You know what Sunday is, right? It’s Christmas! Oh boy! But this blog has rarely ever recognized Sunday as an official day of the week (Wankery Week not withstanding), so we’re going to focus on Monday. And you know what Monday is? Little Mac’s favorite holiday! Boxing Day!
And, ladies and gentlemen, the world has not been good to Boxing Day.
As it is assumed that the majority of the Gogglebob.com audience is USAian, we will take a quick moment to explain that holiday that has been hovering around the edges of your calendar. Boxing Day is consistently December 26th, the day after Christmas. While some countries have assigned it the religious undertones of “The Second Day of Christmas”, “Saint Stephen’s Day”, or “The Holy Mother’s After Party”, the day identified as Boxing Day is traditionally secular (if it is one of those other names, though, woo boy, look out [for Jesus]). While Christmas is a time for traditions and families, Boxing Day has become a 24-hour period where you are still technically on the holiday clock, but no longer required to deal with grandma. You don’t have to futz around with the fam or God anymore, but you also don’t have to go to work, so you can do whatever you want to do. In fact, why don’t you go shopping? That is apparently what happens in most places that celebrate Boxing Day, as Boxing Day has been equated to America’s Black Friday in countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
And… uh… that is a bit of an issue for people that, ya know, like to enjoy a holiday. If you are shopping, that means someone has to work to keep the mall going…
Boxing Day seemingly got its start as a holiday for workers. Christmas? That was a day that required all hands on deck, as wealthy families would invite friends, acquaintances, and anybody with a monocle to lavish parties that involved all sorts of slaughtered animals dressed up with enticing fruits. Such an event would require a brigade of chefs, servants, and personal shoppers to achieve the level of opulence to which the masters were all accustomed. But the day after Christmas? Screw it! Nobody is throwing a party after Uncle Steve passed out in the eggnog bowl, so let the staff have the day off. They can exchange boxes with their families, and we will formally recognize the day as a holiday to make ‘em all feel better about being the peasantry. Boxing Day? Sure! Let’s make it official, and then even Scrooge will have to give Bob Cratchit a day off once a year.
But, boxes preserve us, now the opulence is calling from inside the house, and the middle class has decided to feed on itself.
In fact, let’s get all metaphorical on this holiday…
Today’s not-at-all randomly chosen game is Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. It is the fourth entry in the Smash Bros franchise (see that lovely “for” pun in there?), and many could argue that its roster is a response to the anemic additions of the third entry, Super Smash Bros. Brawl. SSBB was an excellent title with exciting gameplay, but, in retrospect, its newcomers were lackluster. Wario, King Dedede, Meta Knight, Diddy Kong, and Samus wearing a different hat all felt like characters that just missed appearing in the previous game. Lucario, Lucas, Ike, Wolf, and Toon Link barely counted as “new”. And that left two company guest characters (who, let’s be honest, were amazing additions) and Pokémon Trainer, Olimar, Pit, and R.O.B. as truly original, truly unexpected recruits. And there was much rejoicing over these newbies, but SSBFW’s bounty seemed to be a direct retort to Brawl’s uninspiring announcements. “For” offered a meager two echo characters (Lucina and Dark Pit), and everyone else was not only a wholly new character, but generally unexpected (give or take Animal Crossing Villager). And while there was an emphasis on newer/contemporary characters, there were “retro” characters introduced with much pomp and fanfare. Duck Hunt Duck & Dog was the ROB/Game & Watch of this title, and Little Mac made the scene as one of the few characters to ever be upgraded from “assist trophy” to full-on playable dude (say hi to Dark Samus later, Mac). And there was much rejoicing! Give or take a King Hippo, Little Mac is Nintendo’s most celebrated pugilist from its fightiest franchise, and his addition felt like Little Mac coming home.
But Little Mac “coming home” is… not Little Mac.
