There would appear at first glance to be two kinds of people in this world. Those who regard Playstation All Stars Battle Royale as a wonderful homage to some of Sony’s most beloved franchises both past and present, regardless of the needlessly long title. Then there are others who look upon the upcoming brawler royale as a cheap bastardisation of Nintendo’s greatest franchise. Of course it’s not that simple. I can’t wait for All Star Battle Royale (which from here on out will be referred to as BR because it’s a stupid name) because of what Nintendo has done with it’s own property. Battle Royale for many, much like myself has been a game that’s been 13 or more years in the making.
If you’ll indulge me, I want to take you back in time. To a simpler time. 1999 to be exact. A ten year old Corey has had his Sony Playstation for 3 years and has fallen in love with an entertainment medium that will stay with him for the rest of his life. Power Ranger figures and LEGO castles lie discarded as this young boy goes on an island hopping adventure with a bandicoot, crashes expensive cars in Gran Turismo and makes a bear fight a boxing dinosaur.
The Playstation was my first console and brand loyalty or not I’ll always have an affinity towards Sony’s products. They got me suckered in young. That’s not to say I was ignorant of other platforms. I’d spend hours round at friend’s houses playing the Nintendo 64. Then in 1999 there was this one game that preoccupied our time more than any other. You can probably guess that it was none other than Super Smash Brothers.
We had had a gameboy in the house for some time before the arrival of Sony’s grey box of delights, so I was at least familiar with Mario, Link, Kirby and Donkey Kong. While I didn’t share the same connection to these characters as much as my friends did, it didn’t stop me from enjoying a well crafted game and the idea of assembling a consoles mascots under one roof was the greatest thing I’d seen since Jurassic Park.
Of course the young me thought about how great it would be if the Playstation had something similar, ignorant of the fact that Nintendo had years of experience ahead of Sony in the games department. Nevertheless group discussions among friends over who would star in a Sony Smash Brothers game were frequent. We had all of the big names. Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Lara Croft, Duke Nukem, Solid Snake, the entire cast of Final Fantasy VII, hell even Croc could come along.
The gaming landscape was to say the least, very different to what it is today. Even so over the next 13 years, while we never got a Smash Brothers on the Playstation, the idea eventually faded from our minds in favour of other, more pressing issues like girls, high school, the feasibility of cloning dinosaurs and girls. That’s not to say the idea ever left our minds though. Laying dormant it would spring up again with every new Smash Brothers game, or new console release. Again I’d think “what if?” for a while before getting on with whatever I was contending with at the time. Probably girls, trying to get into university, the feasibility of cloning dinosaurs and um, girls. BR was simply a pipe dream.
And now I’m sitting here writing this small piece because the unthinkable is happening. We’re getting our Smash Brothers. I won’t lie, with the announcement of BR the ten year old inside me was doing cartwheels of excitement. I couldn’t help but be excited. The game I had been waiting 13 years for was happening and that warranted a multitude of fist pumps. Will this game resemble the gaming opus that the ten year old me dreamed up years ago? Certainly not. Franchises have come and gone. We’ve replaced our purple dragons for angry Greek gods (does that sound oddly sexual to anyone else?). The core concept remains the same though. Get a bunch of well known faces together to kick the crap out of each other.
So yes, you can go and moan about how Sony is being oh so unoriginal and are just producing a cheap imitation to feed the stupid squirming masses. Or you can join me in thanking Nintendo for popularising this particular genre (Nintendo, contrary to popular belief were not the first one’s to come up with a franchise mixing brawler), so that perpetual ten year olds like myself are getting a game that pays homage to the franchises that we hold dear.
Oh and if anyone from Sony are reading this, I’ll forgive you for taking this long, if you’ll include Crash Bandicoot as a playable character.