[republished from 4th March 2012]

This article will simply go over a few important points about making Articles for the bunker. First off, a general guide to what isn’t encouraged in an article;

  1. Please do not create an article just to communicate with other MYMers. MYM has plenty of other means of getting in contact with others
  2. I am not at all a fan of “political articles”, articles written simply to make the author’s opinion on certain matters the loudest. Try not to soapbox too much, ok? It makes MYM feel like a giant arguement, and that’s never fun
  3. I reserve the right to privatise/hide/trash genuinely offensive content without notifying the author first. So, no rapefics, ok?
  4. And finally, for God’s sake don’t spam Fake Top50s

Secondly, bear in mind that WordPress automatically saves drafts of your articles as you write them, and that others can read these drafts. On the Dashboard click on Posts, then Drafts in order to find any drafts WordPress currently has saved for your articles. If you’re writing an article over multiple sessions, you may want to save the article elsewhere, then delete the draft.

And thirdly, the main reason I wrote this article;

Catagories

The Bunker is a pretty large place, with over 20 authors all publishing articles. A big part of why the Bunker was created, was so that articles could be properly organised so that anyone could find the article they wanted easily. However, for that to work, the people who publish articles, need to make sure their work is properly catagorised.

When writing a new post, you can see a list of all the available Catagories on the right hand side of the page. Checking the correct boxes here will ensure your article is neatly filed away where it should be.

I sure do love treating people like idiots.

The way this generally works, is you check (tick) on one box from the Author section of this list (or more, if the article has multiple writers involved), and then one (or two) of the boxes from the rest of the list. Please don’t leave your article uncatgorised. And please don’t just check every single catagory that is even tangentally related to your article. The point is to file your article away neatly into just the one or two catagories it best fits, not to spam it onto every catagory at once.

A classic example of ‘overcatagorisation’, is KingK.Rool’s Magnum Opus “The Black Box Opens Up”. I’ve highlighted, with red brackets, the catagories that actually apply to this article (MYMer Talk also applies here, but is left unchecked).

Then again, I’d much prefer an article being in too many catagories, than it to be left uncatagorised at all.

Something important to bear in mind, is that you may end up making an article that doesn’t comfortably fit in any of the current catagories. If you find that’s the case, or you’ve made a series of articles that you feel deserve their own catagory, then please get in contact with me (Junahu) about making new catagories.

Anyway, I’ve listed all the current catagories below, along with brief explanations about when they might apply to your article;

Author

This Catagory should never be checked. No, nothing will explode if you check it, it’s just that… every article technically has an author already, so having everyone check this box every time they write an article would be a bit much. This catagory is just here for personal organisational convenience, it keeps all the “Written by:” catagories bunched together so that they’re easier to find.

Originally on: The stadium

This Catagory is mostly reserved for all the old articles that were transferred to the bunker from the stadium blog. There’s rarely any need in using this catagory for new articles, since articles are no longer posted on the Stadium

Written by: ….

There’s a Catagory here for every Author, find the catagory/catagories that match the name(s) of everyone who had a hand in writing your article, and check them. Every article should have at least one of these boxes checked, and it is a relatively important that you do so. If you’re a new Author, and there isn’t a fitting catagory here for you, please get in contact with me about creating one.

Debate and Politics

Fairly self explanitory. If your article is reacting to current events in MYM, calling out other MYMer’s actions, or is genuinely arguementative in nature, then check this catagory

Moveset Talk

If the article is talking about a particular moveset, or a group of movesets, then check this catagory. Also see if any of the following subcatagories also apply to your article, and check one of those too.

Moveset Graveyard

If the article is about a moveset(s) that was never posted at all, then check this catagory.

Movesets of the Past

If the article is a look-back on an older moveset, then check this catagory

MYM Retrospective

If your article is a retrospective look at MYM itself in the past, then check this catagory. If your article applies to this catagory, but not to “Moveset Talk”, then go ahead and uncheck “Moveset Talk”.

MYMer Talk

If the article discusses a particular MYMer(s), then check this catagory. Also see if any of the following subcatagories also apply to your article, and check one of those too.

MYMer Interviews

If the article is a Q/A session between you and another MYMer, then check this catagory

MYMer Reviews

If the article is a look-back on an MYMer in general, an analysis of their activity over a certain period, or a look at a large chunk of their movesets, then check this catagory

The Black Box

This catagory is mostly reserved for KingK.Rool’s series of articles entitled “The Black Box”

Top 10s

Any article that is a ranked list of some description goes here.

Other

If the article does not match any of the other catagories, but does in some way match one of these sub catagories, check this catagory.

Announcements

If your article is.. well.. an announcement, declaration etc, then check this catagory

Humor

If the point of your article was to generate a few laughs, then check this catagory

Voting

If your article’s purpose is to host a poll, or to show your own list of votes for Top50/MYMawards/whatever, then check this catagory

Sandbag Reviews

This catagory should be checked if your article is an in depth critique of a specific moveset. Basically, if it’s a review, check this catagory, and then check whichever subcatagory matches your name

Moveset Reviews: ….

There’s a subcatagory here for everyone who has published a servicable number of reviews. If there is no catagory here that matches your name, please get in contact with me about adding a new catagory for you.

Roundtable Reviews

This subcatagory is reserved for any article that involves two or more MYMers discussing a particular moveset

Story Modes

If your article describes some sort of narrative story, or any SSE replacement/supplement, then check this catagory and one of the following subcatgories

Other

This catagory is where most Story Modes go. If you make significant progress in your Story Mode (i.e. you manage to finish one) please get in contact with me about making a new catagory for your Story Mode to go in

Survivor

This catagory is reserved for MasterWarlord’s various “Survivor” series.

Sunday Recap

If your article is a recap of a week’s activity, then you absolutely must check this catagory. It’s pretty important to make sure every Recap article is correctly catagorised.

Tips & Guidelines

Tutorials, HowTo guides, Articles explaining or exploring various aspects of MYM. If your article is helpful to others, then check this catagory

Uncatagorised

This Catagory is reserved for articles that have not been properly catagorised yet. Basically, if you’re having trouble finding the right boxes to check, leave Uncatagorised checked and get in contact with me. It’s the only box checked by default, so when you’re finished catagorising your article, be sure to uncheck it.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope we can keep the Bunker tidy and user friendly, for everyone’s sake.

Advertisements

35 Movesets Ranked!

★★★★★★★★★★ – 0 Movesets – At 10 stars, I will declare this moveset the best moveset ever made. . .Not by MasterWarlord. No moveset has ever obtained this rank.
★★★★★★★★★☆ – 0 Movesets – At 9 stars, movesets are among my personal favorites from all contests. This tier was previously unused, but due to sheer quantity of sets formerly 8 star sets were bumped up.
★★★★★★★★☆☆ – 1 Moveset – At 8 stars, movesets are typically getting into the ranks of the elite, and will fondly be remembered for MYMs to come.
★★★★★★★☆☆☆ – 2 Movesets – At 7 stars, movesets are getting good enough to actually stand out from among the crowd and be legitimately memorable. The sets in this tier were originally merged with 6 star, but there started to become too much of a gap in the tier it had to be split in two.
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ – 3 Movesets – At 6 stars, I -do- like the movesets, though they certainly have plenty of room for improvement or their ideas aren’t -that- unique.
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ – 8 Movesets – At 5 stars, I no longer actually like these movesets, but they aren’t -bad-. The quality gap between 6, 5, and 4 stars is among the largest on the list.
★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ – 6 Movesets – At 4 stars and below, I specifically start DISLIKING movesets.
★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ – 6 Movesets – At 3 stars are plenty of bad movesets, but they typically have some slightly redeeming quality that prevents them from going down the list further.
★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ – 2 Movesets – At 2 stars, movesets have no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ – 7 Movesets – With only 1 star, movesets not only have nothing good about them, they’re completely OOC, horrifically generic, impossible to read, and do 30% and great knockback on every move.

H.N. ELLY
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★★★★★☆☆
8/10

LUKE ATMEY
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★★★★☆☆☆
7/10

BUBBLEMAN.EXE
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★★★★☆☆☆
7/10

MIKE DAWSON
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆
6/10

PUTATA
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆
6/10

PORYGON Z
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆
6/10

BISHARP
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
5/10

GWYNEVERE
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
5/10

COLD ENCHANTER
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
5/10

QUEEN CHRYSALIS
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
5/10

CLUMSY ASSASSIN
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
5/10

PRINCESS BUBBLEGUM
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
5/10

SAKUYA
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
5/10

YOUNG XEHANORT
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
5/10

PHARAOH MAN
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆
4/10

LIZARD
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆
4/10

KAMMY KOOPA
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆
4/10

ALAKAZAM
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆
4/10

GARBLE
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆
4/10

WILLY WONKA
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆
4/10

TRIXIE
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
3/10

BEASTMAN.EXE
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
3/10

HEAVY WEAPONS GUY
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
3/10

CREEPER
Click the image to open in full size.
★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
3/10

SCOUT

Click the image to open in full size.
★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
3/10
MAGNEMITE

★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
3/10

FERALIGATR
Click the image to open in full size.
★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
2/10

BRELOOM
Click the image to open in full size.
★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
2/10

MEDIC
Click the image to open in full size.
★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
1/10

FLIM AND FLAM
Click the image to open in full size.
★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
1/10

DRILLMAN.EXE
Click the image to open in full size.
★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
1/10

STRONGBAD
Click the image to open in full size.
★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
1/10

PYRO
Click the image to open in full size.
★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
1/10

YOSHIKA
Click the image to open in full size.
★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
1/10

KAMELLA
Click the image to open in full size.
★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
1/10

STILL BETTER THAN JUNADAY

As far as standards go for pony movesets, this one is actually quite tolerable. The basic defensive maneuvers in the smashes with the ring of fire and the fire pillar and the ridiculously large quantity of minions you can summon and direct about are good, and being able to web the foe down to continue camping at them at they’re stuck in place is a good final thing to bring it together. Even the mind control grab-game is somewhat clever, if the up throw is very tacky. The main problems with the set are how irrelevant the standards and aerials are to everything and how the set does very little to make it stand out from a sea of campers other than the sheer quantity of minions on screen. I also think that the minion control should’ve been handled in the specials somehow, as commanding around minions when using attacks could be a bit annoying. I guess it doesn’t matter so much when you have so freaking many minions though, if some of them aren’t commanded exactly how you want. Either way, it’s a quite functional camper/minion character, which is more than I could ever really ask from you, and Chrysalis’ dthrow is more relevant than Doc Scratch’s.

