Ever since Super Smash Bros. came out for the Wii U, players have been playing around with the game's new stage builder. While many fans have focused on recreating their favourite stages from past games, one idea has stood out because of its novelty: turning Smash into a particularly silly version of... basketball?
That's right. Shortly after players began to toy around with using the barrel cannons in Super Smash Bros to rocket players straight down to the bottom of the map to their death, an idea started to take hold: what if you constrained the area around the barrels to make the items the only easy way to defeat an opponent? One Smash player who goes by the handle OCHO Robo expanded on the idea with an animated tutorial for something called "Super Sports Bros" on his personal Tumblr that showed how to build proper backboards out of lava. Shortly after posting that on Reddit, YouTuber Zivhayr became inspired to make a proper level out of it:
Others picked up on the idea and continued to refine it while affirming that it is indeed a lot of fun. And so "Super Smashketball" was born.
There are a few different ideas for how to build (and then play) the best game of Smashketball, but I'll pinpoint the common ingredients for anyone who's interested but hasn't given it a go yet. You start with a central platform as the "court", and put a smaller moving platform below it. The strong barrels (i.e. the ones from Donky Kong that send you flying) are positioned above and below the court. The idea is to position the barrels in such a way that properly killing off an opponent requires you to knock them into a barrel — the "dunking" part of the equation. Here's how Ocho Robo imagined it in his illustration:
The two bottom barrels and the moving platform below the court thus offer a small chance of survival. The backboards outfitted with lava, meanwhile, are used to bounce characters back into the central court whenever you "miss" a "shot". See, I'm using scare quotes because it's not actually a game of basketball.
Zivhayr's video added a ceiling of barrels to trap players inside the central court more completely. Other surfaces could be used this way as well, I suppose. But the barrels add yet another dose of frenetic energy to the stage since it rockets characters around the stage even more than they already are in the ceiling-less version. Now just imagining setting every character's base damage to 300 per cent!
For some unholy reason, Nintendo doesn't allow Smash Bros. players on the Wii U to easily share their custom stages with one another yet, so players have had to work together on various corners of the internet to figure out how to build the best stage for Smashketball. Here's a rough diagram from the "Super Sports Bros" post:
And a (somewhat fuzzy) screenshot of the level shown in the video as it appears in the Wii U game's stage builder, to help with some added precision thanks to its grid view:
I've played a few rounds of Super Smashketball after doing my best to recreate the stage on my own Wii U and had a lot of fun. It won't become the only way I play Smash or anything. But more than the mini-game itself (it's not the only one out there, mind you), what I love about Smashketball is what it tells me about the ingenuity and passion of Super Smash Bros. fans on the internet. Rather than just bemoan the fact that Nintendo (annoyingly) left custom stage sharing out of its new game for an indeterminate amount of time, players found other ways to congregate and share the great stuff they have been building with one another.
Regardless of when Nintendo decides to add something like a Sims 4-esque gallery feature to Smash, Smashketball is a good sign of what players have in store for the future of this wonderful new game.