By: Kate Davis
This is the story of how we introduced our daughter to Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64.
We are a big retro game household with two parents who grew up during the golden age of console games. Our daughter has grown up with every Nintendo system in history. This makes her pretty familiar with the lore behind most of the big Nintendo game franchises. Lately, she’s been wanting to try some of the older games we grew up with. We started her off with games that had familiar characters and storylines – the old games from the franchises she currently loves on modern systems.
One of the first games she chose to play was Super Smash Bros. on the N64. We have all played Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (commonly referred to as Super Smash Bros. 4), and Project M (a fan-made mod for Smash Bros. Brawl that is played on the Wii) extensively.
We let her play solo on her first run through, so she could explore the game a bit. We tried to reduce her frustration by letting her get used to the controls, the different characters, and graphics while playing against a computer opponent. We also made sure to let her know that when she’s good and ready, she can play against us.
She learned how to use the Nintendo 64 controller pretty well – we use a variety of different controllers in this house (several of them are made by third parties and designed to feel like retro controllers). She liked the slightly different characters to pick from, and felt confident in the controls for the game. Project M helped a lot in this regard. That game aimed to use the older move-sets and combo. This meant she was already pretty familiar with some of the characters.
She liked seeing the difference in the visuals between the original game on the N64 and the newer ones on the Wii and Wii U. Her first reaction was to laugh a bit at the graphics, but then she said she that it helped her appreciate how good the new games looked. She even thought that the more pixelated Pokémon were “way cuter.”
She was tripped up a bit by the slight difference in controller speed between the Wii/WiiU and the N64. The reactions were just a little bit slower, and she had to more carefully time each move instead of joyfully button smashing like she could with Project M or Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. This was a welcome change because she had to really stop and think about strategy instead of just pressing buttons. She really enjoyed the mini games and training modes, too. Board the Platforms (a mini game) was completely new for her, and she played that again and again for hours.
All in all, she far preferred playing solo against the computer (where she could adjust the difficulty level) over playing against her parents. The delay with the controller left her with an even bigger deficit as far as game play than in the modern games. This was a really fun way for her to play a new game, but it was still something familiar enough to lower her frustration. She’s gone back to play it a few times over the past year, and each time goes right back to those mini games.
So if your kids enjoy the newer Smash Bros. titles – maybe try them on the old game, and start them with solo play and those awesome mini games. Help them get used to the timing and combos, and you’ll have hours of fun together!
The N64 is so great!! It aged really well, so it’s fun whether you’re a child playing it in the 90s or a child playing it in 2017. I miss Smash Bros 64.
We have a N64 sitting in our basement. I’m a little worried that connecting it to our 55″ TV will look unplay-ably bad. But great to hear about the success of the classic game with young gamers!