POISONING CUSTOMERS

Creating cider to heal damage in advance is a pretty stupid goal, and it’s pretty dumb to go out of your way to keep your percentage low when you constantly have to herd around this giant machine if you even want to recover, much less make lots of cider. There is –one- decent way to survive and ignore your terrible recovery, where the cider is actually useful, and that’s by standing in-between two trees. For all intents and purposes, for foes, trees have 90 HP, making them ludicrously durable, and they’re not remotely difficult to replace. It helps that these trees also double as the duo’s only offensive prowess, as the brothers will constantly be comboing characters against them like the Ice Climbers could only dream of.

There’s no need for especially complicated exploits here, the bair de-synchs Flam for you, and from there it’s all too easy to start infiniting people with the tools you’ve provided in the set, much less when you can send off Flam to grab people and bring them back in while you attack them simultaneously. It just all seems too easy, and it fits into the flowchart build of fighting in-between two trees all too well. Yes, they have no projectiles, so foes have to arc projectile over trees to camp at them, but they can produce cider easily enough to win in a stall war to force enemies to approach, and can stockpile cider to make use of their time to themselves. Nevermind how the machine can absorb enemy traps and projectiles (“Other such things”). The moveset flows, but not in the way you intended and with some strategies you didn’t even really consider. It’s more of a flowchart than anything, and it’s quite a boring one at that to even read through, let alone play as/against.

Using cider against enemies is not only OOC, it’s a stupid strategy when it doesn’t help them with KOing and they’re so much better at damage racking with their generic Ice Climbers + walls infinites. Going out of your way to create ammo to enable you to use a throw that does 15% is just stupid. Nevermind how incredibly stupid the other tilts are that give the foe the cider into their hands without forcing them to drink it is. You really think people are going to be “overconfident” and drink it or something? You’re bringing me back terrible memories of G-Man’s infamous dthrow. I also am fairly offended by all of the inputs (SPECIALS no less) to handle the stupid machine, especially one that’s nothing but a switch you turn on and off – that could be handled by just hitting up like an SSE door next to the thing or something.

Oh, and while the brothers aren’t evil or anything, they can turn off qualiy control, suck Fluttershy’s animal friends into the machine, chop them up and put them in a blender, then force feed them to Fluttershy via dthrow. Pinkamena, eat your heart out.

:3 FREE MINECRAFT ANIMU GIRLFRIEND MOD ^.^

With all of these generic punches and kicks and no aerials, it’s kind of difficult to tolerate the lack of what is one of the Creeper’s largest traits, in blowing up the blocks around him when he explodes in a very unique and specific circle shape. This seems like such a hilariously obvious route to take with the character, and the fact that it’s not there because of bias against terraforming or terraforming being this contest’s “thing” sickens me. The people who are saying that have read jack all this contest, as terraforming has barely even been that used, and in almost all the sets it’s in it’s a supportive element rather than a focus, so it’s hardly like most of them could be labeled “terraforming sets”. When you’re willing to break character and have the Creeper burrow through the ground on dsmash and even have an interaction with it on dthrow, I can only think about what could’ve been in tandem with terraforming.

Aside from that, anything beyond punching and kicking in this set largely boils down to the fact that your attacks self damage. I understand that not all of the attacks can actually kill the Creeper when all of his attacks have to be explosive in nature, but there should blatantly be one easy to land explosive move that kills him. It’s kind of stupid you have this usmash to buff the creeper up, but still don’t even have an actual attack where the creeper kills himself when he blatantly –WANTS- to die after having taking that ludicrous 50%. The usmash not being a special is also rather offensive on such an “in-smash” take on the Creeper that takes absolutely no risks of any kind with the obvious self KOs and terraforming the character needs. Random moves that do no damage and don’t even leave behind a freaking trap that damages things need to be on Specials or thrown out.

KHOLD 3V1 BOSS MEDIC

The number one problem with this, above anything, is cutting off people’s arms so casually, disabling the entire movesets of the vast majority of characters. The bonesaw isn’t even something remotely difficult to hit with in this moveset. This character also seems like a massive troll character to pick given how you even –recommend- chopping off the body parts of your allies, and during the initial 30 seconds where the Medic can’t attack foes anyway I can see many Medics just chopping their allies into bloody pieces for trolling purposes. Sure, they can gang up on Medic 9v1, but with how easy it is for Medic to chop off arms with one easy to land hit, any non ranged tactics are taboo, meaning people are going to be comically running around from their ALLIED medic. The whole playstyle of creating a monster is second to just running around chopping off people’s arms. You’re essentially running around with something better than an instant KO, given it takes 45 seconds for people to get their arms back as opposed to the usual 30 second revival timer.

The concept you’re actually going for with making your own mixed and matched creation is. . .Decent, but it’s nothing to write home about when it’s just an OOC, tackier version of Ameno Sagiri. That said, I actually do like the idea of Agi’s version where Medic saws off the arms of corpses in a stamina version of CTF, but I’m not one to endorse people making up ideas to promote someone else’s set, and you showed not the slightest hint of something like this in the set – you seem to be 100% fine with sawing people’s arms off and treat it like a casual occurrence. The meat of Medic’s moveset also isn’t especially relevant to Medic’s main game either, so even in a perfect world this moveset isn’t particularly well executed.

CHRISTMAS MITTENS

This moveset feels like it has very little reason to be in CTF other than the hilariously upscaled healing on the sandvich. Heavy needs some more moves to help with his obvious tanking role, superarmor on moves here and there, and the obvious moves meant to help him with crowd control/specialized to deal with multiple enemies. You know, crap like grabbing somebody and doing a throw like mario’s bthrow, but the foe you’re spinning around is a hitbox. Yes, team attack is on, but the Heavy should be deep enough into enemy lines that hitting allies shouldn’t be such a severe issue.

Yes, the fthrow and dsmash are in-game effects and that’s how they have to be if you include them, but who says they have to be included at all, especially in the case of that fthrow? You’d get the same effect from just having a generically long throw animation, and that use is far too minor to really be CTF specific. The dtilt isn’t even an in-game effect, is stupid to have on a standard, and the Heavy should largely be more offensive anyway, considering he has no traps to contribute and for ranged defensive combat is inferior to countless other characters.

DIGLETT ON DRUGS

I have no real opinion on the Pyrovision, but I am glad in the least that you actually attempted to make that the only thing that sold the set. As it is, though, Pyrovision contributes little and is largely just there to anger Khold, Sundance, and Plorf. Perhaps a more generic Pyro set with nothing but Pyrovision would’ve been the best way to go, as at least then you’d chugging along the Junahu train. You can even, at the end, pretend it was all just a writing style gimmick and say that the Pyro doesn’t actually see this in the fight if the Khold crew continued to be anal about it.

I’ve been passively assuming the set itself is terrible up to this point in the comment, and now I’ll tell you why it is. Spawning anywhere is a very tacky mechanic, and you just assume that people can see allied camera zones when in fact they can only view those camera zones when they’re –dead-. When you’re alive, you can only view your own. This, in tandem with the dsmash which enables the Pyro to warp back to the base somehow, gives the Pyro supernatural powers which I have to assume come from the magic syndrome Pyroland somehow, making it very hard to ignore Pyroland and picture this as a set for the actual well known Pyro.

Tunneling is not even justified by Pyroland, you deciding to include it because of a shovel despite the Soldier being the one to use the shovel. Tunneling around the base before grabbing people through solid walls somehow is obscenely tacky, and makes the Pyro superior at the Spy’s job. The Pyro really does feel more like the Spy here considering how deep he’s secretly going into the enemy base before killing individual people and taking the flag, and once people find out there’s really not much they can even do about it seeing they have to fumble about looking for the tunnel entrance, and that will just leave their flag open. Once you do get the flag, you just have to use your dsmash and you’re back to your base instantly with the flag in-tact. This set is quite possibly even more overpowered for the mode than Medic. Spawn in enemy base, tunnel into wall, grab flag through wall, let the foes find you, teleport back via dsmash. Done.
TOON ALLIGATOR

This is your least favorite moveset you’ve made despite my “preference” that Slaking is the worst, but it’s certainly a good contender. Obviously, it’s incredibly bland with mass bat swings in a certain direction, and the fact that you don’t use the sandman despite having so many generic bat swings is nothing short of astonishing – that could actually make the mass bat swings not quite as terrible as you’re given new angles to bounce off of projectiles. Either way, the bat swings here are largely to give the finger to traps, the entire point of CTF. Why bother with a Spy when Scout can lead the charge in with no need to be a one man gang, actually being a generically anti-trap character who is still very fast and works with allies? It really saddens me that Medic, Scout, and Pyro would all be so heavily used for CTF because the only way they can think to be relevant to it is to break it.

There’s no reason to use the stupid milk and “hype meter” from the game. Yes, that is how they behave in the game, but who says you need to include them at all if they’re such inherently terrible things to include? It’s much stranger when somehow, someway, you don’t include the superior Sandman over these terrible attributes. Whether or not you like the character, researching the source material thoroughly is a mandatory exercise before you even start the moveset, much less if you don’t know them. It’s really very impressive that you included these stupid things that not even the Kholdstare Scout included, making it inferior to that moveset not only for the writing style, but for the moveset itself. At least Heavy managed to de-canonize the generic noob Heavy set, that can’t be said for Scout, Pyro, and Medic.

