Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, or SSBU, for short, is a platform fighting game created in 2018 by Nintendo. This series has always brought massive success for Nintendo, this particular game selling over 17 million copies, making it the best-selling fighting game in history.
This particular entry to the series has a whopping 76 base characters, and 12 more DLC characters announced, from over 90 popular video game franchises, it is being referred to as a celebration of Video games. This begs the question: why does this ‘celebration of gaming’ exclude POCs?
out of the 88 character roster, 51 characters are white, while only 2 POC characters are represented (and one is an alternate skin!!). The 2 POC characters go as follows: Ganondorf (the main antagonist of the Zelda series) and the alternate character skin of pokemon trainer. There could have been 3, including Mr. Game and Watch, but Nintendo removed Game and Watch’s Native American style smash attack, for presumably racist reasons. That means that white characters make up 57.95% of the roster, while POC characters are only allotted 2.27%!
You’d think that it would be a top priority of gamers to be more inclusive in their videogame, so that more unique individuals would play their games, but alas, no. This poll from GameFAQs shows that 80% of voters think that “Both (POCs and JLGBTQ+ members) shouldn’t and don’t get priority.” This behavior shouldn’t be tolerated, and all who voted that way should be banned from the forums for hate speech.
An ignorant person may say that the majority of gamers are white, so a majority of characters should be banned. That is wrong. Studies show that POC gamers make up a majority of gamers per capita.
In this game, POCs are shunned by both the developers and the community (which is known for their toxic behavior) in terms of inclusiveness. “How else could POCs possibly be shunned by the smash bros community and dev team”, you may ask. Unfortunately, I have more bad news for you. Tier lists
For the uninitiated, a “tier list” is a ranking system gamers use to decide which characters are most competitively viable. Right now, it is generally agreed upon that Pokemon trainer is in the top 5 characters, this is most likely due to its default skin being white. Ganon, the only true POC, is ranked low mid-tier to low tier. This is inaccurate, as Ganon has some of the highest damage outputs in the game. His up-tilt and neutral-special are 2 moves that no one should scoff at, they deal 24% and 30% respectively, as well as one of the most powerful and ranged smash attacks in the game, with his forward smash dealing 24%. With stats this good, there is no way that Ganon should be low tier, but that’s how the Smash community treats POC representation.
There is no doubt about it, the smash developers and community alike need to make major changes before professional and casual POC players pick up smash Ultimate. As players of video games, isn’t enough enough? We should stand up for the inclusiveness of video games, especially advocating for more representation of POC characters. Anything short of a near overhaul of the videogame industry as a whole will be unacceptable to me.
Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I think that all races should be included in video games, after all, gaming should be bringing people together not alienating them!