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Guest Article: In Appreciation of “The Roost”

The Animal Crossing song “The Roost” does not fit into Super Smash Bros. Its calming melody, simple instrumentation, reserved tone, and above all, stark contrast from other tracks in the series makes its existence anything but uniform. Even the other Animal Crossing tracks are closer to the style of the rest of the game, so why is this so different? It is enough to make a player wonder why Sakurai would put such a song in; a new arrangement, no less. “The Roost” does not fit into the music catalog of Super Smash Bros, but is one of the best tracks in the series because of it.

Other Animal Crossing songs in Brawl combine the laid back tone of the original series with the excitement one would expect of music in this game. Like a book being adapted into a film, Smash Bros reinterprets these properties and exhibits them on a grander scale. That is where much of the appeal of remixes in general come from. In my opinion, the great strength of Brawl’s soundtrack direction is its ability to not only accomplish both of these things, but also create a new mood for the piece at the same time. “The Roost” is a strict departure from the rest of the musical philosophy of Brawl, and focuses on fully realizing the original potential of the song without changing its mood or even focusing on adapting it to the world of Smash Bros.

The decision to put even a stage based on Animal Crossing into Brawl was on its own a decision which required a leap of faith, considering how drastically it diverted from the rest of the game. “Wait a second… Is this… an Animal Crossing stage?!” were, after all, the first words spoken about it by Sakurai upon Smashville’s Brawl Dojo reveal. The stage itself is a great representation of its series, and it became a unanimous fan favorite throughout all divisions of the Smash Bros community for its simple design reflecting the plain and peaceful values of Animal Crossing, despite being called Smashville.

One could easily make the argument that “The Roost” is the antithesis of what a song in an action game should be. It doesn’t pump up players, it cools them down. Why would anyone play a match here?! Well, Animal Crossing isn’t the only franchise where a player makes a home. In the thousands of hours built each day over the years playing Smash, it becomes a part of our lives, and as we become more accustomed to it, we read the language of the game. The late nights with friends over, the time in solitude with training mode… not every match is a high stakes situation. I think we all feel that on some level when playing on Smashville with “The Roost.” It acknowledges that Smash Bros is a lifestyle, and perfectly complements that fact by choosing to take a slow and reserved tone separate from the normal Smash discography. Other songs in the series would later adopt the same style as well, such as the unlockable song “Snowman” from the Mother series and even “Outdoors at 7 p.m. (Sunny) / Main Street” from Animal Crossing in Smash 4.

For a creator to have the courage to step back and try something so radically different from the norm is commendable. In this case, the risk paid off very well. That a decision so bold could exist in something so humble is rather nice. Granted, “The Roost” does not fit into Super Smash Bros, but sometimes, having a little bit of something that “doesn’t fit” helps the game mature. Things fit as we grow into them. As perfectly encapsulated in Animal Crossing,

“As the name implies, we offer you respite. -The Roost.”

The article was written by jedisquidward. You can follow him on Twitter!