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Monday, December 9, 2019

Super Smash Bros. Speculation is Bad Content

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The chattering gossip class.

Over the weekend, people (and Nintendo) celebrated the one-year anniversary of the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Release days are important. Anniversaries aren't. Case-in-point: The predominant discussion within the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fanbase has continued to be speculation about the fifth and final Fighters Pass character, as opposed to a year ago when it was speculation about the second Fighters Pass character and what kind of character Joker would turn out to be. (And suddenly everyone with a Nintendo console was acting like a big Persona 5 fan?) Not much has changed!

There's four types of community-based Super Smash Bros. content, ranging from most valuable to least (negative) valuable:
  1. Discussing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in its current state—including useful things like gameplay analysis and aids to get better at the game
  2. Using Super Smash Bros. Ultimate itself as an artistic platform—game-generated screenshots, videos, Spirit Battle concepts, etc.
  3. Discussion about the community itself—can often result in discussions around identity politics or unsubstantiated allegations, but can also have positive outcomes like better tournament venues and prize pools
  4. Speculation about future downloadable content based on theories or “leaks”
I gotta say, the Super Smash Bros. Melee community, since 2001, has always been about the present moment. They know there isn't downloadable content for a GameCube game. They're all about discussing the game.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate doesn't share that. Much of its community is consumed with rampant and stupid speculation, idolising the absolute scum of the universe that deserve to be banished from society, the leaker class.

These leakers, rumour-mongers, and speculators add absolutely nothing to society. Really, is anyone better at Super Smash Bros. after listening to some fan's theory they're passing as the truth or insider information? You have awful outlets like Polygon pushing bile like the Chair Theory (the colours of the chairs in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate August 2018 Direct are supposed to confirm a purple/yellow character, such as Waluigi, whose name the author didn't even spell correctly), and you had the so-called Gematsu Leak (or total FAKE NEWS) for Super Smash Bros. For Wii U.

You don't actually have to have any game or creative-related talent to report on or come up with this nonsense. It's its own world, where instead of talent and value-creation being at the top of the tier list, it's outlandishness and false promises that don't have to comply with reality, and looking for meaning where there isn't any. (...Which KoopaTV often does, but it's as a rhetorical tool to illustrate a point, not as an end to itself.)

In the end, if you just wait for Nintendo to reveal who the fighter is, then you'll get the same correct conclusion that you'd get if you followed all of the stupid speculation. In the end, there's only one right answer, and that's the character whose trailer gets shown. Engaging in this speculation and FAKE NEWS doesn't make the Nintendo reveal come any faster. You could be a lot more productive, while having fun, by actually playing the game. That's supposed to be the point, right? The speculators aren't doing this because they're eagerly anticipating gameplay...

Really, it's upsetting that it's hard to find a place to actually discuss Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in-depth without this speculating nonsense.

GameFAQs SmashFAQs KOS-MOS Super Smash Bros. Ultimate leaks speculation Fighters Pass Vergeben
This is the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate board on GameFAQs.
It's one of the most active Super Smash Bros. Ultimate boards in existence.
But look at all the topics! No one's discussing things like Jigglypuff's best stage picks or Little Mac's worst match-ups.
It's ALL about speculation and character reveals.
(Zoom in on the picture if you really want to know who the speculated character of the week is.)

If you are unobservant, you'll think I'm arguably a hypocrite on this whole article's point. After all, you could make an argument that I take a shallow approach to American politics (particularly the presidential debates, both in 2016's election cycle and now in 2020's election cycle) by trivialising it for humourous purposes with our Super Contest grading method.

I think it's totally legitimate commentary on the state of the ridiculousness of modern politics. That DID result in a whole original videogame, you know. That's more than shallow people who write contradictory articles about candidates’ outfits contribute. These people obsess over inconsequential stuff and palace intrigue, as opposed to matters of actual policy. (KoopaTV, by the way, does discuss policy on occasion.)

Like the Super Smash Bros. leakers. Oh, and there's all kinds of leakers in politics, too. Just ask President Donald John Trump about it. The equivalent, if it's not clear to you yet, is that policy is to politics as grinding gameplay skill is to Super Smash Bros.. Everything else is a sideshow that ranges from amusing to very dangerous. Remember: If the leaker is truly a leaker and not a FAKE NEWS purveyor, then they just spoiled the wonderful surprises that were supposed to await you. And thanks to how the media works, you'll probably know about that even if you're not trying to follow the speculation scene. And if they're just FAKE NEWS, then they might've distorted your expectations. Perhaps you wanted their fake prophecy to come true and expected reality to comport with that. When it doesn't... it can be devastating.

I want a world where people who develop the best game content are the ones with the most attention, not these shortcut speculators with their bad content!

Ludwig would like to use his footer to point out that this isn't entirely the community's fault. Nintendo themselves designed their marketing strategy for the Fighter's Pass (and additional DLC) to be as anti-consumer as possible by keeping its contents a total secret for (over) a year. If they just revealed it, people would be coming up with, and sharing, ways to take down Joker. Or actually be united in thinking Joker should get a nerf.

Gossipers thought that there would be an announcement at The Game Awards 2019. There was not.
These kinds of chattering speculating gossips are also found in presidential politics, with the same pattern.

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