GWYNDOLIN

Gwyndolin is a pretty basic camper once you get past the cool gimmick of his player specific controlled minions. Lots of projectiles, ability to extend the stage massively, giant minion that doubles as a wall. Teleport that teleports so far you need to extend the stage to justify it, and also enables him to go past his minion. It’s fairly good for what it is, but the melee moves contribute little to his game/gameplan than any other character. As a matter of fact, I don’t see why this character would ever want to be in melee combat in particular. Not just for his superior ranged combat, but for his really awkward combo-able frame.

Having an online mode specifically for this character is rather bizarre, and your specific character choices are all the more bizarre (Bartz is a joke, but get Roxas away from me). What’s more, even ignoring your selection of chars for this role, who would really want to play as a minion when their moveset is randomly selected? There’s enough characters that you’re not going to be good at all of them, and in the specific characters you’ve chosen several of them are very underpowered (Triforce tier, Roxas) and less desirable than the others. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the specific characters who submitted to become a knight to use their own set, if just for the fact so we don’t have characters like Electrode and Master Hand using humanoid movesets, or are at least spared the abominations of moveset swaps like Pikadorf in the context of Brawl? In any case, this is mostly nitpicking, but I am somewhat disappointed by the obvious missed potential here – given the fact that you did indeed choose specific movesets to fight for Gwyndolin, the fact that there is no synergy whatsoever between Gwyndolin and the minions is rather telling.

There is no real acknowledgement of the minions at all in the main moveset either, regardless of not acknowledging the specific movesets. With your general distaste for MYM culture, it’s also quite a missed opportunity here that this wasn’t a 3v1 boss moveset, as having extra players on your side is quite a cool concept. More of a 3v3 moveset, really, and since it’s an online mode clutter with HUDs wouldn’t be an issue. Gwyndolin himself does seem like he would be good in such a mode, if just for how much larger he makes the stage to accommodate more players. Either way, something that seems like it would more be your style is if this set was turned into some sort of creepypasta, as it sort of feels like one at the start before turning into a regular moveset. Shame this wasn’t posted on Halloween.

BROKEN LARXENE

The inbreeding with this moveset with Larxene is so obvious it’s not even funny. Combo character with duplicates and lingering knives to make use of for later. In the least, it’s obvious Larxene stole the concepts from this set rather than the other way around, seeing how long this set has been in production, but it’s not like this set contributes much of anything new to comboing anyway beyond those flashy specials, with the meat of the set being fairly weak.

Having knives stack hitstun be a cliffnote on an fsmash is a pretty terrible thing to carelessly throw in on one input (Fsmash) as a token mention, and it feels like a massive afterthought anyway considering how it’s never acknowledged again. Sakuya already has more than enough methods for comboing anyway, this is more just to push her towards overpowered territory with infinites. Merge, in his playstyle summary, even fully suggests that the moveset is very capable of infinites, and quite honestly, I believe him. You’ve just thrown too much overpowered comboing crap at this moveset in a vain hope it’d work together. It kind of reminds me of Subaru’s cliffnote shield breaking when it was posted right after specialized shieldbreaker Super Macho Man – in this case, it’s taking Chakravartin’s specialty and turning it into something that’s just taken for granted.

The moveset is also surprisingly quite powerful in all round respects that make it sound like this set would absolutely destroy match-up charts. First is the very good recovery, her having multiple outlets to portal recovery to if her regular already quite good recovery doesn’t work. Second, that stupid bell for the Up Special is going to constantly get in the way of enemy projectiles, as most projectiles vanish upon making contact with something, making defensive play very difficult. You hate all defense and don’t care, alright, so I’m gonna go over to Sakuya and attack her instead. . .At which point, I have to deal with a character who will be ruthlessly abusive with their shield, given breaking it is beneficial for her. Yes, I could just grab her when the shield gets low, but she will almost undoubtedly have knives and/or a duplicate lingering around to punish me while I go through my throwing animation. The moveset is very difficult to respond to as is, but Sakuya can also place foes where they’re least comfortable with Luna dials to try to take away their unique properties and what have you.

The difficulty in responding to Sakuya is something you don’t take away as much upon reading the moveset, hence why I focused on that more than the comboing in this comment. In any case, yes, a character with so many extensive comboing options/infinite potential has very little way to fight against her, defensive or offensive, and the pay off for this is a slightly improved Larxene. Count me out please.

SKANKY KAMMY

This is one of a whole two movesets Mr. rainbows and lollipops dislikes despite him apparently being one of the more “humble” parties in MYM. Either way, this is a character who’s lack of inputs is theoretically justified by being a mini-boss with one attack. We’d have movesets for characters who do less things, much less just as much, and many of them have had full quality movesets. Nevermind how much implied potential there is for this character, when she’s a reskin of Kammy, who is in turn a reskin of Kamek. It’s really quite impressive you manage to make a Kamek character who manages to make even less use of the character’s potential than Kammy.

You seem to be aware of how few attacks Kamella has and try to justify it with really tacky ways of taking away all the foe’s attacks, something Kamella doesn’t do anyway (Can’t use that excuse anymore). This disabling of the foe simplifies the match far more than I’d ever like and turns the match into a children’s game as you bring them down to your level, and this along with the skanky personality you make for the character is quite reflective of your ideals and personality. I think that not even you can really justify the set’s incomplete moveset with “mini-boss” logic, given you admit your distaste for the set, and it just comes across as very, very lazy and a way to add some much needed padding to Junahu day. I can’t even really justify this as a mini-boss set, as it would function as a decent generic mini-boss meant to be played against, not as. . .But it has those attacks that disable the foe’s moveset blatantly meant to make it viable to be played –as-.

I do really enjoy the first person writing style if nothing else, probably my favorite of yours even over Badman, as this is a more specific and difficult character to write for. It makes me wish I could see a full Kammy moveset from you rather than you having pushed one onto Geto, to see you make proper use of your beloved yellow blocks.

MOST PERVY SET SO FAR

Obviously, this is an increasingly boring moveset when every move is a grab in X direction with minimal differentiation, and the redundancy is obviously off the charts. Blah blah, mindless playstyle is in-character, blah blah, you insist that gamers have the intelligence of a grape fruit and would enjoy playing such a character who has a moveset filled with nothing but the same thing 23 times, despite considering Alucard the best moveset ever made for his “versatility”.

Against characters without a projectile, Yoshika is hideously overpowered, just by the simple token that having all of your attacks be grabs, especially in mid-air, is an absolutely tremendous advantage, even ignoring her inability to flinch. You pretty much have to play some bizarre hit and run game to defeat her, poking her just barely and getting out before she can grab you. While you’re poking her, make sure you don’t poke that little tag on her, less all hell break loose! No pressure, man, no pressure. This is already stupidly difficult enough, but Yoshika can make excellent use of her hands to cover any and all blind spots. With use of her Down Special (Which feels like a very wasteful and un-smash input that you’d catch onto and should be combined), Yoshika can have the hands constantly overlap herself and not go after foes, covering her in disjointed grab hitboxes aside from her own constantly. I assume you will try to justify this nonsense by saying that it’s in-character to fear a zombie and that you shouldn’t be able to beat them. This isn’t a survival horror game, we’re playing as superpowered characters that kill off zombies en mass to gain experience to level up – including many of the characters in your beloved canon.

Against characters with a projectile, Yoshika’s quite underpowered instead. Just projectile spam and flee. The hands are far too slow to ever catch up to you regardless of how slow the character you’re playing is, making their purpose largely for defense rather than offense, as showcased in the previous paragraph. Whether or not you acknowledge stalling, you can get more than enough damage this way to poke Yoshika off-stage for a kill, maybe even with a generic projectile, given Yoshika’s recovery is so mediocre.Yes, you can get Yoshika’s tag in the way of projectiles, but that still doesn’t solve the problem of stalling. If you ignore stalling, Yoshika is still far too slow to ever catch-up to a foe grabbed by the hands in front of a tombstone, making the prospect of just destroying the tombstones not a difficult prospect. Once the tag is gone, you can’t use it again, and from there it’s smooth sailing.

NOT SHEENA

The moveset is basically a very simplistic comboing set with very light elements of bullet hell (Dsmash, the recolored guardian minions, the dog, card grab-game) to support the comboing. That, and status effects to render the foe easier to combo courtesy of the grab-game. It flows better than Garble, largely because of those status effects, but the actual comboing itself is quite boring and leaves for lots of filler inputs, and despite the throws flowing they feel very tacky.

Leeching these things from the foe feels very strange, even if it an in-game effect – people regularly complain about things David’s movesets do regardless of them doing things they actually do. If it’s not absolutely essential to a character, it should not be included if it’s too strange, or at least represented in some other way. Dodge speed is probably the worst offender, which is a shame considering it’s the one that’s the most relevant to the moveset.

I take offense to the way you have chosen to represent this character by omitting the character’s name. Yes, you have made it abundantly clear that this is supposed to represent the character at a specific point in their life. In the least, it’s not a moveset with an all encompassing title like “Grunty” while having her Nuts and Bolts design. I still think this makes far less sense than what happened to poor Vegeta, though, considering Vegeta was murdered for being a set specifically for the Saiyan saga and not including Super Saiyan form.

THE PROPHECY

Pharaoh Shot is a very bland centerpiece. By itself, it’s essentially Aura Sphere/Shadow Ball, but the passive hitbox while charging the move is above you rather than behind you, with a token move or so that knocks people upwards for the most basic of fundamental flow – were you expecting me to think there was –not- supposed to be a move that knocked people up in the moveset? As far as interacting with other moves, it’s largely very basic powering up, making it feel like one of those ammo banks that I thought we abandoned long ago as you charge up before releasing it. If I wanted a good ammo bank set, I’d go salvage Electivire or something.

