#FightFriday: Does Smash Being A Fighting Game Matter?

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Since the dawn of Super Smash Bros long life, people far and wide have played and enjoyed these games. Except Brawl. Brawl sucked. I mean, who could resist the allure of fighting your favorite Nintendo characters? It’s a pretty fun game. However, since it hit mainstream success and created a community, there has been one looming question that to this day is hotly debated.
Is Super Smash Bros. a fighting game?
Short answer: depends on who you ask. I ask this question in the wake of Katsuhiro Harada and other Japanese developers saying “no”. Of course, if you ask loyalists and top players they will say that its just as much of a fighting game as any other. While I wouldn’t go that far, I would ask the question of why it matters.  So. Why does it matter?
From this point on, let’s just look at SSB in the fighting game spectrum and leave the “party game” element alone. If you will recall, I had a discussion about For Honor and what I would call the “asymmetric fighter”. In that article, a fighting game was defined by the standard characteristics of having a certain mechanic, life bars, and so on. 
Now, SSB is by no means a traditional fighting game. There are no life bars, there are no “traditional” combos, and the only means of victory is a ring out. It has it’s own terminology such as directional influence, blast lines, tilts, edgeguarding, and the list goes on and on. However, it is held to traditional rules such as knowing frame data, set ups, spacing, and the concept of match ups. Honestly, it is simply a fighting game where the goal is a ring out. We have plenty of fighting games with that loss condition. So then, what discredits it as a fighting game? The Damage Meter? The unusual means of victory? Plenty of arguments can be made, but few can really stick as good reasons why it can’t be a fighting game. 
However, the better question should be…why do we really care? In the fighting game community, the divide on this issue is ridiculously large. The larger part of the fighting game community looks down on the SSB like peasants and even go so far as to say they would never lose to a SSB player in a “real” fighting game. In all my years of observing the community, I have never seen such fury over something that means so little, ultimately. Whether or not Smash is a fighting game, we know this. It has a dedicated player base, it has a thriving tournament scene, and people are truly passionate about this game,
Now, I’m no advocate for the Smash community. I just don’t get why people are so bothered by the game’s existence. It is here, and it won’t go away any time soon. No matter how many opinions we sling at it, we will see this game time and time again at EVO and it will be one of the most viewed tournaments ever. I see no reason why that can’t be embraced or at the very least accepted. No one even has to get in a prayer circle with the Smash community. Just…let them live. 
Where do you stand? Do you hate Smash? If so, why? Let us know in the comments. 

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