Super Smash Bros.[a] is a series of crossover fighting games published by Nintendo, that primarily features characters from franchises established on its systems. All five games have been directed by Masahiro Sakurai.
The gameplay objective differs from that of traditional fighters by aiming to knock opponents off of the stage instead of depleting life bars. The original Super Smash Bros., released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64, had a small budget and was originally a Japan-only release, but its domestic success led to a worldwide release. The series achieved even greater success with the release of Super Smash Bros. Melee, which was released in 2001 for the GameCube and became the best-selling game on that system. A third installment, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, was released in 2008 for the Wii. Although HAL Laboratory has been the developer of the first two titles, the third game was developed through the collaboration of several companies. The fourth and fifth installments, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, were released in 2014 for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, respectively. The 3DS installment was the first series title to be released on a handheld platform.
The series features many characters from Nintendo’s most popular franchises, including Mario, Fox McCloud, Link, Kirby, Samus Aranand Pikachu. The original Super Smash Bros. had 12 playable characters, and the roster count has risen to 26 characters in Melee, 39 in Brawl, and 58 in 3DS/Wii U (seven of which are downloadable). Some characters are able to transform into different forms that have different styles of play and sets of moves. The games also feature non-playable Nintendo characters, like Ridley and Petey Piranha. In Brawl, two third-party characters were added, Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog. Additional third-party characters Mega Man, Pac-Man, Ryu, Cloud Strife and Bayonetta appeared in 3DS and Wii U, while Solid Snake was removed from the line-up.
Every title in the series has been well received by critics, with much praise given to the multiplayer mode experience. The Super Smash Bros. games have spawned a large competitive community and have been featured in several high-profile gaming tournaments.