UPDATE2: After consideration and actually playing Miitomo I have decided to consider it a Tomodachi Life game and remove it from the list. The numbers will not change though because a Nintendo IP I missed was pointed out to me on Twitter, being Napoleon for the GBA.
UPDATE1: Removed Pocket Card Jockey as there is evidence to say it is 100% Game Freak and not co-owned (although it is not 100% positive but better safe than sorry)
In the previous article I revealed to the world how many IP Nintendo had. With 193 IP under their belt there is a lot to pick from when it comes to representation in the Super Smash Bros. series. Nearly 2/3rds of these IP have actually appeared throughout the various Super Smash Bros. games, but that still leaves 1/3rd of that list never getting any representation. In this article I want to try and give some reasons as to why these series may not have gotten a chance to get some of that Smash love. There are a few with obvious reasons but for some others, not so much.
Out of Nintendo’s 193 IP there are 84 that have missed the Super Smash Bros. mark. If you are curious how I defined what counts as an individual IP then you can check out the previous article. Just like the last article, I am going to split this post up into individual categories and highlight some of these games. Unfortunately I can’t give any examples of representation because none exist, but I can give the year that this IP debuted as it will help us to understand why some of these series never appeared. With that out of the way I will begin this analysis, starting with the most recent category.
The New IP
Despite what some people might say, Nintendo has not gone a year without releasing a brand new IP (since 1983). Because of this there are some IP that have come out between the time that Super Smash Bros for Wii U & 3DS began development (2012) and the present year of 2016. That means outside of the rare cases like the Streetpass DLC and Splatoon which all only got trophies, no IP after this time would have made it into the latest Smash Bros. title. These games are:
There are only three new IP to launch since the beginning of 2013 that have not made it into Super Smash Bros. Maybe they will get their shot in Super Smash Bros for NX, as all except one could be seen as series Nintendo is actively trying to push, which is a factor. Moving on from this let’s go from one extreme to the next with the next category.
The Forgotten Years
Some people might forget this but before Nintendo developed home consoles and even before the Game & Watch and Mario were a thing, Nintendo had a small group of gaming IPs mostly made specifically for the arcades. Some of these series did get some recognition in Smash like Sheriff and Colour-Game TV which both appeared as Assist Trophies, but the rest have all been left in the dust. These IP are:
So here we have 13 different IP and honestly I can see why most of them are not exactly on the priority list for inclusions in the Smash series. Most of these are very similar with no distinguishing qualities. Some have their own characters like Sky Skipper but most are a Alleyway or Space Invader rip-offs. The only three I see with any chance in the future are the Ultra Hand, Radar Scope and EVR Race. All three have some kind of special legacy with Nintendo and should get some reference somehow, whether it be a trophy, a sticker or in the Ultra Hand’s case: an item.
The next category is something that I have personally noticed in my studies of series representation in the Smash series and while I cannot say there is definite proof of this, I do think it is very likely.
Journey to the Western IP
Nintendo, Masahiro Sakurai and the Super Smash Bros series are all born in Japan. The Super Smash Bros series has always been made in the Japan and by Japanese developers. It is thanks to this that the Smash development team may have a strong knowledge of Japanese made games, but it also might mean that those Nintendo games and series that are either made in the West or exclusively Western do not get the same priority. When making Super Smash Bros Melee Sakurai stated that while a lot of Japan-exclusive games would appear as trophies that same privilege would not be given to Western-excluisve/made Nintendo properties. Now it is clear that some games like the Donkey Kong Country and Metroid Prime games, which have been made solely by Western developers, get to appear in Smash but the difference here is that their IP originate in Japan as well. These next few games were either made by a Western studio or released exclusively in the West by Nintendo.
