Worthwhile Masterpieces for Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl did a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong. Something it got wrong was the Masterpiece section of the Vault. It’s a great concept that allows newer gamers to play the games that made the characters famous, but was poorly executed.

The problem lies in the time limits on the games. They might have been okay if the time limits actually allowed for you to complete something, but how far can a new player get in The Legend of Zelda in two minutes? I think they’ll managed to find the sword and kill a few Octoroks.

For some reason, I doubt that two minutes with The Legend of Zelda is going to make a young gamer appreciate what makes Link special. I think it’s much more likely that it will make that same young gamer say “Link’s game sucks.”

Fortunately, I’ve come up with a really simple way to make Masterpieces better: remove the time limit.

Free for All

There are a handful of games currently in the Masterpiece section that really ought to just be free to play. I’m talking about Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Ice Climber (just because no one should be paying money for Ice Climber in 2011).

These games are legends and should be played by everyone. Adding an absurd time limit only makes the games seem uninteresting because your first impressions of the game are negative. You end up thinking “I played The Legend of Zelda once and didn’t know what to do,” or “I played The Legend of Zelda once and it wasn’t much fun,” because you didn’t have enough time to really understand what was going on.

Animal Crossing included a small collection of classic NES games.

This wouldn’t be the first time Nintendo included free games inside another game. Animal Crossing for the Gamecube included several NES games that could be played for free once you obtained the item in-game. It proved to be a major selling point for the game with some people buying the game just to use cheat codes to unlock the NES games. In other words, Nintendo sold a new $60 game to players so that they could play a small collection of NES games.

Like Animal Crossing, I’m only going to suggest that NES games become free-to-play. Once you enter the Super Nintendo era games become much more complex, and I think there is still a lot of value in the games from that era. However, I think Nintendo could use the Masterpieces as a sort of advertisement get players interested in purchasing the full game.

In-Game Advertisements

I’m aware that Nintendo already used the Masterpieces as advertisements in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but they did a lousy job. The trick with using the games as advertisements is that they have to be worthwhile demos in order to make the player interested. Five minutes with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TIme is not going to convince you that it deserves the “greatest game of all time” title that it is so often given. Super Smash Bros. Brawl was kind enough to give you multiple save files at different points in the game, but the time limit still made the save files useless.

Instead, why not limit the games based on the content you complete? Continuing with the Ocarina of Time example, the game could provide one save file where you start at the beginning of the game and are allowed to continue playing until you complete the first dungeon. A second save file could be provided to let you play as Adult Link and complete another dungeon like the Fire Temple.

The same idea could be applied to all of the Masterpieces. Super Mario games could let you complete an entire world (or two). Star Fox 64 could let you complete a few stages (perhaps Corneria, Meteo, and Fortuna so that the final stage you complete is the showdown with Star Wolf). Super Metroid could let you play from the beginning until defeating Kraid.

I’m suggesting worthwhile demos of the games that actually give players the full experience and see what the games have to offer. Five minutes cannot do that (and some of these games don’t even let you play that long!).

Nintendo has been slow to adopt game demos in any format (just take a look at the demos they currently offer on WiiWare), but this is something that is quickly becoming (or has already become) the industry standard and Nintendo needs to get their act together. Better Super Smash Bros. masterpieces would be a good start.


4 thoughts on “Worthwhile Masterpieces for Smash Bros.

  1. “but this is something that is quickly becoming (or has already become) the industry standard”.

    What do you mean by this, and what examples can you offer?

    • I’m referring to Microsoft and Sony already offering demos of video games. Not necessarily inside other games, but in general. Right now, I can get on my XBOX360 and flip through a huge collection of free demos for games. Being able to play the demos has been the deciding factor in some of my recent purchases.

      Nintendo rarely offers demos and when they do they are only available on a temporary basis. Last time I checked, I think there was one demo available to download – and it wasn’t the game I downloaded a demo for a couple months back.

      Nintendo’s comments lately make it very clear that they do not like free or cheap games. Satoru Iwata taking jabs at the iPhone is now something we expect to hear every time he’s on stage. He claims the cheap games on phones make full-priced games undesireable despite the fact that they are superior products (sometimes; Angry Birds is a high quality product even though it costs a dollar, but Nintendo also commented that Angry Birds should be sold for more than it is).

      The Nintendo 3DS eShop is a good recent example of Nintendo not being willing to offer free content. Third party developers aren’t allowed to offer anything for under $2, even if it should be free. Nintendo has a good point about maintaining the value of video games, but they are going about proving it in the wrong way.

  2. I believe the demos should at least be 10 minutes so its long enough for the players to get into the game and appreciate the character so during the game they will like and want to try every character and will also want to continue the demo and there for buying the actual game giving nintendo more money for making other games nintendo could take advantage of this an open a site to buy them and make more on the other hand they need to make the convos not take much time for example ocarina of time I can get in there and beat Gohma under ten minute but deku tree will take all my time telling me the story and who likes the game shuting off in the middle of the conversation thought even though you dont lose time from the Deku Tree and the owl the still wouldent have anytime to do anything but they wont be pist being cut trying to skip or learning the story

    • that makes alot of since actually but its about time someone gets to the real problem the lazy programmers who make the characters moves copys or to simular like Ganondorf oand Captain Falcon

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