The Duck Hunt duo is a tribute to forgotten NES games
In case you missed the worst kept secret on the internet... Spoiler Warning!The canine and mallard combo from Duck Hunt made it on to the roster. And the pair are backed up by some of Nintendo's oldest (and most overlooked) characters, highlighting the company's abandoned past with light gun games.
In the mid-'80s, Nintendo made numerous shooting galleries for arcades and NES, including hits like Hogan's Alley and Wild Gunman, the latter of which had a memorable cameo in Back to the Future Part 2. Despite being linked to Michael J. Fox, both series have been dormant for years (Mario certainly wouldn't be seen shooting gangsters and cowboys). Smash Bros. finally thrusts these series back into the spotlight with appearances by Wild Gunman sprites as Duck Hunt's special attack, and a Final Smash that places enemies in the middle of a shootout between the stars of the two franchises. Maybe this is the precursor to some proper reboot? It worked for Kid Icarus.
Mario's US patriotism can be traced back to golf
Mario may be the international spokesman of a Kyoto, Japan-based company, but he's American, through and through. He's a Brooklyn, NY native plumber, as American as jazz, baseball, and Dominos' Pizza. That said, Mario is usually pretty reserved in his patriotism for his homeland, though he does wrap himself in the Stars and Stripes for the next Smash Bros. in a reference to an NES game many aren't aware of.
Released in 1991, NES Open Tournament Golf is one of Mario's earliest sporting adventures. The game takes Mario and Luigi on a tour of the world's best golf courses, with Princesses Peach and Daisy accompanying them. NES Open Tournament is the first game to make Luigi and Daisy a couple, and it's also the first game current-Nintendo president Satoru Iwata worked on from start to finish. Quite a lot of history for one USA-branded alt costume, huh?
Pikachu's alternate costumes catalogue Pokemon's history
We've already seen how the alternate costumes are home to some of the most obscure history Smash Bros. has to offer, but Pikachu's alternate outfits take it to another level. Because Pikachu always has to be a giant, yellow mouse, an array of hats is the only way to make him look any different. And Pikachu's trip to the haberdashery ends up as a journey down memory lane for Pokemaniacs, with nearly every core game in the series being referenced via headwear.
Going through the above picture you can see that Pika is wearing the same hats as the protagonist in Pokemon Red/Blue, Gold/Silver, Emerald, and X/Y, giving fans of nearly every generation of pocket monster something to root for. I just hope he bought those hats at the same store as Pokemon trainers. Maybe this Pikachu has gone rogue, killing his former trainers and donning their headgear as a badge of honor.
All-Star Mode helps you brush up on your history
Any introduction to gaming history should begin with the basics, like the release years of major characters and when major franchises hit the scene. You could go to Wikipedia for that (or, better yet, one of GamesRadar's features), but you could also learn by smashing the crap out of Smash's iconic roster. The recently revealed All-Star Mode tasks players with battling the game's entire cast of characters in the chronological order that they were first created.
The mode begins with Pac-Man, the oldest character in the game. The pizza-shaped hero debuted in 1980--as did the yet-to-be-confirmed returning character Mr. Game & Watch. You'll move on up through the '80s as you face Mario, Donkey Kong, and Luigi, battering their faces sequentially, through the decade. Completing the All-Star Mode should make you like a verified Nintendo historian, though the challenge might also reveal just how few marquee characters Nintendo has created since 1994.
Fact: Smash houses some of the best music in gaming history
Beyond all the trophies and other cameos, Smash's deepest tributes to gaming history have always been found in its immensely packed soundtracks. Sakurai obviously loves video game music, not just based on the dozens of classic songs he includes, but also in how much work goes into sharing the music via the in-game sound test. Additionally, Sakurai often invites some of the most famous names in game music to help with new arrangements and instrumentations of iconic tunes.
Just take a look at the lengthy music page and you'll see a who's who of Japanese composers represented. The credits will alert you to the participation of major players like Yuzo Koshiro, Yoko Shimomura, and Yasunori Mitsuda--along with many lesser-known folks--hopefully inspiring you to dig deeper into their catalogues. And as a special bonus, Nintendo is actually making the CD soundtrack available in the West to anyone that buys both the Wii U and 3DS versions. It's a rare move for the company, once again showing the importance of music to the Smash series.
Kid Icarus: Uprising got its own anime
Kid Icarus: Uprising is a big-name game for the 3DS, but it never had the impact Nintendo hoped after all the years Smash Bros. creator Sakurai put into developing it. Sakurai returned to Smash Bros. after Uprising, but he obviously carries a torch for his previous title. The next Smash Bros. not only adds Icarus' Palutena to the roster alongside some Uprising originals as trophies, but it also uses Palutena's reveal trailer to remind players that Kid Icarus had its own anime mini-series.
Palutena's reveal trailer was handled by Shaft, the animation house known for animes like Mahoromatic and Popotan, and it looks great, which isn't surprising given the team's experience with Kid Icarus. Shaft, along with animation studios Production I.G and STUDIO4C, made a series of six short cartoons for Nintendo, with Shaft handling the Palutena centric episodes. Her Smash Bros. trailer is a strong reminder for fans to dig up those underseen cartoons, and it's also a reminder that a Legend of Zelda anime would be badass.
Knowing too much
That's an early list of the Nintendo history you can learn from the game, but just imagine what secrets and trivia will be buried in the full game. Maybe we'll update this once the game is out, but in the meantime, feel free to share your own smashing thoughts on Nintendo history in the comments!