The points of the set that I actually like are the minions and the interactions with them, along with the dtilt. It’s also quite entertaining characterization where Pharaoh Man burns alive the mummy who accidentally grabbed him. The set should’ve focused on this stuff rather than the boring Pharaoh Shot. As far as this aspect of the set, my only complaint is that the command should’ve been on the Down Special (Probably as a smash) rather than the ftilt, as who says that I want to command my minions when I’m just trying to punch people with a good old fashioned ftilt?

MANIPULATING NON EXISTENT TRAPS

Nothing needs to be said for Strongbad that hasn’t already, as it’s a very rushed set with poorly thought out minions. With how much the cheat is bouncing around for momentum, how Strongbad is weak, and how Strongmad is too slow to be helpful, it’d be quite easy to just poke the cheat off the stage to his death as he goes bouncing about. From there, Strongbad will largely be relying on Strongmad’s dsmash (His only input outside grab) and staying close to him, though Strongbad is too incompetent at ranged combat to get much milage out of even Strongmad.

The filler and props (Dair somehow worse than a prop) throughout the set run rampant, but it’s really more bizarre how you are constantly referencing traps to manipulate them when the traps in the set are so few and far between, and how impractical what few traps you have are, considering some aren’t even harmful to the foe outside extremely situational circumstances. This is really a spit in the face of Iron Tail and the perfectly good sub-genre, and is only serving to tarnish the reputation of it, considering you were the one who created Iron Tail.

CHARACTER WHO DWARFS CHAKRAVARTIN’S POTENTIAL

Lizard hiding behind debris is a very clever take on the likes of “smokescreens”, as it means that only Lizard can use it while foes can’t due to Lizard’s small size without coming up with the tacky explanation that only the foe’s silhouette is visible through the “smoke”. Better yet, this is a secondary purpose of the input, as it’s a crucial playstyle element for other reasons by summoning rocks, making a smokescreen move which isn’t just, “Oh hey, I’m gonna hide behind this now”. I wish there was more focus on this instead of Lizard’s obscene flight, given the interesting levels of it, but the flight is rather necessary with Lizard’s embarrassing weight. This is really the main thing that makes the set feel balanced for me, as Lizard really needs this great defensive and evasive technique when he really needs the match to go on for a while to truly become his at home overpowered self. The jab is a great technique for this survivability as well, especially when combined with his move copying game.

This is very obviously the best move copying character in MYM, a genre that’s normally ridiculed, but here a very legitimate moveset. The main thing I like about it is that you have the golems for Lizard to copy moves from, giving Lizard much more to play off of with his move copying games rather than just relying on his enemies to give him the bulk of his moveset. What I don’t like is how many moves are forfeited over for this. The Down Special in itself was brilliant enough with the ability to change the properties of attacks you’ve copied – it’s more than enough without the ability to delay attacks to turn them into traps while you go on your merry way via dtilt, much less creating mass overlaps of the attack via dsmash. It largely serves as a method to just further break Lizard, and with how strong this makes his move copying makes there be less need for his more intriguing set up with his golems and terraforming.

Now, aside from the filler of the Neutral Special, nair, dtilt, and dsmash, my problem with this set is there is no scenario in existence for this set to be played in. MYM Brawl sets are far too intertwined to tolerate having their moves locked/stolen. As far as regular Brawl, this set is –far- too wacky to ever be considered when it creates a minion from a throw that creates brawl water you can drown people in. . .If you’ve terraformed the stage properly. Even in regular Brawl, most characters are still very reliant on a handful of moves anyway. Lock Dedede’s grab, Side B, and bair to win. There’s a reason locking moves never really took off as something legitimate. It’s at least –playable- just because Lizard is so light, but it largely just becomes a contest between who can land the first hit. You want to know what else is a contest for landing the first hit? Standard fare combo centric fighting games.

First, the ingredients:

Oxygen (65%)

Carbon (18%)

Hydrogen (10%)

Nitrogen (3%)

Calcium (1.5%)

Phosphorus (1.0%)

Potassium (0.35%)

Sulfur (0.25%)

Sodium (0.15%)

Magnesium (0.05%)

Copper, Zinc, Selenium, Molybdenum, Fluorine, Chlorine, Iodine, Manganese, Cobalt, Iron (0.70%)

Lithium, Strontium, Aluminum, Silicon, Lead, Vanadium, Arsenic, Bromine (trace amounts)

Now add a bit of soul.

Then we get...

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-

If you can’t recall what happened in Part 1 [here], I talked about what specific changes I’d make to my earlier movesets, the sets from before I truly became a break out MYMer. For this second part I shall prattle on about the sets from the middle point of my career as an awesome guy, everything from Doppelori to Mona & Lisa. These sets are when I started really thinking pragmatically, so many of the changes I’d make today will be slight.

It’s important to remind readers that I’m doing this both to demonstrate how movesets can be updated without removing the core of what the set actually is, and to show that the written form of a moveset is not the moveset itself, but rather an expression of it. An expression that can warp over time.

It’s okay to change a moveset when you gain better insight to what would improve it. It’s not okay to sell that set back to the reader as a new moveset. That’s what pains me about Remickses.

As what is likely to be my first truly well designed moveset (humble, aren’t I?), Doppelori presents a unique situation to the player, wherein the clock is constantly ticking and a decisive victory is needed in order to win at all. Problematically, the way every attack and design choice ties together makes it nearly impossible to make any changes, without ruining the entire system in place.

The big problem for me with this moveset, is her Side Special, which she uses to turn into the opponent briefly. Not only is it rather shallow, only really functioning as a means of getting out of her doomed special mechanic, but it’s also just fundamentally… wrong. Doppelori is not a robot who copies the forms of others. She’s a robotic doppelganger of exactly one person; Lori. While the subterfuge of fooling others into thinking you’re someone else is great, it doesn’t really work here in Brawl.

As for what to replace the move with, I feel something a bit more tongue in cheek, yet ultimately more useful is in order. For the special, Doppelori lunges forth, grabs the foe, and then straps a cosplay mask onto them (it’s an item I made up, look it up in my Krillin moveset). It’s a mask of a Grinning Darn, a reddish robot with a grill that looks like a massive grin across its face, and it gives the foe access to a set of generic specials, along with Doppelori’s awful Final Smash;

Neutral Special: Generic wind-up punch. Higher levels of charge also increase the lag when the punch is actually used, but also introduce flinch armor into the mix.

Side Special: Generic X bomb toss. Lobs a light explosive on a slightly aimable arc. The arc tends to take the bomb over the foe’s head, hitting standing foes no closer than 1.4 stagebuilder units away at least. It really doesn’t deal much damage on contact.

Up Special: Generic angled arm tether. The player’s arm stretches up at an angle, allowing them to grab the ledge from further away. It can also grab foes in midair and drag them to the player, leaving them with a slight lag advantage.

Down Special: Self Destruct. The player explodes, dealing 17% damage to both himself, and nearby opponents. Capable of vertical KOs after 125% (to the player using the attack too).

Because of the way Cosplay masks work, the foe has to taunt in order to remove it (or take severe knockback). Doppelori won’t be able to hide in FFAs anymore, but she can sow a bit more chaos by turning foes into easier targets. It’s still kind of dumb, but at least this version of the Side Special is more self aware, and more related to Doppelori’s goals as a character.

The other main change I’d make to this moveset, is to show damage on Doppelori’s cannon, allowing her to tell how close she is to blowing up. And to alter the actual explosion so it deals a large amount of knockback to her, rather than OHKOing her outright. If she survives the knockback, her cannon restores itself to 10% health.

Oh yeah, and a hitbox on Forward Tilt. Even just a flinch is better than nothing.

Despite looking every bit like a flimsy jokeset, Magikarp herself is actually quite capable. Or at least she would be, if her attacks had hitboxes.

So, pretty much the only change to Magikarp; give every attack a hitbox, and some token knockback, particularly upward knockback so Magikarp can set up her Up-air, and so she can have a juggling game.

That’s all she needs to be a unique and fun character to fool around as. Incidentally, characters like this and Zigzagoon, and others with non-standard control schemes or bizarre playstyles, occupy a seperate partition on the character select screen. Basically, they’ll all clumped together, slightly away from the bulk that is the regular characters.

As my favourite moveset of all time, you’d think I wouldn’t want to change anything at all about Alucard. This is not so, even Alucard has awkward points that need ironing out. At its heart it is still a homage to Chief Mendez’s MYM3.0 work, warts and all.

Down-tilt needs to be a crouching sword swing. Firstly because Alucard doesn’t have enough sword attacks for a sword user. And secondly because grabbing the foe’s ankles is just awkward and irrelevent to Alucard in general. All the attack properties and such can remain the same, sending the foe on an arc that takes them over Alucard’s head.

The main point of contrition I have with the moveset in its current form, is the grab and throws. For the grab, Alucard himself should attempt to grab the foe ahead of him, with the ghostly apparition of Dracula a demon still performing the ranged grab in tandem.

The throws the set currently has are… to put it mildly, dumb. So here is a set of new throws to enjoy;

Forward Throw: Alucard hurls the foe forth, then throws his sword at them (it magically boomerangs back to Alucard), hitting for 12% over two hits and spacing the foe far away from Alucard. With proper DI, the sword hit can be shielded, avoiding the damage, but still pushing the foe away, while damaging their shield

Upward Throw: Alucard tosses the foe skyward, then teleports to their position in midair, and slams them down to the ground again. 14% damage and pops the foe into the air (like Kirby’s up-throw, this can potentially slam down onto a higher platform)

Downward Throw: Alucard deftly slashes at the foe multiple times, lightning fast. After a pause, the foe crumples into prone while taking 13% damage.

