At some point or another, each and every person on earth has experienced the sensation of having the hairs on the back of their neck stand up. Some folks attribute this to having someone look, stare or talk about them from a distance. Others subscribe to the theory that standing hairs are due to the presence of a spooky ghost. My take on it is a little bit deeper. You see, I believe that the hairs standing up at the back of your neck are a message from yourself at another point in time. A point in your time stream where something so magnificent is happening that your corporeal form can’t handle it all at once and has to send the leftovers through the vastness of space-time to the only other place that can handle and appreciate what’s happening… you present self.
My whole life has been leading to this moment, those little hairs informing and preparing me. And each time they stand at attention as I age I’ll be reminded of this moment, looking back at its source in awe and glee. So what exactly was this moment?
Cloud Strife is in Super Smash Bros.
Before I continue let me preface this by saying that I’m not even a Final Fantasy fan. I can tell you readers out there that I have never once played more than an hour or two into a Final Fantasy title. And this little trivia-about-me nugget is exactly why Smash’s next character DLC is such a huge deal. If an RPG mere-mortal like myself can look at the face of a franchise and say; “Oh hey! I know that guy!” without even giving said series the time of day; you’ve probably got a pretty important character.
Cloud Strife’s inclusion honestly feels like the video game equivalent of bringing down the Berlin wall. Previous to this, Clouds two major claims to fame were Final Fantasy VII on PlayStation (PSone), and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children…which is a Sony produced film. Cloud, despite being the property of Square Enix, has always had very strong ties with Sony and the PlayStation brand.
“What remains in store for Smash DLC is yet to be seen, but if Cloud is any indicator, I’d put money down that whatever it is it’s amazing.”
One of the most commonly assumed qualifiers for inclusion into Super Smash Bros. is the belief that a character have a close connection and meaning within Nintendo. For the most part that rule remains true, with a few exceptions. Back during its initial announcement in 2006, Super Smash Bros. Brawl brought Solid Snake into the fray in a move that left the audience shocked. Never before had a 3rd party character been included in this All-Star free-for-all. Since then we’ve had Sonic the Hedgehog, Megaman, PAC-MAN, and Ryu (Of Street Fighter fame) join the roster. None of these Characters (with the exception of Megaman) have had very strong connections with Nintendo before their inclusion, especially the ones that started it all; Solid Snake and Sonic.
It’s become increasingly clear over the past little while that Nintendo is now going for Star Power in the characters they bring to Super Smash Bros., and few hold as much of that power as Cloud. If Sonic can be described as Mario’s rival, then Cloud is easily Link’s. The 90’s were rife with endless debates and squabbles over “who would win” in a battle between these two. After all, Final Fantasy VII and Ocarina of Time were both seen as platform defining games, each with sword wielding heroes. Super Smash Bros. continues to bring gamer’s wildest childhood dreams into the limelight, and it’s incredible.
What remains in store for Smash DLC is yet to be seen, but if Cloud is any indicator, I’d put money down that whatever it is it’s amazing. Character inclusion into this video game hall of fame isn’t taken lightly, and Nintendo will no doubt continue to bolster its roster with heroes and villains that drop our jaws. Will we see Bomberman? Rayman? The return of Snake? The infamous King K. Rool? Or maybe newer heroes like Wonder Red and Professor Layton. Maybe Nintendo will shatter the very world of gaming as we know it and bring in fighters from Sony or Microsoft. Dare I say that Banjo-Kazooie feels like less of a pipe dream now? It seems a little farfetched, but so did Cloud just over a week ago. In any case, History was made that Wednesday via Nintendo Direct, and it feels good.
Move over Ike. The town of Biggest Sword has a new Sherriff…and his name is Cloud Strife.