training in Pokemon), but that is just how I play and I still win a fair amount of matches. Now I know I am just one odd example of a man who got back into his favorite games because of his love of strategy and mathematics (Note: there is a large mathematical side to Pokemon) where others turned away from these games at the thought of playing a game that involves a layer of strategy (albeit optional) or a game that they played years ago as youths. Either way, Smash Bros. and Pokemon are still fantastic franchises that are just as good if not better than they were when they started out, and that is not something I can honestly say about most video game franchises. If you stopped playing either Smash Bros. or Pokemon a long time ago, revisit them. You might be surprised.


Author: Mark Quigley


Pokemon Strategy videos:

Tamashii Hiroka (Top 10 Worst Legendary Pokemon):

The Dex (Snorlax):

TheJWittz (Pokemon Breeding):


Smash Bros. Strategy Videos:

Super Smash Academy (Wii U/3DS Basics):

Did You Know Gaming? (Smash Bros. Technical Play Special):

Maximillian (Assist Me: Super Smash Bros. 4):

  5 comments for “Great Strategy, So What?

  1. kokopelli11
    February 13, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    I am also a huge fan of the games in the two game franchises of Pokémon and Super Smash Bros. and have played them since their early American versions on the Game Boy and the Nintendo 64 respectively. I greatly agree with the opinion that both of these franchises can be played casually or competitively, but it is up to each individual player to determine what “their way” of playing the game will be. It really depends on what someone is trying to accomplish or what goals they have set for themselves, if any, by interacting with a game. If someone thinks that a game is too simple, they can adapt the way that they play through the game. For example, in the Pokémon franchise, a methods of playing the games to make them more challenging/long for the player can include methods such as the “nuzlocke challenge” or the aforementioned EV training in the article. In the end, it’s up to the player to decide how they interact with the game and what they play for.

  2. dgreene3
    February 13, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Well now I want to play both of these games again. I always played them pretty straight forward and tried to just beat the elite 4. I never really concerned myself with the whole ‘Catch Them All’ aspect of it. My friends and I only ever went after the Pokemon we loved. I was hoping you would mention the fan made Pokemon games like Omicron. Those fan made games add completely new story lines and goals to the Pokemon world. I am well aware of the highly competitive leagues surrounding modern smash bros. I would never personally do it, I just play for fun, but I guess that does add a new dynamic to the game.

  3. stevenf
    February 13, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    I never really approached playing Pokemon or Mario with any particular strategy. I used to be an avid player of Pokemon Gold Version on Gameboy Color for the longest time. To me, it just felt like a fun and relaxing thing to do. When i wanted to just go from town to town, I walked, or when I wanted to see about a new Pokemon, I would walk through the tall grass until one appeared. While simple in nature, I do miss games such as Pokemon, as some video games have taken on such realistic or complex storylines, to the point that they are no longer fun. I was never as into Pokemon as others (never collecting many of the games or Pokemon cards), but after playing Gold version for a long period of time, I considered myself to be a Pokemon fan.

  4. amandariffe1
    February 24, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    I’m definitely a major fan of Pokemon, and I can say that there are strategies that, I, too, prefer to stay away from. I don’t mess with breeding, and I don’t pay too much attentions to stats or natures. In part, this is because when I was a kid playing Sapphire, I knew that most of that existed, but it was much too complicated for me to try and understand. Honestly, some of it still is. I tend to merely choose my team around beating the elite four, so no two of the same types, for the most part. It’s such a simple concept: capture, raise, defeat, repeat. Getting down to the nitty-gritty though, it is a game that has the potential to be so complex and totally competitive.

    As for Super Smash Bros, I just recently played it for the first time ever, on the Nintendo 64. I won’t even begin to tell you just how utterly lost I was, smashing buttons like a madman, or how shocked I was the first time I got thrown off the platform! Super Smash Bros players are vicious! I have no doubt in my mind that people have strategies, and more than that, strategies that are specific to each character.

  5. Grant
    February 27, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Personally, I’m not really surprised by either criticism of the series. Nintendo is a very consumer savvy company and knows how the market its games obsessively well. Hands down the reason they’ve managed to survive so long in a marketplace where more and more gaming companies are being bought up by massive technological conglomerates is on account that they are one of the few companies with an ages all target demographic. They’re the juggernaut of nostalgia for an entire generation of gamers and are working on the second and third. Hence one of the benefits of their games being marketed to children is to have said children grow up and use their new found disposable income to spend on Nintendo’s products and one of the ways their buy is validated beyond simply nostalgia is that Nintendo’s games age comparatively well by having well-tuned mechanics and gameplay. Effectively, games like the original Pokemon and Smash Bros. get children invested via their fantastic design and then keep those children as they age by hold well they hold up.

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