Backward Throw: Alucard turns around, slams the foe to the ground, then slashes them away with his sword. 9% damage over two hits, and keeps the foe relatively close. The throw is notable in that it turns Alucard around, something that Alucard otherwise has a buttload of trouble with.

And I’m sure everyone will be overjoyed to hear that I have absolutely no intention at all of getting rid of the Street-Fighter inputs, or of making any changes to the Specials in general, except maybe buffing some of those Familiars.

Oh dear god. THIS moveset suffers a total love-hate relationship with me.

The moveset represents a pretty awesome experiment into not only a moveset’s flow as a reading piece, but also a quirky genre shift that eventually evolves into a normal moveset, and then beyond it. Playing the part of a generic minion in a throng of dozens is a genuinely interesting idea to explore.

The part wherein everything falls apart, is the fact you have to use grab, as slimoss, over nutritious soil, in order to pluck new creatures from the floor. This basic action is outright required in order to play the set at all, which makes it all the more unforgiveable that it’s so darn arbitrary. There is really no natural, instinctive way to make this interaction play out, meaning that this is the only Junahu moveset that functionally cannot be made to work.

Instead, the entire moveset would have to be remade from the ground up. And I’d probably regret that before I even start it, so this set will have to suffer the indignity of being entirely decanonised. All because I refuse to make a contemporary remicks… how ironic.

You’d think that I’d take issue with how frustrating it would be use Nurse Joy offensively, particularly with all the myriad little details the player needs to discover before they can use her in a 1v1 situation. However, I still feel Nurse Joy provides a unique approach to Brawls, and that players will pick up on this very quickly. On the Character Select screen, she’d be grouped with Magikarp as a “non-standard” brawler.

The one change that absolutely must be made however, is Joy’s Side Special, which currently involves trapping the foe inside a Pokeball. That feels overly cruel for her.

As a replacement Side Special, I think giving her the ability to practice her 2v2 style in a 1v1 fight would be more than welcome. Upon pressing the input, Nurse Joy tosses out her pokeball which summons Chansey to the fight. Chansey can be struck, damaged, grabbed and KO’d like any real brawler. Chansey is slow, weak offensively (mostly slaps and body attacks, with one Special involving tossing explosive eggs), and has only its midair jump to save it when offstage. In all other ways however, Chansey is very durable, and is smart enough to take advantage of Nurse Joy’s healing whenever possible. If you press the input again when Chansey is already out and about, Joy returns it to the Pokeball (A laggy action, but can be performed regardless of distance from Chansey). Joy only has one Chansey (per stock), but thankfully it recovers 4% damage per second whilst not in battle, so keeping it in it’s Pokeball is a good idea from time to time.

Ok, here is the changes I’d make to Regal, are you paying attention?

Neutral Special, when used in midair, gives Regal a tiny bit of vertical momentum.

Down Special is nerfed to only being angleable to 50 degrees left/right. When used on the ground, Regal leaps up into the air, then rockets forward to the ground at a 45 degree angle.

Final Smash is now Regal’s Mystic Arte, which is a flurry of kicks (giving the Final Smash a similar Style to Link’s/Ike’s). You need to be very close to a foe in order to connect with this, but it will scoop up any foe within that range, even if they’re above or behind him. It can also be used in midair, in which case Regal kicks the foe to the ground first, then slams down to resume the Mystic Arte.

Done.

As a transparant vehicle made to get Items into matches, the Item Tree sadly should not be allowed to use items, at least not real ones. If you want items, there’s a menu for that in Brawl already.

So the main change, is one that affects the Item Tree fundamentally; replace the items with more “nature themed” objects. Below is a tentative list of some of them;

Branch: A weak battering item. Somewhere between Lip’s Stick and a star Rod as far as knockback and damage go.

Bird: A throwing item. When not being held, the bird patrols the stage using big fluttery hops. When thrown, Birds fly forward along a Sine wave pattern, stopping only if they hit something. Deals 8% damage and moderate backwards knockback.

Bramble: A throwing item. Deals 4% damage when thrown into a foe, and attaches itself to that foe, reducing their movement speed for 4 seconds whilst dealing continual damage. If a player tries to run past a bramble that is laying on the ground, they are stopped in their tracks and take 4% damage. If they try to then dash away from that spot, they’ll trip

Leaves: A throwing item. Deals 3% damage when thrown into a foe, and slightly pauses the foe during the hit itself. There is no further effect

Beehive: A throwing item. A cluster of bees hovers 2 stagebuilder units above the beehive. Touching them deals multiple flinching hits of 1% damage. If the hive is picked up, the bees fly towards the person with the hive, aiming to attack them and get them to drop the hive again. If thrown, the bees fly towards the hive, then return to their docile position above it once they’ve reached the hive. If the hive is attacked, or thrown offscreen, the bees fly towards the perpetrator, only leaving once they’ve dealt 14% damage to that player. This also happens if the foe is struck with a thrown beehive (they get honey on themselves)

Walnuts: Food item. Heals 4% damage when eaten.

Cloud: A throwing item. When tossed, the cloud stops after travelling 1.5 stagebuilder units, and hovers in place. The cloud functions as a fallthrough platform (0.8 stagebuilder units wide), though standing on it too long will cause it to vanish. If thrown through a foe, the cloud has a slight wind effect on them.

Dartgun: A shooting item. When fired, the player blows into the gun, firing a single dart straight forward. It travels instantaneously, but vanishes upon flying 2.4 stagebuilder units. On contact, the dart flinches the foe, whilst inflicting them with 6% worth of damage-over-time (2% per second). If more than one dart hits the foe in succession, the total poison damage increases (6%, 18%, 30%, 42%, 54%, 66%). It’s reasonably quick to fire, but cannot be aimed. There are 6 shots in a Dartgun.

Naturally, the Item Tree’s main moveset would need to be rebalanced to compensate for the modified item list. So in the end, the entire moveset would end up being radically different.

No change whatsoever. The set works, it does what it needs to, its characterisation still stands up to my current standards. There’s nothing to change.

Maaaaybe nerf her flinch armor to 5%. And make her grab actually incapacitate foes.

When using the Weapon Change Menu, 2 button should be accept, and 1 button should return the marker to the center of the grid. Currently it’s backwards, and it’s annoying the ever loving crap outta me. Seriously.

Oh yeah, and clearly the moveset works with other controllers, but who cares about those right?

Gameplay-wise, Protoman should be able to use his shield on the ground by crouching. It would deflect projectiles and weak attacks, though fail against stronger stuff like Smash Attacks. It’d obviously be useless against attacks from above or behind.

The Spiked Boots item is mostly useless, and should instead be an item that increases Protoman’s weight temporarily.

The Rebound strikers do not lend themselves very well at all to Brawl’s open air arenas. So I’ll just steal the Rebound Strikers from MT’s Strike Man moveset. NO-ONE WILL EVER KNOW! (Basically the same as they are now, but being struck by an attack sends the striker back to Protoman, and Protoman striking it in turn sends it back to the foe, with each volley increasing its strength)

Diglett needs to be able to jump, there is no getting around that fact. Being stuck on the ground ends up breaking the game in two. So, Jumping controls;

Holding the jump input instead of tapping it, results in Diglett leaping out of the ground (about 0.7 stagebuilder units, a serviceable distance). He takes a clump of soil with him in order to hide his body from sight. In midair, Diglett has no jumps, but can use Fissure in order to propel himself upwards 1.4 stagebuilder units. In midair, Fissure results in an earthy explosion below Diglett that propels him into the air. The blast deals 14% damage and spikes foes who were stupid enough to get hit by it. Diglett still cannot use aerials, because being aerial is not a very Diglett thing to do.

As for how Diglett’s terraforming would actually work in a real game (i.e. the logistics of programming it), Fissure’s effect can be simulated with Occlusion Culling, applying a mask that skips rendering the physical stage behind it. Of course, it would likely be more helpful in the long term to design the engine to allow the stage itself to be dynamically restructured, as that would pave the way for other terraforming characters, and for unique stages within the game itself.

As Blaze was designed to complement the existing Sonic moveset in Brawl, there’s really nothing that particularly needs changing. Ignition Burst (the attack that can be used during other inputs to alter their effect) should be on Neutral Special though, with Axel Tornado moved to Down Special. When it was on Down Special, Ignition Burst was incredibly awkward to use, due to it conflicting with a lot of the inputs that it could be used on.

With Axel Tornado moved to Down Special, its controls (specifically how you can use Ignition Burst with it) would have to be changed. Mashing B still maintains the tornado, even if you aren’t holding down on the analogue stick. In order to “Ignition Burst”, tilt the stick left or right while mashing B. This causes the tornado to lurch in the opposite direction.

The change I’d make to the duo of Penny and Inspector Gadget is simple, but fundamental; remove the obtuse summoning ritual needed to bring Inspector Gadget in, just have him there from the start, and without his cheating AI. At its core, Penny and the Inspector are about the ways in which these characters play off one another, being a team like moveset where you play the part of the weakest teammate. While there is a nice “story” to how Penny fights when alone, it’s not something that players would enjoy doing every single match.

As for the moveset itself, the attacks that fail against heavier foes need altering so that they… don’t fail. That was just a dumb idea from the start.

XP Tan is so audacious not only in concept but in design ethic, that she really feels far removed from other Junahu movesets in general. I honestly think it’d be a disservice to even attempt to streamline XP Tan in order to fit some personal canon. So I won’t even bother.

The point of the moveset, other than to make something even more sexualised than M.Trinity, and thus win the race to be the most perverted fuck in MYM, was to make an experience that felt like it came from the early 2000’s.

