Super Smash Bros. Ultimate might be highly regarded as a celebration of gaming, but an overlooked secret to its success lies in its gleeful encouragement of dickish behaviour. It’s in every use of Pikachu’s thunderbolt, Wario’s atomic fart, Yoshi’s “Brrrm Ha!”, or the satisfying slap of a Pokeball which spawns Snorlax under an opponent’s chin.
By this logic, It’s a game perfectly designed for myself. I’m happiest in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate when I’m callously plotting my opponent’s demise by the goofiest means necessary. My favourite is Villager from Animal Crossing, who disarms with his dorky exterior, only to clap enemies with a falling tree.
It requires immaculate timing to execute; planting and watering the seed to sprout, before you bring the thunder with two axe chops. When it connects, landing a screeching KO, it’s arguably the greatest display of human mockery you can ever inflict.
Minecraft’s Steve is basically Villager’s spirit multiplied with more depth. You now have to mine materials like wood and iron to construct your playground of nightmares at an actual crafting table. This allows you to upgrade tools to cause greater damage, or build rails underneath a minecart track so you can continuously wreck foes by oscillating back and forth.
Minecart your way to victory (Picture: Nintendo)
It’s his surprising versatility which makes him a considerable threat. An Up Smash attack throws up a devastating lava block with a wide hit span, while the strategic planting of a TNT can turn the tide of a match. Have a bunch of scrapping opponents off to the side? Casually nudge a TNT into their fisticuffs and it’ll trigger chaos to make any super villain envious.
The ability to create block platforms comes with the best comical side effects. Rapidly spawn blocks around your opponent and you’ll briefly wedge them into cube purgatory, leaving them open for attacks. The creativity with the blocks, like Minecraft itself, feels surprisingly flexible for a fighter - with a carefully placed block above an edge able to cause a ricochet for easier KOs, or even operate as a barricade to prevent edge grabs entirely.
Day 1 steve and I'm already concerned. platform cancel on crumbling blocks is demonic and the edge guarding well it speaks for itself. Still, I'm already in love with him. pic.twitter.com/fu7xuAF3fy— Wilksy15 (@wilksysyamega) October 14, 2020
Pro players like Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby are already showcasing what’s possible just a day after release - chaining together minecarts, anvils and blocks to pull off some creative punishes. Time will tell if Steve becomes a mainstay at competitive tournaments, although from a spectator perspective, he’s guaranteed to be top tier when it comes to flashy showboating.
At the moment, even the glitch overlords are in his favour. An exploit discovered by BunsenBurn on Reddit shows how some characters will fall through the stage entirely after hitting one of Steve’s blocks in a specific way. This is a likely product of the developer’s having to retool all the stages within the game to accommodate the new mechanics, but I’m choosing to believe he’s an unstoppable force hellbent on cracking open Smash’s world like an egg.
If this sounds exhausting and you prefer psychological torment, simply join the community in building something phallic. It’s a tactic Steve appears to endorse too, flashing his cooked beef on the victory screen with unfortunate positioning.
oh wow uhhhh 😳 pic.twitter.com/0AMSHKMff7— Nintendeal (@Nintendeal) October 14, 2020
Essentially, creator Masahiro Sakurai has translated and distilled Minecraft’s ethos into the perfect troll fighter for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Recent DLC characters like Min Min and Hero from Dragon Quest have offered unique mechanics true to their franchise, but Minecraft’s Steve digs to the heart of what Smash is about; dickery on an exceptional scale.