By ERIC SCHULMAN
Super Smash Bros. is illegal –– or, at least, making it was. Smash’s developer, HAL Laboratory, failed to inform Nintendo that it was developing a fighting game featuring Nintendo’s copyrighted characters until HAL finished developing the game. It was an incredibly passive-aggressive move for HAL Labs, knowing full well that Nintendo wouldn’t sanction a fighting game. Nineties fighting games, like Tekken and Streetfighter were geared exclusively towards hardcore gamers, and frankly, they didn’t sell. Still, Smash was elegant. While it was simple enough for newcomers, it had the capacity for complexity necessary to engage hardcore fans.
Luckily, game companies aren’t like bitter roommates, who get vindictive when you move their textbooks to hint you need a hand with cleaning. Nintendo overlooked HAL Labs’ blatant copyright infringement, endorsed the game and released it in Japan and North America. After selling 4.9 million copies for the Nintendo 64, 8.1 million for the GameCube and 7.5 million for the Wii, the rest was history.
Billy Lenkin / Sun Cartoonist