I’m pleased with the moveset, it’s just that it doesn’t fit with anything else. So XP Tan joins “Holy Invasion of Privacy Badman! What Did I Do To Deserve This?” as a decanonised moveset.

Great (HIPPO) moveset. Simple, pragmatic, but unique to play as. This set needs no tweaking outside of number crunching those waddle doo tornados of his.

Oh, and giving them the ability to be blown around by other character’s wind hitboxes. It’d be a bit inconsistant with characters like Giant Bat otherwise.

You would think that I’d be eager to change Emolga’s projectile interactions so that they’re consistant and fluid, but no. The “hard interaction” style of Emolga’s attacks (each attack knocks electric projectiles around in specific ways) gives Emolga a unique and fitting feel, playing with its projectiles almost as much as with its foes.

But, I’m not keen on inputs that change based on the specific opponent you’re facing. Emolga doesn’t really need its “climb on big foes” game, its grab against smaller foes is sufficient for all opponents. Though I do think that alternate grab-game should still work for larger projectiles.

Elecball should also be chargeable (but not storeable), in order to increase its size and power.

I simply would not be able to get away with altering ANY of the regular attacks, as much as I may want to in some cases. Even the literalistic grab-game that uses the exact controls of the game, needs to stay as is, due to the precarious balance in having the same base set being used in both a 1v1 and 2v1 moveset.

The one thing people tended to point out for Blaze specifically, was how her Police Entourage being immobile tended to screw her over. Her car should, as a car, be allowed to drive around to keep up with scrolling stages. Blaze should also be able to make the police car move manually, by using Up Special when directly standing over where it is (i.e. where using the up special would otherwise cause nothing to happen). In this case, the car would drive in the direction Blaze is facing, until it is no longer blocking her (or until it reaches an edge).

On the F-Zero stage Port Town Aero Dive, if the car ends up on the track, it drives along the track whenever the stage moves, getting to the stage’s next destination and parking there before the stage itself gets there (yes, this does mean the car can drive absurdly fast). On the F-Zero stage Big Blue, if the car ends up on the track, it drives along it like the other competitors (at the same impossible speed). On Mario Circuit, the go-karts can crash into the car, when driving in from the background. On Rainbow Cruise, the car remains on the ship, which is not too big a problem since the stage loops. For the purposes of Blaze’s Up Special, it’s treated as if the car is just below the bottom of the screen. If part of a stage collapses underneath the car and it falls offstage, the car reappears where it originally spawned, after a delay.

An aesthetic change for Blaze, is to replace the knife, with a broken bottle. This is to help maintain a sense of consistancy with the dagger weapon in Mike Dawson’s moveset.

Mona and Lisa’s Up Special needs some vertical lift when used, at least as 2/3 that of a normal midair jump. Their Final Smash is also pretty lame, and actually hurts their chances to win when used. Calling in a bunch of mooks to come and gang up on the foe with Mona and Lisa would be much more in keeping with the set’s style.

Howdy hoes yet again! It’s this thing.. again. Technically I won’t be teaching you anything this time, merely espousing a bunch of examples… which is what I usually do anyway… Nevermind!

This time I’ll be rambling about something a little more universally understood than screen real estate and credit gates;

Collectables

Collectables! Those trinkets and baubles that have little incidence when collected individually, yet still paint a player’s whole outlook on a game.

Note that Collectables in this article are different to Plot Tokens (collectables used to advance the game itself) and Power ups (collectables that directly modify the player’s character in the game), though we will be touching on those too.

Hey there, it’s your Grunkle Mario!

The Mario Coin

Of all of gaming’s many collectable nik-naks, the Mario Coins are the collectable with the current lowest in-game value, which is a polite way of saying that they do nothing at all. True, 100 of these blingy gold pieces confers an extra 1up on the player, but those have fallen completely out of favor with the advent of SAVE features.

So, I’ll say it again, these things are utterly worthless.

The sad thing is, that this didn’t use to be the case at all. Within the original Super Mario Bros, losing all your lives ended your game, kicking the player back to the start screen. This intense punishment meant that extra lives had a much greater value, and the means by which you could aquire more, were extremely relavent. In fact, the allure of a extra life is liberally abused throughout Super Mario Bros, especially during segements in which the player could kick a koopa shell and then run after it while it slammed into multiple foes.

It was a deliberate facet of the level design is what I am saying, and coins also had this purpose. Almost no coin is ever simply laid out on the ground, jumping and brick breaking are required for the vast majority of them, and additional stockpiles of coins were hidden in special areas that required even more exploration, and dilligence. This aspect of exploration, however, is at odds with the game’s timer, a clock which kills Mario if it ever hits zero. The player is given an interesting choice, either explore the level and risk a time-out, or finish the level without any of the potentially life-giving goodies.

Super Mario Bros 2, while abandoning the idea of an in-game time limit and the “100 coins = 1 life” concept, still made individual coins more precious to aquire. It did so by exclusively hiding them in Sub-Con (a parallel dimension that could only be accessed via special, carryable, items), and by making them the currency that buys turns at the end-of-level Slot Machine. This machine is pretty much the only way to get extra lives, thus making the slot machine itself both super tense, and super rewarding. So, again, the coins had value in that they helped you avoid losing the entire game. Once the Mario series began allowing their games to save their progress, coins lost a lot of their value.

However, that wasn’t all coins could do.

Super Mario 64, encouraged the game’s overall tone of exploration and discovery, by generally hiding the coins away, inside blocks and enemies and in corners of the worlds the player would not immediately think of going. Getting extra lives and surviving wasn’t the focus of the game, so collecting coins was instead made relevent by gifting Mario bonus stars for the endeavor (Stars being the Plot Tokens that allow Mario to enter and explore other levels). Coins also acted to restore Mario’s HP, which added the dynamic of raking around for coins whenever Mario took damage.This HP restoring feature was reused and exaggerated in Super Mario Galaxy (1 & 2), by giving Mario far less HP to play around with, thus turning coins into a literal life or death situation.

Anyway, my point is, Mario’s coins used to hold a central focus in the Mario games by allowing the player to play more of the game when collected (either by gifting extra lives, buffering Mario’s HP, or giving plot tokens to the player). Player’s were motivated to collect every coin they could, because doing so truly benefited them.

[tl:dr NSMB2 is a goddamn crime against nature for not giving coins any value at-fucking-all]

Take a coin, and remove the middle bit. Done

The Sonic Ring

Argueably THE most iconic collectable ever created, Sonic’s rings are almost like a parody of Mario’s coins. The dynamic behind them means that Sonic absolutely always needs at least 1 ring, but there is little direct incentive to collect any more. Of course, Rings are very liberally placed all over the place, making it an actual challenge to NOT collect a bundle. Rings are simply cathartic to collect en mass, and their existance represents a safety net for the player

Unless you’ve never played a Sonic game, you’ll know what Rings do; they act as a buffer to stop Sonic from dieing when struck by an enemy or hazard. When hit, every Ring in your possession hurls itself out of Sonic’s body, bouncing away from him. You can recollect some of these before they vanish, but most of them will escape Sonic’s clutches. It adds a sense of loss to being hit, without ostensibly making the player actually lose anything. It’s an ingenious abuse of the player’s inherent greed, to add something of a sentimental value to the rings. Having many rings represents the player’s skill in avoiding damage, that is their ‘value’.

Because Sonic will almost always have at least one ring on his person, he is functionally immortal, a quality almost completely unheard of outside of the Warioland series. Any player could win, as in getting to the end of the level, but more cautious and skilled players were rewarded for amassing a lot of rings and KEEPING them. This was where the games’ deceptive difficulty lay.

In Sonic 1 collecting and keeping 50 rings all the way to the end of the stage is how Sonic accesses the Special Stages. These bonus stages contain Chaos Emeralds, and collecting all 6 within one playthrough of the game allows the player to see the “true” ending. Bonus Stages are also the only way to aquire continues (whereas collecting 100 rings in a level gives Sonic a life, keeping 50 rings until the end of the stage, then collecting another 50 within the bonus stage gives him what is effectively 3 extra lives). Because the game’s acts are presented linearly, and without saving of any kind, there are a very limited number of opportunities to enter a bonus stage, so missing out on one because you got hit and lost your rings has rammifications on how careful you’ll be with rings in the remaining acts of the game.

In Sonic 2, the importance of keeping rings was diminished by allowing Sonic to enter a Special Stage by jumping into a checkpoint within the stage whilst having 50 rings. It was still a challenge to accumulate that many without being hit, but being hit did not carry the same weight as it did in the game’s prequel. However, there still was a reward for keeping a large number of rings all the way to the end of an act (half of which contained boss fights at their end). Ending an act with 100 rings present would guarantee enough points to earn a free Continue. And unlike Sonic 1, Sonic 2 made those extra continues excrutiatingly neccessary with its final act, the Death Egg Zone.

Accumulating 50 rings also allowed Sonic to transform into his invincible Super form (once all of the bonus stages had been completed), giving him not only a genuine incentive to collect rings and enter the special stages, but also to continue collecting rings even after beating all of them. Super Sonic adds an additional iconic spin to ring collection by turning them into the fuel he needs to maintain his Super form. You lose 1 ring per second, and losing all your rings not only reverts Super Sonic back to regular Sonic, but leaves him vulnerable and ringless. This system encouraged players to rampage through levels and quickly make decisions on whether to make certain detours to collect rings, a system that is both dynamic and exciting.

Sadly, Sonic 3 & Knuckles (the messy ejaculate of the 16 bit Sonic games) rendered amassing many rings pointless with two very small changes to the game’s formula. Firstly, the dreaded sting of being able to Save your game’s progress and return to any completed level made accumulating continues (and lives to a lesser extent) pointless. Secondly, the Bonus Stages no longer had anything to do with keeping rings. Instead, merely finding a giant ring hidden in the act was enough. So collecting more than one ring was worthless other than for the nice feeling of having many rings. Of course, the wonderful ability to become Super Sonic remained unchanged, but was cheapened by the fact that the hidden giant rings give Sonic 50 rings for free if he has already found all the emeralds.

