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Why The Original Super Smash Bros. Nearly Didn't Happen

Super Smash Bros. has become one of the most beloved fighting games in video game history. The game, which would eventually become a franchise and an esport, sold 5.5 million copies worldwide. Super Smash Bros., or Smash 64, brought together everyone's favorite Nintendo characters and pitted them against one another. The title was so successful that it would later be mimicked by Sony with their release of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.


Super Smash Bros. has been around for more than 20 years now, but originally, the hit title did not start out with the loveable Nintendo characters that you know. In fact, the game wasn't even called Super Smash Bros. Before the decision to include Mario and the gang, the game was a completely different prototype. According to Masahiro Sakurai, the game was referred to as Dragon King: The Fighting Game. The game did not feature any characters from the Nintendo cast.

So why did it almost never happen?

Nintendo met the idea with much skepticism. The Super Mario Bros. franchise was a household name — a family-friendly household name. When Nintendo was presented with the prototype, Dragon King: The Fighting Game, the idea of using any Super Mario Bros. characters seemed highly absurd. Their characters, Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi, never seemed particularly violent. The company thought that it would be a major risk to put trademark Nintendo characters into the game.


Shigeru Miyamoto saved Super Smash Bros. According to Miyamoto, "When we were making 'Smash Bros.,' there were some people who were worried; they asked me, 'Is it really okay to have Mario punch and kick?' I actually had to plead with them by explaining that he already pulls turtles out of their shells." The Mario series has always been very family-friendly, so it's easy to see why Nintendo had the concerns that they had. They were afraid that they would be skewing the perception of one of the largest gaming icons in the business.

Luckily, Nintendo sided with Miyamoto, and the result was Super Smash Bros.