Out of all the IPs Nintendo owns, it speaks volumes that there are only eight IPs made exclusively in or for the West, and none of them being in Super Smash Bros. Some of these were even made by Nintendo’s in-house development teams in Japan but released only in the west (StarTropics and Gumshoe) so their exclusion should definitely be noted. Aura-Aura and Eternal Darkness were both developed in the West but saw release in Japan as well. This means that Sakurai and his team may have been aware of these series but for whatever reason chose not to include it. Especially, Eternal Darkness which is a popular IP that Nintendo keeps holding onto. Aura-Aura may not get the chance because it is too obscure which is a perfect segway into…
These are Really Real?
Not every IP can be a big blockbuster hit and many slip through the cracks. In Nintendo’s case there are a lot that slip through the cracks, to the point that many gamers wrongly believe that Nintendo relies only on its established names like Mario and Zelda, which is not true. Some of these IPs however are so random and obscure that they are likely not a priority for that Smash representaion. This will probably be the longest list in this article so prepare yourself!
Now be honest with me, how many of those 35 Nintendo IP did you really know? A lot of them are obscure for one reason or another. Some of these were released for obscure/unpopular services like DSiWare (Snapdots), WiiWare (Rock N’ Roll Climber) or Nintendo’s SatellaView (Hakkun). Some of these were special, limited time, japan-only releases (And-Kensaku) or a reward from Club Nintendo (Sakeburein). And others just did not sell very well (Teleroboxer) or were overshadowed by other IP of the same genre that were just better/more memorable (Time Twist).
Now I will be honest. What classified as an obscure IP and what classifies as a well-known one is entirely opinionated. I can’t sit here and say with authority that Sakurai and his team did not know about any of these games as that may not be true. What I do know however is that none of them appeared in Super Smash Bros. and so this is just one theory as to why. This same logic can be applied to the next category as well.
Is That Real Life?
The last category was easily the biggest and so in reverse fashion this will be the smallest. The point behind this category is that this IP’s exclusion may be due to the use of a real-life person in promoting the game. There is a reason that Nintendo rarely acknowledges in Super Smash Bros the version of Punch-Out that included Mike Tyson. There are legal hurdles to jump through and this might be why these series have never appeared in Smash.
These three series both involve real-life Japanese celebrities: the first is a Japanese idol called Miho Nakayama while the second is Miki Miura, a Japanese manga artist who draws under the name Momoko Sakura. The final game does not use any famous person in particular but is made up of entirely real people and photos which may cause a problem when trying to bring the IP over to Smash.
I told you that section would be pretty short and this next one is only a bit better.
What is Even There?
Not every game comes packed with a lot of content or even with any recognizable assets. A lot of the Touch! Generations games had this problem and I think it does play a role in deciding whether that series can get any representation in the Super Smash Bros series. This category is not a deal breaker however as simple IPs like PictoChat and AR games, which also suffer from this problem, have managed to make it into the Smash series. The IPs on this list have also distinguished themselves from the obscure category (which also had a lot of simple IPs included) as I feel these games were well-known or did get some push by Nintendo for whatever reason.
There are eight franchises included here that all seem too simple to appear in Smash. As I said earlier though, simplicity cannot be the only factor as equally simple Nintendo IP have managed to get in somehow. So, I feel like it is either popularity issue or Sakurai and his team were unsure where to include them and so they did not make the cut. I need to give two of these franchises a special mention however; Swapnote for the reason stated in the spoiler but also Pinball. A bumper from a Pinball machine has appeared in the Super Smash Bros. series but Nintendo’s own Pinball series is not credited as a source. Due to the general look of Pinball and the universal concept, it becomes hard for this particular IP to get any kind of future representation in the Super Smash Bros series. The same can be applied to Alleyway which is also very generic.
This covers it for all the major reasons why these particular Nintendo IP have never gotten to appear in the Smash Bros series but unfortunately this does not cover every missing IP still. So, welcome to this cop-out category I am calling…
I Have no Clue. Sorry.
With the games included on this list I don’t have any tangible reason why they could/did not make it into the Smash Bros franchise. These are all series that I believe were big enough/made by Nintendo’s key developers but still missed the mark in some way. I will cover a lot of these a bit more personally afterwards but for now, here is the list.