Sonic games after Sonic 3 & Knuckles cycled between using rings just as a health buffer, and using them as a currency, with only Sonic 4 reviving the idea that keeping a bunch of rings throughout the whole act should be rewarded.

I know this isn’t a REAL DK Banana. 😛

The DK Banana

I know this article is already rambling, but this is the last example I’ll use today. I promise

On the surface, bananas seem much like Mario Coins, in that actually collecting them is almost worthless. Like coins, 100 bananas gives DK an extra life. The Donkey Kong Country series is actually hard enough to make extra lives seem neccessary. However, there are a number of different ways to earn additional lives, and collecting 100 bananas is by far the least efficient way.

The DK Banana then, is not a collectable that impacts on gameplay to a significant degree. Yet it is still useful to have these things in the game, because rather than treat them as something the player needs to go out of their way to collect, bananas are used much more charitably. You’ll find a lot of bananas just lieing on the path you’d normally take, or dangling in midair in a manner that tells the player how high they should jump in order to reach the next platform. A few bananas are even used to help players discover secrets, such as having a single banana bizarrely placed at the bottom of a death pit, indicating a hidden bonus barrel can be found down there.

Essentially, bananas are used to show where the player is supposed to go, in a manner that doesn’t dumb down the level design or make things overly easy. It’s a system that quickly ingrains on the player the idea that collecting bananas is in fact the easiest path, which in turn makes them want to see bananas. Even though collecting them in and of itself has little value, the bananas are still valuable.

Even in DK64, the game which gave you about a half dozen different kinds of plot token to collect (regular bananas being one of them), still used bananas to draw paths through the stage, helping the player get accustomed to getting around each massive world. Super Mario 64 hid their coins, Donkey Kong 64 kept their bananas in plain sight.

Howdy hoes! Here we go again with the self congratulating articles in which I claim to be smarter than everyone else, and talk about things wholly unrelated to Super Smash Bros.

Unlike my previous article on Screen Real Estate, I was unable to find the official terminology for this, and was forced to coin my own.

Initial Credit

Tightly designed games, such as Arcade games, have a simple mission; to coax as many coins out of the player as possible. In order to do so means making the player feel like they’re enjoying themselves, making progress, and working towards a solid goal. Note that I said “feel like”. Games are frequently not designed in such a way that they actually ARE enjoyable, but the illusion of it being entertaining is strong enough to grab the player’s money.

In general, Arcade games are designed so that the designers can plan exactly when and where players will die and have to fork over more cash. These bites of gameplay start off large, and sharply become much  smaller as the game continues and the player becomes more invested. In this article, I will be referring to these bites as “credit-zones”, and places the player is expected to die as “credit-gates”.

Credit-zones do not corrolate to a games ‘levels’ (i.e. you don’t complete one level per credit and then die when the next level starts). They never have, and for good reason; getting the player to keep playing means having them die right when they’re about to achieve something (“I’m THIS close to beating Stage 3!”). Bosses are generally obvious places to have Credit-gates, since it goads players into paying up so that they can defeat them.

But, what does this have to do with modern games? Death is a great teaching aid, no way is better at telling the player what to avoid doing. But it’s also greatly offputting, for obvious reasons. So designing to better control when players are likely to die is an important facet of game design. Using the player’s deaths to educate the player as well as motivate them to finish what they started.

And no Credit-zone is more important, than the Initial (first) Credit. You’ve gotta make the right impression on your player, and make them think they’re good at this game in particular. This element of arcade design is extremely relevant to console games too, which is why many games bundle their neccessary tutorials in as an ‘action tutorial’, a section of game designed to give you practical experience with the controls, in a situation that looks (but isn’t) dangerous and active.

So, what elements make up a good Initial Credit experience?

Teach the Player without them noticing

Arcade games have the advantage of attract-mode and physical intructions on the arcade machine itself. It costs nothing to just look at a machine. Ideally you want a potential player to notice the machine because someone else is playing it. That way they can watch a real gameplay session and note how that player controls the game and handles the various obstacles in the game.

Naturally, that scenario is relatively rare, so most Arcade machines “simulate” someone playing them, via an Attract-Mode. This mode can double as a tutorial, displaying prompts to indicate what actions cause which results. It’s a “lead by example” type of teaching, and it fuels a potential player’s competitive instincts (“I can do better than this AI chump”). In particular, many Attract Modes take place on the first level, and the AI playing it deliberately makes mistakes, teaching the player specifically what NOT to do in a situation that they will find themselves in if they start playing.

So, Arcade games have the benefit of being able to show the player what kind of game it is and how to progress through its early stages, before the player has even decided whether to actually play it or not. Console games do not have this benefit. They do tend to have attract-modes on occasion, but by the time you’re at the title screen, you’ve already committed yourself to playing the game, so watching an AI play seems a bit pointless.

Still, the problem remains, you still have to teach your player how to play, and many players won’t appreciate having a fat, textual tutorial as their first experience of the game. Piss off the player before they even get to properly play the game, and it’ll foul up their whole play experience. Potentially, it can even make the player sell the game 2nd hand, which obviously hurts the developer’s bottom line.

To help ease players into the game, console games frequently use something known as an Action Tutorial, or a Context Tutorial. You place the player in ordinary gameplay, but structure the level in such a way that they learn whilst still performing an active role. An easy example would be any one of the thousands of FPS shooters. They start you with a team in the middle of a mission. You follow that team as they run along and brief you on the plot. You then encounter minor, isolated obstacles that require jumping, sprinting or crawling to bypass, followed by several easily ambushed enemies. And so on. It’s all tightly controlled, but framed in a way that keeps it consistant with what the player WANTS to do. They WANT to vault over that knee high fence. They WANT to snap that enemy’s neck by sneaking up behind them. There are literally thousands of individual psychological tricks that can be used to dictate a player’s actions. But this article isn’t about those. The important lesson you need to take from this, is that if you make the player WANT to do the things you’re teaching them to do, you’ll find that they need far less prodding or prompting to learn/remember how those things are done.

It’s pretty obvious really. Get the player invested, make them want to learn, and they will. A splash page showing the control scheme just doesn’t cut it.

Resident Evil 6, cut that out

Give the player the freedom to choose the exact path you want them to take

This is, the Illusion of freedom, making the player feel like they can do anything yet psycologically guiding them to do the exact things you want them to do. This has a very obvious benefit of making your world feel much larger and more dynamic than it really is. Harshly railroaded games, such as Heavy Rain, depend greatly on instilling a sense of freedom in the player that genuinely isn’t there. It achieves this by making the player feel thoroughly connected to the character they are playing, and by carefully controlling its encounters and pacing so that it ‘feels real’, despite following a somewhat limited script. This sense of player characterisation is something we’ll be discussing at length in a different article, just know that if you can make the player feel the emotions of the character, then you can make the player perform actions that the character would do.

During the Initial Credit, you really want the player to feel empowered. Play into their first instincts, which will usually be of the “let’s kill that guy over there” variety. Always reward the most obvious solution in order to train the player into thinking linearly. But permit a second solution, at least during the initial credit period. The player doesn’t have to TAKE the alternate path to notice there is one. And with a well designed level, you can actually MAKE the player take the alternate path, making them feel good about ‘finding’ a secret or doing something a ‘different way’ (when in reality you knew they’d take that path). Rail shooters in particular benefit from this trick, as it can make the game feel like it has more branching paths than it really does.

The Player should win, but don’t look like you’re just giving them the victory

Not shown here is the fact that the player is in absolutely no danger right now

This is the hardest aspect of Initial Credit design, and it boils down to making the game challenging, yet fun. The player wants to feel like they’re trying, yet they hate losing. Kind of a tricky connundrum there, since you can’t balance a game to be challenging yet playable for everyone. And, especially at the start of a game, you’re dealing with people who aren’t intimately familiar with the game.

The key to solving this is the practice of using misleading difficulty. The player needs to feel like they’re in more danger than they actually are. The very easiest example I can give of this, is Time Crisis. You are constantly being shot at, but most of those shots are purely aesthetic, and are no threat to the player at all. The player themselves, not knowing this, feels like they are constantly living on the edge, like they’re just mere moments away from being hit by a bullet. This, coupled with the general set design and camera movement that causes the player to instinctively shoot at particular points on the screen (in most cases killing an enemy who happened to be there), makes the player believe they are skilled, when in reality, they are not.

Kill the Player decisively

Sucker punch lives off of players whenever we can get away with it”~ the evil plan of arcade games everywhere

A game’s Initial Credit cannot last the entire game. Never having the player die, means your tools for teaching the player are much more limited. The game has to find a way to kill the player in a manner that, upon reflection, seems fair. What this means is designing credit-gates (points where the player is expected to die) so that they’re difficult to recognise. Just throwing in a coin guzzling boss, makes the game’s intention to kill you far too obvious.

Recalling the previous example of Time Crisis, after coasting through a bunch of encounters with blue soldiers, red ones begin appearing. And unlike their blue counterparts, very few of the Red soldiers’ bullets miss. So first time players,  accustomed to only ducking to reload, are suddenly given an enemy that will hit them unless they immediately duck. The dangerous bullets are still pointed out to the player, so in hindsight, it feels like the player had every chance of dodging them. But at the time, they were pretty much guaranteed to sit there and take a bullet to the face. The player also learns something from their mistake, so they feel like they’re making progress as a player, even though they got hit.

They’ll be more likely to keep playing, if their mistakes feel like they’re learning something from the experience.