Little Mac is a professional boxer. He is also 17, 5′ 7″, and weighs a whole 107 lbs. In other words, I have eaten nacho platters taller and heavier than this kid. And, while this is not impossible in the world of boxing (look up The Bronx Bull aka Giacobbe “Jake” LaMotta some time), it may be impossible in a boxing league where he has to fell the 6’4”/240 pounds of muscle that is Super Macho Man. Little Mac was “little” in the first place to effectively utilize screen space and compensate for the graphical processing of 80’s gaming platforms, but he has never grown up because the world loves an underdog. He’s just a little dude! And, in the brutal and physical world of boxing, he must rely on his speed and smarts to duck Don Flamingo and pop Soda Popinski. If there were sports betting available for Punch-Out viewers, Little Mac would always be the 100-1 outside chance. Little Mac will one day win, but he will win as the boy who fought his way up from the gutter.
And it is hard to believe someone is down in the gutter when they are starring in Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros. has now established itself as the veritable who’s who of the gaming universe. If your protagonist is distinctive (and not too horny), they may appear in Super Smash Bros. While this was previously an exclusively Nintendo stable, the DLC of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate established that everyone and anyone could sneak in there, even if they hadn’t appeared on a Nintendo console in over a decade. And these DLC characters were the pillars of the industry, whether they were representatives of eternal fighting game franchises or the very concept of gaming for a generation (sadly, I am talking about Steve). Little Mac is in good company!
But should he be? Can you still be the underdog when you are running with the big dogs? Can you still be “little” when you are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with giants? Can you be a holiday for the common people when you are right there on the calendar next to Christmas? Boxing boy is supposed to be an underdog everyman, but now he is boxing with Pikachu. Boxing Day is supposed to be a day for the everyman to rest and relax, but now everyone that works retail must spend the day selling Pikachus. Can you still represent the masses when you have become popular? It is possible that the privileged will still believe in you, but the people that have to keep doing the real work might not be so easily duped.
Happy Boxing Day, Little Mac. Relax and enjoy your sellout holiday, you class traitor.
FGC #648 Super Smash Bros for WiiU
- System: One of those rare situations where it is right there in the name.
- Number of players: Eight! That was a pretty big deal at the time! According to the release date for the 3DS version, it took a month to implement.
- A Retrospective Look: Now that we have Super Smash Bros Ultimate, nearly everything about SSBfWU seems to be defined by what was not carried forward. For instance, there are a few final smashes that were modified to be less controlled for their future game, and Zelda is technically a totally different character (that is also the same character). Other than that, this game feels so similar, sometimes I get confused as to why Ice Climbers aren’t available as a pick.
- Ridley is too big: This would be the final time Ridley appeared in Smash before becoming a playable character. Interestingly enough, thanks to cinema scenes, background cameos, and boss fights, Ridley has always been in every single Smash Bros game in some capacity.
- Favorite Character (unique to the game): Charizard is alone in this fourth iteration of Smash. He had a team in Brawl, and would get his buddies back in Ultimate, but he is a loner here. And that means he can flare blitz and rock smash with the best of ‘em. No Ivysaur holding this dragon back!
- Goggle Bob Fact: Back when amiibos were new, every time a new batch would be released, I would invite seven amiibos to an 8 person fight in Animal Crossing town for a half hour. Battling against an army of statue Ais would level them up easily, and it made me feel like I got my money’s worth out of those $13 figurines. Now I just write about amiibos on the internet to feel better about myself.
- Did you know? Little Mac’s boxing stage was revealed in the Mega Man trailer, which premiered the day the game was publicly announced. While the ring could have been a reference to Wii Boxing from Wii Sports, we really should have seen Little Mac coming.
- Did you ever wonder? The boxing ring stage offers individual “fight titles” for each character. Do you suppose the producers regretted that as the roster mushroomed to nearly 90 fighters?
- Would I play again: Everything great about Super Smash Bros For WiiU is replicated in Super Smash Bros Ultimate, so it is an extreme rarity that I boot up the old girl. Sorry, WiiU, but I will get back to you when you let me play as Little Mac and a fat, angry lizard with boxing gloves.
What’s next? The year is just about over, so let’s review 2022! Please look forward to it!