These here are the final 14 Nintendo IPs that have not been included. These are titles that I feel are NOT obscure and big enough to deserve some sort of appearance in the Smash Bros series but for whatever reason have missed out. Starting with the first four on that list the only reason I can think of is that they are old. All four were made by Nintendo’s main studios with Marvelous being the product of Zelda director Aonuma and Mole Mania coming in-part from Miyamoto.
The next two IPs likely missed the mark come Brawl time due to their relative obscurity and Japan-only status. While both were GBA games made by major Nintendo studios (SPD and AlphaDream) I do not believe either of them sold well or made big headlines and with Mario & Luigi basically working off of the Tomato Adventure style it almost loses a reason to be included into Smash.
GiFTPiA was a popular GameCube title only-released in Japan that missed out on appearing in Brawl. It may have been due to its unfortunate release window between the launch of Melee and the planning stages for Brawl, although this did not stop some other IP, like Starfy, from making the cut. It may have something to do with Skip Ltd. themselves as Smash is noticeably light on content from them only ever getting Trophies and Stickers. Even their biggest IP, Chibi-Robo, only made one appearance in the latest Smash as a trophy on the 3DS and that was with a game in development.
ASH is another odd one that, like GiFTPiA, was released only in Japan and debuting in an unfortunate time period late during Brawl’s development. This would be a sound enough reason except that fellow DS RPG Soma Bringer did get to appear in Smash for Wii U despite having all the same issues as ASH. Both saw their respective companies next IP Last Story for ASH and Xenoblade for Soma Bringer appearing in the latest Smash so ASH really feels like it got the short-end of the stick.
Endless Ocean is another really surprising, missing, franchise. Debuting for the Wii, the first Endless Ocean appears to have done well as it saw a sequel. It’s exclusion may have been due to the nature of the game but really it had all the makings of a series prime for some kind of Smash representation, either via trophy or music.
Wii Music and Disaster are two modern IPs and first parties ones at that, that ended up missing their chance in Smash. The reason for this may be slightly more obvious though as both were a disaster in the sales and reception department. Both Wii games did very poorly with the latter not even seeing a US release. So that unpopularity may have been the reason they got excluded.
Takt of Magic is an odd one as it is a second party title made by both Taito and Nintendo. That may be why it missed the mark in the latest Smash title as it could very well be a contract issue, much like Joy Mech Fight missing out in Melee however that is just idle speculation.
The final two games are both series that were made by developers close to Nintendo and got somewhat of a push by the company. I can only assume they sold poorly and ended up becoming easily forgettable and that is why they missed out.
So that covers it for the 84 Nintendo IP that have yet to appear in the Super Smash Bros series and I have no doubt in my mind that some of these will appear in the next installment of Smash. Just to feel a bit of completion though, here are the missing sub-franchises from the Nintendo Sports series and the Touch! Generations series.
Both IPs are in Smash already but not all of their sub-series are and so these 12 series are here just to inform you of their existence and should not count towards the final 85 total.
There you have it, all 193 of Nintendo’s IP over two articles. I hope this series has been enlightening for you all and you can be sure that Nintendo has more IP on the way, what with Nintendo President Kimishima hinting at some original IP for mobile devices and with the Nintendo NX around the corner.
As a parting gift to you all I am including below a master list of all the Nintendo IP both in and out of the Super Smash Bros series, split into 1st and 2nd party titles (note: 2nd party is not really a thing that exists but it helps with categorizing the IP by ownership). As a thank you for all my hard work I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Let me know about some of the series that missed out in Smash and tell me which ones you hope to see in the future.
If you have not already, make sure to follow @allsourcegaming on Twitter as well as myself: @MrNantendo. Lastly if you are feeling really generous then please consider donating to the Source Gaming patreon. Every little helps us, especially as we are a non-profit organization.