The essence of the Initial Credit, in a nut-shell, is to inflate your player’s ego, before slapping them down with their own hubris

//set of articles that I somewhat regret making, but must post anyway

Howdy hoes! And welcome to a new, and most likely short lived, series of articles that serve as little more than an obtuse, unhelpful ego stroke. I’ll be going over everything I know about the woefully under-represented art of Game Design. There’s an awful lot to cover, so let’s just dive right on in.

Screen Real-Estate

Screen Real Estate is a pretty simple thing to understand. It’s the relative value of various areas of the playing screen. It’s about maximising the space on the player’s screen, so that their attention is drawn to the right parts, irrelevent information is cropped, and gameplay is smooth. Closely related to this topic, is HUD design, though we won’t be covering that. For today, we’re covering how games best use the screen when displaying actual gameplay.

Usually, the area of highest screen real estate is the point where the player is moving (or shooting) TO. If the player is not moving, or is moving very little, then the area around the object moving the fastest has the highest screen real estate. Put something important in that area of the screen, and the player will be certain to notice it. In a platformer, if you want the player to notice a pit before they reach it, you can put a flying/moving enemy above it in order to draw the player’s eye (and to play on their object-situation associations; “enemies are bad for you, thus everything around them is a bad situation”).

An unfortunate repercussion of all this, is that the area of highest real estate is not always the area of most interest to the player. You might be chasing one erratically moving enemy, and fail to spot the other, static, enemy you just ran into.

But games can take advantage of this too. By distracting the player, you can stop them from noticing a hidden path or collectable that would otherwise be blatantly obvious, thus making it more rewarding when the player spots it the next time around.

Another basic rule of Screen Real Estate is that big things attract more attention than small things. If a game’s character is half the size of the screen, then it draws far more attention to itself than it probably should. This is fine for most fighting games, since they are inwardly focused games to begin with. Knowing what’s around you is less important than knowing the gritty details of what kind of punch you and the foe are both throwing and how far apart you two are relatively (i.e. how much closer should I be, so that my punch hits, but his punch misses) and for this, large, detailed characters are very suitable.

For other genres, like platformers, having a character take up too much screen space is extremely unsavory. Platformers are about going places, the bigger you are, the slower you appear to move relative to the world around you (i.e. the game feels ‘zoomed in’ and ‘slow’). It also becomes easier for you to be hit, and the player’s ‘field of view’ feels much more claustrophobic with a large character sprite hogging all the room. Worst of all though, having too big a character sprite distracts the player from paying attention to the enviroment he is supposed to be navigating. Basically, the character itself attracts too much of the player’s attention.

Another possible problem regarding Screen Real Estate, is Clutter. Having too many things attracting too much of the player’s attention all at once. Multiple enemies moving in unaligned, unsyncronised ways. A bunch of rotating collectables that are all rotating at different speeds, etc.

For many arcade games, they were limited to single, static screens for their levels. Everything about each stage was shown all at once, so developers had to use many tricks to keep clutter to a minimum. The simplest trick was just that; make the game as simple as possible, and use random or player driven behaviours in order to keep the gameplay fresh and active.

Case #1 Asteroids;

A very basic game; you pilot a triangle, and have to keep it away from blocky circle things. You can shoot the circles with dots in order to break them apart, and to earn points. It’s a navigation puzzle at its heart, you look at how everything is moving around, and constantly have to triangulate where the safe spots will be. When you break an asteroid up into smaller parts, you have to figure out where those parts are going too, making the task gradually more frantic.

The point is, this is a game where the goal is to find empty screen space in order to keep your ship safe. Clutter (i.e. the sequentially more populous asteroids) is used to communicate to the player where they shouldn’t be going. So, yes, in this case, clutter is used to the game’s advantage, generating deliberate chaos that the player tries to avoid.

It’s important to note that, other than a few basic HUD elements (a static score, and a static credit tally) and the miniscule player themselves, the asteroids are the only other thing on the screen. In fact, when UFO’s eventually appear, shooting their own bullets at the player, this is usually the point where you die. The asteroids are constantly drawing your attention, making you move only in short bursts, while the UFOs are gunning you down specifically, requiring you to constantly move without rest.

This is a deliberate case of chaotic misdirection, and its a very important tool used in Arcade games. It doesn’t matter how “good” your game is. What matters is how many coins it can coerce from the player. So making a game that appears fair (but actually isn’t), is more important than making a game that IS fair. Everything was on the screen, the UFO didn’t suddenly turn invisible, the asteroids didn’t suddenly change direction. The information was all there, but the chaotic nature of asteroids is at odds with the reliably dangerous UFO. The game’s structure deliberately takes advantage of human cognitive failure, and the delicious thing about it is that it only happens to the person playing. People watching the game don’t have to track everything specifically, and are in a better position to analyse the behaviour of the game as a whole. This is how you attract more players, by making the game look easier than it really is.

Okay, so arcade games are probably a poor working example of screen real estate, since their aim is to be as unfairly difficult as possible without looking either unfair or difficult. Most of their design goes into chopping the experience into ‘credit bites’, chunks of game that you are expected to get through within one credit. That’s a topic for another day…

Case #2: Super Mario Bros

Enough beating around with arcade games. It’s time to give a specific example of how screen real estate works in a console game.

As you can see, this is Super Mario Bros, world 1-1. It’s the first thing you see in the game (really, even the Title screen takes place on this screen). The grey dotted outline shows what can be seen on the screen, and the light grey outline is the point where objects tangibly exist in the game (everything outside of the outline does not exist to the game)

Right away you should spot something odd; there’s nothing of interest on the initial screen. There’s Mario on the left, some shrubs on the right, and a happy little cloud in that huge, unpopulated sky. To understand why this is a big deal, try to understand this from the viewpoint of someone who has never seen the game before; There is no visible GOAL here, nothing you have to DO that is immediately noticeable. Back when scrolling screens were not expected, this is attention grabbing. It gives the player the illusion of freedom, the freedom to choose for themselves what they want to do in this game. The tall, blank sky is paramount in communicating this to the player. It’s big, inviting, and dotted with non-trivial yet incidental detail. It also tells the player that they can jump, or at least implies that they can.

The player’s offcenter positioning draws the player to the right. Not just making them move that way, but actually focusing their attention to what is over there. As the player moves, the screen begins to move, and the screen real estate changes. When making progress through the level, the screen scrolls, but the player remains in the center of the screen. When retreating the other way, the screen does not move, and only Mario moves. This communicates a very simple, constant rule; go right in order to win, go left and you’ve made a mistake.

Something you might not notice, is that it’s actually easier to guage how fast Mario is moving, when the screen is scrolling and Mario is static (as opposed to the other way around). Humans are much more capable of tracking a large moving object (i.e. the level scrolling) than they are of spotting a tiny one moving at the same speed (i.e. Mario).

You’ll notice, as you begin running, that the very first thing that scrolls onto the screen is a ? block. As it scrolls into view and its flashing flashiness draws your eye, your mind analyses it, determines how fast it scrolls across the screen and what you should do with it. Common game tropes associate flashing with collectables, so the player attempts to jump into it, likely from below, as it will have reached Mario by the time the player decides to collect it.

And this simple act, the first meaningful one in the game, communicates all kinds of things; you can jump while moving, ? blocks release stuff when you hit them from below, blocks are solid features that impede your movement, coins are collected and add points to your score. And because the block scrolled onto the screen through the player’s actions (rather than being onscreen from the start), the player feels like it was their choice to hit it. It’s the illusion of freedom in its most distilled form, because everyone hits that block, in every Mario game, and it never contains anything other than one measely coin.

The other, major element in this starting area, is the Goomba. Remember when I said objects outside the light grey box don’t exist? That’s relevent, it’s responsible for making sure enemies appear when the player gets close enough to them. Because of this, levels can be designed assuming enemies will always be in the right place at the right time. The Goomba is set to appear around about the moment Mario hits that first block. He’s likely to have come to a standstill, so the only moving object now, is the Goomba. This is very purposely set up in order to show the player how fast Goombas move. Had he appeared while Mario was running, it would be difficult to notice the Goomba was moving at all (which would lead to miscalculated jumps and early deaths).

From this point on, a number of different scenarios can play out. The player could run away from the Goomba to get more space, running straight into the ‘no scrolling left’ rule. The player could stand still, and time a jump when the Goomba is close enough. If the player hasn’t moved from before hitting that ? block, it’ll still be there, and it’ll impede his jump, forcing him back down and making Mario land right on the Goomba’s head. The player could try to run and jump over the Goomba, which would either land Mario on top of the row of blocks Goomba starts under, or result in Mario hitting his head on the ? block that contains a Mushroom.

But I digress, as that’s unrelated to screen real estate. That’s the murky, incongruous bowels of level design.

Case #X Super Smash Bros

Applying all that we’ve learned (we have learned something… right?), it’s fairly easy to notice that Screen Real Estate is a genuine problem Smash Bros has to tackle. Between expansive stages that morph and flip, randomly spawning items that are almost like characters unto themselves, and the possibility of 4 symultaneous players, the game is constantly trying to draw your attention away from the relatively tiny avatars you control. More direct examples of this are the Smoke Ball item, and the Nintendog/Devil/Resetti Assist Trophies.

Smash Bros doesn’t so much as deal with clutter, as it embraces clutter. Unlike many fighting games, the camera is relatively dynamic, zooming and panning to frame the action the players need to see. There is also a running consistancy between certain common types of object (fire, explosions, electricity) and their looks, sounds and effects on a player, which helps catagorise the clutter. Individual mistakes through distraction rarely result in an outright KO on the inattentive player. Etc, etc.

What this means is that Smash Bros ends up being an outwardly focused fighting game, where the depth isn’t in the characters themselves, which you can barely even see in some cases, but rather with the stages they inhabit and the items/foes they interact with. There is constant chaos, and that’s what makes the game uniquely entertaining.